Chronicle’s Next Top Model


In an environment as creative as Chronicle, it’s typical for us to wear many hats. Or, in this case, many dresses.

Two weeks ago, a team of us embarked on a three-day shoot for a craft book coming out next fall. This is one of those projects that is truly a labor of love: the idea was born in a brainstorm back in 2009. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the perfect authors who could bring the idea to life, and the whole team has worked very hard since to see this one through. When the time finally came for the photo shoot, I think we were all a bit tickled to realize how far we’d come since we first tossed the idea around over sandwiches in a conference room over a year ago.

I can’t give away too much, as we’re still a year out from publication. What I can say is that it is a super-fun fashion sewing book featuring twenty original dress patterns. This means our authors sewed up twenty dresses from scratch – quite the feat. When the dresses arrived here in early September, I was simply floored. They are adorable.

But twenty dresses meant that we needed a lot of models for the photos – something we don’t generally use for our craft titles. Sure, we’ll have a model for a scarf or an apron here and there, but more often than not we are shooting pillows on couches or hand bags slung over hooks.

So when the photographer put out a call for models, asking if we had any ideas, our team looked at each other and thought, “Why not?”

The result was the modeling debut of the Chronicle Lifestyle group. Modeling was much harder work than we anticipated but I have to say, we had a blast. Check it out:

Co-author Sara Alm and studio manager and stylist extraordinaire Jenna Cushner selecting accessories.

Senior Production Coordinator Michelle Clair ups her glam factor.

Senior Designer Aya Akazawa channels her inner Top Model. Tyra would be proud!

Senior Marketing Manager Nancy Deane was a natural in front of the camera. Here she is entertaining herself between shots.

Co-author Hannah McDevitt gets curled.

And here I am in the makeup chair – I could barely blink in those fake lashes!

The weekend was a huge success. We were tired, but proud of the heart and soul we put into the shoot. In the end, it was a testament to our passion and teamwork – and a reminder that we have all the skills needed to bring an off-the-wall idea to fruition if we work hard enough.

(It also means the photos are circulating around the office and we have to face a little teasing.)

Stay tuned for more updates on this fashion sewing book publishing in Fall 2011…

Amazing photographer Daniel Castro and his crew take a break.

Check out more Chronicle Craft posts.

Laura Lee Mattingly
Associate Editor, Lifestyle

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