Behind the Scenes – Andromeda Shoot in Iceland with Arden Leigh
I had begun to work on the sourcing and putting together my ideas for Andromeda shortly after releasing Arabesque. The Specimens of Seduction collections are all sort of connected in my head, showing the evolution of a woman’s love life – from blossoming and new love, to the uncertainty of reciprocated affection & unrequited love, and with this collection I wanted to explore the idea of what happens when our ideals of love shatter, when it leaves us broken and we put the pieces back together and something even more beautiful and strong emerges. To me it began with of all the most unlikely places, a trip to the hardware store that inspired me to use copper and brass elements. This represented going back to our essential nature as metal smithing was the building block for modern society, and metal in unexpected pairings also reminded me of Kintsugi the Japanese art of fixing pottery with metal. Because you rarely see metal forms incorporated into lingerie other than rings and slides.To me the metals in terms of garment construction could also be seen as a metaphor for bondage or armor (the romantic ideals that hold us back & the romantic ideals that protect us). This wide inspiration might all come across as esoteric, but to me its the story of the many rabbit holes I dive down that help me to create something with personal. That personal inspiration may remain unseen in the actual garments and photos, but I like to think that it can perhaps be felt in the same way a piece of art or music touches something deeper.
So from there as I started designing I was exploring the story of Andromeda, a woman sacrificed (bound & chained, see where that metal element comes in?) for being perceived as so beautiful it was threatening… and then Arden and I talked about shooting this in Iceland, and it wasn’t until I started scouting locations and found the cliffs at Vik that I connected the images of Andromeda I had seen in paintings and online with Iceland and I realized what a wonderful coincidence it was for us to have chosen to shoot there, see my inspiration on pinterest alongside images from shoot click here.
Anyways, I will conclude my waxing poetic about design inspiration and the magical moments where coincidence feels like kismet. Behind the scenes and link to the full lookbook below!
We only shot one look at Blue lagoon, and mostly bc its a private spa and we didn’t really want to interfere with the other guests or have a full on photoshoot there without the spa’s go ahead. We arrived early and shot this look first thing before it got too crowded, it started raining during this shot and with the sun from behind and fog that started to rise from the lagoon. When we pulled together the final edit we chose a headshot we took of Arden submerged in the lagoon but left these out bc the man made feel of the bridges didn’t fit with the rest of the Arden vs. the Landscape theme emerging from the rest of the shoot. I will be doing another blog post with the shots that didn’t make the lookbook, including these from Blue lagoon, so stay tuned for that!
Vik – Reynisfjara & Reynisdrangar
When you arrive at Vik it almost feels like you have arrived at the end of the earth, well other than the tour buses. There are no towns, no houses, and very few people. The landscape is huge, look at the scale of Arden against these rock cliffs and then the wide shots in our lookbook & below with the rock cliffs. For the wide shots we were far away and there were tourists in the background of the shot that had to be photoshopped out, they looked like little ants along the foot of these giant rock walls!
Click here for the image/painting of Andromeda mythology that these Reynisdrangar cliffs reminded me of.
In between shots we warmed up in the car, wrapped Arden in a jacket, boots, and those heat reflecting blankets so she could walk out to the spot we were posing. I started leaving my coat in the car so that I’d be able to get a feeling for how cold she was, bc if I was wearing more than her and getting cold it was time for her to go in. Make no mistake it was windy, the cold air was hitting her skin directly through those sheer fabrics so imagine that pins and needles feeling and you’ll get just an idea of how that felt.
In certain shots and lighting you can see her goosebumps on closeups, and still she was able to hit some beautiful poses and capture a serenity that is truly remarkable considering the conditions. We got lucky with a few sun breaks but at temps around 40-45 degrees farenheit (4-7 degrees celsius) that does very little in the way of warming up the body.
Can you see the little white specs in the background to the left of Arden above? Those are tourists at the cliffs!
A jetlagged, freezing, and yet smiling Arden warming up between shots.
Things you don’t see in the final shots, the pile of shoes, warming blankets, and jacket that she threw off right before this to Josh’s right.
A quick trip to the cafe after shooting before we started driving back to Reykjavik.
Golden Circle – between Gulfoss and Geysir
one of the few places where we saw houses outside of Rejkjavik, I’m assuming farms bc of the horses and livestock (the sheep were a bit skittish so no photos of them, sorry!)
This Icelandic pony was the friendliest, we have some of Josh’s photos of this and will release them in a separate post with photos that didn’t make the cut of the lookbook – but this was a really magical moment and Arden seemed to forget how cold it was and hung out with this guy until he left us to graze.
Golden Circle – Pingvellir
The things you don’t see in the final shot – her boots and a jacket underneath her to shield from the cold mossy rocks.
This last day shooting was a little bit warmer, but not enough to make it comfortable but it did allow us to shoot for longer periods outside the car and I think that shows up in the range and quality of shots. It was also easier in that we didn’t shoot anywhere near onlookers or tourists but found places to pull off the road and that lent itself to easier and quicker shooting.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the peek behind the scenes and if you’re starving for more, check out the links below.
Traveling to Iceland? Check out our Iceland travel tips post click here.
The Andromeda Lookbook is now live – click here (some images may be NSFW)
Andromeda was a collection that I designed with no intent to mass produce, many of these pieces would not be able to be made in the commercial production facilities we use as there is too much hand detailing, and to be honest when I am designing commercially things like hanger appeal, storage, laundering, and closures all become part of the design process. For me this was an excercise in exploring the beauty that I could make when released from the shackles of those commercial necessities. So with all of that in mind I hope you’ll understand why we won’t have product pages for any of the items here, I may release a small cut of them that is made in house in the future, but for now they will be made to order/bespoke and you can contact info at btslingerie.com for prices and product information.
model: Arden Leigh
photographer: Josh Verleun
design, styling, hair: Layla L’obatti