Category Archives: Fashion

On pomegranates

One from a while back.

We had an extraordinary vintage dress, a madly beautiful and moderately frightening Philip Treacy mask, a wonderful model and some stuffed birds.  And we needed to tie them all together.

And the solution my favourite occasional collaborator for this kind of thing — Siwan Hill — came up with to achieve this was pomegranates.

The Greek myth of Persephone centres on a girl stolen from her mum and swept down to the underworld by Hades (it varies with every telling).  There, she lived in darkness until her mum found her and tried to get her out.

Hades agreed to give her back, what with her being a minor and that being a bit icky and all.

But Hades, ever the trickster, also gave the poor girl the mythological equivalent of a trail mix bar for the journey home, whereupon Persephone, never having been the sharpest knife in the drawer, wolfed down some pomegranate seeds.  And thus became doomed for ever to commute between the basement and the penthouse or, if you prefer, between summer and winter.

We’ll give the Greeks a C for plot, but anyway.


Creative direction, hair and makeup: Siwan Hill

Photography: Scott Rylander (obviously)

Model: Jenny Maxwell of band Strange Fruit

Dress and jacket designed by Joanne Fleming

Philip Treacy custom-made mask and props by kind courtesy of Amaury Blow

Additional art direction: Laura Oaten

Assistant: Bernard Coughlan









It’s not often you get to do your thing and go as wild as you want (within reason) on a commercial shoot.

Cycling pollution mask makers, Respro, wanted to introduce their new Skins range with a beauty shot-type image  to emphasise that, just because something’s useful, doesn’t mean it can’t be as individualistic as any other piece of clothing.

Using some hand-decorated masks, we started with the core beauty shot — deep reds, golden skin and all.

And then we got a bit nuttier…

Makeup: Siwan Hill

Hair and styling: Harry Cole

Model: Sydney




Even Lindsay Lohan got fired, you know.

What do you do when you’ve got a photoshoot that’s taken a month to organise and the model is so unprofessional she neither turns up nor tells you she’s not turning up?

Avail yourself of the kindness of your makeup artist and use her instead.

What do you do when you’ve got a photoshoot that’s taken a month to organise and the assistant (who’s never actually assisted on a photoshoot before and begged to do it, just so you know…) turns round the day before and demands more money than the rest of you combined are getting because “that’s what my friend got when he did a Gucci shoot”?

Avail yourself of the kindness of a friend who makes himself available at an evening’s notice.

What do you do when the model rings up six hours later and tells you she’s ready for you now?

Press “end call”.

So, the people who stopped all this falling apart:

Stylist: Claire Wacey

Makeup artist: Siwan Hill

Model-on-the-day: Siwan Hill

Assistant-on-the-day: Jaap Jong





















But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end

So it’s taken me a little over two years to update my blog.

Which is a little over twice as long as it took me the last time I did this.

Well, what better way to return than with something that little bit eccentric, subtly to suggest that I spend my hiatuses reclining in an institution and therefore have some semblance of an excuse?

You see, every so often someone comes along who lets you do everything you wouldn’t dream of trying out in a normal shoot because it’s just too wacko.  Like sticking them next to an industrial fan while wearing loose clothing, shooting them through an inch of polythene, getting them to shake their head so hard their retinas could detach, and trying to take pictures of them in the dark without bumping into them.  Step forward Sophie, you’re a genius.

Oh, and another thing… I’m now on Twitter.  If you’d like to follow me, I’m scottrylander.










Clutchbags at dawn

“Edgy.  But politely edgy.”  

That was the brief for a day of concept tests for leather accessories designer Shen London for a forthcoming campaign.  Which, aside from ruling out pictures of starved models on street corners wearing nothing but a clutchbag (so noughties…), is a pretty nice brief to get.

There were limitations, of course.  

My initial idea, perhaps influenced by every boy’s desire to pursue a career in pyrotechnics, was to douse bags in kerosene and set them alight.  That would’ve been expensive.
Then I wanted to freeze them.  But I had only one copy of each design (ice and hand-finished, hand-stitched leather don’t mix well).

And I wanted to drown them.  Same problem.

So I did everything that wouldn’t kill them and that wasn’t the not-even-politely-edgy product photography trope of “clutchbags doing nothing on a white background”.  

Clutchbags wrapped in Bhutanese prayer flags, clutchbags in ticker-tape parades, clutchbags in twilight (which looked more like clutchbags in a nuclear holocaust), clutchbags with kinky plastic…  Some of it worked, some of it (as you’d expect from concept tests) worked “less well”.
So I present to you: clutchbags as the font of female domestic violence, clutchbags for party girls, clutchbags daydreaming, clutchbags via Mad Men, a clutchbag homage to Arthur C Clarke, St Elmo’s Clutchbag, and — why not? — two biros standing in for something substantially more valuable.

shen-002 shen-003 shen-004 shen-005 shen-006 shen-007 shen-008 shen-009