Behind the scenes of our epic and elegant fashion shoot — complete with two supermodels, two Afghan Hounds and one particularly photogenic pony.
We are ready for the jewelry!” says photographer Judson Baker. Cue the diamonds and emeralds.
We are at a beautiful estate in Dallas, Texas, the scene of our 2018 de Boulle feature shoot. The models are fashion icons: Chandra North and Niki Taylor. North is a Texas native, a mom, a record DJ and a creative director. She has been a brand ambassador for de Boulle since 2016, in a modeling career that has put her in ad campaigns, on runways and on magazine covers galore, for the likes of Chanel, Missoni, Givenchy, Shiseido, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. New for 2018 is Niki Taylor. Taylor is also one of the most successful models of all time, and the only model to have ever been on six major American magazine covers in the same month. (Entertainment Weekly called it “The Niki Six,” which included the May 1996 covers of Vogue, Allure, Elle and Marie Claire.)
North and Taylor are stunning, smart and confident — and their innate sophistication is a perfect match for de Boulle’s take on elegance, luxury and timelessness. For the story, they will be bejeweled in one-of-a-kind designs by Karen Boulle, the designer of the de Boulle Collection. Getting North and Taylor ready is a team of professionals that includes stylist Doug Voisin, hairstylist Walter Fuentes and makeup artist Kay Reeder. Boulle and Josh Garcia, de Boulle’s director of creative and marketing, are helping, too, while photographer Judson Baker gets his camera and lights just right. Accompanying us are racks of designer clothes, piles of makeup and food for an army.
Through the course of the day, many looks — the fashion insider’s term for a whole outfit, comprised of jewelry, clothes and accessories — are created, each more gorgeous than the last. While North and Taylor are readied for each new scene, the team pores over images with the photographer, selecting their favorite images from the extensive choices.
“Of course, the focus of the shoot is the jewelry,” says Boulle, “but this year we wanted to deliver more of a lifestyle campaign. Inspired by the manor and its stunning Mediterranean architecture, the story will have North and Taylor looking both joyous and refined, all while wearing jewelry from the 2018 de Boulle Collection. “We are excited to showcase our newest designs,” says Boulle, “and to have Chandra and Niki as our brand ambassadors.”
Here’s a look at the inner workings of our glorious photo shoot, including some short clips of our supermodels from behind the scenes.
8:00 am Call time! The crew and stylists arrive to set up cameras, lights, clothes, racks and more. The clothing features a lot of white, with a few pops of our signature yellow color and a majestic blue.
8:30 am Models Chandra North and Niki Taylor arrive — and go straight into the hair and makeup chairs. The makeup will be natural and the hair sophisticated.
10:15 am The shoot begins with Taylor and a swan near the pool. We decide on a different look for the clothes, so Niki makes a quick change, and we’re off and running again.
11:20 am Next, shots with both Taylor and North, both dripping with diamonds, inside the beautiful manor.
12:35 pm A pattern-on-pattern shot in a blue toile bedroom with matching twin beds. North and Taylor wear blue velvet and classic pearls.
2:00 pm The model animals arrive: a white pony and a pair of Afghan Hounds.
2:20 pm North and Taylor are photographed — in, respectively, a white pantsuit and white sheath dress with cutouts — with the pony in the estate’s conservatory. Both women are dripping with more diamonds, and, this time, emeralds. After this scene, North and Taylor are off for another round of hairstyling and makeup.
3:45 pm More pony time, this time with Taylor and our iconic rope-link toggle bracelets and necklace. Did we mention the Texas heat? It’s an unusually humid September day, nearly 90 degrees.
4:00 pm For another scene, North and Taylor wear white dresses and walk the dogs — complete with leashes in de Boulle yellow.
4:30 pm Time for a casual look for Taylor, wearing our Sleeping Beauty turquoise earrings and bracelet.
5:00 pm Taylor positively stuns in an asymmetrical gown, accessorized with a conch pearl choker and adorned with diamonds on the finger, wrist and earlobes, all against a one-of-a-kind floral wallcovering.
5:45 pm Another shot, toward the end of the day, this time with Taylor in a blue gown complete with turquoise and opal jewels.
6:00 pm It’s a wrap! We’re happily exhausted and ready to go home! Tomorrow and the next day are filled with more shots, of North alone and of beautiful jewelry shot on china plates and toile fabric.
THE FACES BEHIND THE FUN
Growing up, Dallas native North had aspirations of becoming a professional ballerina. In her teen years, she was also a bit rebellious: While her classmates would be attending practices or a school dance, she would hit up underground nightclubs. One day, a male model told North she should give modeling a try. He was right: North signed with the Dallas-based Kim Dawson Agency and ultimately catapulted to the top of the industry, working for almost three decades now with renowned photographers, editors and brands. She has worked for and with Missoni, Vogue, Chanel, Shiseido, Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon, Kevyn Aucoin, Valentino, Versace, Harper’s Bazaar, Christian Dior and countless others. She has walked international runways and has graced the covers of virtually every major fashion magazine. We are thrilled — and lucky — that she calls Texas and Dallas home again.
The south Florida native began modeling at 13 and immediately captured the heart of America — and then the world — with her girl-next-door charm and beauty. Her first cover, at 14, was Seventeen magazine. Her second? Vogue, at 15. In 2016, she returned to modeling, and her covers now number more than 400. Her campaigns have included CoverGirl, Versace, Escada, Jean Paul Gaultier and many more. She has been a television interviewer, launched a fragrance and started a foundation for the advancement of women in business. In an era of questionable notoriety, uncertain values and here-today-gone-tomorrow celebrity, Taylor continues to be recognized worldwide for her grace, charm and on-camera charisma, as well as her ongoing efforts for he welfare of others.
Baker has been taking pictures since he was 14. Straight out of high school, he shot his first album cover, for the Denver rock band The Fluid. By 24, he had moved to Italy and was spotted by Marco Reati of L’Uomo Vogue, who commissioned a 10-page feature spread for the magazine with the model Josh Holloway. He went on to shoot editorials for Arena, Details and Marie Claire magazines as well as campaigns for major fashion brands such as Valentino and MaxMara. With portraits that include Beyonce, Usher and Gwen Stefani, Baker has an impressive portfolio of celebrity photography, too. In 1994, he started the Art Department agency in New York with agent Jordan Shipenberg. After 15 years in New York, Baker decided to move back home to Texas. Taking after his father, who was a champion bull rider and horse trainer, he now lives with his family in Dripping Springs, with cutting horses of his own.