Shop Talk

BIKINIS GALORE! Local designer Amber Watkins featured in swimwear spread

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Ah, swimwear: an often tiny piece of material, worn for such a brief time, that still manages to generate huge interest year-round. (Just ask any gym bunny what motivates those countless crunches.) In the fashion world, it’s a hot commodity, especially given the fact that such a small percentage of the population can truly pull it off.

Here in land-locked Ottawa, designer Amber Watkins is raising eyebrows with her retro one- and two-piece suits.

In advance of a fashion show on Tuesday, July 31, featuring Amber Watkins swimsuits and pool wear, SHOP TALK chats with local stylist Jessica D’Angelo about a recent shoot that pulled together suits by two hot Montreal designers — Golden Fish Swimwear and Aqua di Lara — as well as pieces from Watkins’ line and clothing from local stores.

D’Angelo worked with hair and make-up artist Ashley Dawn, and models Natasha Ramkay and Jessica Hutchison of Models International Management. All photographs by Lindsey Gibeau.

The July 31 event is sold out, but you can get the next best thing by clicking the thumbnails below!

What was your role in this shoot?
I was the main stylist in this shoot. I was responsible for pulling the accessories and clothing, and working with the team in putting the looks together.

Was this a typical day for you as the stylist?
This shoot was unique in that the whole team contributed their style and aesthetic opinion. I worked closely with Cynthia, designer of Golden Fish Swimwear, in putting together the looks. Personally, these are the kinds of creative environments I prefer to work in.

What was the goal of the shoot?
Our team went into this shoot hoping to produce something that would be published. We loved the challenge of working with swimsuits, and supporting some great local designers and shops along the way.

How did the team come together?
The team was brought together by our amazing make-up artist. Ashley and I have worked on many shoots together, and she has also worked with the photographer, Lindsey. This was the first time myself and Lindsey had a chance to work on a shoot, and the creative energy was perfect from the beginning!

Was everything planned in advance (location, hair, poses, etc.)? Or was some of that decided on the spot?
The junkyard location was predetermined, as well as the overall feeling we were trying to achieve. However, like anything else, poses and specific locations came as the day progressed. The junkyard was such an interesting location to shoot at, as there were so many options. We had this amazing idea of a shot on top of a tire pile, but when all was done, we had too many other great locations to chose from! From experience, shoots always work this way — you end up discovering more than you initially expected.

How did you become a stylist?
I started doing styling while I was managing at Top of the World a few years ago. I would coordinate outfits for fashion shows when clients would come in to borrow items. My styling evolved further as I began Hand Down Your Pants, a vintage clothing business. I was co-owning HDYP with the current owner, Walker Tamblyn. We worked on look books and photo shoots together where I had the opportunity to really feel out the styling and creative direction aspects. Following this, I began assisting Renee Morra, stylist at Models International Management, on shoots, which gave me a greater insight into the business.

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