Stylist, Juliet White with Bella mascot, Lucy
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the imagination and artistic aptitude of a stylist? We caught up with our style extraordinaire, Juliet White, to get the skinny on how she creates dream-like Bella boudoirs from start to finish. In this personal peek, we reveal how she first began, where she finds inspiration, and what it's like to watch her initial ideas and mood boards become reality on set. Enjoy!
Q: Have you always been interested in design?
Yes absolutely. As a child I was always creating, I loved making arrangements of interesting things from nature. Later I drove my mother crazy with my ever-changing bedroom, painting my furniture over and over again and moving it around to create new looks.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a stylist?
In my second year of college I spent time as an assistant to the decorating editor at Homes and Gardens magazine in London. It was a huge revelation to me that I could do something I loved so much, and get paid for it.
Juliet pinning the final touches on set
Juliet and designer Kathleen giving a "lived in" look to the bed
Q: Where did you go to school? What was your emphasis?
I have a bachelor’s degree in textile design from Loughborough University in the UK.
Q: Where and how did you discover Bella Notte Linens?
Shortly after beginning work as a visual merchandiser for Wildflower Organics in Austin Texas. I think it was 1997. Bella Notte had just been added to the stores inventory. It was love at first sight for me! I used it anywhere and everywhere I could in the store. After a short time we were bursting at the seams with Bella. It was a joy to work with such a versatile collection. Bella was growing quickly at this point too, and adding constantly to the line.
Q: What steps are involved in prepping for a photo shoot—where do you begin? Do you start with a concept? A color? A fabric? Where do you find your inspiration?
The process starts with the designers sending me the new seasons introductions. There are usually a few new colors and fabrics to bring into the existing collection. I then put collections together and design sets for them. The fabrics and colors always inspire the sets. The set grows organically from them, rather than fitting them into a pre existing concept. After I am clear about the visual story for each set, I send the Bella team my thoughts in the form of sketches / swatches and notes. At the other end they start purchasing props and building sets as directed.
Juliet's Bordeaux Mood Board
Q: With you living in England and Bella Notte based out of Northern California, how does this collaboration work?
It works because we are all on the same page most of the time. We are for the most part on similar creative paths, trying to achieve a common goal. We have to be very precise in our communications. It would not be possible of course, without great technology.
A glimpse into the studio during a shoot
Q: Once the photo shoot begins, how does your involvement work? How has this grown and changed over the years?
Initially I flew to California, purchased props there and styled on set. Now because of family commitments, I work remotely via Skype from my home in the UK. We set up a date for a shoot and these days I give direction to the on set stylists and photographer via the computer. It is quite stressful as I am always aware that my Skype connection could fail at any time. It’s also very hard to sit and watch when I just want to jump in and do it myself! This has become easier over time. We set up two sets at a time working on one while the other is photographed. The photographer, Jay, sets his camera up so that I can see what he is seeing on my computer. Some shots easily come together, whilst others take some work.
Juliet and her son watch as the set is dressed to match her sketch
Q: Is it difficult to direct a photo shoot when you aren't there in person?
Not as difficult as you might imagine. But this is because we have had practice working with each other, and are able to communicate well. It only works because each member of the team does his or her part well.
Juliet's Seaglass and Perfect Peach Mood Board
Juliet directing the process
Check back next week for Behind the Scenes with Juliet White, Part II