Stylist Sara Darling has been in the industry for several years and is a firm favourite at the London Fashion Week shows. Is styling really all about the glitz and glamour? What does it actually involve? In this candid diary, Darling gives the FASH PACK exclusive access to her life shooting fashion icon Roisin Murphy and top models.
Being a freelance stylist is always unpredictable. One week could include five shoots and the next could be only one. This week I’ve been really busy because I’ve had to juggle two shoots.
The first shoot of the week was a shoot celebrating the 50th anniversary of celebrity hairstylist Daniel Galvin. The shoot was all about celebrating some of his looks and wigs over the years.
Sunday started with me getting ready to meet the designer from Sado. I had to pick up pieces for Monday's shoot because the call time was 8.30 a.m. on Monday and she would not have been able to meet me before that.
First thing on Monday morning, my assistant and I had to catch the very early train up from Brighton to London to make sure that we would get to the Daniel Galvin Salon, where the shoot was taking place, on time. We arrived very early so decided to stop and have a frappe. One thing you should know about shooting is that they are always full of caffeine.
By 8:30 a.m. we arrived at the studio, slightly panicking because the deliveries I had arranged to deliver the clothes had not arrived. Luckily Steve, the operations manager, had put them away in a room for me to keep them safe. First drama over so we started steaming the samples to get ready for the models to arrive.
The PR called to say that the models were running late, which was not too bad because it gave me a chance to catch up with the make-up artist, Alex, and the photographer, Tony McGee. Shoots are always so busy so you never really get a chance to catch-up properly during the day.
Tamsin Outhwaite was the first model to arrive. She got her fabulous wig done and then went for make-up before she came to me to put on her outfit. We decided on a mermaid look for her so I chose a beautiful sequin Ashish dress. The second person to arrive was Roisin Murphy, who arrived just in time for lunch. The whole team sat around a huge table to enjoy the very healthy salads and ciabata and more coffee!
Roisin was really digging the '70s look in a huge afro they gave her so I put her in a clown-like brass bow tie neck piece from Maria Francesca Pepe and a Spijkers en Spijkers boob tube. The next model up was Sheree Murphy, who wore a very sophisticated red bob wig so I funked it up with layers and layers of jewellery from Emily Thatcher’s new range. The last model du jour was Viola from Britain’s Next Top Model, who looked fabulous in her two-tone hair and silver Aminaka Wilmont top and Scott Wilson necklace.
It’s really important on shoots that all of the items shot are listed for credits and everything is packed away in the right bags ready to be returned.
Shoot two was on the following Thursday, which gave me a couple of days to source and pull in samples.
I arrived at Battersea Park about 8.15 a.m. for the shoot at 9 a.m. I am very punctual, especially when I have not been to the location before, so I sat and started my regular coffee routine. One down, plenty more to go! It was an editorial shoot so there was only one model, Lucie from Premier. We shot with the fantastically talented photographer Charlotte Kibbles.
I started off the day doing the regular routine of checking off the samples and steaming. I used some of Katie Greenwoods designs, which she brought down herself so it was lovely to meet her in person.
Before the shoot began I had a meeting with Anne and Cheryl, the hair and make-up artists, to discuss the lines of the outfits and the looks we were going for and then went with Charlotte to check out the location to see what outfits I thought would work.
Once the hair and make-up was done, I got the model into her first outfit and we all braved the cold for shot one. Charlotte gets the shot very quickly so once the model is in position we are OK to go. I am like a hawk making sure that there are no creases or labels showing. As the theme is loosely based on rebellion, we had fun with the shots so all the changes were slightly mischievous.
Having an assistant with you helps. While I was watching the model, she was busy scribbling down all the pieces used in each shot for credits, with bulldog clips on hand. It was so cold so the leisure centre kindly lent us a blanket for the model to wrap around herself whilst waiting.
We needed to do eight shots so we nibbled on a picnic lunch between make-up changes because it was a very full day, but thankfully the afternoon brought us some sun. By the afternoon more people arrived and a crowd started to form, especially when we stepped out with a very tall model wearing skyscraper heels. Location shoots are never very inconspicuous!
Before we could leave, all of the samples had to be packed back into the correct bags to go back to the right PR company.
Another long day but lots of fun - but not over until all the returns are done!