BY ISIDORA – Once upon a time… The new fashion magazine TrendMag for autumn/winter is ready to go. It’s one of our favourite projects, and also acts as a calling card for the Outletcity. We’re really looking forward to it, although we know it will mean a lot of work for us.
We’re already thinking hard about the centrepiece of the magazine – the fashion feature. Where do we want to shoot? We have a different set of challenges every time. This time, it was: how could we present the new autumn/winter trends in the middle of summer? Then, we remembered this little fairy-tale hunting lodge, perched high on a cliff in the middle of the Swabian mountains.
The original castle was built by the Lichtenstein dynasty, but the seat of baronial power was abandoned after the death of last Lichtenstein knight in the 17th century, and then sadly fell into disrepair. The castle we had in mind was built on the ruins of the original structure, and was given the name “Lichtenstein castle”. In 1837, it was bought by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg. He continued with its construction and created a German knightly castle in the mediaeval Gothic style. His descendants still use it.
We were completely entranced – a real fairy-tale castle! Our male colleagues weren’t quite so enthusiastic at first. But they soon fell under its spell. As soon as they saw the hunters’ tavern, the suits of armour and the view from the ramparts, they got right behind the project. At that point, we all knew: this was our location.
No sooner said than done! We organised a visit with the castle management team and our photographer Tom – this was our “location check”. And the best things was that we were also allowed to visit the private rooms used by Wilhelm and his Theodolinde, who was not only related to Napoleon, but also beautiful and very wealthy. The interiors were simply sensational.
We found gold-patterned wallpaper, sumptuous ornaments and decorative items, richly embellished windows and many other wonderful details. However, there were also a few things that made us shudder: the death masks of Goethe, Schiller, Uhland, Napoleon and Wilhelm himself. “They were collected like stamps”, explained Mr. Etter, the friendly castle manager, enthusiastically. We were less than impressed by this fascination with death, and were also rather disturbed by Wilhelm’s little dog, which he had had stuffed, and which now stands in a rather dusty state in a corner, looking as if it could bark at any minute. Apparently, it was quite a usual way to honour the life of loyal and well-loved pets. Hmm … OK.
But we all had smiles on our faces as we crossed the drawbridge. We all agreed that the castle’s colours would be the ideal backdrop for next season’s styles. But when the day came, and we met up with the two models in the middle of Stuttgart, you can be sure it was a real autumn day. The rain never stopped, and it was cold. Sean, our male model, had just come all the way from Cape Town, and had been looking forward to a warm summer day in Europe – not a chance. Luckily, the photo shoot was indoors, so the rain didn’t actually bother us. The added benefit was that the two models didn’t have to sweat in the winter styles. However, we had all underestimated just how cold it would be in and around the castle. We were all frozen to the bone, but were rewarded by magnificent views over the Swabian Alb mountains. Wow … what a highlight, and only 20 minutes away from Metzingen.
Once we had all the “looks” in the box, we were all so happy. Once again. our photographer, Tom, proved his talent for capturing the perfect moment and the atmosphere on set was as friendly and relaxed as ever. Jelena and Sean, our two models, did a great job. Even the groups of visiting schoolchildren which trooped by us at regular intervals didn’t break our concentration. In the gathering twilight we packed everything into the cars and set off home with the pictures. We hope you like them! You can see them here.