Shelayne Designs

In early February this year, Jun messaged me to ask if I was available to do hair and make-up for Gina (whom I’ve worked with before and loved) since she’s modeling for her friend’s fashion portfolio.  Kunio Photography photographed the shoot.

I loved fashion so it was a no-brainer that I would want to do this.  So on that fatefully cold day of Feb 18th, we started early.  However, it was still a chilly wintery morning, when the sky was pitch black and everyone was in hibernation mode.

Gina had been up all night, and shared some hilarious stories btw, so I give her props for being able to show up at all.  The fab designer Shelayne showed up soon after with her garment bags and fabrics.

There were three gorgeous dresses which Shelayne sewed it up the day before and pulled an all-nighter.  Impressive! I was given a run down of the level of work required to stay in the fashion program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.  For all those aspiring designers out there – be prepared!

Because I had never seen the dresses before, I just worked with the information and direction I was given on the colours and feel of the look.

To our surprise, by the time we arrived on location, it was snowing!!!  Most of us were bundled up anyways but poor Gina was fully exposed throughout the three hours of shooting and was freezing!  When we finally got to our first location, the snow had stopped.  Between every long enough pause, we tried to wrap the jacket around Gina.  The saying “beauty knows no comfort” is particularly true that day.

#1 Forest Fairy

What a pretty dress!  It definitely requires a lot of character to pull it off.  Shelayne was the most concerned about this one because she thought that it was kind of ‘out there’ and not really within her comfort zone since she likes casual wear.  But we were all blown away by it and it fit perfectly into our setting.  For this look, I chose to do a heavily lined eye with deep contours and red lip to contrast with the green of the dress.  A messy, voluminous hairdo with a loose fishtail side braid complimented the dress perfectly and showcased the back of the dress.

#2 Emerging Mermaid

Okay I have to say by this point, I was exhausted.  Yes, it sounds ridiculous since I was bundled up and Gina wasn’t.  But going up and down muddy, wet stairs and walking on tree roots and rocks while carrying my Zuca case…I was unprepared.  I should have worn rubber boots instead of sneakers (*mental note for next time).

So Gina changed dresses out in the wilderness with me, Shelayne, and Jun surrounding her with random items to prevent passers-by seeing her.  Then, I adjusted her hair and make-up to match the shoot.    Removed the red lips and went for a nude and intensified her eyes with deep blue, purple, and silver hues.  Hair was released and pulled down, flung around like the nature girl she is.


Can you take your eyes off that vision of perfection?  The blue was striking against the river and the rocks.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capture the back of the dress, which was pleated at the bum and then opened onto a short train.  If I were to wear an evening gown, this would be it!

That ends that day!  Gina was almost at the point of hypothermia.  Any less of a man (or woman) would wimper in freezing cold water during the winter but Gina was so wonderfully brave.

Due to a clash of schedules, we couldn’t complete our final dress until April 29.

#3 Nature’s Bride

So for the final dress which turned out to be bridal-inspired, I went for a super clean contoured look and did a half-up rendition of the first hairstyle to keep within the theme of the entire line.  Shelayne also randomly picked up the feather headpiece I made for a previous shoot during the morning prep, so we incorporated that into this shoot as well.  The rocky location was the perfect backdrop and I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome!

Check out close-up images of the hair and make-up in my beauty portfolio.

And check out more images at Kunio Photography (BTW I have to give Jun full credit for arriving on location over an hour before we showed up each time, battling the elements, and scouted around for the perfect location.  Such a dedicated pro!)

I will update you of Shelayne’s public portfolio as she inevitably rises to stardom.

Part III: Lady of the East

Titled by the model herself,  Foroogh (Mahafsoun) is truly unique.

When I first saw her modeling portfolio, one photo caught my eye (below) and I thought she looked like an angel:

When we first corresponded, her fun, kind, and enthusiastic personality matched my original image of her.

Finally, months later, on the day of the shoot, she showed up wearing a velvet corset, fishnet stockings, and platform boots – apparently her everyday gothic attire.  She discussed about her fascination with photography with Al while she waited for me to finish with Delia.  When she got into my chair, we chatted about the free spirit of bellydancing (check out her YouTube channel) and how she loves to dance to metal music.  What?!  This lovely lady is the perfect example of my philosophy – she’s dynamic, multifaceted and extremely talented.

Foroogh’s beauty is undeniable – long black hair, fair (flawless) skin, and green eyes.  She was perfect for the look I had envisioned, which was bollywood-inspired but softer.  I opted for subtle pink and gold eyes and a gradient lip.  For her hair, I couldn’t resist doing something more dramatic.  It was the perfect opportunity to employ a Sharon Blaine-inspired style.  Foroogh was so excited that she was given a ‘pretty’ look for the first time (like she isn’t already?) that she kept the hair and make-up for a night out on the town!

Anyways, she brought along with her a beautiful sari fabric and a load of accessories so we played around with them and had a great time.  Her graceful body movements showed through in her modeling – she was very comfortable in front of the camera and it was a pleasure to watch her pose.  I adored her so yes, you will be seeing more of her here.  Stay posted!

Of course, we can’t forget Al Cruickshank, the man behind the lens.  Even by the third model and many hours of waiting, he hasn’t complained once.  In my eyes, all his shots were breathtaking.  Did you like the art we created?

Check out more photos of Foroogh in my beauty gallery!