The Annual Caramel Animals MBFWA Highlight Review 2017

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | Hair/Makeup Commentary: Claudia Byatt | Editorial Assistant: Kelsey Decker | Front of House and Backstage at MBFWA 2017 |

Caramel Animals presents a retrospective and alternative look at nine MBFWA 2017 shows, captured as our contributors worked furiously behind-the-scenes on adjacent projects.

Now that the glitter has settled (or was it stardust?) we bring you this irreverent and non-comprehensive look back at a few key Resort 18 collections. We also bring you news and interviews from backstage where we rapped with a few of our favourite hair and makeup directors as they worked to embody the designers’ visions in coiffure and cosmetic form.

This year’s review covers (in order of appearance) Alice McCall, Karla Spetic, Steven Khalil, Gary Bigeni, Michael Lo Sordo, C/MEO Collective, Vale Denim, Akira and Romance Was Born.

1.  | Alice McCall |

Alice McCall’s unmistakable style signature is easy to talk about; her profile on the MBFWA site provides all the keywords required. ‘Intricate detailing, season after season […] pretty and feminine, chic and bohemian […] year after year.’ This year, Vogue Australia praised McCall for never ‘hewing too far from [her] core.’ This Australian designer knows how to play to her strengths, with sexy results. Perhaps the show’s press notes sum up her 2018 collection best: ‘Alice McCall’s archetypal rock chick has been let loose in her socialite mother’s closets, she’s pilfered the heirloom Italian couture and is wearing it out to the club.’

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Bonnie Stewart: Another Latitude

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | Hair and Makeup: Kelsey Decker | Props and Wardrobe: Ester Karuso-Thurn | Dublin to Sydney via Byron Bay with Bonniesongs

Someday you’ll be minding your own business, out at a show in the drudge of your hometown. You’ll become ensnared in a sonic moment that whisks you away, to somewhere far from the four walls of the venue you’d walked into. Voices and instruments carrying the echo of another latitude roll into town. An artist might envelope you in the spectre of their world with a song and take you to a place hitherto completely outside your personal mise èn scene.

For a peck of audiences in Australia over the past couple of years, Bonnie Stewart has been one of those subtly transcendent artists. Her lilting vocals float over gentle peaks of acoustic and electronic instruments, layered ethereally into what may be a moderately enchanted loop pedal. Under the spell of thrumming guitar, Stewart renders her arrangements with a fidelity of performance that seems to amplify an almost spectral presence. This is Bonniesongs. She’ll play loudly whilst making you ridiculously aware of silence and then go some way to reminding you how music is at its most basic, mere vibration moving through air, occupying the same molecular space as the incorporeal.

After the show, the wormhole closes over. Bonnie is softly spoken, approachable and personable. The woman who bare moments earlier, exuded something supernal onstage, is supremely down-to-earth.

We talk about what brought her to Sydney, how different this place is from her hometown of Dublin, and attempt to approximate an understanding of what gave rise to her uncommon craft.

How and when did you start Bonniesongs?

Well, for years I sang and wrote songs alone in my room, mostly recording vocal layers into GarageBand, and couldn’t figure out or imagine it live. I guess “Bonniesongs” started once I began performing, which actually started in a treehouse in Byron Bay. That was soon after I moved to Australia.

I was volunteering at an organic farm and self-sufficient community called Jasper Hall. It was a really inspiring place. Luckily, I had a mandolin with me, and just started writing songs in the mango tree I was living in!

A mango tree?

It’d always been a dream of mine to live in a tree. Anyway, I gave the residents a few performances and had a lot of fun. It just continued from there really. I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to start playing in Sydney if it wasn’t for some very encouraging friends though. You gotta have your pushy friends!  

You’d just moved from Dublin to Sydney. What lead you to leave Dublin for Australia? 

I’m not totally sure where it began. Maybe it was too much watching Neighbours and Home and Away (she laughs). I just started feeling a pull towards Australia. I became a bit obsessed that the universe was telling me to come here! There were logical reasons, like I love the sun and the lifestyle it brings. There were also more economic opportunities compared to Ireland, and there are some Australian jazz musicians I really enjoy. Ultimately I was looking for a change of scene and an adventure.

I felt in my gut that I needed to come here. I’m a big believer in following instincts.

What are some of the differences between Dublin and Sydney, in terms of music and performance?

