If you follow myself or luxury lifestyle brand Fairfax & Favor on Instagram and/or Twitter, you may have already seen that I was lucky enough to be invited along to Fairfax & Favor’s Autumn/Winter 2016 photoshoot a few weeks ago. This was a pretty big deal for me, not only was I joining a proper photoshoot at Aynhoe Park which in a once in a lifetime kind of location, I was also getting a massive sneak peek of all of the AMAZING products that are about to become available – trust me it’s not something you want to miss! Now, those of you that know me even just a little bit will know of my unhealthy shopping habits when it comes to Fairfax & Favor – I’m almost ashamed to admit that I have at least one of every product on offer. Of course, this is testament to just how fantastic Fairfax & Favor’s products are and so in that respect I can’t wait to add even more to my ever-growing collection.
For me Fairfax & Favor represent more than just a boot and shoe company. They epitomise quintessential country style – but not the kind of thing that your granny would wear – the Fairfax & Favor boys have managed to design products that retain that classic countryside look which we all love so much but have given it an elegant, slick and up to date revamp. These products can take you from the depths of your farm, stable or shooting ground to the streets of Chelsea and Mayfair with ease – and how many brands can honestly do that? Not only are their signature designs super stylish and bang on trend yet incredibly familiar and comforting at the same time, the products themselves are made from only the finest materials sourced from the best suppliers and are made by expert craftsman. So the products are stunning, I think we all know that but another thing that brings Fairfax & Favor closer to my heart is the people that make the company. Absolutely everyone in the team, which is headed up by childhood friends Marcus (Fairfax) and Felix (Favor), are amazing and make the brand completely genuine and authentic – the boys created this brand so they could transition easily between the glorious Norfolk countryside and the streets of London because there was a huge gap in the market. So the products on offer do exactly that, made by people who understand not only the countryside but also that the people in it want to look good too. I also have a soft spot for the team, who have become great friends of mine and James, and without them there wouldn’t even be A Girl About Country as these guys were the ones who encouraged and supported me to start the blog!
So basically what I’m saying is, in a very round-about way, that it was a huge honour to be part of the Photoshoot and although you’ve already seen a snippet, I can’t wait to show you even more BTS action!
Making friends and directing said friend during the shoot!
What better place to stage a photoshoot for a luxury lifestyle brand than a luxury house in the country? Not only does the stunning Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire tick this box, it offers so much more. Not your average country house, Aynhoe is unique – weird and wonderful in equal measures and offers the kind of modern twist on a classic that reflects Fairfax & Favor so well. From the moment you turn into the Cotswold stone walled gates and set foot onto the perfectly manicured drive way, you get the feeling that you’re about to witness something special. And you do. But the traditional, classic and quintessentially British Country House look that you get from the front of the house couldn’t fool you more when you set foot through the door.
The first thing I noticed when I approached the front door was music. Discreet speakers somewhere outside the front door (I’ve still not worked out where!) give you the first impression that someone, somewhere in the house is having a party. So I’m already in the party spirit before I step foot through the front door and that feeling didn’t fade until the moment I left. I was greeted by a huge taxidermy polar bear in a sailor’s hat and a lion cub in a crown and to be honest that kind of set the tone for the two days that I was there. Every single room in the house is jam-packed, and I mean jam-packed, with an eclectic and eccentric mix of, well, things. Pieces of art that ranged from original portraits dating back years that had been subject to an Anyhoe twist – the addition of a masquerade mask across a regal looking gentleman to modern holographic prints to fine sculptures and marble to a taxidermy zebra with an added set of rockers.
The grounds of the house were equally beautiful, set in acres of lush gardens and parkland the house overlooks the tranquil Oxfordshire/Northamptonshire countryside. Throw in a few vintage bicycles to get around the place and a glorious wooden hot tub, and swinging seats tied to the trees with a backdrop of traditional British countryside – you’ve got a one of kind location.
The orangery even had a resident giraffe floating away on a few balloons with a glitter ball underneath of course. The collection of art in the house is mind blowing and certainly beyond the comprehension of a scientist like me, but even I could appreciate the wealth and depth of Aynhoe’s collection. It was impossible to notice everything, every time I walked into a room I’d notice something that I hadn’t previously seen.
Obviously all gorgeous – that kind of goes without saying. What’s so brilliant about the choice of models though, is that they’re all sourced from Fairfax & Favor’s social media pages which means that they’re all fans of the brand too. Of course they do have to be actual models, unfortunately fans alone are not enough to put themselves forward – let’s face it, if models were picked on the love of the brand alone, I’d be in the catalogue every season! All three models – Piper, Ella and Chris were beautiful (a given) but lovely as well. Totally integrating into the team and everyone had a good giggle from start to finish. They all loved the products they were wearing too, which really came across in the photos.
Composed of head camera guy and the source of inspiration for the shoot – Chris, filming guru Mikey you may have seen him at the Game Fair filming the amazing magician) and camera assistant and photographer Lin. Chris has been the go-to photographer for the majority of Fairfax & Favor’s photoshoots and you can see why. A creative genius that has a genuine passion for his work but also a very down to earth lovely guy – he even bothered to take the time to talk to me about my blog and give me some technical camera tips! The team have created some stunning photos for the AW16 range, you’ll have to take my word for it at the moment but in the coming days and weeks you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. In addition to the camera/filming team there was also Caroline the absolutely wonderful make-up artist who made our beautiful models look even more fabulous! Not only that, a team of stylists masterminded the outfit choice to perfectly show off the boots, shoes and bags. I found myself lusting after a very gorgeous Troy of London parka which you’ll see the super stunning Piper wearing in the outside shots. Felix and Ben from the Fairfax team were also on hand to ensure the shoot ran smoothly, everyone was happy and the products were shown off to their full potential.
Of course, the signature collection featured heavily in the photoshoot – it’s the customers (I’m definitely including myself here!) favourite product collection and with good reason. Aside from the classic favourites that we love from Fairfax & Favor, there were also a few brand new items which are definitely on my Christmas list. I won’t spoil the surprise too much but bag fans – don’t write your Christmas wish list just yet! A few new boots on the horizon make for a very exciting product range over the coming months. Marcus and Felix are constantly striving for excellence in their products and innovation and development are at the forefront of their minds and are always designing new products to add to the brand – the boys are certainly not becoming complacent in the knowledge that the signature collection pieces are as popular now as they ever have been.
A selection of the products used for the photoshoot, including the Limited Edition Breast Cancer Awareness Tassels
So, the Photoshoot…
…was a resounding success. Not only did the team walk away with too many fantastic photos to choose from, which was the main reason for the exclusive use of Aynhoe for the two-day shoot, but everyone had a fabulous time. The team were amazing and got on famously from the very first camera click to the last shoe box packed into the Fairfax & Favor team cars and every point in between. Felix and Ben ensured that everyone was having a great time, kept us well-fed and well-watered and happy. The products have definitely been shown off to their full potential and the new additions really do help to elevate the brand from a luxury boot and shoe company to the luxury lifestyle brand that they are. But don’t just take my word for it – if you’re heading to any shows in the run up to Christmas make sure you swing by the Fairfax & Favor stand to see for yourself. I’ll just apologise to your bank account now because trust me, you won’t want to leave the stand empty handed!