Reunited with the expertise and the friendly faces of the crew that brought our By The Sea Collection to life, we converged about half an hour outside of Marrakech in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains at the Berber Lodge. This rustic but elegant retreat is exactly the Morocco we hoped to find; where traditional Berber building techniques (think earth bricks, beams made from palm trees and eucalyptus, archways, ochre tones) coupled with low key country chic décor, rattan, and vintage fabrics, would form the backdrop of the shoot.
It was Sunday, and the desert heat was in full force, so after a reccie (how do you choose from so many beautiful locations?) and a solid planning session for the forthcoming day’s shoot, we unwound with some home cooked food under the shade of a pergola, and a swim in the pool located between the olive trees in the middle of the garden. It sounds blissful and truly it was; in fact it was everything we needed in order to prepare for the 5am start that ensued the following day (and the day after that).
The shoot kicked off with our Amulets capsule. Beautiful in their simplicity, each amulet tells a story around five key strengths: Valour, Belief, Authenticity, Wisdom and Vitality and the feminine form. And this place, in all it’s raw and textured glory, complete with the beautiful colours and soft tones of the Moroccan countryside, served as a unique platform to illustrate the significance of each strength and each story.
It’s probably about here where we need to acknowledge how our team superseded ALL expectations. On that initial shoot day, from 5am - 10pm our crew worked tirelessly in 38 degree heat. Sure, we’d scouted some incredible locations but there was no denying the intensity of the desert sun; so between our shot list we cooled down in the pool, our literal oasis for the day; and stayed hydrated thanks to Owner / Director and logistics extraordinaire Nick, who made sure we lived off the Berber Lodge “welcoming” drinks all day (and let’s just say they’re worth travelling all the way back to Berber Lodge for).
Somewhere between the end of the Shoot Day 1 (10pm) and midnight that same night, we packed up and drove to Riad 42; or as close as we could! Turns out, this hidden gem is buried down a winding derb in the bustling north-eastern neighbourhood of Kaat Benahid; the alleyways too small to drive through. So with no other option, we wheeled our bags and racks of clothing for the following day’s shoot through the bustling and frenetic Medina for five (fairly long, yet hilarious) minutes. After a dramatic entrance, we were welcomed into the minimalist and calming (oh so calming!) arms of Riad 42.
Equally as beautiful and yet in stark contrast to the aesthetic of Berber Lodge, Riad 42 fuses a soft neutral palette with grounding dark grey accents; and traditional architecture with modern luxe elements (you should have seen the bedrooms). In fact, we chose Riad 42 to bring a crisp vibrancy to the SHE campaign, and to balance the rustic charm of Berber Lodge. It was beautiful, and quintessentially just as “Morocco” as the Berber Lodge had been.
We were up early to capture the first light on the rooftop of Riad 42, and with breakfast to go, Shoot Day 2 was officially underway. The rooftop of Riad 42 was a highlight and the backdrop to a number of shots that day. Between beautiful wooden doors, fresh white scalloped archways, the rooftop plunge pool and the starkly majestic cactus, this pared-back location sung an extraordinarily beautiful Moroccan song.
This was an incredible shoot for Kirstin Ash. Shooting alongside a group as experienced as this crew, made the entire production a highlight for our working family. Naturally, the beauty of Morocco prevailed, and for our Creative Director Kirstin, heading back here to shoot the SHE Collection was every bit as remarkable as she’d envisioned on that holiday in 2018.