Zara Durrani, My Sidewalk Shoot With…

Feb, 8th, 2016

Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day is not far away.
Instead of the traditional color of red, Zara and I found pastel colors of lavender, mauve, tan, grey and dusty rose for our themed shoot. She described the colors as soft and spring-like.
I picked the lace floral print skirt and blouse from the Couturist. The popular online site opened a pop-up shop (on Robson St. near Thurlow). After several weeks they will close their shop shortly after Valentine’s Day. However they will continue to serve customers online.
You may recognize Zara from her 2011/12 TV show called Life & Style with Zara. As a multi-talented individual she continues to keep busy as an Actress, Activist, TV Host, Producer and Model.
Several of these images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
Zara’s Wearing:
Blouse & Skirt: Stella & Jamie (from the Couturist)
Belt: H&M
Heels: Joe Fresh
Beret & Sunglasses: Forever 21
Dress, Purse & Tights: Winners
Jacket: H&M
Booties: Nine West

My Sidewalk Shoot With Julia

Jan, 31st, 2016

To plan our shoot Julia and I met at the Cou+uris+ popup shop on Robson St. Incidentally there’s a good chance they will close on or near Valentine’s Day. So hurry while they are still downtown.
When Julia arrived she was wearing a vintage orange leather jacket. It was a statement piece too hard to ignore. So we shifted gears and found a mustard yellow A-line skirt at Zara. The autumn color combination became the inspiration for her outfit. Everything fell into place when I found a pair of burgundy heels and blouse.
Julia enjoys modeling and she’s pursuing an acting career. She’s typically cast as the “girl next door” but welcomes the opportunity to play a strong female character.
Several of these images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
I styled Julia’s outfit:
Jacket: Vintage
Blouse: Forever 21
Belt: Big Buddha
Skirt: Zara
Tan purse: Oliva + Joy
Boots: Steve Madden
Heels: Zara

Natalie Goes to NY

Jan, 23rd, 2016

A BC Born Girl’s Journey to NYFW!
I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie at the start of her modeling career. We shot several times in 2013 and once in 2015. We lost touch in 2014 just as her career took off. She began appearing in magazine after magazine and now she’s headed to NY to audition for New York Fashion Week (NYFW).
As a photographer I’ve fantasized about being in the media pit at NYFW. However, I can’t imagine the swirl of emotions and anticipation she must be feeling. With a sense of curiosity I suggested an interview.
Tall, slender and striking, Natalie fits the stereotypical ideal of a model. However, I was quite shocked when she said she felt she has an unusual look. Perplexed, I pressed for details and she shared the bone structure of her face and her thin lips give her a different look. Instead of being self-conscience she said…
“Don’t try to be a Barbie doll, love yourself for who you are and find a market/agency that likes your look.”
One aspect of modeling that’s often overlooked is personality. Reality shows like “The Face” and “America/Canada/Britain’s Next Top Model” overemphasized (and perhaps manufactured) the dramatic and bitchy side of modeling. However it’s the warm, attentive, polite, fun, hardworking models that get hired repeatedly. Add in a dash of good natured optimism and close family ties and you’ve just met Natalie. She smiles easily and isn’t afraid to work hard.

Natalie was so excited. It was her first runway show!
We attended Vancouver Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2013/14
The 1980s song “Walking On Sunshine” came to mind during this shoot. The grocery store owner wasn’t too happy with our photo shoot!
A little boy walked by and said, “Look mom, she’s a Super Hero!”
I was inspired the strong female leads in Vikings and Sucker Punch.
The black dress below didn’t fit…
So we improvised with an impromptu shoot!
Natalie brought the designer’s creation to life
An Uptown Girl in Yaletown!
I broke with my classic timeless inspirations and wanted an explosion of color to match the house (art installation). Natalie liked the 4″ pink platforms so much she kept them after the shoot!
Magazine: Shift, Photographer: Ehsan Mandizaden
Makeup/Hair: Neetu Sahota, Wardrobe: Jerome Insorio
Assistant: Silvija Kristo Crnjak
Magazine: Book 2, Photographer: Ming yang Sun
Makeup/Hair: Any Leigh Portras, Wadrobe: Nicole Guzzo
Jewelry designer: Andee Karleen
La Biosthetique hair show
Ariel from the Little Mermaid in Brilliant’s charity fundraiser

1 on 1 With Natalie Lunter

Several days before her flight to NY, Natalie and I chatted on the phone for an hour.

  • SR – You’re headed to NYC. How were you invited to NYFW?
    NL – Photographers saw my work on Instagram and contacted me. They know designers at NYFW.

