Day in the Life of a Horseshoe Gal: Creating Our Spring Look Book "Desert Oasis"

At Horseshoe, we love to style looks and outfits, be they for a photo shoot or for our customers. Over the last several years, Jill (original Horseshoe Gal and store owner) has collaborated with Seattle-based photographer Michelle Moore to create different seasonal look books for Horseshoe, highlighting some of her favorite pieces from each season as well as major trends in fashion. Several weeks ago, Jill and Michelle flew down to Southern California and shot our look book for spring 2018, Desert Oasis. Here, she shares her process for developing a photo shoot and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Desert Oasis, including some of our favorite candid shots from that day. Stay tuned for the release of our Desert Oasis look book, coming soon!

Model Brittany strikes a pose. 

Spring 2018 Look Book Title: Desert Oasis

Location: Lancaster, CA

Creative Team: Photographer: Michelle Moore, @moorephoto

Model: Brittany Hoffner, @brittanyhoffner

Stylist: Jill Renae, @jillrenaecreative

 Hair & Makeup: Chelsea Dorris, @chelseanicolemh

 Assistant Hair and Makeup: Chelsea Taylor, @chelseasuzlayton

Client: Horseshoe Boutique, @shophorseshoe

Behind the scenes photography courtesy of Michelle Moore, Jill Renae & Chelsea Taylor

Jill styles Brittany for a photo. 

It’s somewhat unusual for a boutique to produce a look book – what inspired you to create your first Horseshoe look book?

I have always been an avid viewer of fashion magazines, specifically Vogue, Elle, & W. I would fixate on designers who were able to create timeless beauty in their advertising while still making it evident what the brand was; one of my favorites has always been Ralph Lauren. You could see one of his ads from decades ago and it would still be relevant today. Additionally, I spent years working for Guess and watched Paul Marciano create compelling imagery that today still speaks to their brand’s image. I am moved by both of these designer’s talents and I gain inspiration from how they tell their stories year after year.

It was shopping for Fall 2012 when we were introduced to the first collection of The Portland Collection by Pendleton. This collection was so stunning that as we were taking notes on styles we planned to order I asked our sales representatives what the chances would be to borrow samples to showcase this collection in a photo shoot. To my surprise, they were very open to working with me and then the inspiration began. I had seen some editorial pictures that had been taken in the Columbia Gorge and I knew that it was the location for this shoot. I wanted the model to have dark hair, warm skin and ideally be Native American as she would authentically represent the fashions we were going to showcase. Next I spoke with photographer Michelle Moore about my idea and plan to execute this photo shoot and she was immediately on board. Since then Michelle and I have created over 15 look books and counting.

How do you prepare for a photo shoot? 

First I solidify the date for the shoot so it can be coordinated with making travel arrangements, securing the location and hiring the talent: the photographer, the model & the hair/makeup artist. Next, I contact all the designers to ensure we can borrow the desired items to create the wardrobe to feature. Then every look needs to be fully accessorized from jewelry, accessories and shoes. 

Chelsea Dorris and Chelsea Taylor touch up Brittany's makeup. 

How do you source your locations for the shoots?  

As we’re shopping for future seasons it is easy to identify the overall themes in fashion. From there, I start to visualize a concept that would bring the clothing/fashion styles into a cohesive story. Theme & location go hand in hand, sometimes I have the location first and then decide on the theme and vice versa. 

How do you find models for the shoot?

Part of creating the concept for the shoot involves who the woman is that will best fit the theme. Sourcing the models depends solely on where the location for the shoot will be. I keep a running list of models who I envision would be a good match for future campaigns. Additionally, Instagram has also become a trusted source to find talented independent models.

Michelle and Brittany capture a shot.

How do you decide which outfits the model will wear? Are there trends you are looking to highlight?

While I’m on buying trips I keep notes of my favorite designs of that season. This makes it easy when it’s time to gather the wardrobe for the photo shoot. Some of the items will showcase a specific fashion trend but most are simply some of my favorite pieces and brands that I feel best represent the overall feeling of the season.

What is your collaborative process like with Michelle? 

Michelle and I just seem to get each other at a level that makes creating so easy and fun. She fully understands the brand of Horseshoe and together it’s as simple as scouting our location the day before the shoot and then deciding which outfit to feature where. Our photo shoot days have been filled with adventure, laughter and lots of creative inspiration.

Creating a look book is a team effort and true a collaboration of many talented people. 

What are your goals when creating a look book? 

To create beautiful and timeless images that showcase key fashion items while reflecting the mood of a season.

We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating Horseshoe's look books! We can't wait to share the official spring look book with all of you. 

On location. Could we have a chosen a more beautiful spot? We don't think so. 

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