I think the main differences really come down to performance opportunities and financial support. There are some really creative musicians and interesting sounds coming out of Dublin, but the lack of venues and backing are the biggest problem. There are less and less spaces to play and usually for little or no money. Conversely, I know musicians in Sydney who can make a living playing music, who somehow always find a space to put on original music even if it’s just a warehouse, tiny bar or house. That’s not to say Sydney is full of venues or support for original music. It can be hard for sure. Sydney musicians have to fight to make it work sometimes, which is maybe why there’s such a strong music community here. I hope that Dublin’s creative musicians will make it work too.

I’ve also noticed a variety of instrumentation here in Australia. All these saxophone and trumpet players, and a sousaphone! I’d never seen a sousaphone until I moved here! I think it comes from having more support for music in schools. Primary school kids are playing in jazz bands and that is awesome. I didn’t have music as an option at all in school! That’s just crazy!

Wait… No music in schools?

Well not in my schools. I know of friends who could. I eventually had to take music outside of school. I guess it’s just another example of how music isn’t always recognised as important. Music should be a required component in every school because it’s just SO beneficial for learning and development, and it’s an integral part of life.

At a grassroots level, Sydney entertainment and nightlife have taken a beating at the hands of the state’s inept lockout laws. You’re from Dublin. What would you say to a state that would see its creative communities hamstrung by over-regulation?

Suck a brick, state. Uh too many emotions, I’m not sure where to begin…

A lot of your songs are like little stories. What do you write about? What inspires you to write? 

All sorts of things inspire me lyrically.


Yeah! I’ve written about spiders, mice, dinosaurs. Falling off cliffs. Swimming, dreaming, video games, ice cream, sand dunes, Nauru… feminism.

Musically, I get a lot of inspiration from watching live music. I take mental note of sounds that I like and what seems to work, though most of my songs have come from noodling around on guitar and drums or even just singing around the house.

Some of your songs seem to be written about your daily life too.

I definitely end up writing about little things that’ve happened to me or what I’ve been thinking about at the time. I recently watched Night of the Living Dead and pretty quickly wrote a spooky song inspired by that [Barbara]. I need to have a clear idea of what I want to say, otherwise I usually never end up finishing the song. I have a lot of unfinished songs! When I’m feeling inspired and focused, I can write the song quickly, which has probably lead to some of my favourite songs.  Oh, another example is the time my gardening enthusiast housemate pulled up my lavender plant and some herbs which he thought were weeds. It led me to write a song, Flowers in the Garden.

A lot of your songs evoke an almost cinematic sound. Do you have a strong visual in mind when you write your music? 

I’m a pretty visual person in general I think, so having an image just helps make things clearer in my mind. My friend Ida Lawrence and I made a stop motion animation video for my song Dinogon, and it’s pretty much exactly what I was visualising as I wrote the song.

I wish I could make animated music videos for all my songs, but it takes me toooo long!

Would you like to see your music on a film or soundtrack? 

Yeah. I’ve had a couple of bits of interest in my music being used in films, but it hasn’t followed through yet, unfortunately. I recently played at Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival. A man told me I sounded spooky and would be a perfect on the soundtrack of a scary movie, so I hope that happens.

Your dad is a luthier.
What kind of stringed instruments does he mostly make?

Are any of your guitars or other instruments made by him?

My dad has made guitars, mandolins, mandolas, and fiddles. He made me a very special classical guitar, which I love so much. I also have a Les Paul style electric made by him, and a mandola. These beautiful instruments are all safely back in Ireland at the moment, though. I’ve only had the opportunity to perform live with them once, last April in Dublin. Other than that they’ve been relatively unplayed for the last few years. My dad has been too worried about flying with instruments, and how they would react to the change of climate. I think I’m gonna sneak that classical guitar over next visit, though.

I get a sense of depth or ‘tradition’ in your music.

Do you feel like there is something ‘in the blood’ about making music for you?

I always love it when people tell me they can hear the ‘Irishness’ of my music. I’m definitely never trying to make it sound that way. I’d like to think that all the music I’ve ever put a lot of listening time into, comes through or inspires me at some point in my own music making. I always had Irish music around the house, then grew up with punk, grunge, indie and rock. I studied jazz, some Indian Carnatic music and a lot of experimental improvised music along the way and, well I think it comes through at different times. So in a sense, I feel like all the music I’ve ever really connected with has stayed ‘in the blood’ for me.


What’s next on the cards for you in terms of tours or releases? Where can we see or hear you play? 

