Field Notes: London

Words by Jessie Wong

Jessie Wong and Antonia Webb on set

This campaign is our first outside of Australasia. Ahead of launching the imagery in October, we wanted to share the behind-the-scenes with Club Yu Mei. Shot at East London’s Street Studios with an exciting team of creatives, the project marks a new chapter in the direction of Yu Mei.

Months Out

The Spring Summer ‘24 collection hosts an evolution in design detail for our mainline collection, while also debuting new pieces, fabrications and silhouettes that will become welcomed staples of the Yu Mei family. The campaign concepting followed the design development closely, and each went hand in hand to result in a creative that reflects the new era.

For this collection, we looked to utilitarian detail on design pieces outside of the handbag sphere. We were inspired by heavier garment tailoring techniques and furniture design. Piping and rounded corners of Herman Miller chairs were studied, and Saville Row bound buttonholes were investigated. I found that techniques developed for the thicker materials, traditionally used in tailoring, proved to be formidable fasteners.

Ultimately, we collected vintage furniture posters and sculptural artistic references. It made sense to use them as a starting point for the collection. Distilling these subtle evolutions in our design story meant finding the right faces and creative direction for the campaign.

We looked for photographers that we were most inspired by, and who could produce a similar lighting treatment and still-life framing that we saw on our mood board. In the end, we found the perfect team to capture those in-between moments of expression while being brave with colour and movement.

Weeks Out

Casting was a process we put a lot of thought into. After weeks of searching, we found Cynthia Wrobel. Cynthia has Chinese heritage, and a unique, strong beauty. I felt she was the perfect fit for what we were trying to achieve.

Garments from Australian and New Zealand designers, styled by Vanessa Coyle

Days Out

In the days leading up to the shoot, furniture was selected to compliment the compositions, film was picked up, and cross-continental samples arrived in London.

The day before, we came together with the garments that had been sent by brands from New Zealand and Australia and met our stylist, Vanessa Coyle, on Zoom for a run-through. We worked with Vanessa on our SS ‘23 campaign, and we were lucky she could be part of this special project from the other side of the world.

Spring / Summer '24 campaign shot on film at East London's Street Studios

Shoot Day

Though the call time was early, London was 33 degrees. Vans arrived to pick up our crew and seven suitcases filled with samples, shoes and garments we had paired together the day before. We were lucky with the weather—the photography direction meant we relied on natural light—London shirked its reputation for perpetually overcast days.

Our brilliant photographers, Agathe Zaerpour and Philippine Chaumont, who came in from Paris, worked in tandem with each other. Often, one spoke with Cynthia while the other shot a roll of film.

The energy on set was enigmatic. Spice Girls ended up on repeat, and though there was an ambitious number of looks to get through on the day, the team was seamless and relaxed. This is one of my favourite shoots to date.

I look forward to sharing it with you all.
Creative Director and Founder

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