How we choose our models

One of the key aspects of my role at Kettlewell, and one which I really enjoy, is choosing models – after all, they are the first people you see when you click on our website or thumb through the brochure that has just landed on your doormat. Finding the right faces to represent the brand is really important, and some of the models have come to feel almost like family over the years. As our collection grows, the number of shoots per season increases. Currently we book 6-8 models every 6 months and shoot in both studio and on location.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of the business, but I still get that same buzz when the models arrive at the studio and we start the casting process. Today they come from some of London’s top modelling agencies, such as Premier, Models 1, Select and Hive. When we first launched in 2004 we used friends and family for our photo shoots, but soon discovered that the key to showing off the collection in the best possible light is to use experienced models who understand how to create good shapes and know how to move without feeling self-conscious. With so many colours and styles to photograph in our collection and endless combinations, the photo shoots are tightly packed days and it’s important to have an experienced model and good team who work well together.

Of course, our model castings aren’t a simple case of whittling the choice down to the most beautiful women – our challenge is to find four perfect models who represent each of the seasons, as well as actually suit our clothes. Customers have pointed out in the past that some of our models have been too young or too skinny, and we really take that into consideration, paying attention to body shape and age, and looking at whether the girls are curvy or angular. As obvious as it may seem, they also have to look like they are enjoying what they are wearing and, most importantly have a certain energy to them - after all, colour is joyful.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, it’s never a good idea to guess your colours, models included, so we refer to a trained colour stylist for this task. For our latest casting, we were fortunate enough to be accompanied by House of Colour MD, Helen Venables, who brought her colour drapes and analysed all the models for us, which was no mean feat considering there were about 20 girls. Once their season had been identified we checked to see if they fitted our clothes. Keira, our in-house stylist and photographer, then gave each seasonally coded model a Kettlewell silky scoop neck to be photographed in – mint green for Springs, duck egg for Summers, rust for Autumns, sapphires for Winters.

Later, back at the office, the hard work began in earnest, sifting through all the images from the casting before finally deciding on the perfect ‘Spring’ and ‘Winter’ to model part one of our next collection – ‘Spring’ Sophie for her sunny, energetic and engaging personality and sporty physique, and ‘Winter’ Violet (a dead ringer for the actress Rachel Weisz) for her glamorous dark looks and curvy figure. Find out how they both got on at our Spring/Summer 2017 collection shoot in next week’s blog.


michael on Mar 25, 2019 12:15 AM

desperate to be the real me i do identify all the time with women and my expression seems to be found with your adorable range of clothing.

Thank you for your selection and one day i will be in a position to purchase.

Your company is very professional in its marketing and which shows a need to give to customers an independence from the high street alternative. Well done Melissa and team

pat on Nov 18, 2017 5:02 PM

I have just found your beautiful colours.You have cornered the niche market for winter colours. Now could you corner the niche market which is huge for 'mature ladies' who are not reed slim any more but love to look nice. I am one of those, small waist larger hips and thighs, help !!

Sylvia on Feb 15, 2017 9:56 PM

I'm tall so it would be really helpful to see garment lengths. Is this possible?

mary on Dec 31, 2016 12:34 PM

I loved this post - and all the comments. Would love to have seen everyone in blue to suite them. Well done as always on a super blog.

carolyn bryant on Dec 23, 2016 7:25 PM

You have posted some lovely colour eye shadows but where can we buy the same shades please, or which ones have you used? thank you

Rachel on Dec 14, 2016 8:56 PM

Interesting. I would particularly like to see grey haired Autumn models, being one myself!

Anne Prestwich on Dec 14, 2016 10:24 AM

Would love to see models over 50 represented with silver or greying hair. So difficult to find true representations please don't say Twiggy or Helen Mirren both of which do not wear clothes I would wish to buy. Love Kettlewell but please more natural fabrics rather than polyester blends especially in trousers which are great style but horrid fabrics. Polyester has been the death of Marks and Spencers.

Fiona Ingham on Dec 14, 2016 7:01 AM

Really interesting to hear how the models are chosen and great to see HoC Colour Analysis in action, and its beneficial results!

Eileen on Dec 11, 2016 2:21 PM

I love your blogs Melissa! I too am mad about. Ollie and I had my colours done 33 years ago. Now 62, I always stick to my summer season and wish more ladies would have their colours done to enhance their lives! But persuading them to realise it is so worthwhile other than frivolous is difficult. Keep up your wonderful work.

Leila on Dec 11, 2016 5:56 AM

Love you all and your work is fabulous!

Mary Blackhurst Hill on Dec 10, 2016 4:21 PM

Fabulous blog and a great advert for HOC - so thank you (Doesn't Helen look fab!). Just a proof reading point - I think you mean "no mean feat" not no no feat in the paragraph about analysing 2 models in one day (did she really!!!). Wow!

Noo on Dec 10, 2016 3:24 PM

It would be lovely to see a more diverse range of models - older, curvier, of more diverse ethnicities.

Kim on Dec 10, 2016 11:36 AM

Loved this blog! Your models always look beautiful in their colours. Being a winter, I always take a special interest in that particular model. I wonder if they continue with their colours after their shoot.

Lesley on Dec 10, 2016 11:11 AM

Interesting article, I don't however think you are reinforcing what you said in the blog "some of our models have been too young or too skinny, and we really take that into consideration, paying attention to body shape and age, and looking at whether the girls are curvy or angular." Look at the lovely SLENDER young models chosen above, all super slim and gorgeous. To be honest I avoid lots of the Kettlewell clothes as I find them to be very clingy and I am not confident that they will suit my 14/16 frame. I would like to see a far greater cross section of ordinary shaped women and then maybe I would think "yes, maybe I could wear that too"

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