The yolky sunlight pierced through the few fluffy clouds to illuminate the set of our first look book shoot. The weeks of fastidious planning were finally becoming realised, with the crew moving in that trance-like choreography that only true artisans do.
The set cinematically moved in near-ethereal transition with our trifecta of starlets at the fore: our model, Nandy Nicodeme; our photographer, Jem Mitchell; and our stylist, Karl Plewka. There was a hustle of valued personnel interspersed between them, the team were eleven in total. We were entering a new world, the scarves our carriage. There were white screens, sandbags to weigh the screens down, lights and laptops; the horses harnessed by the starlet knightsmen guiding our way.
A rooftop was the setting for our shoot, aloft and floating; Shaku was about to set flight into the melange of culture and history of London below, and the world at large. The cobalt blue sky hung above, the sunshine falling freely and the scarves tremulous in autumnal wind. As the clouds began to congregate, a faint outline of the city’s skyline became the backdrop, adding a gritty edge that was perhaps a poetic nod to my mum’s urban roots: her past life in India and present in London – a romantic cycle of being.
The treasured scarves all ceremoniously draped on the hangers, abreast along the rail, rustling and rippling, awake and ready. Karl Plewka explained to me that this was the best way to showcase the scarves; accentuating the immaculate detail, the unparalleled artistry in each unfurling scarf.
For so long, the story of Shakera, and her journey towards Shaku’s creation, were mere words lingering in the air but now the words lay in the sweeping curves and soft shifts of detail in the scarves.
Meet the Artisans of the Shoot
Karl Plewka expertly styled the scarves with a fresh, contemporary take on our collection: stoles wrapped around coats and cinched with belts, bright floral shawls wrapped around the head off set against an ecru outfit, and large square scarves folded in myriad ways – even in the shape of a butterfly. Karl, with his eclectic and cosmopolitan experience, effortless styled our scarves in ineffable ways (who else would think a scarf would make a butterfly!). Karl’s vision illustrated how incredibly malleable Shaku scarves are; they can be crafted to match any personality, enriching any look. After a day with Shaku, we were humbled to hear that Karl was enamoured:
I call India my second home and therefore, as a stylist, to work with Shakera’s stunning designs was like a transcendental experience for me. The vibrancy and vitality of the prints and the sense of luxury from the tactility of the fabrics meant I am immediately transported to my favourite place in the world, and I don’t want to leave.Karl Plewka, Stylist
Watching Jem Mitchell at work was captivating. Lying on the floor, on his side and against the walls; no position was beyond thought in the pursuit of the perfect shot. That is, one where the autumnal light languidly sauntered on the ruffled edge of a scarf resting on Nandy’s shoulder, and the sky and the white screen gloriously conferred in the background.
Jem’s mood boards were, in my view, a hidden gem because they illustrated the latent narrative underpinning Jem’s aesthetic and artistic vision. A hand comically thrown over Nandy’s face, a whimsically twirled scarf or just a jovial facial expression: these snapshots evoked the raw emotion of the set, unadulterated joy. This emotion is at the heart of the brand: a celebration of self, identity and culture.
We asked Jem about his experience in putting together the Shaku shoot, here is what he had to say:
It was such a pleasure to be a part of the Shaku shoot with Nandy. Shakera’s scarves are beautiful. She is making something truly from the heart and that shines through in the product. The artistry involved in every design as well as the fluidity of the fabrics is stunning and I wanted that to come through in the pictures and films we made together. It was an honour to meet the whole family and I’m a huge fan of the brand.Jem Mitchell, Photographer
Our first look book shoot was a euphoric catharsis for us: it was a day that brought a reality to a lifelong ambition. More than that it was a celebration of artistry, identity and the start of a brand we hope you will love.
To watch the collection come to life, please click here.