A Fashion Blog By Gemma Talbot

Friday, 20 December 2019

The Reality Of Shooting Partywear As An Influencer

I often talk about real life Instagram versus reality moments. Whilst the pictures in today’s post are some of my absolute favourites to date they definitely do not depict the reality of the situation. People standing to stop and stare like you are an alien sent from Mars, laughing and pointing and some even getting their phones out to record you like you are some circus act. This my friends can often be the reality of my job and at times, extremely hard to deal with. 

For some, December can be the busiest time of the social season and our diaries get quickly booked up. Let’s face it, the pre Christmas celebrations kick off from mid-November and the hangovers become more and more frequent. Festive drinks, girlsmas and your work Christmas party…the list goes on. I love a good night out, not only because I love a good boogie or shall I say twerk, but I really like to get dressed up. When I get hit with the smart-casual dress code I feel a pang of disappointment, I’m not going to lie. If you want to kill Gemma’s party vibe just put smart-casual dress code on the invite. I find it much easier to wear a sequin dress than think of a jeans and nice top combo that won’t make me look too over or underdressed. What I’ve noticed is my wardrobe is categorised by casual everyday outfits and lots of out out looks but nothing in between.

At uni (I went to Manchester) every night out was an opportunity to get dressed up to the nines. I’m talking mini dresses, killer heels, fake tan and eyelashes. Anything less and you felt seriously undressed, perhaps it’s just a northern thing. We’d even pack the small bottle of Eyelure eyelash glue in case you were hit with the dreaded eye lash hang mid way through your night. Fast forward seven years (god that’s depressing), I feel way to over dressed to go out like that in London, unless I’m going to a boujee arse club. Nowadays, those nights are few and far between. More often than not you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and it can make you feel a bit socially uncomfortable. There’s nothing worse than everyone staring thinking wow, that girls overdressed. The reality is, I love dressing up and living my best life. If you want to wear that sequin dress, live your best life girl and do it with sparkle. A motto I very much like to live by. You’ll feel a million dollars when you make best friends with a girl in the toilet and she asks where your dress is from. 

For influencers, aside from Black Friday, partywear can generate a lot of sales and also bring in some exciting collaborations. If it’s not direct sales, my followers look to me during the festive period for some party wear outfit inspo. I know this for a fact because, partywear outfits is my most highly requested video for both YouTube and Instagram. Naturally, I wouldn’t want to disappoint. With that said, I’m absolutely loving all of my partywear looks as of late, you can check them out over on my Instagram if you’ve missed them. 

Whilst I love wearing Partywear, shooting it is another story. When your weather app reads one degrees you can imagine the last thing I want to do is wear a skimpy dress and be a shiver away from catching pneumonia. Finding places to shoot inside that aren’t a private members club or overcrowded with people are challenging to say the least. But we must soldier on. To some degree as my Instagram aesthetic is heavily street style which is shot outside. I’ve sort of pigeon holed myself into that in a way, but the photo just looks more polished and one I’m 100% happy to post. Maybe not as relatable but my Instagram is my business and I take pride in the content I create. Occasionally, I’ll post the odd mirror selfie but generally it’s not the kind of content I produce. When Partywear campaigns come through whilst I am so happy to work with brands in creating the content, I do also fear how I’m going to shoot it. When I think of Partywear, I think glitz and glamour and as such I want the image to capture this as much as possible. It’s been so cold in London recently that standing anywhere outside in a dress with bare legs just makes me want to cry. Not to mention the laughs and stares you get from passers by. This has happened a few times recently. The most recent was last week when I shot a metallic suit on Regent Street. Two girls passing by, who were probably around my age started pointing, laughing and recording me on their phone. My response was to laugh and wave at them, give them a taste of their own medicine. It did make me feel though that I am sick of girls constantly shaming each other. When did this become ok? Surely girls should be empowering each other, placing those crowns deservingly on their heads and definitely not laughing. It lead me to think is it jealously? Or do they genuinely see what I do as a joke? If it’s the latter the real joke is on them not me. My jobs creates a number of amazing opportunities, one of them being the amazing brands I get to work with. Granted standing in the cold taking pictures may not be the highlight but I love my job and get rewarded in a number of ways for it. I know so many girls would kill to be in my position, so to have a stranger behave like an absolute bell end is just not acceptable in my eyes. I could probably sing this from the rooftops until I’m the ripe age of 100 and people would disagree with me. 

London is such a beautiful place at Christmas time. We really do go all out with the twinkly lights and Christmas trees, that everywhere looks magical. If you find the perfect dress then naturally you want to shoot it in the perfect location. Take this beautiful Giambattista Valli dress from the recent H&M collaboration. It’s a dress that actually makes me feel like a real life princess. Just look at the embroidered flower detail. It’s pure perfection. Whilst I could have shot it inside, I couldn’t think of a better place to shoot it than outside the Cartier Store on New Bond Street. These photos are some of my favourite ever captured by the lovely Fifi Newbery. Poppy even whatsapped me when I posted this dress on my Instagram to say “Is it creepy if I make your Cartier picture my background? It’s the most BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF YOU EVER AND I CAN’T STOP STARING AT IT ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤” she’s such a babe I know.

The reality of capturing that photo though, was changing in a Pret toilet close by with my suitcase on the baby changer, tip toeing around the what I think was piss on the floor. Not to mention the hot water bottle that was tucked under my faux fur coat whilst Fifi and I waited for the white van that was parked outside of Cartier to move. The best part was the security guard at Cartier was grinning at us, not in a judgment laughing at us kind of way but more of an appreciation for our determination to get the shot. He even came outside and told us to ask the white van to move forward a little. He sounds like my kind of guy. This is the kind of positivity I like in my life, not girls making fun of you. I can’t stand bitchy behaviour. It just reminds me of a scene from mean girls…”you can’t sit with us”. 

The struggle is real but you know me, I’ll always say it how it is. I get so many comments on my Instagram referring to me putting on some more clothes and asking if I’m cold when shooting Partywear. “I feel cold just looking at you” is one of my personal favourites and just makes me eye roll a little. Yes Susan, well done for pointing out the obvious and yes I was cold. But it’s a catch 22. You want to shoot partywear but then get told you look cold. I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t wear my coat to a festive soiree and yes I was cold for a minute but at least I liked the shot. There’s absolutely no denying that I love these photos. Maybe they are ones I’ll show to the grandkids…

*Dress gifted by H&M

photography by Fifi Newbery 


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