Well I have so many songs that I need to get out there, so one of my next goals is to just record everything I’ve written in the last couple years and put it all out. But I wanna keep my favourite songs for a special album release. The album will be called Cat and Mouse. I hope to get it out this year. That’s all I can tell you! For now, you can listen to some tracks, buy my demo or keep up to date with gigs from my website or

As we went ‘to press’, Bonnie let us know she has a new video to share (just in time for this story)! Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, here it is: 

Live at Cleveland’s
Bonniesongs featuring Freya Schack-Arnott
Sand Dunes

MBFWA 2016 In Parting: A Tiny Runway Review


Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | Image Selections: Chloe Crawford | Front of House at MBFWA 2016 |

Caramel Animals presents: a retrospective and alternative look at five MBFWA 2016 shows, captured as our contributors worked furiously behind-the-scenes on parallel projects.
Now that the dust has settled (or was it glitter?), we bring you this irreverent and non-comprehensive look back at a few key Resort ‘16/’17 collection showcases.

Misha Collection

This show grabbed all the headlines thanks to the inclusion of celebrity model Bella Hadid in the catwalk line-up.  Bella is high profile – perhaps thanks in part to big sister Gigi also being a prominent model, and perhaps partly due to romantic ties with contempo Hip Hop artist The Weeknd (sic).  Her mama Yolanda was also a prominent model in the 1980s, while Bella has made a couple of appearances on one of this generation’s more notorious reality TV shows (about a certain family), and several high calibre magazine covers including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and GQ.

So how about the threads? Misha Collection’s Michelle Aznavorian brought a black and nude palate, with sheer fabrics offset by corsets, lace and tailored dresses, some topped with flowing pieces reminiscent of pared down (let’s avoid the word ‘deconstructed’)  elegant trench coats following a feminine silhouette.
Hair wise, Dale Delaporte and the Prema team brought a slicked back ponytail look, with velvet fabric wrapped around the length of the ponytail.  Bella seemed to enjoy the ‘do so much, she kept the pony in while socialising in Sydney later that evening.
Get this hair look


Yeojin Bae

Yeojin’s ‘Contemplation Collection’ marked the 10th anniversary of this label.  A palate of red, emerald (Lacoste green, perhaps?), black and rouge nudes set the tone for structured, geometric shoulders.  This was complemented by ribbon-cut tassels on flowing skirts and silk fabrics, alongside form fitting shapes and the angular colour blocking with which Yeojin is synonymous.


Steven Khalil

Each successive look in this runway stepped up the opulence and splendour in subtle degrees until the glamour reached its crescendo with the appearance of a $100,000 wedding dress – reportedly 6 months in the making.  The colour palate was shades of Grace Kelly and Audrey H.  Khalil presented a collection that included both chic, modern tailored pieces and classic flowing gowns.  Metallic details, A-lines and pants, and structured necklines graduated into flowing gowns, delicate lace and applied floral touches.

Dale and the Prema team complemented Khalil’s high, detailed necklines by keeping hair ‘stripped away from the face’, tucking strands behind the head, or sweeping tresses back into braids, whilst height and a lush texture at the hairline added gloss and shine.
Get this hair look.


We Are Handsome

Electric prints, striking neon colour and bold fabrics; We Are Handsome’s ‘Hustle Theory’ and ‘Heat Seven’ collections were the highlight of an MBFWA Thursday set aside for active and swimwear.  Each model walked tall in patent gold high-tops, athletic hoods, crop tops and leggings eventually peeled away to reveal acid-tropical swim suits, risqué mesh bodysuits and Blade Runner-esque transparent vinyl pieces.

Garreth Lenagh for Prema styled the hair in keeping with the active theme.  The wet, anti-glamour look was evocative of hitting the streets straight from the beach or gym locker room. ‘Sectioning in the front of the hair embodies the simple act of ‘a girl running fingers through her hair’ while ‘the gold pins were imperfectly placed’ to give the look of a girl who ‘doesn’t use a mirror when getting ready.’
Get this hair look.


Oscar De La Renta

One of the first international fashion houses to have shown at MBFWA, De La Renta’s collection closed the week in spectacular form enlisting celeb Australian model Shanina Shaik, and setting the show to a philharmonic sounding cover of Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach.  A diversity of ball gowns, cocktail dresses, skirts and day-to-evening wear were sashayed forth in a range of colours from bold oranges and reds through to deep navy and light powdery blues.  Feminine contrast was the key as vibrant floral prints and embroidered pieces also appeared along with blazers and pants suits in a myriad of rich fabrics.
John Pulitano of Headcase directed hair styling for Redken.  ‘The look was inspired by the collection which was very French, rich and dreamy.  We wanted a modern take on a classic chignon…  We did that by creating more of a raw texture into the hair and having quite a few fly-always, giving the overall look a classic modern yet ethereal feel.’

