We had the pleasure of working with floral designer and stylist, Joanna Aitcheson, on our most recent lookbook shoot. I first met Joanna in the store as a customer and we became fast friends. A fairly new addition to the Hamilton scene, Joanna has already become a go-to for custom floral arrangements and had a busy Valentines day making lovely bouquets for some very lucky ladies (boys, remember her name for next year!). We asked her some questions about her beginnings, her inspirations, and what's next for her...
floral arrangement by Joanna Aitcheson
Q: How long have you lived in Hamilton?A: We moved to Hamilton a year ago this April to share a home with some of our friends. We love it here! I do miss my community in Toronto but living in this city has given me more of a chance to chase after some of my dreams. I even have enough of a backyard to plant my own garden now!Q: What sort of work are you available to do?A: My business is very young so I'm open to a variety of work. I'm happy to have people contact me if they're interested in placing an order. I'll also be doing a limited number of arrangements around Mother's Day and other special occasions so I'll be sure to post that online. I'd love to start working on prop and food styling for photo shoots so I'll be exploring that a little more in the coming months.Q: Give a brief history of your love of flowers.A: There are so many expressions of art and design that I'm drawn to so it has always been a challenge for me to choose one thing to focus on. I ended up studying fashion design at Ryerson but I didn't really fit into that industry. It was extremely competitive and I'm a bit of a gentle soul. After school I spent a couple of years at some pretty uninspiring jobs and to keep my brain working I would read creative blogs. Many of the writers happened to be florists or stylists, people like Sarah Ryhanen, Amy Merrick and Nikole Herriott. I found their work to be so exciting and inspiring and I wanted to try my hand at it. By some miracle I ended up working for and being mentored by the incredibly talented Lisa Collins (owner of Sweet Woodruff in Toronto). I spent a year and a half learning from her before we moved away and I think that experience is what really developed my love for floral design.
floral arrangement by Amy MerrickQ: What is your favourite flower and why?A: That's a tough one! I like anything that's bursting with petals and has that soft romantic look. Ranunculus, Anemones, Hellebore and Spirea are always up there on my list but I think my absolute favourite will always be a bright orange-red Icelandic Poppy.Q: What flowers were used in the GOTW Lookbook?A: For the over-sized pin corsage I used a bouquet of off-white sweetheart roses. I combined some of those same white roses with a couple of white ranunculus to make the wrist corsage. And for the cute little hair piece I used a bouquet of soft yellow sweetheart roses.
Q: What inspires you?A: So many things inspire me! Lately, I've been studying Dutch Still Lifes. The floral arrangements in these paintings are so stunning! I also look to other florists whose work I admire. I mentioned some of them in an earlier question but I would also add Sarah Winward, Riley Messina and Emily Thompson. Inspiration is a tricky creature because it can easily turn into copying or can leave you dissatisfied with your own ideas so I try to be very careful and let my taste shine through in every piece.
the lovely Joanna AitchesonWe loved working with Joanna and hope to collaborate more in the future! Find her on Twitter and Instagram @joannaaitchesonFor custom orders contact her at email@example.com,
Girl on the Wing
We had an amazing weekend shooting our upcoming Winter/Pre-Spring lookbook with an amazing team of people.
Lise Varrette was our wonderful photographer. We've worked together before on some children's fashion editorials, so I was so excited to work with her on something for the store. She has such a calm and collected presence that makes everyone feel comfortable on set and she is amazing at capturing the perfect moment.
On hair and makeup we had the wonderful couple at Hairspray and Gloss work their magic. Mario Grassa was our hair stylist and he worked wonders creating unique, vintage-inspired looks. He was also such a pleasure to work with and kept the mood light and fun. His partner, Cherie Pia Grassa did the makeup and created a beautiful 60's inspired eye, nude lip and glowing skin. I love watching these two work together, they're adorable and always seem to know what the other is thinking.
Carrie from Spot 6 was our stunning model. She was the perfect Girl on the Wing and looked amazing in the clothing. I always look for models with bubbly personalities and Carrie did not disappoint. Her background in theatre was apparent and she was able to shift from glamorous, to sweet, to saucy, and make it look easy. We were so excited to work with her and can't wait to see what she accomplishes in her career.
On props styling was Amanda Cordero, a permanent part of the team. Amanda is always a joy to work with and is a perfect combination of imaginative and practical. A few days before the shoot I sent her a picture of a pink violin from a Viktor and Rolf fashion show as inspiration and she just went out and built it with her own hands. She's so talented and I feel so blessed that she donates so much of her creativity and time to the shop.
The lovely Joanna Aitcheson made some floral arrangements for the shoot. I originally met her as a customer in the shop and we became fast friends. She is an experienced floral designer and has many shoots under her belt so I was really excited to work with her. The pieces she created matched the clothing perfectly and gave it a special, romantic, quality.
And as always, my wonderful styling assistant, Trisha Topalopoulos, is so much more than just an employee. She helps keep me sane and is always so organized on set and keeps things moving. Not only does she do it all, she also does it in high heels making her truly magical. I can honestly say I can't imagine doing any of this without her.
Stay tuned for the final shots out for our next launch party, Friday February 7th!
Girl on the Wing
I'm excited to work with photographer Lise Varrette this Sunday for our winter/pre-spring lookbook photoshoot. I initially met Lise in 2010 through a Craigslist ad. It was my first year after graduating from Ryerson and I was working in different areas of the fashion industry, most notably as a freelance wardrobe stylist. Lise had posted an ad looking for someone to style a children's fashion editorial inspired by Le Petit Prince. The book was one of my favourite books and I'd just put together my graduating fashion thesis on the role reading plays in developing children's personalities, imagination and personal style. It was a perfect match! We had a great time working together and did a couple more shoots over the next year or so.
Le Petit Prince shoot for Babiekins magazine
All Images Copyright Lise Varrette.
This upcoming lookbook shoot will be our first non-children's shoot together and I couldn't be more more excited to collaborate with her again! Stay tuned!