A Vintage Shoot

Vintage is never out of fashion and this is so true with photography. The style and glamour of bygone eras are just as desirable today as they were 50 and 60 years ago. There’s something appealing about the idea of transforming the girl next door into a celluloid siren and there’s arguably nothing more alluring than a woman in a swimsuit.


Who can forget the iconic number one pin-up of World War II by photographer Frank Powolny of actress Betty Grable smiling coyly over her shoulder in swimsuit and pumps? Betty’s studio, Twentieth Century Fox, provided five million copies of this picture to distribute to troops and famously insured her legs at one million dollars each – a lot of money in 1940!


The classic inspiring pin-up, boudoir and glamour photos that we want to replicate and emulate are definitely not images you can snap on your mobile device. To achieve polished and sophisticated results you need time, creativity and professional skill and equipment. So how does a vintage photo shoot happen?

Sydney vintage swimwear designer Kylie van Wanrooy teamed up with photographer Lily Zdilar and model Fiona Hamilton, aka Foxtrot India, for a day of fun in the sun to shoot the latest Beyond the Sea swimwear lookbook. Kylie was originally influenced by the images on Heinz Villiger Darling Cards when she began designing her vintage inspired range of fun and flattering swimwear for the curvy girl (sizes 12-20). She wanted to try something new to show off her graphic and colourful 2013-2014 collection. Lily suggested she could add more of a story and personality to the images by shooting both on location and in the studio, then after a few test shots a location was agreed upon, weather and tide charts consulted and the shoot date set.

Heinz Villiger Darling Cards


Shooting on location is like writing a story in your imagination. Kylie and Lily visualised how the swimsuits on hangers would look on a model on the beach rather than on a mannequin on a white background. They agreed on a theme that would reflect ‘real’ women with curves looking happy, comfortable and beautiful in classic and timeless Beyond the Sea swimwear palette of stripes, spots, floral prints and lace.

Stripe Halter and Boyleg Pant

Spot Red underwire bikini top & Spot Red belt pant



What is both inspiring and challenging about shooting on location is that the story on the day can change and head off in new and unexpected directions. The day started with everyone loaded up with props, equipment, a dodgy clothes rack that kept getting stuck in footpath cracks and a huge inflatable tube that needed to be blown up. The morning chill was far from encouraging but Fiona soldiered on, armed with her red lipstick, sunny smile and a few goose bumps. Kylie improvised a change room and minutes later Fiona was striking a pose that transformed her into a 1950s beach bunny. A quick change, touch up and new hat, sandals or hair accessory became the chapter breaks in the photo story. Sand, splinters and rocky terrain were no obstacles for the vintage aficionado team. When the sun came out blazing so did the reflectors, scrims and sunscreen. Fiona never complained, not even when she had to tip toe through mud or paddle out to the pontoon on an inflatable tube that had no sense of direction! Getting back to shore was a lengthy and amusing grand finale to the day’s shoot.




Beyond the Sea Swimwear is offering one lucky reader a personal vintage photo shoot! All the details are on their facebook page. This amazing prize includes a one hour shoot and five high res images. For the swimwear, visit Beyond the Sea.

For photography enquiries visit Lily’s website.

Image credit: Betty Grable image is public domain and sourced from Wikimedia Commons


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>