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November 17, 2020

"Life's too short to wear boring clothes." *

We’ve been working with British designer childrenswear brand ‘Jessie and James London’ photographing their Autumn Winter ‘20 collection at the stunning Houghton Lodge Gardens nestled in the Hampshire countryside.

It was a pleasure to spend the day with the talented owners Jessie and James and their superstar mini models. It felt like a whole day of portraiture giving me the golden opportunity to come up with lots of different looks and styles for this portfolio.


Location, Location, Location

Jessie and James explained “As we weren’t able to use props due to Covid-19 measures we needed the location to tell the story - and this season the collection worked perfectly with the wonderful location at Houghton Gardens.”

It was a joy exploring all the possibilities that the enchanting Georgian style gardens and the gorgeous Grade II listed Cottage Ornée House could lend to the shoot. So picturesque and dreamy! Put it on your ‘Must Visit’ list.


The Brief

The theme was 'The Secret Garden'. Jessie and James explain “Our Autumn/Winter collection incorporates classic styles as well as glamorous party pieces. Adventurous, playful and whimsical, yet modern and edgy. Our brief to Kelly was to connect each outfit with its surrounding, to keep images lively, not too static. The colours should show to be as authentic as possible.”

We agree that “Photography is a really important way of showing each piece in detail and allows us to express our creativity and gives context to our collections. These photos need to tell a story and engage with our customers whilst representing our luxury and unique image.”

“The ability to capture the moment is key. Children are constantly moving and only have short bursts of energy so it is important to move quickly and be ready for anything. It's also important to show the garments off in the best way possible.”

I could tell from the start that the models were total pros and having a daughter of a similar age I had my best jokes and conversation starters up my sleeve to build up a rapport with them to capture them at their best.


Starting early, we worked around the moving sunlight of the day which determined the choice of locations and chose backdrops and details to bring out the style and look of each outfit.

Lights, Camera, Action!

During the shoot we found that Jessie and James love movement in their images complimenting a natural style of image. Movement was exactly what we had in mind to enhance the lines and cuts of some of their stunning designs including this gold shimmer ‘Lilly Dress’.

This lovely little lady spun beautifully amongst the charming topiary maze to show the volume and flare of this dress’ skirt. This was one of Jessie and James’ highlights of the day, “We really enjoyed working in the Maze Garden. The children had lots of fun there. It’s always important to keep the kids happy and work in a playful manner.”


Check out this move! Our super flexible model told us she could strike a pose to highlight the volume and flare of this stylish, checked ‘Frill Jersey Dress’... and she nailed it!


Nature at its Best

For the more natural-style image, we caught the models just at the right moment as they explored and discovered the serenity of the gardens showing the dresses at rest and allowing the luxurious, floral fabrics and designs to steal the show in their complementary surroundings.


Rebel, Rebel

In contrast to the tranquillity of the botanical gardens, we found this surprisingly urban spot to capture the iconic cut of the ‘Belle Dress’’ against this edgy brickwork – fitting for a brand whose many pieces are classic with a modern twist and the perfect stomping ground for those bang-on-trend, flat, black, laced ankle boots.


We continued the edgy look when posing this model in a sassy stance as she wears these strong, bold colours well - rocking country chic and modern trend all at the same time!


Colour Me Happy!

The pink jacquard version of the ‘Belle Dress’ equally looked great against a brick wall texture. This time we employed the painted white brick wall of the kitchen garden to complement the signature look whilst framing the model with verdant hanging herbs lending a further pop of colour.


And it’s the striking colour of this ‘Royal Red Butterfly Dress’ that is doing the popping, proving bold is beautiful whilst the ornate flowing lines of its frills echo delightfully with the wall’s organic pattern of vines.


To complement the subtle colour palette of this two-piece outfit we felt that the uniformity of this large ironwork door with its muted tones worked well to contrast the softer look and feel of this graceful off-white blouse and elegant sailor bottoms.


Dressed for Success

We were thrilled to hear that Jessie and James were really pleased with the final images:

“The whole day was a great success. The location was stunning, the weather was lovely and everyone worked together seamlessly. We had a big collection to photograph so there was not much time for a break. Kelly is wonderful. She has a strong understanding of the brief and has a very good eye for detail. She is very relaxed and engages with the team and kids in a humorous way. Her final images are spotless. She takes her work very seriously.”

“The more casual styles worked great with the brick wall to give it an edge whilst the setting of the maze garden and its grand gates gave those party pieces a glamorous look. The final images have been instrumental in showcasing our new collection. The photos are important selling tools that allow our customers to see how the garments fit and look on real children. We use them to promote the collection on our website and social media.”

We couldn’t resist asking Jessie and James which was their favourite image:

“We love the dress image in the maze garden. The peacock in rusty metal gives the image an edge. Even though the model is static it suits the mood of the picture. We also really like the simplicity of the Paisley dress in front of the brick wall. Both mood directions really complement each other nicely.”


Jessie and James’ absolute favourite was the gold ‘Film Dress’. They say “The black contrast binding around the skirt panels enhances the unique cut. Classic with a twist.” Here at KHP we are still making our minds up – we love them all!


It was really inspiring to work with these top designers merging their ideas and vision with my style of photography. We absolutely love their style and designs. We feel that their party wear dresses could be stunning as bridesmaids’ dresses. Click here to have a look for yourselves and see these images and more in action.

Ooh I feel a copy of Tatler and a cup of English Breakfast Tea is in order!

Kelly Hearn A.B.I.P.P - A.M.P.A

* - Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, Cushnie Et Ochs