Queen Ann in Euro Glam
The moment our team stepped inside Cambria’s state-of-the-art Toronto showroom for a luxurious photoshoot with the lovely Ann Colis, Miss Globe 2015, I knew it was the perfect space for our European elegance theme. You see, the 2 precious gowns Canada’s very own Stephan Caras has kindly provided us with for this project, made me nostalgic about Europe, so the inspiration for the shoot came very naturally to me… Stephan, celebrity fashion designer extraordinaire originally from Greece; Anthony Glam, a photographer from Italy who earned a nickname of DaVinci of Light for his outstanding manipulation of light to give a 3 dimensional effect to photo subjects; and myself, Russian-born who lived in France for 6 months back in the day… The Euro squad! It was meant to be…
Ann flew into Toronto for a couple of days after her trip to the Dominican Republic with the Miss Globe organization. I have to take my hat off to her for being so calm throughout the day, while on barely any sleep after her late flight. Cambria’s super friendly and accommodating staff made us feel very welcome, too, so that surely helped. But it was Ann’s undisturbed peacefulness that day that really translated into her facial expression and conveniently complimented the romantic feel of the shoot. This was amusingly contrasting with Anthony’s manly seriousness. He was 100% focused on getting a high quality job done and gave me an occasional “Valeria, you’re in the way!” for standing where I shouldn’t have with my video camera or me floating around Ann fixing her dress or hair because it moved by a millimeter! Yes, I’m still learning how to multitask less on set and control my perfectionist tendencies.
Ann Colis won over everyone’s hearts during the Miss Globe 2015 World Finals last October. My brand of luxurious cruelty-free Siberian mink eyelashes, Minki Lashes, was one of the official sponsors of that show, so I remember other contestants saying how it was a well deserved and, frankly speaking, expected, win for Ann, because she just has that likeable presence about her. Personally, I also find her nose to be super photogenic, but that’s my detail-oriented perfectionist eye speaking!
Ironically, Ann was scheduled to be walking for the creative genius Stephan Caras during his Toronto Fashion Week 20016 show, but got sick right before so couldn’t do it. Now, we did a photo shoot with 2 of Stephan’s gowns instead!
Selecting those 2 pieces from several of Caras’ collections was sort of like choosing a dream gown for a Barbie doll…at a dream playhouse. I was invited to the Stephan Caras showroom on Queen Street East, and if I didn’t have to prep for the photoshoot, I would have probably just camped out there for the weekend…surrounded by all the dreamy luxurious creations. I felt like each gown’s fabric had its own personality. So my objective was to find the right dresses with character that would match my requirements of romantic Euro glam yet with a solid colored top as to not take too much focus away from Ann’s beautiful face with tastefully polished makeup looks created by an accomplished hair and makeup artist Seher Sultan of Seher Studio Inc, completed with a pair of Minki Lashes that have a natural sheen to them. And so there they were, the 2 piece number with a puffy spring green royal satin skirt with a bright fuschia and peach cream flower pattern from the FLORAL collection, and the striking risqué dress with an asymmetrical scarlet red puffy skirt with black flowers and backless black spiderweb patterned top from the RUBi collection.
What’s interesting about working with recent beauty pageant winners is that they come from a world of photography that is normally centered around bolder more fierce type of glam that presents a young woman in a more assertive and ambitiously powerful way. So to bring them into the realm of vulnerability, softness and gentle romanticism in photos is an exciting challenge that Anthony Glam and Seher Sultan, gladly accepted. And using a passionately risqué RUBi dress while maintaining the soft romantic ambiance was an interesting risk of its own.
Anthony is an expert at directing a model during a photoshoot as he knows the most flattering angles and corresponding lighting techniques. I made a few pose suggestions myself (of course I did…despite me learning to not micro-manage the whole process, haha), but the vast majority of the best photos were a pure result of Glam’s mastership.
A Mississauga Arts Council’s MARTY’s nominee, Seher is known for her bridal makeup looks and has a fast growing following on social media. Whoever knows my struggles with finding the right makeup artists who would properly apply fluttery Minki Lashes onto models, would likely say that Seher must be really excellent if I asked her to work on this high profile project. Indeed, not only did she nail the application of my mink eyelashes on Ann (they photograph so well!), but she also used the most complimentary subtle matte colors vs glossy reflection-prone ones, that actually helped Anthony take better shots.
Cambria’s gallery in Toronto showcases a variety of sophisticated kitchen and bath installations by fine local designers, uncut stone slabs, and even has a wine cellar… Rustic wall textures, decorated wooden arches, large painted metal doors with industrial sized hinges and colorful lanterns by the back exit give off an old-Mediterranean-world-meets-contemporary-style feel that offered the perfect setting for our European flavored photo session.
Cambria, with its recognizable Cambi Dragon mascot, is known for having introduced an exceptionally innovative colour technology to quartz surfaces that can mimic patterns of classic stones like granite, onyx and marble, but offer more unique colour options and overall better durability and performance. Some of our most favourite shots of Ann were taken with shimmering crystal mini-pendant chandelier lights by the fireplace with a countertop made of white marble textured Cambria quartz with a luxuriously glossy finish.
What an unforgettable day spent with the elegant Queen Ann and the incredibly talented team who helped to bring this captivating European dream to life!