How a collection is born, Part 5

Wow, we can’t believe this is the last in this 5-part series that sneaks a peak into Elbeth Gillis’ process for pulling together a collection. Last time we saw a little video of one of her professional finishers – her fingers were flying as she sewed on those teeny tiny beads!

And now, in Part 5, we try to stay out of the way at the newest collection’s photo shoot. Shot in the quaint town of Arniston, this photo shoot even ventured into the local cave!


STAFF: You have a team you love working with on your shoots. Who are they?

ELBETH: For the last several years I’ve been working with Robynne Kahn for styling, Jacques Weyers for photography and Alet Viljoen for make-up. They’re simply amazing and we have a lot of fun!

STAFF: How do you identify/find a shoot location?

ELBETH: It’s quite a time consuming process! I meet with Robynne and Jacques, and give them a mood board for the shoot, lighting and hair and make-up. Then we brainstorm locations that will reflect the look we want. At the same time I get the location agencies to send me options. Then Jacques goes and scouts our final selections – it’s best for the photographer to do this because he looks at it differently than I would. Then, once we’ve heard his thoughts, we make a final decision. It’s a collaboration.

STAFF: How long does it take to photograph one collection?

ELBETH: Well, depending on the size of the collection, it can take up to two days. We usually get through eight dresses a day.

STAFF: What sorts of details have to be exactly right at a shoot?

ELBETH: The lighting is very important – and lets not forget the models! I’ve learned through the years that it’s crucial to use models that are genuinely good at what they do because they must be able to show off a dress’s key qualities, work with the photographer and have some stamina. A model who is stiff or lifeless in front of the camera, or who cannot take guidance, can ruin a shoot.

STAFF: Great, thanks Elbeth.

Now for just a few behind-the-scenes photos…wow, it’s windy!

Quick note: The 2019 collection will be available in stores later this year – usually around October. In the meantime, fall in love with this year’s collection that is literally only a few months new!