Happy Valentine’s Day!
We are super excited to share this stunning editorial featuring real couples and some luscious decor produced by Nikki Miller of Mae B Films. The concept of the shoot was a cool and unique way to gift your guy for Valentine’s Day. The idea is to take him whiskey tasting or buy him some great whiskey. Pretty neat isn’t is? The creative team that put this shoot together are all Coterie members, and we couldn’t be any happier with the results. Take a look at these pretty pictures from Petronella Photography + the neat video recap at the end. You can check out the behind the scenes videos we posted yesterday.
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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, I’m Nikki Miller of “Mae B. Films” and I’m so honored to be your guest blogger for Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoyed the “Whiskey and Pearls” film I created, this experience, from the casting call, to bringing together our team of vendors, to shooting has been truly amazing for me. I got the idea for the “Whiskey and Pearls” when my fiancé and I were in the, back streets, of Red Hook, Brooklyn, searching for another location and stopped in the distillery to ask directions. When I stepped into the Widow Jane Distillery is blew mind. There were these large copper distillery machines, beautiful wooden barrels, colorful ears of corn, and burlap sacks, I felt like I had taken a step back in time. Immediately, my mind began to race, and I knew I had to shoot there, but whiskey for brides? I’ve learned over the years that that guys tend to feel that Valentine’s Day is really a holiday for the ladies. I wanted to create a gift idea that the fellas would get excited about too, why not Widow Jane’s Whiskey?
The Widow Jane distillery is so gorgeous, I really encourage each of you to take a tour of the facility if you are in the New York area. They are a craft distillery, which means they are small scale, and the entire distilling process is done right here in New York State. To make a good whiskey you need what they refer to as “sweet water,” this is water that’s rich in minerals and trace elements. The water used in the Widow Jane distilling process is from the Widow Jane mine in upstate New York and is known for it’s rich limestone deposits. Whiskey is made from fermenting grain, like corn. The distillery grows their very own organic, GMO free corn. The corn they use comes in a variety of colors and flavors, from deep blue, amber, burgundy, and red, all are varieties that Native Americans harvested and gives their Whiskey such great flavor and color. The whiskey is left to age in beautiful wooden barrels you see displayed all over the distillery. I had the pleasure of sampling their whiskey and it is as smooth as silk, I was very impressed.
Based on the look and feel of the distillery and adjoining cocktail lounge, Botanica, I knew I wanted to channel the prohibition era, of the 1920’s and 30’s. I loved the idea of using real couples because I wanted that true love and emotion to shine through especially for a Valentine’s Day themed shoot. The stories of our couples really won our hearts over. We had Natasha and Shawn, the ‘Greek sweethearts,’ from the DMV area. Giselle and Aaron, from Las Vegas, our ‘ boy and girl next door,’ and finally, our ‘hometown hero’s,’ Pamela and Cedric, some of Brooklyn’s finest.
I partnered with Petronella Lugemwa of “By Petronella Photography” because I love how she’s able to capture a couple’s personality in her photography. Petronella says, “I was inspired by the overall look and feel of the location and how to bring it life. I loved that each couple had a different dynamic and energy and I wanted their personality to shine through but still play up the unique look and feel of the location and whiskey and pearls concept.”
I brought in the talented Kisha Kingston of “Royale Amethyst” Invitations to tie the classic theme together with menu cards, they really helped to set the tone for the entire tablescape. In keeping with this classic theme, Kisha, incorporated deep color combinations and renaissance inspired fonts to help bring out that “good-old fashioned” effect.
Two of the most prevalent cultural influences during the 20’s and 30’s were the “Speak Easy Sugar Shacks” and the opulent glam of the “Great Gatsby.” Lauren Beamon of “Elle’s Couture Events” managed to fuse both of these themes for the tablescape. Lauren say, “When told the theme of the shoot would be based on the 20’s and 30’s, I knew I wanted to stay true to the time period.” To help bring the design to life she brought in pieces form Maryann of “The Finishing Touch NY.” Maryann’s beautiful cognac leather linen and ivory napkins beautifully created the base of the tablelacape. Lauren then layered the table with vintage books, some of Widow Jane’s whiskey bottles and pearls. The colors and textures are to die for!
Makini R. Brereton of “Makini Regal Designs” created all of our floral designs for our tablescape. She says “For this shoot I wanted to create a design that encompassed both the whiskey of Widow Jane, which is masculine and strong in flavor and color, as well as the pearls, which are classic and feminine.” Makini brought in one hundred velvety rose stems to create the romantic tablescape. The gold mercury vase was selected to compliment the lush arrangement and the rose petal table runner added romance and decadence. This sexy display is perfect for all lovers, old and new.
When I reached out to Selina Howard of “Vainglorious Bride” she expressed that her main goal was to keep the clothing from becoming too ‘costume-ish.” “It was very important for the couples to remain true to their own personal style, therefore, we provided inspiration and guided their looks for the shoot,” adds Selina. Going in we knew that we wanted a modern look but we also asked the couples to keep in mind the classic feel and elegance of the 20’s and 30’s. Coco Chanel set the standard of fashion during this time liberating women from corseted style clothing. A string of pearls and bordeaux red lips were not uncommon accessories. The gentlemen were “Al Capone” cool. They sported suspenders, stylish hats, and flasks full of whiskey.
Abby Falore-Ayodeji of “Juicy Looks Make Up” understood the shoot’s theme right away. The makeup was inspired by “Old Hollywood”. This glamorous look mostly entails the winged black eyeliner, white liner for the waterline, light smoky eyes and red lips. Winged eyeliner with red lips is one of the most classic looks in history. Abby says, “There is something about the look that is very sultry, mysteriously sexy and sophisticated.”
I’m so happy that Munaluchi trusted my creative vision and really got behind and supported the idea from the beginning. This was such a fun shoot and a really great overall experience.
Photographer Assistant: Alan Tumusiime
Florals – Makini Regal Designs
Planning/Design – Elle’s Couture Events
Styling (women) – Vainglorious Brides
Styling (men) – Mr. Baldwin Style
Stationery – Royale Amethyst
Linens – The Finishing Touch NY
Makeup – Juicy Looks