I have had the privilege of being engaged to shoot Gwen in a Victoria Secret themed event, a bubbly girl with an effervescent personality bubbling with a myriad of expressions, and is not afraid to show. In fact, so natural was she in front of the camera that I would consider her one of the easiest clients to work. In essence she does make my job easier with her natural and pleasant demeanor in front of the camera.
Only this wasn’t a normal model or editorial fashion shoot. This was in fact her very fun and enjoyable 21st birthday bash, and unlike the actual Victoria Secret fashion show, this was a back to the basics good old-fashioned wholesome fun-filled birthday bash with plenty of laughter, smiles, happy faces and wine to go around. A celebration of a coming of age.
Project Gwentyone (credit for the name goes to her mother / Gwen herself – I didn’t coin this witty term) took place at the equally magnificent Capella Manor at Sentosa – this colonial style manor is exactly what I hoped it would be – grandiose in size and beautiful in its design. I mean, check out the following pictures of the interior, especially the bedroom (that’s just one of a few rooms in the manor itself).
As you can see, this is also one of the most color-coordinated theme birthdays I’ve ever attended – any color is ok here if it’s pink. In line with the Victoria Secret (VS henceforth) theme (VS for the uninitiated is a major international fashion store known for its lingerie, though it has a range of other products catered mainly for women), VS robes adorn the main hallway as VS angel wings hung underneath the pink robes – supermodels on VS catwalk shows are called “Angels” and they get to walk the runway brandishing the lingerie pieces once they have obtained their “wings”. There was even a projection of Victoria Secret runway show on the wall of the dining area!
Pink adornments and sweet wrappers (even the sweets themselves) line the main table greeting guests as they enter this huge manor. My favorite is the “Project Gwentyone” branded Kit Kat chocolate wrappers – what an exquisite idea! Check out the “I love pink” signs on top of those cup cakes too – little touches like these revealed the level of planning and thought processes that went into the execution of this coming of age party.
Speaking of a coming of age, here’s Gwen with the requisite candle blowing, cake cutting photos. The cake is of course, themed with the same pink and white stripes, with a mini-cooper by the side, no less!
The party was a lively one and of course it helps that family members and guests are spontaneous and expressive! This is a party where everyone is unreserved in their expressions of joy during this happy occasion.
Kids are always the life of any party – I spent a lot of time photographing the kids too! The photographs below are some of my favourites from the party.
There was even a piñata in the shape of a birthday cake for Gwen – though it’s a fun activity for parties, I don’t see it often in Singapore. No, actually this is the first party I’ve been to where this tradition with Spanish roots was practiced!
As a primarily black and white photographer, here’s the last photo with my film noir treatment.
Happy 21st birthday Gwen! 🙂