• 11.20.14

    Tom Corbett's Opening Night

    Gowns are glamour. They are grace and beauty in tangible form, draped on the wearer, magnifying the splendor to magnificence. They are a heightened kind of formalwear that carry gravity wherever they go, no matter the context. When Tom Corbett was shooting a huge array of formal gowns for Mall at Millenia Magazine, they decided to put the gowns in their natural, dramatic environment. They chose Alvin Ailey Studio in New York City as the setting for the project, utilizing the theatricality of the performance spaces and rehearsal rooms. “It’s an amazing space, they were very kind to give it to us,” Tom explains. “We shot in the auditorium, in the theatre, all over the building actually.”

    The use of that space afforded them details that would be impossible anywhere else. Most notably: the lighting. Alvin Ailey is already set up to light dance, which is a form unique to that kind of theatre. Where plays are lit from above, dance is lit also from the sides, allowing for dimension to play off the lines of the human body; perfect for a high fashion shoot. As much as Tom is known for high bright, high energy shoots, the other side of him has a passion for dramatic lighting. “Lighting was a big part of this,” Tom says. “I love lighting these kind of big stories, these big buildings.”

    They shot the whole story in only two days, and with all those moving pieces it meant a lot of hands on deck to ensure everything happened flawlessly. “It takes time to light these shots, and we’re using smoke, lighting whole rooms with big theatricals lights,” Tom explains. “It’s not something that’s done quickly. It’s a lot of work for the guys and they did an amazing job.” Everyone chipped in. “There’s a real team effort with everybody. The whole thing. Everybody pulled together and everyone loved what we were doing. That kind of energy really helps on the day.”

    Tom’s cast of crew all pulled together for the shoot, including fellow B&A artist Titilayo Bankole who did the manicures, but there was one final piece: the natural energy of their setting. Being in a dance theatre the whole day meant that the whole shoot was suffused with creative energy from the start. Everywhere else in the building, there were dancers studying their craft, exploring, expressing, and delving into the creative space of artistry. For Tom, it was impossible to resist. “It was lovely to take some of the energy from such a creative environment,” he says. "It’s always inspiring to be around creative people, there’s an energy there.”

    After a long two days, sometimes it’s not easy to look back and see the whole project in the context that it was, but for Tom this shoot was a complete joy. He shoots for Millenia every year and loves it more and more. “Every time I shoot for them I get something beautiful and it gets better and better, and this is the best one yet. So I was very excited,” Tom says. “It was a big two days, but it was a real labor of love.”

    Creative director Laurie Brookins
    Fashion Stylist: Mindy Saad
    Makeup: Keiko from Bryan Bantry
    Hair: Bradley Irion from ABTP
    Manicurist: Titilayo Bankole from Bernstein & Andriulli

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