The fashion shoot was arduous and I had to literally force myself out of bed just to make it. Chris was really excited to show off his Gucci outfit and I wanted him to try out my American Flag jacket which was a gift that my sister had bought for me when she was stationed in Germany.
The response to the ad hoc fashion shoot we did at Westgate Mall, 2 weeks before, caused quite a stir on social media, something which we never expected. It was a learning experience, we found that women aren't the only ones into fashion and I really wanted Chris' bad ass shoes. You can check out the link for Chris's belt on Gucci's website: https://www.gucci.com/us/en/pr/men/mens-shoes/mens-sneakers/studded-fringe-leather-sneaker-p-442938AYO101000?position=95&listName=ProductGridComponent&categoryPath=Men%2FMens-Shoes%2FMens-Sneakers
The shoes are available here: https://www.gucci.com/us/en/pr/men/mens-shoes/mens-sneakers/studded-fringe-leather-sneaker-p-442938AYO101000?position=95&listName=ProductGridComponent&categoryPath=Men%2FMens-Shoes%2FMens-Sneakers
I have a few friends in the fashion industry and had asked them for some Gucci dresses for our model Trina to wear. We found two outfits, each about $7,000, but they weren't in the truck when I arrived home. I had forgotten them from my friend's house which was quite a ways to travel.
|Trina and Chris|
At 9:00 AM I got a message from Chris, let's do this shoot! I told him give me four hours, but at around 11 AM I woke up because I just wanted to get this out of the way. I spent 2 days trying to cajole my friends for the expensive dresses of which there was none, but the stock I had already had, 4 dresses, one I specially love was Marchesa Notte's floral dress, I thought would look well on Trina.
|Chris in Gucci and Trina in Marchesa Notte|
The shoot was something I have never done before and Chris had insisted on bringing Trina to a makeup artist. After a futile search at The Great Mall in Milpitas, California, we decided to go to Westgate Mall in the southern side of San Jose. Chris and Trina had a bad day too. They had a strange argument with their roommate and they were as uneasy as I was. I was sleep walking. I had one eye open and the other closed just to get a tiny bit of sleep! I kept telling them that there was so much noise in my house the previous night that I hadn't slept until four in the morning. So if I wasn't on my A game, they knew why.
|Trina getting her make-up done at Macy's|
I'm a photographer but I really don't know how to guide people, so I had Chris stage all the scenes and all I had to do was take the pics and when I liked something I told them to keep doing that. Really they didn't need guidance, and the effort of getting stuff done in a span of five hours paid off at the one hour we had to take photos.
|Trina and Chris|
|Trina in an uncredited beautiful dress|
|Another shot of Trina|
The whole process was very hard work. Trina almost fainted in the makeup room and that delayed the shoot. In addition, we were at a standstill as to whether or not we could make the shoot, it was getting near 6 PM and we were losing our light- the sun. The plan was strategic, the mall was near Almaden Lake, a park that's in danger of being shut down to make room for a condominium or real estate development. Chris had mentioned about doing a charity comic book, but we're so busy, we won't even have the time to call up the organizers trying to put a stop to the planned development. This is a beautiful park, leave it alone!
|Carly, Chris and Trina in front of the lake where my iPhone left.|
I was not in the right state of mind and at one point my iPhone had fallen into the lake. I was just so tired from the noise the night before and I kept saying that to Chris. But even though the iPhone set me back another $300, I knew that we had something good. That's the thing with me and Chris, we will sacrifice everything for our art!
It was cold and I was ready to give up but Chris had already spent $300 on the makeup. I realized after seeing that dress worn by Trina and the jacket I had Chris wear, it was worth the effort. Chris looked liked the true to life version of his character/personae Topher Thomas, just as I had envisioned and the photos were drop dead gorgeous!
|Chris Perguidi aka Topher Thomas|
Like comic books, a lot of blood and tears go into the making of a song, a painting and, as we learned-- fashion. See, fashion is so much fun no matter how hard it seems. Without having to say much about yourself, you can express it through your own sense of style. And all of a sudden as the four of us walked back to the car, me, Chris, Trina and Carly, Trina and Chris's daughter, all the crap that happened to us before the shoot in that moment, disappeared. Fashion saves! Even if just for a moment until reality sets its ugly face once again...