Video Credits: By Stefan Jose / Muse Shanina Shaik / Hair Luciana Rose / Make-up Ashlea Penfold
Music The Family Jordan / Production Mel Carrero / Styling Assistant Lily Reed Jones / Set Styling Lucy Ewing
Concept, styling and art direction Isabella and Elizabeth (Spell & The Gypsy Collective)
Two weeks before Coachella 2016 started, supermodel Shanina Shaik boarded a tiny plane to an equally tiny, red dust-encrusted outback Australian town with a film crew, photographer and the two incredible creatives behind too-cool brand Spell & The Gypsy Collective (or Spell, to its many devotees). The result was the label’s stunning Winter 2016 Revolver campaign, official video and this fun behind-the-scenes video with Shanina and co.
It was a far cry from the laid-back Byron Bay beach vibe design duo Isabella (Spelly) Pennefather and Elizabeth (Lizzy) Abegg usually surround themselves with – the brand’s flagship store in the popular beachside town is a regular place to spot visiting fashion bloggers and celebrities (Audrina Partridge, Miley Cyrus) and local ones (Elsa Pataky, Jennifer Hawkins). If ever there was a brand ideal as an unofficial festival uniform, it’s Spell. We spoke to Lizzy Abegg about the brand, the shoot and Coachella dreaming…
Of all the beautiful models you could have chosen, why Shanina for this campaign and video? We had a very strong vision for this collection and we kept going back to Shanina as our muse. We wanted to shoot with someone iconically Australian but we wanted her to be exotic and worldly too. Shanina was top of our list, so we worked with IMG to bring her out to Australia specifically for our campaign. When we were waiting at the departure lounge to board our regional flight to Broken Hill she was very ‘model off duty’ in a hoodie and no make-up, but girls were still approaching her for selfies. It was so sweet to watch.
Where exactly did you shoot this campaign? Please tell us you didn’t stay in that shack? We shot in a place near Silverton, about 25 kilometres away from Broken Hill in Western New South Wales. It’s this tiny little town with nothing but a pub and a dirt road but they’ve already shot over twenty Australian films there – it’s just so photogenic. The ‘Red Hill Hotel’ (the shack featured in the shoot) is actually an old movie set, plonked in the middle of nowhere. When we broke for lunch, the local pub was the only place we could get food and when they brought Shanina her pumpkin soup in a paper cup I almost died. But she was so down to earth, she just laughed and then Snapchatted it.
Your brand is very closely associated with a beautiful laid-back luxe beach vibe of Byron Bay. Why the choice to shoot in the outback? We do pandanus palm-peppered beach shoots a lot, but we are slightly obsessed with the Californian desert so a lot of our campaigns have been shot in America. However, for Revolver we really wanted to shoot the campaign in the Australian outback. We knew that the iconic red earth would only work with a particular colour palate and finally this collection had all the right tones in it to work against that burnt Aussie landscape.
Some of the imagery, especially close ups with the jewellery, almost has a Navajo feel Spelly [Isabella] and I have a strong relationship with vintage Native American turquoise and many of the pieces in the shoot are pieces we’ve picked up during trips to the United States. If you look back at our shoots you’ll usually spot some turquoise in there somewhere – we just can’t help ourselves. But the turquoise worked particularly well against the palate of the outback. It just belongs in the desert.
Shanina wore your Mimi boots and Muse shorts to Coachella last month. How did that amazing outfit happen? Shanina had visited our store on a recent trip to Byron Bay and thats where she picked up the shorts. During the shoot she told us she’d been lusting after the boots to complete the outfit, so we sent them to her. She wore Spell two days of the festival and both looks were so effortlessly rock-chic – she’s such a babe.
What do you love most about Shanina’s whole Coachella look? We loved her Day One look (above) – boots, shorts and a vintage Bob Marley T-shirt – because it’s exactly how we’d style it in a Spell shoot. Our go-to look is pairing something super sexy like the leather shorts and over-the-knee boots boots with something laid back and relaxed, like a threadbare vintage rocker tee. For the second look, she paired gold sequins with Timberlands. Everyone else at the festival was in flowing dresses or showing a lot of skin, but Shanina was so effortlessly cool.
What’s been your most popular signature piece to date for Spell? It would have to be our Xanadu Boho Dress (worn by Zippora Seven in our Island Boho campaign and the Hotel Paradiso Gown (worn by Louise Mikkelsen in our Hotel Paradiso campaign) which both sold out twice over. We’re excited to say we’ll be doing a re-cut of some of our favourite sold-out signature pieces so that our customers get another chance to get their hands on them.
Image credit: Ming Nomchong / Assisted by Grant Tyrrell
What single piece do you think is the most versatile for any girl in this new collection? We love the Prairie Lace Shirt because it pairs so easily with denim, and the Pandora Skirt (pictured above) is gorgeous dressed up or down with a feminine blouse or a rocker tee.
What’s next? Another store outside Byron Bay perhaps? We are just finishing the final touches on a new flagship store in Byron (opening in early June) so to think about another store right now is a little mind-boggling. But yes, it is a dream to have another store one day.
Fast forward to Coachella 2017. Who would be your dream celebs to dress? Kate Moss or Kate Bosworth – both are the ultimate festival muses. Also Alessandra Ambrosio always looks effortlessly bohemian and feminine at Coachella so we’d love to see her take on Spell festival style.