  • SR – How did Smart Model Management (SMM) discover you?
    NL – They found me on Instagram also. They’re organizing my schedule and are scheduling castings, auditions, fashion film shoots and photo shoots.

  • SR – Will there be photos of you on the runway?
    It’s a possibility but not a guarantee.

  • SR – How are you preparing for your big trip?
    NL – SMM put together a Press Kit for me. I’ve been going to the gym every day. I’m making sure I eat healthy meals and drinking lots of water. I’ve also been messaging photographers to let them know I’m coming.

  • SR – How long have you been modeling?
    NL – I started modeling seriously 3 years ago.

  • SR – What were some of your first gigs?
    NL – “Keep the Music Playing” was my first fashion show. I was so excited to be on the runway. My photo shoot with you, was the first time I was published. I still have the Asian Pacific Post newspaper clipping. I got published in Glass Book and Ellements magazine and Eco Fashion Week helped me gain exposure too.

  • SR – What advice would you like to share with models starting their career?
    • NL – Get out as much as possible and promote yourself. Go to all the fashion events you can. Talk to people and give out your business & comp cards.

    • Meet with a few agencies before signing with one. It’s easy to be flattered when an agency wants to sign you but it may not be the best fit so it’s best to explore your options.

    • Realize that modeling is hard work. It’s a lifestyle. It means changing your diet and exercising regularly.

    • Be careful when selecting photographers. Do a background check and have your agent or parents look at their work.

    • Also love yourself for who you are. It’s not about being a Barbie doll. Rather than change yourself, try to find a market that finds your look appealing. What they want in NY is different from Tokyo. Do your research and an agent can help you find markets that cater to your look.


  • SR – What expectations do you have about NY?
    NL – I want to leave it open and see what opportunities arise but it would be nice to visit with designers, wear their clothes, shoot a lookbook and walk in some fashion shows.

  • SR – Do you have a website?
    NL – No I don’t. Instagram is my main promotional tool. I also use Facebook.

  • SR – What appeals to you about modeling?
    NL – I got inspired when I started watching America’s Next Top Model. I wanted to meet Tyra Banks. Even in grade school I was in plays and musical theater. I liked being a different character and playing a role. It gave me more confidence. Now when I model I like wearing different clothes, being in the moment, feeling the emotion and transforming into a different person.

Thanks so much for your time! Good luck in NYC and may the “fierceness” be with you!

The Haute Pursuit at Nordstrom Vancouver

Dec, 13th, 2015

In Hot Pursuit of The Haute Pursuit
My friend Alina sent me the following Facebook message late Saturday night, “Vanessa Hong will be at Nordstrom Sunday.” It took me a second to realize she meant the Instagram Blogger, “The Haute Pursuit”. I checked the Nordstrom Event page and cleared my schedule for the afternoon.
As of Thursday morning (12.17) her Instagram selfie shot at Nordstrom Vancouver has received 7,220 likes. Her followers are increasing daily but at the moment she has 490,000 followers. Vanessa travels the world and frequently posts photos from LA, NYC, Paris and Beijing but she grew up in Vancouver  and graduated from UBC.
Her site is filled with eye catching, fashion photos that possess artistic and minimalistic qualities. Most of her shots are arranged but some are serendipitous. Her images can be VERY sensual but everything is confident and classy.

This is Vanessa’s first venture into fashion design.  Her faux fur Boxy Coats are incredibly soft and provide a pop of color for any outfit. They cover a broad spectrum of colors and have playful names as shown below.
She started with the desire to make something for herself and the retail aspect evolved from there.
She’s involved in every aspect of design and she’s actually traveled to the manufacturing plant in China.
Her coats are produced in small lots to ensure the quality remains high. For example the coat’s lining is hand stitched.
Her coats have an oversized appearance but they are NOT designed for big bulky sweaters.  According to Vanessa, her friends kept warm during a chilly NY Fashion Week while wearing lightweight skirts and blouses.
Her collection was inspired by 1990’s Hip Hop icons such as Hype Williams, Missy Elliott and Lil Kim.
Her coats and stoles will be featured the Nordstrom Pop In Shop till January 2nd. I speculate her coats will move to another Nordstrom Vancouver department but they can always be purchased on her website.
Here’s a link to her Instagram account: @thehautepursuit

The Pop In Store in located near Nordstrom’s Georgia St. entrance.

