Haute Couture

Shooting "my little darling"

For the «my little Darling» shoot, I have chosen one of the most luxurious locations in Paris, the  Hotel Plaza Athénée, and then the dresses from the Fashion house Dior. Both have a legendary history.

I wanted to do something special; so I looked for an angle in the Hotel, which was never photographed before so I asked if I could prepare a setting in the kitchen. 

I know it was quite a scandal to photograph Haute Couture in the kitchen of the luxury Plaza Athénée Hotel.

«In the kitchen, well… Mademoiselle Cathleen, the kitchen is not really a place we want to promote and show and there is a 24h service and only a short lunch break of half an hour …»  I didn’t give up. «Well, well, but you know, we have three different kitchens in the hotel and maybe one could be very nice for you. The one with the piano» «A piano !!??» Gosh, typical french, I thought; decadent… a piano!

The kitchen was a beauty and the «piano» was the prettiest kitchen oven I ever saw… called in french a piano.  

I got the location. «I take it, even just for the 30 min !»

«Do you have the lobster?» (I asked 6 weeks before to organize me a lobster for the shooting.) «Oh, we … Well, it’s not the season for lobsters.» 

« Laurent!!!!!! I need a lobster or a crab. You have 20min to find the most beautiful one in Paris»  He: «Which size? Which color- purple-red or light rose, with light yellow spots…Long legs or bigger body … ?»  He runs. 

In the meanwhile, we set up the technic with my assistants. But there was another problem. The floor was wet and greasy, we were all slipping around with our equipment. We placed Julia, my model, with plastics sheets under her feet to protect the Haute Couture Dior dress near the piano.

The best angle to shoot was too short to place the camera. So I was blocked between two kitchen tables. One assistant stand somewhere behind the pots and passed through the loaded cassettes. The other one was constantly cleaning up the camera lens because of the kitchen steam. It was a nightmare.

Laurent’s crab (it’s not a chicken like some people think – don’t blame him !) was still alive and a beauty.

15 min still left to shot.
I shoot … «pose Julia !»  Shoot… «pose!» 

I did not see a single polaroid during my shoot… there was no time for a check-up.

And in the end, there was one…just of this best! And Dior and the Hotel Plaza Athanée just LOVED IT!

Cathleen Naundorf

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