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My first ever Photoshoot with Alice McCall

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Words by - Maddison Payne

My first week at The Fashion Institute, I was offered the amazing pleasure of assisting at Alice McCall’s Spring/Summer Lookbook shoot. I was so thrilled, to dive right into experiencing just a taste of what this year had to offer.

My morning started perfectly. I was up and out early, so I would allow plenty of time to get to the studio. I had only been in Sydney for a little over a week and public transport was new to me, so naturally, I made the mistake of getting on the wrong bus. In an absolute panic I jumped off and into a taxi, I did not relax until we got to the location. I still arrived half an hour early and thanked the Godsent driver, what a start.

I was overjoyed to find my day turned out the complete opposite of my disastrous morning.

The shoot was at Sun Studios in Alexandria, which certainly brought its name justice. Sunlight streamed in from every window, the foyer was flawlessly decked out with Scandinavian lounges and exposed wooden architraves.

Enter Studio 8, the Alice McCall team were already hard at work setting up, models had arrived, cases of make-up lined the bench, hair irons were warming up. I have been introduced to the team straight away where I met Becca who is also studying at TFI this year, but with no time to waste we got started on the steaming. Alice McCall garments are elegant, intricate, and delicate, steaming them required extra detail and caution. As the schedule of the day changed, so did the help that was required. Over this course, we assisted by organising garments into their ‘stories’, re-hung garments, prepared difficult shoes, steamed some more, assisted and dressed models, and packed and prepared everything from shoes to earrings to be sent back to head office.

The three o’clock afternoon light flowed in from the courtyard and shooting for hero shots had begun. These were the big shots, the ‘fun’ ones, and the fun they were. The pressure for outfit changes was sure, as time was of the essence. Becca and I would be ready for the models the moment they’d run offset to help them dress, following them back checking for showing tags or straps. Watching the shooting was magical, all the effort and stress that went in from each person to create one perfect shot was worth every sweat and tear.

It was such a privilege to watch photographer Jeremy Choh work his talent, after following and admiring his previous work. Make-up artist Carol Mackie and hairstylist Keiren Street brought so much humour and light-heartedness to the atmosphere, watching their artistic precision and attention to detail were truly incredible.

Everyone was ever so gorgeous and kind, it was truly such a great experience to start this year. I look forward to the release of these stunning collections.

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