Baby Pink
Chubby Stoles: Tweety (back), Emerald, Olive & Marigold
Colors: Marigold, Emerald, Olive…
Colors: Tweety (as in Tweet Bird yellow), Baby Blue, Cookie (as in Cookie Monster azure blue)

My Sidewalk Shoot With Anna

Dec, 6th, 2015

I met Anna at 11:30am and we shopped till 1:00pm. The first outfit we tried was a tan sweater dress. It fit nice but it was something commonly seen on the “sidewalk”.
The next outfit was a pair of wide leg, knit pants with funky metallic patterns and a fuzzy jacket. Unfortunately the idea didn’t work.
When Anna tried on the forest green shift dress she said she preferred fitted dresses. However, it matched her personal style of classy and elegant so that was our choice for the shoot. Next I paired it with black pair of heels and a purse. By 2:30pm we were ready to shoot.
In addition to modeling part-time Anna was recently crowned Miss Russia in a local pageant. When she modeled in her home country her favorite assignments were bridal shows. She said the long elegant, flowing gowns made her feel like a princess.
Several of these images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
Anna was styled by Me:
Jacket & Dress: H&M
Purse & Heels: Aldo

Ray Rui, My Sidewalk Shoot With…

Nov, 29th, 2015

I first met Ray Rui at a press conference in September (click Season 2). She smiled easily, she was approachable and optimistic. Fast forward to November and we met for appetizers and discussed her business, university, goals, fashion and HBICTV Season 2: Boss Girls  (formerly known as the Ultra Rich Asian Girls).
I watched Season 1 with an open mind but found it dramatic and showy. I was relieved when Season 2 aired because it has a completely different feel. The episodes (found on You Tube) have moved away from “bling” and towards “business”. Chelsea is the only returning cast member (click Interview). Cast members know each other and some have been friends for years.
The show is still unscripted and six episodes feature: Chelsea sharing motherhood feelings with Diana, an ad campaign featuring models from Pam’s modeling agency, Weymi’s upcoming lifestyle magazine and Ray fulfilling contracts for her marketing company.

  • Q01 – Please tell me about your business.
    RR – My company is Rono Marketing Group Ltd. I manage a team of nine employees and we help companies with branding, rebranding, marketing campaigns and expanding their target markets.

  • Q02 – Tell me about your clients.
    RR – They’re involved with luxury brands, real estate, environmental sustainability, technology (start-ups) and investment and wealth management.

  • Q03 – What’s your field of study?
    RR – I am graduating in December with dual majors in Finance and Marketing from UBC Sauder School of Business.

  • Q04 – How would you describe your life at the moment?
    RR – Busy with school projects and business planning sessions. Spending time with my boyfriend and my parents. Maintaining a healthy, positive lifestyle. I practice yoga and visit the gym 2 – 3 times a week.

  • Q05 – Where do you see yourself in 5-years?
    RR – I’m grateful for my parents help but I see myself as being financially independent, a successful business owner and starting a family.

  • Q06 – If you weren’t so busy, what would you do with your free time?
    RR – I love art. In grade school my oil painting collection was exhibited in a Shanghai art gallery. I like painting countrysides and landscapes. I designed my company logo and business card.

  • Q07 – Ray is a boy’s name. What’s the story behind your name?
    RR – Back in China people called me Rui Rui. When I moved to Canada I named myself Ray Rui so it sounds the same and I like the meaning Ray (as in a ray of sun).

  • Q08 – You’re very fashionable. How would you describe your style?
    RR – Fabric is definitely important to me. I look for fashion that is timeless, practical and comfortable.

  • Q09 – What’s a little known secret about HBIC?
    RR – All the girls did their own hair, make-up and styling because we didn’t have any styling sponsors. The show was unscripted but we had a general idea of the activity and its setting, so we would pick suitable clothes from our closets for different occasions. My favourite outfit was the Dolce & Gabbana dress in the finale.

  • Q10 – How did you become a HBIC cast member? Did you audition?
    RR – No, I met the producer at different luxury events throughout the year. I was hesitant at first because people’s perception about Season 1. After a couple meetings, I agreed to be on the show knowing the focus for Season 2 would be different. Plus it was an opportunity to promote my business.

