Exclusive Behind The Scene's access at House of Hannigan's "Sample Skirt Collection" Photo shoot!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I've been very lucky over the years to experience the fashion industry from both sides, from sitting on the FROW to working behind the scenes and hosting at various catwalk shows and even conducting a little styling and on camera reporting behind the scenes from fashion photo shoots! I was therefore extremely excited when "House of Hannigan" designer Christopher O'Reilly asked me if I'd be interested in coming down to his sample skirt collection shoot feat. tops from New You @92 for exclusive behind the scenes coverage on "The Real Elle Woods!"

Myself hard at work taking notes on my phone & snapping away behind the scenes at the photo shoot!
(jacket, cardigan & skirt all Karen Millen).

Having already had the pleasure of seeing his skirt collection at the Unify Fashion Showcase, (click to read about it HERE) I couldn't wait to see what creative vision he had in mind for the shoot, and couldn't wait for the opportunity to interview Christopher on his vision for his label as we head towards 2014!

Some Behind The Scenes shots from the shoot!

The fabulous Christopher O'Reilly hard at work!

Spending the day behind the scenes on the photoshoot it's been obvious you've had a very strong style aesthetic for the visuals. What's been your main inspiration behind the shoot?
The concept for this shoot I would say was ‘skirts’. With any House of Hannigan campaign shoot I like to mix my idea of POP Art with exagerated reality. This time I collaborated with photographer Brian Phillips, boutique NewU@92 and Claires Shabby Chic Furniture. I think this collaboration was a match made in heaven.

House of Hannigan is probably best known for dramatic leather corseted gowns, what was it that made you want to concentrate on creating a capsule skirt collection?
I was in a meeting with Belfast designer MaryRose McGrath and as she was flicking through my 2014 Collection designs she kept complimenting my skirt saying how I should make themWorking with the Princes Trust to re-launch HoH they gave me a marketing grant which I used to make a 6 skirt sample collection. Mandy Baxter of NewU@92 and I selected the line up from my designs and I set to work. I was lucky enough to get to show my collection off at the Unify Fashion Showcase in Stormont. I think it’s nice to mix it up and show versatility. I am trying to give followers of HoH an idea of a wearable version of the brand.

Based on your figure hugging designs it's clear you love to accentuate the female form. What kind of woman do you have in mind when you're designing?
I design for a different woman every time. I love block colouring, simplicity and especially enjoy the idea of soft tailoring. My corsets, although structured, are made from a very soft lamb skin. Designing for a client I mix their own style and wants in a gown with House of Hannigans design aesthetic. 

I know you've a lot of exciting things in the pipeline for House of Hannigan, can you give any hint's on what we can expect in the future from the label?
I have taken a year out but have been designing in Moira, mentoring menswear designer Mart Brown, decorating my new home office and working with the Princes Trust and my amazing business mentor Aisling Owens of the Lisburn Enterprise Organisation. All in preparation to re-launch House of Hannigan as a ‘ready to wear’ label. Most importantly I couldn’t have done any of this (relaunching HoH) without my mum and best friend Linda/Lindy O'Reilly. She has supported me this past year, driving me to every meeting and supporting me financially while I pursued my dreams… She Rocks My Socks Off !!

Christopher's sweetheart of a mum Linda O'Reilly, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the shoot!

HOH's new menswear line "House - Introducing Mart Brown".

What do you think are the elements that makes a woman effortlessly stylish, and what excites you fashion wise at the moment?
Individuality is the key to style. Don’t theme it but think of how you dress as a concept. I am currently rocking’ a bit of ‘90s Lumberjack and thank God that its winter again so I can wear long-johns with denim shorts and furry boots. I know that might sound a bit mental but that’s my personal style and like my friend Kirby says “Chris, you are the only person I know that would think about wearing long-johns, shorts and furry boots… then again, you’re the only person I know that could get away with it!”. Fashion at the moment… Lots of winter layering !!

You've recently collaborated with New U at 92, a very stylish boutique located in Moria. What's it been like to work alongside boutique owner Mandy Baxter, and what can HoH customer's expect from the collaboration?
Working with Mandy is a delight and I really love our friend and business relationship. She is such a kind hearted lady who knows a thing or two about fashion and most importantly real women. I came to her with the idea of moving away from the ‘Dramatic Gowns’ and taking a ‘ready to wear’approach with House of Hannigan. Mandy gave me some of her inside knowledge as to what women want which I applied to my designs. I have chosen the final line-up and I am currently working on patterns. HoH customers can expect to have the ability to own a piece of affordable ‘ready to wear’ House of Hannigan 2014!

Seeing everyone on the team come together in a combined effort to create a singular vision for HoH's sample skirt shoot was a joy to watch, and of course in true "Elle Wood"s style I couldn't resist getting in on the action when Christopher asked me if I would like to actually BE in the shoot! So off I went to hair & make up, to then be styled in an oversized fur jacket from New U @92 & one of Christopher's skirts!! Thanks to Christopher O'Reilly for asking me to come down to cover the shoot for The Reall Elle Woods and I look forward to seeing what exctiing things lie in store for him and his label, House of Hannigan in 2014!

Photo Credits:
Concept & Skirts by House of Hannigan

Photographer – Brian Phillips
Tops by NewU@92, Moira
Furniture by Claires Shabby Chic 
Set Design by Claire Phillips and Christopher O’Reilly
Millenary by Marie Claire Millenary
Assistant – Linda O’Reilly 
Styling by Mandy Baxter & Christopher O’Reilly
Make-Up Artists – Oonagh Boman School of Make-Up Alumni - 
Gemma Faulkner & Melanie Lyttle
Hair Stylists – 
Veronica Pugh assisted by Carmen McCracken
Models - 
Cast First Modelling Agency- 
Kerry Flood & Marie Masso 
LSH Modelling & Promotions- 
Rebekah Magee
Freelance Models- 
Melissa Arthur, Nichola Kirkbride, Matilda Kirkbride & Scarlet Rossi 
Special Guest Fashion Blogger Louise Vance of ‘The Real Elle Woods’.

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