Beyond the Basics — Inside Three Dots’ 70’s Inspired Shoot

When you think of a quintessential 1970’s babe, what do you picture? Most likely, bell-bottoms, fringe, and effortless style. But more than appearances, women in the 70’s evoked a strong sense of individuality and freedom. This sense of independence is exactly the vibe art director, Chelsea Lopinsky, sought to evoke in Three Dot’s Fall ‘17 editorial shoot.

Once Chelsea conceptualized the shoot, everything else fell into place — from seeking out inspiration to finding the perfect location (which she called, “love at first sight”). Step inside this dreamy shoot and see how Chelsea made it happen.

Check out the Mid-century haven where Chelsea held her shoot.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? How did you get into art direction?

I started styling when I was 19 by accident. I was working for Bebe Corporate on the Visual team and I was trying to get a job doing the same thing at Forever 21.  I accidentally applied for the wrong job, got into the interview and realized it was for the in-house stylist position. I said, “oh crap! I didn’t apply for this.” They asked if I wanted to continue so I said “I guess, I’m already here.” I don’t know how that all worked out but it did and I couldn’t be happier for the path it has taken me down.  

We love the vintage vibe of the photos, can you tell me more about your vision for this editorial photo shoot?

The concept for this photoshoot was a 70’s vibe, but not literally the 1970’s. Instead, I was inspired by old faded photos of moms being total babes in the 70’s. You know when your mind starts to picture what it was like to live in the beginning of freedom and self expression for women? That’s the kind of vibe I was going for.   

What was your process from ideation to making sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the shoot?

My photoshoot process starts by going over sketches and swatches with the designer. I look at the colors and shapes of the garments and allow my mind to be free and see where it takes me.

After I have a couple solid ideas, I start scanning through Instagram, Tumblr, blogs, and brands I admire. I even look at inspirational cutouts from years ago trying to piece together a visual representation of my thoughts. Once that’s finished, I go over my mood board with the designer to make sure our visions align. When we have a concept nailed down, I look for a location and model to bring my vision to life. I tend to work with the same photographers and hair and makeup artists because they understand what I’m looking for with little direction needed.  

FALL 2017 MOOD (1)Chelsea’s mood board for the shoot 

What drew you to this Mid-century haven location?

It was love at first sight. I felt like it evoked the same mood as the images I was inspired by for this collection. The furniture, decorating, and color palette were the perfect setting for the 70’s babe I was trying to bring to life.

How did you go about choosing the model Samantha Basalari?

I usually start my casting process by telling the agencies the vibe of the shoot and a few key elements that I’m looking for. The funny thing about this particular casting was back when I was working for Forever 21, Samantha was the model for my first big campaign shoot. We were both just starting out. I hadn’t seen her since that day, but when I looked at her in the casting package, I knew she was the one.  

What emotions or what lifestyle were you trying to evoke through the shoot?

I wanted this shoot to give off the calm strength that women of the 70’s embodied.  

What is one of the most important factors in art direction? Do you have any advice for someone trying to get into this profession?

I think one of the most important parts of art direction is to constantly be observing your surroundings and making a mental bank of everything that interests you. In my opinion, to make someone else feel a certain emotion you’re trying to evoke, you need to fully commit and feel it yourself. Be a passionate person and pursue what makes your heart beat faster.

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Fun questions!  

I can’t start my day without: Coffee and a car karaoke session

When I’m feeling uninspired: I look at Instagram babes and get a little envious of their beauty and then try to turn that energy into creating babes on my shoots.

If I could describe my style, it’d be: A big black T-shirt

Last thing I read: I’m really into reading political articles lately . . . I never thought that would be me but here I am. 

Favorite Instagram accounts I follow: @girlwithnojob @doggosdoingthings

My favorite designer: Isabel Marant  

Guilty pleasure:  Reality TV, but like the “My 600 Pound Life” or “Hoarders Variety” 

Life motto: Messy Hair – Thirsty Heart

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