In all, over 55 designers showed at MBFWA 2016 and we’ve only shown you 9.09090909091% here.
Despite some initial misgivings, the new May timeslot and the shift to a Resort Collection focus appears to have been a complete success.  For a look behind-the-scenes at some of the hard work which took place backstage, check out MBFWA 2016: Fashion Week from the Other Side.

Reef Gaha is a Sydney based photographer.


Life, Death and Dale Delaporte

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | Backstage & Runway: Manning Cartell MBFWA 2015 |


Some creatives work best in their own space. It’s familiar. The environment can be readily controlled. You can orchestrate lighting with the touch of a button and adjust the volume remotely. You can set the pace. If you’re working with a client, you can tailor the entire experience toward them. If you like chaos, you can let a little in. If you’re more interested in order, you can dial the chaos out.

Some creatives leave this order in favour of an altogether more edgy environment.

That’s not to say busy salons or studios aren’t edgy. Put everything on the line to produce and direct the hair styling for a fashion week show however, and you’re buying into something altogether more keyed up.

What if the cadence of a bustling high street salon was a Xerox of the backstage environment at a Fashion Week show? Dale Delaporte laughs off the comparison. ‘I’d never go back to that salon.’


Backstage, the atmosphere contains little of the glamour and opulence runway shows often convey. Industry and intensity fill cramped, hotly lit spaces.  Creative disciplines work in synthesis to drive a helix of skill and talent; a cocktail of caffeine and epinephrine that occasionally boils over.

Dale describes the scene: ‘Forty girls take up a small space shared with wardrobe styling. Ten hair styling sections work on a look that takes at least one hour per girl to create. This cuts things very fine.’ The average backstage is around 3 hours.

‘Factor in models that’ll need glue in hair wefts, a campaign photo shoot, press and beauty photographers, interviews and  ten models arriving within the last hour of our preparation time… The chaos sets in. Conversely, a salon is all about making one client as happy as you can and giving them the absolute best aesthetic experience possible. As it should be.’


What exactly drew Dale into working with hair at this level?

Picture the 1990s. It’s Dale’s Year 10 formal.  His coif is gelled into sharp N’Sync style spikes with blue tips. A year or so later at 16, he steps in as a training model for a friend’s sister. She gives him a silver-white scalp bleach. Year 12 and the HSC rolls around. Dale’s formal outfit is replete with full diamante cuffs (again in silver and light blue) to match his date’s gown. All these looks would have bordered on outrageous for a kid living in Campbelltown (south western Sydney) during that time.  ‘It wasn’t until I moved into Newtown in Sydney after beginning my apprenticeship that the real fun started.’

‘When I finished school, all I was looking for was a full time job in the creative industry. I didn’t realise I wanted to be a hair dresser until I was already doing it. I saw an ad for a creative job in the city with possible overseas opportunities and literally thought “yeah, I could do that.”‘

I ask Dale if he thinks hairdressing was his calling, as such.

‘I can’t say it was the one thing I was destined to do, but I also can’t imagine doing anything else. Put me behind a desk with nothing creative to do for 40 hrs a week and… ’

Dale trails off, muttering something about euthanasia.


However creative, hairdressing is physically demanding work performed daily over the course of long hours. I ask Dale if he feels passionate about it all the time, or whether the urge wavers. The answer reveals a lot about his creative drive.

‘I’ve discovered that there are subtle levels of creative passion. It’s impossible to maintain the same level at all times. Being Creative Director [at Prema] has taught me more about this than anything else. Before Prema, there was a stage when working in a salon for a full week had me close to giving up hairdressing all together. I actually applied for a fashion design course, but something happened.’ Dale describes a more layered approach. ‘My work… my brain evolved. Now different things support and inspire my passion at different levels.’


‘I don’t really go on holiday, so any money I save goes toward enhancing my work – like travelling the fashion week circuit from home in New York through to Paris … it’s the kind of job where, if you find yourself devoid of passion, you get out ASAP.’

As the conversation progresses, it becomes apparent that Dale’s most potent inspiration comes from seeing top creative hands at work. Having started his career assisting Renya Xydis, he moved on to working with Daren Borthwick, Michele McQuillan, Max Pinnell and Duffy. On one of his more recent non-holidays, Dale session styled on Guido Palau’s team for Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Valentino, Miu Miu and Versace.

