By Cindy Whitehead & Kim Pretti
Client: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Photographer: Trevor Pearson
Producer & Behind the Scenes Photos: Courtney Waldo
Prop Stylist: Kim Pretti
Wardrobe Stylist: Cindy Whitehead
Make-up: Gillian Whitlock
Hair: Nicki Alkire
Pretty much a prop and wardrobe stylist's “dream job” is what crossed our minds when photographer Trevor Pearson and his producer Courtney Waldo approached both Kim Pretti and me about doing prop styling (Kim Pretti) and wardrobe styling (Cindy Whitehead) for the 50th
anniversary The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shoot. As Coffee Bean started its business in 1963, our mission was to find three very different looks (Malibu, Brentwood, and Hollywood) to create these scenes and have them authentic to the time period.
Kim and I have worked together many times over the years, and we were on the phone with each other minutes after being brought on board. We started throwing out ideas, discussing icons from the era – Peggy Mofitt, Gidget, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and others and making our plan of attack on the wardrobe houses (Cindy) and prop houses (Kim).
The internet was a great source of inspiration for looking at things like Sears Catalogs from the 1960s and old magazines like LIFE
. But we both found that books provided even more images and details that we found very important, so we gathered up those for our meetings.
Kim was sourcing everything from the bigger props, such as bikes, tables, and chairs, all the way down to the smallest of details, like a vase of flowers, magazines, matchbooks, and transistor radios, and making sure all the props looked like they were from that era but not worn out and overly used.
A lot of times pulling the right pieces goes way beyond just what the vintage prop houses have available. Sometimes the real gems are in people’s homes. Surfboards and skateboards were a very important part of the Malibu ad, and surf shops and leads on people's personal vintage collections were where Kim tracked down some of the most amazing pieces.
In addition to his role as the photographer of this awesome project, Trevor just happens to love all types of vintage cars, so he was very hands-on when it came to finding the perfect vehicles to use for 1963, which helped create an important focal point for the shots.
I was busy trying to find 1963 hats, gloves, scarves, jewelry, apparel, purses, and shoes for the girls and suits, casual wear, surf trunks, tees, and shoes for the guys. This meant I was immersed in Pucci prints, capri pants, mini skirts, gingham patterns, shift dresses, Katin surf trunks, and Hang Ten tees. Finding correct sizing was the real challenge; lots of size tags are missing on items that are close to 50-years-old, and the fact that women’s sizing was completely different back then compared to what it is now, makes a pull this size a real challenge. A measuring tape became my best friend.
Our producer Courtney kept us all on track with what each of us had found and were locking down – super helpful for example, when Cindy knew Trevor was securing a blue car so she didn’t pull a blue dress and when Courtney informed us that The Coffee Bean wanted purple dresses to tie in their brand color; that made it clear to Kim to pull props that complimented the wardrobe. Communication, details, and a great point person are what made the preproduction process work so well.
Our client meetings were extremely creative and interesting; we were all so into the 1960s by then people were excited to discuss, share, and hear what everyone else had to add. Gillian Whitlock was in charge of the Hair & Makeup team and was delving into Mary Quant, Mad Men and the like to gather inspiration to coordinate with wardrobe.
Kim, Gillian, and I make a great team, as we all have the same philosophy: do extensive research, stay on budget, keep the photographer and the studio team up to date, post photos before pulling from rental places to give the photographer and client a chance to mull over pulls before they happen, and be able to easily roll with any changes in direction.
It was amazing to see the models' transformation once their hair and makeup was done and they were dressed head to toe in vintage wardrobe and to watch them step onto a set that looked exactly like it was set in the 1960s. It was like they became part of that era: the way they held themselves, interacted, and even how they sat in the chairs. People who walked by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf where we were shooting kept telling the crew how amazed they were and how “real” it all looked.
Now that the ads are out, we all have had people tell us that they really thought these were shot back in the 1960s – I think that’s one of the best compliments the whole team could have asked for.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 50th
Anniversary in-store posters, and ads, shot by Trevor Pearson, are up now and will be used throughout the year.