Over the past month or so, I’ve been interning with Scottish womenswear brand nicci.n as a style and marketing assistant and working with designer, Nicola Gardner, to ready and launch her new Autumn/Winter 2015 collection.

It's been a really amazing and fun experience, and I've learnt an unbelievable amount about the whole process of designing and launching a collection, so I thought I would share some behind the scenes photos and final images from the studio and editorial photoshoots that I've been involved in.

Photographer Rach Roberts and Model Raechel McGinn

Firstly, a bit about the collection. Inspiration for this collection comes from 16th Century Scottish history and Mary Queen of Scots. Nicola has taken elements from the fashions of the 16th Century, such as high necklines and ruffs, bright fabrics, and exaggerated silhouettes, and given them a modern day spin to make them wearable today. I love how unique and edgy all the designs are, and especially love all the leatherette and intricate bead detailing which really make the pieces pop.  

The studio with model Raechel McGinn strutting her funky stuff

The first day of my internship, i was invited along to Edinburgh College to help out on the studio photoshoot. Having never been on a proper fashion photoshoot before i was ridiculously excited and nervous at the same time, and wasn't really sure what to expect or what was expected of me, but I have to say it was an absolute dream working with everyone on set. Makeup artist Danielle Dickson, photographer Rach Roberts, and model Raechel McGinn were all pro's and obviously super relaxed and comfortable on a photoshoot, so with the help of Taylor Swift blairing out of the radio, the day flew by without a hitch.

Makeup Artist, Danielle Dickson, working her magic, Designer, Nicola, making some final adjustments

Once the studio shoot was done and dusted, I was asked to start scouting locations for the editorial photoshoot. With the historical theme in mind, i had to find somewhere that reflected these ideas, somewhere historical and rustic with shed loads of character.

It was pretty perfect then, that we were offered the use of Dalhousie Castle, Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle just 8 miles south of Edinburgh. It offered the ideal back-drop to this historically inspired collection with its ivy-covered stone walls, grand interiors, and thrones galore, so we were spoilt for choice for backgrounds to shoot against. 

Model, Evelina Brinkemo, looking regal in the nicci.n. Ivory Cotton Sateen Shirt

The huge potential for some really great shots was obvious as we arrived at the castle, which is set within beautiful woodland and park grounds, and even has it's own falconry centre. After trying and failing to convince the falconry to lend us one of their birds for the shoot - how amazing would that have been?! - me, Rach and Nicola had a wander around the castle to scope out some locations whilst makeup artist, Danielle, set about making up models Urszula Prokop and Evelina Brinkemo in full-on 16th Century gear; think huge beehive hair adorned with jewels, crowns, and pearls, porcelain white faces, and doll-like lips.

Rach captured Evelina and Urszula working the throne in the Dalhousie reception

The staff at Dalhousie Castle were brilliant, allowing us to use one of their huge bedroom suites to set up everything and use almost any of the public rooms for the shoot. The castle had the most perfect interior and props to match the collection, and being able to use these authentic historical pieces really brought the clothes to life. Designer, Nicola, also came well-prepared with a huge stash of jewellery and props to use in the shoot, including umbrella, birdcage, and lace gloves.

Just a few of the props that Nicola brought along with her.

It being March in Scotland, the weather was pretty naff and it was still almost freezing outside, so I gained a new found respect for the amazing models who swanned graciously about in sheer lace, crop tops, and mini dresses without batting an eyelid, whilst i stood about wearing three layers and shivering like a wuss. 

Evelina in the sheer lace dress outside Dalhousie Castle

The hair and makeup took a good long while to complete, understandably considering how complex it was, and as the day went on the bedrooms at Dalhousie started booking up which meant we were constantly on the move from one room to the next, and so were pushed for time to get shots of all the outfits before the lighting disappeared. While the morning was relaxed and full of chatter and fun, the afternoon took a more serious note as we fought to beat the clock and make the most of the failing daylight.

Evelina rocking the nicci.n. Burgundy Leatherette Mini Dress

The final outfit was shot around 8:00pm in the evening and we all gave a collective sigh of relief as we finished up. It was a fantastic and fun day, and such an amazing experience, but i was shattered! The last couple of hours had been adrenalin-fuelled as we ran about finding the best locations to fit the remaining outfits and rushed to get the models camera ready. Photographer Rach and models Urszula and Evelina were ever professional and they didn't let the stress faze them in the slightest, and some of my absolute favourite images were the last ones taken that day.

Urszula in the nicci.n. Leatherette and Lace Fishtail Maxi Skirt and Top

Seeing the collection come to life as the photos came back to us over the following weeks was really rewarding and made all the work worthwhile. It's also made me even more excited to see what the next collection from nicci.n. will bring!

If you want to see more of the collection, you can find pieces on nicci.n, Asos Marketplace, and Wear Eponymous.

Also, huge thanks to staff at Dalhousie Castle for allowing us to use the property for this shoot.