As a resume, it’s a pretty neat roll-call.

‘I love looking at magazines and editorials, but you can only take so much away from a still image. Watching hands manipulate hair and finishing things that would just boggle your mind in a picture. That really picks up my adrenaline.’


My strongest images of Dale at work were taken backstage at Manning Cartell’s 2015 MBFWA show. I ask him what it was like planning hair styling for the runway production with Gabrielle, Cheryl and Vanessa, the sisters behind one of Australia’s most iconic labels. His face lights up.

‘They are SUCH a delight to work with. Three of the loveliest ladies in Australian fashion.’

Between salon clients in Manhattan, Dale met the trio over a Skype call with the Manning Cartell offices in Sydney where Tony Assness [Production Manager], Peter Simon Phillips [Stylist] and Nicole Thompson [Makeup Director] were also in attendance. ‘We spoke in depth about the Manning Cartell girl, establishing the kind of look we were aiming for.’

Ideas developed online as the team sent ideas back and forth.

‘When I finally arrived in Sydney, the trial process began. I met with the team just a few hours after hopping off the plane. The next week, Nicole and I were creating looks on models.’

‘The looks all had one basic theme that we played with and manipulated until we got right. One of the most important parts of the beauty look was that the girls look like a tribe. They all needed to look VERY similar, which meant half the girls needed extensions, and one of them, an entire lace front wig.’


Viewing the finished looks along the runway, the effect is seamless.  The intricate prep work now appears as a whole, unified front. The girls march toward the media riser like a follicular sisterhood; a third millennium girl gang.

‘They were an army. They had to be individuals, but cloned from the same origin.’

I ask Dale to describe how these concepts become spoken into hairstyles?

‘The fringe on the right paired with a scraped left and back conveys attitude. The profile shows the laissez faire side of the Manning Cartell woman, letting the attitude come to them.’

The profile also calls to mind images of Brigitte Bardot’s loosely slung pony tail.

‘The mini pony at the bottom really contained the silhouette from every angle and held the look together. The idea of covering one eye was brought in very early. Initially the fringe was heavier and sleeker, but it evolved into a kind of glamorous, day-old version of the original.’


Back in the salon, the strains of an eclectic electro-pop ballad play over the pipes. The AC blows cool. The room might not be whisper silent, but I can hear every snip. Words are exchanged knowingly and concepts become cuts. Customers sip hot coffee and read glossy magazines, occasionally boggling at the extreme opulence of pictures. Dale adjusts the volume via remote and picks up the scissors.  He’s not dreaming of deserted beaches or crystalline ski slopes.

See the entire Manning Cartell MBFWA ’15 runway gallery below.  

Something stirring within that you’d prefer to have tirelessly and expressively sculpted into the tresses of your own hair?

Based in New York, Dale Delaporte is Creative Director for Prema.
See for Sydney and New York locations.

Reef Gaha is a Sydney based photographer.



Emmelie Björnsdotter: Malmö Calling

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | Hair and Makeup: Jeanette Rodriguez-Wallner | Models:  Sweden Models, Malmö |

This story is about a reunion. It’s also a story about travel and fashion. Mostly though, it’s a story about taking creative chances and the unbelievable things that can happen when you do.

We begin some 8 or 9 years ago.

I met Emmelie Björnsdotter in Sydney during the early spring of 2006. Like thousands of others that year, she and her sister were international visitors in Bondi. On a sabbatical from their native Sweden, they were here to escape the northern winter and enjoy the temperate Australian lifestyle. This was during a time when every day I’d hungrily, almost impatiently take to the streets with a camera. With any shred of spare time I could muster, I’d seek out subjects. I had the gall to approach and lens anyone I found interesting, at any hour of the day (or night).

Fashion has always been a central premise for my wanting to photograph a person. At times, I’ve felt what can only be described as an urgency around the documentation of emerging style; exploring the apex of where people and fashion (and the subcultures from which it constantly re-emerges) meet. Whilst rudimentary and carefree, Emmelie’s approach to clothing at that time was definitely one of ‘vintage modification’, changing found jeans into skirts and loose shorts, dresses into gypsy-like tops or halters. As the season and holiday climes dictated, her look was born of ease and simplicity rather than a high street aesthetic. Even so, it spoke of a certain joy in textile based creativity. At the time, she supplemented her income in Sydney by working in fashion retail, while making alterations to off-the-rack garments for store customers.

