We recently had the pleasure of shooting international model and humanitarian Noella Coursaris for September’s issue of Cotswold Style Magazine, who wanted a cover photo and shots for both a fashion spread and an article about Noella and her work.
We chose Cowley Manor as the backdrop; it’s interior design boasts some unique features (can you name another manor house with a warthog’s head and zebra’s buttocks hanging on the wall?), whilst the exterior and grade II listed gardens are classically Cotswolds.
We started the day with another quick recce of the venue to finalise our shoot order. In the meantime our chosen hair and make-up artists (Lisa Walby of Francesco Group and Kerry Wilcocks of Tonic respectively) got to work on Noella whilst her friend and internationally-renowned stylist and Artistic Director Saloum began sorting the outfits, kindly provided for the shoot by acclaimed fashion designer Azzedine Alaia.
I should mention at this point that I wasn’t the only one wielding a camera during this shoot, as we were joined by Justin Golby of Golby Creative Ltd. Justin documented the whole day and you’ll be able to see his film of the shoot soon, having seen a preview I can’t wait to share it with you all.
We chose a plain lime green interior wall for our first shots and once styling had been completed and coffee had been consumed work got underway, with Noella quickly demonstrating why she’s been chosen as the lead for numerous fashion campaigns such as Agent Provocateur and appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair and Arena. Her style and professionalism is effortless and it was a genuine pleasure to work with her.
Our next shots featured another Congolese resident in the form of the oversized head of a Mandrill (first time for everything!). Even with it’s brightly-coloured facial features it still paled in comparison to Noella, who wore an incredible cream dress from the Parisian fashion label.
Noella models Campanile bodysuit, leather suede belt & python boots, handmade recyclable cotton bangles by Awa Meite Bamako
After bagging the cover shot in Cowley’s leather-clad billiard room we moved outside. Thankfully we were graced by the sun’s presence at this point and we were able to get another great selection of photographs, both on the terrace and outside the adjoining Church of St Mary before the sun decided that it’d had enough for one day. Time for lunch!
During the course of the morning we’d been joined by Noella’s husband James and their adorable children, so after everyone had eaten we headed outdoors again, this time choosing one of the Manor’s lakes and water features as the backdrop for some family shots. Naturally her children all look great in front of the camera and they behaved perfectly, so we got some smashing pics. Despite a downpour during lunch and the threat of more rain in the air it stayed dry, which was something of a blessing! One of the resident swans came in for a closer look at one point, I suspect it just wanted it’s picture taken too.
Next we decided to push our luck with the dry weather and move to a location close to Cowley’s spa – it features a colourful art instillation which made for a great place to shoot, with Saloum picking out accessories that matched the colour scheme perfectly.
Our final shots of the day were taken in Cowley’s reception area, shot from above whilst Noella posed in a leather chair. We weren’t sure about it as a location to begin with but I’m glad we went for it as we think it looks awesome!
A massive thanks again to everyone that was involved in making this shoot happen, especially to Noella. Her work not only as a model but as a humanitarian and founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation is hugely admirable and inspiring.