So this story actually started a year ago on a random summer day in June with my retro sister from another mister. We had a lot of fun that night, which included a lot of laughter, a lot of tapas and a cat. Like a lot of other days, we were dressed in modern vintage style and we also took some pictures that evening.
The leaves were falling on the ground;
Christmas was around the corner again and we entered the new year;
I entered the new year with zero New Year’s Resolutions, a lot of Netflix resolutions and dreams about warm Spring and Summer days;
The days became longer again;
and just like that…a year had passed: It was Spring again.
Entering April 2017. TopVintage held a special instagram competition, because they were celebrating their 9th anniversary this year. You had the opportunity to win a Vintage Diva shoot with Ava Elderwood in Hamburg. Well, that’s something different than winning a dress…(if only I knew!).
My friend Fleur did pay attention and entered the competition with one of the pictures that we took on our tapas night last year. I am not sure what I was doing, because somehow I missed this whole competition on Instagram. So, I had no clue what was going on until a not so blue Monday in May.
I was minding my own business at work, when I saw a text of Fleur. She mentioned that she had won a Vintage Diva shoot (and weekend) in Hamburg and she asked me if I wanted to join her. Wait, Whaaaaaat?! What did I miss? My answer was Yes obviously. My highest priority after that was taking the day off on 20 May, because we would leave on the Friday before the shoot. The vintage get-a-way was actually perfectly timed, because I hadn’t taken time off since January. So, Hamburg here we come!
The Vintage Diva photoshoot
One and a half week later, it was time for our little Vintage Diva photoshoot weekend in Hamburg. And what a lovely weekend it was! We went to Hamburg by train on a grey, but definitely Happy Friday. The trip and hotel were arranged by TopVintage. We arrived in Hamburg late in the afternoon. We had a nice, decent hotel with separate hotel rooms for the both of us and a more than decent breakfast. The shoot was on Saturday, so on Friday we had a free night to spend. We spend it mostly inside a nice Italian restaurant, because it was raining cats and dogs that evening in Hamburg. But – and this is very important – the food was good!
We were back at the hotel relatively early, because the next morning we had to be ready at 10.00 AM sharp! Meanwhile, Ava had called my friend to ask how our trip & hotel was and provide us with information for the next morning. On Saturday morning, a taxi brought us to Ava’s studio after a 20-minute ride. Her studio was in a nice, green part of Hamburg. It was great to meet Ava in person and we were also greeted by Lemmi her dog, who would turn out to be our favorite sidekick that day.
Outfits and accessories
When we entered the photostudio, we were looking around for 5 minutes because the studio was breathing vintage from every corner. Also, there were lovely clothes, hats, accessories everywhere. As a vintage style fan, I felt like a kid in a candy store. We received a warm welcome by Ava and spent the first hour chatting and getting to know each other.
After that, it was time to unwrap the outfits for the photoshoot. Before we went on the trip, Fleur and I were both allowed to choose one outfit from the brand Vintage Diva by Top Vintage and we were allowed to keep the outfit after the shoot! This included a dress, shoes, accessories and jewelry. We would definitely be photographed in the outfits that we chose ourselves, but TopVintage had sent more outfits and accessories. I chose the The Dovima Pencil Dress in Navy of Vintage Diva and a red hat. I also picked a pair of shoes, but unfortunately these were not delivered that day. Thankfully, TopVintage sent me another nice pair when I got back home.
Fleur chosethe white Bombshell dress of Vintage Diva and pumps from Banned. The other dresses were a nice surprise. The Rose Pencil Dress in Blush below is a dress that I wouldn’t have chosen myself, because well… I believe red is the new red. Every year. Every season. However, I loved the pink dress so much that I decided to keep that dress with the lovely clutch instead of the navy Dovima dress. The Bombshell Pencil Dress in Black is also a dress that I wouldn’t have chosen myself, because I love color. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised because the black dress turned out to be the perfect little black (wiggle) dress.
After combining the dresses with the accessories and jewelry, it was time to think about the photoshoot settings. Ava suggested some settings, but we could also give our own opinion and think about the settings we wanted. I already knew that I wanted a tropical vintage aspect, because that pink dress was screaming for tropical vibes ;-). After we determined the photoshoot settings, it was time for the hair and makeup part.
The preparations: hair & makeup
I brought my own foundation just in case, because of my asian skintone. Ava used my foundation (Guerlain’s liquid foundation from the Terracotta line: perfect substance and perfect color) as base. Our makeup was based on the vintage glamour looks of the 1940s. This included a nice deep classic red lipcolor, a bit of eyeliner (but no winged eyes) and of course false lashes. False lashes are definitely a key ingredient for that authentic vintage glamour makeup look.
After, that it was time to do the hair. And this took a little more time than the makeup, at least in my case. I really loved what Ava did with my hair. If you follow me on social media, you know that I have long hair which is actually not suitable for the classic vintage hairstyles. However Ava turned my long hair into the glamorous Rita Hayworth waves that I wanted. Although it took quite a while because the length of my hair: 1,5 hour to be precise. I probably won’t try that at home. Fleur’s hair was also turned into fabulous soft waves. Her hair length was also perfect for that hairstyle. Watching Ava doing our hair made me realize that being able to do vintage hairstyles is truly an art. And it also requires patience and a lot of practice…
Vintage Diva Shooting time!
And then finally: shooting time! We had one shoot together and the other shoots were individual. I am no stranger to the camera, but doing a professional shoot, reminded me that posing is always hard work. It’s in fact pretty hard to have the right posture, keep your face in the right direction, balance on 4inch heels AND keep that up for at least 10 seconds per pose. Fleur and I first had a setting together, after that we were taking turns in different outfits and hairstyles.
Obviously we had a lot of fun during the shooting. Ava also gave great suggestions and tips for posing. During the shoot we also grew fonder and fonder of Ava’s dog Lemmi. And look, here she is striking a pose with us:
In the end, our shoot took 13 hours, but that also shows how dedicated Ava is to her customers. She also drove us back to our hotel where we said goodbye. The next day we had a few hours before we had to take our train(s) back home. We spent it on a terrace in the sun in Hamburg style: with a burger and a beer.
Although it was not planned, it was really nice to have a sudden get-a-way. Ava really is an artist when it comes to hair (especially my hair!), makeup and photography. Besides that, she has a lovely personality. We had a lovely time at her studio and I would definitely like to thank Ava and TopVintage for this unforgettable vintage glamour experience and the great time we had.
Well, enough talking and behind the scenes pictures. Check out a few of my end results below. We will receive a few more pictures, which I will post on my Instagram page, So stay tuned!
Click to enlarge
Styling, hair, makeup and photography by Ava Elderwood | The Elderwood photography