Diary of a photoshoot


Michelle and Jacques in action...

If you follow us on Instagram, you might have spotted a few behind-the-scenes photos from our shoot in Cape Town recently for our high-summer catalogue. Having cancelled last year’s photo shoot due to Covid, this January I was determined to make it happen, despite our busy work schedule meaning we could only be out of the office for a brief time. “Is it really worth going for just two days’ shooting?” John asked, when it was confirmed that South Africa was off the UK’s travel ‘red list’ and it was safe to rebook our previously cancelled flights. “Definitely!” I replied. “For colour to really work in the catalogue we need sea, sand and sunshine. Let’s make it happen!”

Whenever I’m feeling tempted to shoot closer to home, I only have to remind myself of the early days of Kettlewell and our first attempt at trying to recreate a ‘summer’ beach shoot in the depths of a British winter (I’m still haunted by visions of our poor model shivering away on West Wittering beach as she tried her best to look summery in a pair of colourful shorts and T-shirt!). It taught us that, as a colourful T-shirt brand, if we were serious about capturing the essence of summer holidays in our catalogues – that feeling of blue skies, freedom and never-ending sunshine – we would have to travel a little further than West Sussex to achieve it. We’ve been going to South Africa ever since.

Not only does the two-hour time difference mean there’s no jet lag to contend with, but Cape Town is all set up for photo shoots, with an abundance of model agencies, hair and make-up artists and amazing location houses to choose from. And then of course there’s the beautiful white-sand beaches that really make our colours pop (we’ve also been known to shoot on safari and include the odd zebra and giraffe in our catalogue!).

From our Spring/Summer 2012 catalogue - can you spot the zebras?


This year, in the absence of our brilliant photographer Ben, our hair and make-up artist Nina was good enough to recommend a Belgian photographer called Jacques who lives in Cape Town and has bags of Spring energy and enthusiasm. He was joined by Jeanette, a stylist friend of Nina’s and the sister-in-law of the owner of the location house (how I love all these connections!). And it was great to be back working with our beautiful Spring model Michelle (now a mum of three, ranging in years from seven to two), who literally smiles all day long, loves our clothes (she’s always saying the nicest things about the quality of our fabrics) and whose short haircut is ideal when you’re fighting the famously fierce Cape Town wind! With just one model for our high summer shoot, Michelle was the perfect choice for flooding our website with sunshine. Finally – and in a first for Kettlewell – we booked the Summer model/actor Stefan from Berlin to model our very small intro to men's T-shirts (he laughingly told us that when he first went on our website he’d assumed we’d made a mistake booking him because he could only see womenswear!). As well as helping out Jacques and John, obligingly cutting up fruit salad for lunch and generally being a thoroughly nice person to have around, Stefan went straight to the top of my favourite person list when he said ours was the nicest shoot he had ever worked on, and was just like being part of one big family.


Today, going through the colourful images back at Kettlewell HQ, and asking myself whether it was worth travelling so far for a two-day shoot with all the covid travel forms and tests that entailed, I have to say yes, 100 per cent. We arrived home safely with all the blue skies and turquoise seas we’d hoped for, and plenty of colourful inspiration for your summer holiday wardrobes. And, you know me, I can’t resist a challenge; when you’ve overcome all the hurdles and it all comes together, it’s the best feeling. I just can’t wait to share it with you all when the catalogue comes out in May.


Celebrating the sunshine!

Kristi Smith on Feb 28, 2022 8:48 PM

I can hardly wait for a week or so to go by so I can see the new catalog! I love your clothes (as my order history will prove) and can’t thank you enough for recommending that clients have their color analysis done. All my life I was told I was a Summer. Wrong! I learned I am a Spring! My husband just had his color analysis done this past weekend and he is also a Spring. I am ecstatic to learn you are launching a line for men. Can’t wait to show him and see what he chooses.

Fiona on Feb 14, 2022 2:58 PM

OMG in am loving the shirt with the high coller ,mustard colour .Could it be brought back ??

beverley harper on Feb 11, 2022 11:29 AM

My husband will be so pleased about the new mens polo shirts!

Catherine Holland on Feb 09, 2022 7:01 AM

Thank you for an interesting and inspiring blog. Celebrating colourful clothes for men!

Jane Kirk on Feb 05, 2022 5:13 PM

This is just the ticket to perk me up on a miserable grey day in February. Looks marvellous - I wouldn't have come home!!

Lesley on Feb 05, 2022 2:17 PM

Thanks for sharing news that the Summer catalogue will be available in May. Any plans for a spring//early summer collection too?

Kettlewell Colours: Yes, we will be launching Spring/Summer at the beginning of March!

LindaM on Feb 05, 2022 11:23 AM

I'm always disappointed I can't click on these photos and make them bigger. Any chance?

Adi on Feb 05, 2022 10:24 AM

Love the skirt but disappointment already bubbling as I know at 5’1 this will be way too long for me!

Barb Goldberg on Feb 05, 2022 9:25 AM

Loving the sneak peak.

Cathy Stone on Feb 04, 2022 9:41 PM

I'm so excited for the men's polo shirts. My summer husband will be thrilled!!!!!!!

Anne on Feb 04, 2022 6:45 PM

Excited to see polo shirts for men! As my hubby and adult boys are all winters I'm hoping for some of the 'difficult to find' ice winter colours - fingerscrossed.

Becky young on Feb 04, 2022 6:45 PM

What a wonderful blog and I for one, am sooooo looking forward to men's polo shirts!! That's all my blue autumn hubby' s pressies sorted!!

Eve on Feb 04, 2022 6:03 PM

Please tell me that the long tiered skirt in the last video is in this years summer catalogue?

Kettlewell Colours: Melissa is wearing the Kylie Skirt from a couple of seasons ago...

Claire Martin on Feb 04, 2022 4:15 PM

Thank you for this. I hope there’s some more watermelon for the ladies too!

Melissa Acierno on Feb 04, 2022 3:14 PM

Loving the outfit in the 2012 photo! Any chance you could bring back that style top? :). Enjoy the sunshine!!!

Sue on Feb 04, 2022 1:54 PM

It looks lovely and with the snow/ice storm even better. Thank you for sharing this. Looking forward to the clothing.

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