Behind the scenes with Livia FirthPosted 26/03/2012
I woke up on the fateful Friday excited and jumping; months of deliberating, weeks of preparation, and hours set in meetings had boiled down to this – it was the shoot for Livia Firth’s first design under her own name. A day in which we were aiming to shoot the advert and editorial images for The Skull Necklace – it seemed a simple task. It was deceptive.
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At 7:30 I arrived in Portland Place to meet the ever buoyant Hannah Jarratt, a stalwart fellow Eco Ager, and with coffee firmly in hand we set off equipped with gorgeous clothes (donated for the day from Jocelyn Whipple and Olwen Bourke,) a jaunty step and a naïve smile. Little did we know what we were in for. Arriving at 33 Portland Place, it was easy to see how it had housed The King’s Speech for so many months, it was huge and the beautiful rooms were like stepping into another time. Our fantastic production team Mrs Grey were already on hand setting up the first shots in the room. I was a little star struck I have to admit! As we wondered around the film set that was being built around us, I had time to ponder the day ahead. And suddenly, with crashing realisation - It hit me – I had organised a film shoot and photo shoot to happen all in one day, sharing lights, necklace and Livia. I gulped my coffee and hoped that no one else would realise what we were about to unleash.
Hannah, testing out the set before Livia arrived!
First to arrive from the Eco Age team was the wonderful Karen Alder, who not only is a contributor but also a saint, it shall become increasingly apparent throughout this piece why. Equipped with bags the same size as that of a shopaholic going on honeymoon to Barbados, she unpacked her tools and laid them out with a precision of a very experienced murderess readying herself. Next on the scene was our photographer Marco Cella, who has become part of the GCC a week earlier, working with Livia at her Armani fittings. These two people would become worth their weight in gold by the end of the day.
Livia arrived on set and was quickly snapped up for makeup and wardrobe. Though it was beautiful, that house was cold, the kind of cold that snakes its way into your bones, sets up camp and refuses to budge until the 1st August has come around. It was all we could do to keep her just above freezing as she dived from dress to dress.
Karen Alder and Livia Firth, photograph by Marco Cella.
With half an hour of calm whilst Livia had her make up done, we caught up on the news and gossip shhad missed while in LA on GCC business, I thought this was a safe point to pop out and catch up with the office. HOWEVER – and this is a big however, when I got back and knelt down to hear what Livia and Karen were whispering about so conspiratorially, I was met by two mischievous faces. A plan had been hatched in my absence. For the pictures, it had been decided that there should be someone else in them, someone completely opposite to Livia in both looks and shape, and that someone it had been reached, would be me. At this point I hadn’t washed my hair for two days, the makeup I had tried to apply at 7 o’clock this morning was now holding up my socks and was still carrying a little bit of winter – I was a little flustered to say the least. So as Livia started her filming in the other room I was steadily cajoled by Karen under the mirth filled eyes of Hannah into having my makeup done PIC, when Livia came back for a quick break , I was ushered ( Italian style, which is to say strong armed with a smile ) into the gorgeous dress she wore the previous year at the Critics’ Choice Award’s LA.
Livia Firth on set with Karen Alder. Photograph by Marco Cella
I should explain at this point that I was not breathing correctly, panic had struck my lungs and they were behaving erratically at best. But with the solicitous soft voice of Karen, who managed to take control of the whole set, chat to Livia and coordinate with Marco all at the same time, we found ourselves in the red room. And this is where it all goes a bit blurry – needless to say, Livia and I have never been closer.
But under the careful tutelage of Marco, who bounded, leaned and stretched over us with the agility of an acrobat the gentle encouragement from Karen, and Livia literally taped to my side, it suddenly, and unexpectedly, became quite fun! I was a model! Albeit for 45 minutes and freezing to boot – but a model none the less!!!