Melissa Rodwell’s High Fashion Editorial Shoot for Beautiful Savage


Eryka Clayton is a stylist based here in NYC and her and I sent out some emails to magazines back in June to see if anyone would be interested in us shooting a Fall Fashion story for them. We heard back from Beautiful Savage right away. They were interested and they sent us a mood board and pull letter for their Fall Issue. The theme was “Black”. That was very interesting to us as that theme is pretty much the aesthetic of my style. We decided to shoot the editorial in my studio in Brooklyn, Studio 11 NYC so we could have absolute control.

I hired a set designer to build a wall with very heavy textures and Eryka and decided on her pulling very soft, black feminine clothing to juxtapose against the strong, textured wall. I took a long time casting this shoot. I wanted a blonde girl with pale skin and light eyes. The idea was to have the model and the clothing to be very soft and feminine against the tough, rough and textured wall. We chose Yana from Wilhelmina because Yana has this somewhat ethereal beauty, she’s soft and lithe and very feminine.

I had worked with make up artist Cheyenne Timperio earlier that month on an editorial for The Collective and liked her and her work so much that I wanted to work with her again. I also wanted to work with a new hair stylist, Niko Weddle, who came strongly recommended by my studio partner, Alexander Saladrigas. I had been following a mask maker called Couture Mask on Instagram and I loved his work. So I reached out to him to see if I could pull some masks for this shoot. His masks are strong and sexy and I thought that would add to the edginess of the soft clothes and the rough wall. I went and picked up the masks myself and I did that so I could meet Bradley, the designer and hopefully develop a relationship with him so I could pull his masks in the future.

The shoot was pretty stress free. We got about 10 looks to send to the magazine. Pratik Naik did the retouching. He worked on the raws and cleaned up the skin and then I turned the images black and white. I really enjoy working in Photoshop to turn images into black and white. I can’t retouch skin and anything intense like that. But color and black and white is something that I can handle in post, so I have learned how to work with that part of the process. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. But we waited about 6 weeks before we heard anything from the magazine which was a bit frustrating. I know magazines are really busy so it’s part of the process. But Eryka and I were excited to see what they thought so it was a bit of process to be patient.

Melissa Rodwell