Learning on the job with Louis Vuitton
A local tailoring establishment was selected to work with America's Cup title sponsor Louis Vuitton during two of their on-island photo shoots.
Rene Hill Originals Design & Tailoring Studio tailored garments at both Rosewood Tucker's Point, the Hamilton Princess, Oracle Team USA base and at locations around the island.
The job came by way of Nhuri Bashir's company Into Bermuda.
“He [Nhuri] began looking for tailors on Facebook groups ‘The People's List' and on ‘MAJ's List',” Hill said.
“Members of the groups recommended my company for the job and he contacted asking if I was keen.
“I said, ‘yes', although I had no idea which designer or brand I'd be working with, or if I could take off time from the studio. But I knew for certain that I would make it happen, as I was looking forward to the experience of working on a professional photoshoot to see how it was really done.”
Hill explained after working out the logistics, she still had no idea who had engaged her services.
“It was hush, hush and I figured they must be a large brand, as it was top secret,” she said.
“We were told it was Louis Vuitton on the Friday before the LV America's Cup World Series Bermuda in October 2015. I was ecstatic, nervous and a host of other adjectives that I can't even begin to express.”
She met with the team at Tucker's Point after their location scouting mission.
“Aside from the incredible collection, what struck me was how the pre-work for the shoot was arranged,” she said.
“In the past when I did photo shoots, it was the photographer, models, maybe a make-up artist and myself who filled a host of roles.
“But the Louis Vuitton team comprised of an artistic director, advertising and editions director, a communication director, editions director, a creative director, a press relations officer, an art buyer, two male models and their agents, a stylist, tailor, styling assistant, groomer, manicurist, photo assistants, and the producer.”
What Hill learnt was how to organise a shoot.
“Before coming to the island they already had done simple photos of apparel and accessories ensembles,” she said.
“The stylist Hector Castro and the team would dress the models in the garments, and then add or take away as they saw fit.
“Once the garment was fitted sometimes they'd want a hem or a cuff, a garment steamed, or a neckerchief pressed into place very quickly so that they could then test it out again.
“I and their international tailor, Alina Gencaite, whose business is simply to travel on photo sets, were set up in an adjacent room were we worked on the pieces.
“The process was intricate and every single item had to be placed perfectly.
“It went on for several hours and it made me wish that I had paid more attention in French class, as I missed out on loads due to the language barrier.”
Fast forward to November 2016 when Rene Hill Originals Design & Tailoring Studio was tailoring for the Bermuda Tourism Authority's photo and video shoots at Port Royal Golf Course.
“I ran into Nhuri and he told me that the Louis Vuitton crew were coming back for another shoot and that they had requested my company again,” she said.
“I was surprised and forgot to ask when they were actually arriving, but I was contacted the evening before asking if we could be at the Hamilton Princess at 8am.
“It took some doing, and we were able to send two of the seamstresses who work with our company for the first two days with me doing the third day.
“It was lots of waiting around for instruction, but very long and interesting days.”
The photo shoots took place at Hamilton Princess, the Oracle Team USA base, Chaplain Bay and Church Bay.
“I was there mainly in a support capacity, steaming items on the beach, minding the collections and being willing to assist in everything even if it wasn't necessarily within my job description.
“I helped the local team carry items from the trucks down to the beach, as it had to be done and I'd rather be doing something than nothing. Producer Michael Lacomblez said, ‘we are going to have to pay you extra for this', but it wasn't about the money — it was instead, all about the experience.”
To reach Rene Hill Originals Design & Tailoring Studio telephone 441-535-0154 or via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.