In closing, is there anything else you wish to share? I am always very interested in healthy organic lifestyles. I think women should live their own lives and embrace their natural selves, not being someone that they are not.
Several of these images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
Ray’s wearing:
Mink Coat: Saga Royal Furs
Ring: Chanel
Dress: Herve Leger
Clutch: Tom Ford
Heels: Roger Vivier

Poppy Hair Boutique

Nov, 11th, 2015

Clients rarely tell their Stylists, “Lets experiment, try something new or surprise me!” So how do Stylists keep their skills current  with styles seen on the runway, red carpet and fashion magazines?
One way is through educational demonstrations. As a Bumble and Bumble salon, Trish invited Nico Aceves to her salon. Nico is a Bumble and Bumble University Educator from San Francisco. He worked as an Assistant Hair Stylist during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) SS2016.
Hours before the event, Nico, several Stylists and a couple Make-up Artists prepped six models. Some had their hair curled while others had their hair straightened. By 5:30pm Poppy was filled with 20 – 30 Stylists from a dozen local salons. Nico used a NYFW slideshow to introduce the six looks he would demonstrate.
For the next two hours Nico shared tips and techniques the audience would need to duplicate the deceptively simple hair styles on screen. Judging by the audience feedback and collective “A Ha’s” they appreciated his insights. The timing is such that Stylists can offer the runway inspired looks as holiday hairstyling ideas.
For more information click: Poppy Hair Boutique or visit them at: 2686 W. 4th Ave. in Kitsilano.

One of many stylish guests
Guest & Poppy Stylist, Katie

Bumble and Bumble University Educator, Nico Aceves
Bumble and Bumble Regional Consultant, Julie Brown

Clips from backstage at New York Fashion Week

1. Hair Model Ainslie

Inspirational look

2. Hair Model Liz (hair accessories)

3. Hair Model Kylie

Inspirational look

4. Hair Model Laura (braiding)

5. Hair Model Gala (Breakfast At Tiffany’s Look)

6. Hair Model Allison

Inspirational look


Canadian Election Party Colours

Oct, 13th, 2015

The Politics of Fashion
Following in the footsteps of recent United States elections, a small percentage of Canadian voters in the 2011 election chose the direction for Canada. While candidates Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper & Elizabeth May did not approve this message, let’s pretend they did. Hopefully it will inspire you to vote on October 19th because it will take time to vote than it took to create this post.
Models Asel and Tanpreet invested a combined total of 9 hours. Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist Reema Mattu spent 2 hours with Tanpreet. As the Stylist, Photographer and Writer I’ve invested close to 20 hours.

Will the New Democratic Party – Orange squeeze out a victory? What if Thomas changed Queen’s iconic “We Will Rock You” chant to, “We will, we will [orange] crush you!”
Liberal – Red leader Justin is known for his boyish good looks. Justin Timberlake’s “Bringing Sexy Back” seems like the perfect dance tune to motivate workers as they rebuild our roads and infrastructure.
Rush’s “Big money goes around the world…” illustrates how the Conservatives – Blue secure trade deals as they strive to keep the economy humming.
Kermit the Frog sang, “It ain’t easy being green…” Instead imagine him encouraging you to, “Vote Green, save the environment AND eat your broccoli!”

These images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
I found the following outfits for the shoot:

  • Asel is wearing a stunning orange Do+Be backless mini dress and a Jessica Simpson purse
  • Tanpreet is wearing a red H&M dress and a Ralph Lauren belt
  • Tanpreet spotted the blue Kut from the Kloth dress
  • Asel is wearing a green Jolt jacket (seen below), Willi Smith blouse, Kate Spade belt and Genetic trousers

The Politics of Fashion – Outtakes

It was a chilly, rainy day when Asel and I shot. The orange outfit wasn’t warm and her shoes (she brought from home) were not comfortable. Despite all that Asel was amazing!  She arrived on time, she was engaged and only sent a couple text messages during the entire shoot. Unlike most attractive women that simply rely on their looks to sell the shot, Asel had an emotional content along with a variety of poses. It all helped bring my ideas to life! I had so many outtakes, I had to share them with you!
Incidentally, Asel is an Interior Design graduate. While she seeks a job in her field of study she has two jobs and models part-time for PLY Management.


Chade Aubrey, My Sidewalk Shoot With…

Sep, 27th, 2015

Chade (pronounced Char-day) has modeled occasionally to help friends but she works as a Freelance Fashion Stylist.
For our shoot Chade chose to wear her ChicWish dress (for the first time). She said the floral print was bold but not too overpowering. It made her feel classy and feminine. She added that it reminded her of a 1950’s Hollywood garden party. I added a red structured purse as a finishing touch.
Several of these images were featured in the Community section of the Asian Pacific Post newspaper.
Chade’s wearing:
Dress: Chicwish
Purse: Aldo
Heels: Zara
Special Thanks for Soirette Macarons & Tea
Make-up: Nikitasha Kapoor