Fast forwarding through several years and the next I hear of Emmelie, she’s in New York assisting Helena Fredrikkson in her Brooklyn design studio. Having spent the ensuing years studying fashion and product design (as well as the technical side of garment making) she’s followed her dreams to the United States. ‘Since I was a child, I´ve always equated happiness with three things; fabric, needle and thread. If you’ve got these, you’re able to make magical things’ she says.

‘The philosophy of finding happiness through creativity is something I always try to live by.’

In the academic mix along with all the creative swotting, there’s also a smattering of business, and it’s not long before she returns to Sweden to open her own concept retail store. Here, she combines eclectic vintage garments found on buying trips to London, Manchester and Paris with a finely honed curation of new European ‘ready to wear’ lines.

Skip a few chapters. It’s 2014. I’m running to catch an overnight train from Berlin to Malmö on what seems a balmy German summer evening. The journey is to begin at Hauptbahnhoff, but there’s a false start; the train will instead depart from a small station around 40 minutes outside Berlin. Passengers hurriedly change platforms and ride to the connecting ‘hoff in what becomes pouring midnight rain. Before long we’re in the middle of nowhere and little of our surroundings are visible but for dim lamp posts lightly illuminating the drizzle. Impressions of how the German landscape might have seemed to an allied soldier behind enemy lines in WWII. At a whistle stop station, we disembark from the suburban train and bodies cram into all available couchettes on the sleeping car to Sweden. We begin the chug toward the Baltic Sea, then stop dead. After a 4 hour layover the entire train rolls onto a commuter ferry in Rostock and begins the crossing toward Malmö. Morning breaks over the water. A shower and buffet breakfast amidst ship and we’re nearing the Skane capital. My cellphone battery is all but dead, but I’m meeting with Emmelie. I make my last attempts to telecommunicate and arrangements are made.

Emmelie is at the end of a 3 year stint running her own store ‘eMMIT Mode’ when we’re reunited in Malmö, an adopted home in her native Sweden. We meet with her sister at a small pub close to the centre of town. Reminiscence and deep hugs. It’s not until the following day that I get to see her store. I arrive and take a look around. Emmelie’s minimal style is in evidence throughout the space, but it’s not long before I’m lead to a room at rear of the shop, where she begins assembling hangers bearing her own design and needlework onto racks.

More curation, but this time every stitch is of her own creation. It’s this collection of garments that we’ll lay out and arrange in running order for a photo shoot planned to take place in Malmö over the following days, the results of which you see here.

My Swedish Airbnb sourced digs are so perfectly Scandinavian that I never want to leave; warm, minimally well decorated and hewn with solidity in a way that Anglo-built residential structures are generally not. My host is Swedish by way of Argentina, so among all the scandic charm are South American flourishes like small cacti and bed coverings reminiscent of Bolivian weaving. It’s temporarily raining in Malmö, and Gustavo offers me the loan of wet weather gear. The Wi-Fi password is left welcomingly on my bedside table. Thoughtful, considered. Appreciated.

Location scouting and casting for talent in a new city can be difficult. You might not speak the language, the geography is unfamiliar and convenient personal transport is usually traded for the utility of buses, trains and cabs. Days are planned with Google maps and slightly nervous phone calls. All the same, it’s hugely inspiring. There’s something magical about working on the other side of the world, and somehow finding yourself at home. I email Therese from Sweden Models, then call. I’m due back in Berlin within days, so everything is very last minute. She looks over my portfolio and mood boards before showing me comp cards of models for Emmelie’s shoot. We choose Linnea and are happily informed she’ll be available for the shoot date.

This leaves me with a day or so to find a hair stylist and makeup artist. I head straight for Makeupstudion on Amiralesgatan and hand over my book and email address. Within hours, the school puts me in touch with Jeanette Wallner, and a crucial piece falls into place.

The weather in Malmö leading up to the shoot date is wet and windy. I curb my ambitions regarding location slightly. Sweeping grasslands along the Øresund shoreline are traded for the post-industrial brick-out of the environs immediately surrounding the office of Sweden Models. Here I’m greeted by a disused shipping lock flanked by old factory buildings on one side, and newer glass and steel buildings on the other. It’s not the open Swedish moorland I’d imagined, but it’s sheltered, sparse and affords gorgeous late afternoon sunlight, so it’s in. On the day of the shoot, a new girl arrives for a go-see at Sweden Models’ offices, with a limited number of photos. Therese suggests I work her into the shoot with Linnea, and I agree.

What transpired is what you see here.