Photographed by Lydia Tamara

My final project for second year was inspired by the 40-year Anniversary of Grease. I decided on the context being an advertisement for MAC Cosmetics, releasing their summer limited edition collection. My aim was to convey
narrative by combining makeup, hair, costume and location. 

With the brilliant help of my photographer July Sumalde and Stylist Charlotte Ward, I was able to bring my vision to life. The models were inspired by the two characters Frenchy and Marty in the film, specifically from the ‘Beauty school dropout’ scene, and the school disco. I created a lace fronted wig in the style of Frenchy’s bubble-gum pink hair for my first model and made a chignon hair piece, clipped and styled it into place with a 1950s French Twist for my second. 

I was inspired by the decorative themes of the 1950s which included Earthy Scandinavian patterns and colour palettes from Pretty Pastels, using these influences in makeup and costume. This allowed for the characters to be recognisable within their period. When researching location’s in Bournemouth I came across ‘The Prom Diner’ a perfect location for my shoot with its vintage retro touch of the 1950s American diners. I thought this was a perfect setting for my shoot as diners were a popular social place for young people in the 50’s. With the help of props such as cigarettes, bubble-gum and smoothies, this initiated a fun young narrative to comprehend with MACS target audience of young adults.

July Sumalde – BA (Hons) Commercial Photography

For this shoot I looked at the aesthetic of 50’s fashion photography to understand the poses and the shooting style. I didn’t want to make it seem that I was simply replicating the 50’s scene but incorporating the era’s style and giving it a modern touch. Hence with the final edits, it has this
dreamy 50’s style haze and a contemporary look to it. 

It was such a fun and bubbly shoot so it didn’t take much directing as the girls got into their ‘characters’ from the make-up, hair piece and outfits.

Charlotte Ward – BA (Hons) Costume Design

I was given the brief of placing costumes in 1959 with a slight modern twist. The outfit for Frenchy had to match the theme of the pastel makeup, be girly and fun. At first, I looked at two pieces involving a pencil skirt and tie up top, however the dress seemed a better fit as it was more formal. 

For Marty’s outfit, modelled by Arletta, I used the same green colour scheme used in her dress in the 1978 film ‘Grease’, but following the brief to take on a more Scandinavian look, the leaf print dress and kitten heels used in the final outfit gave it a classier look. 

Finally, the beauty school dropout outfit followed a modern theme. The 1978 outfit from the film was very silver, I thought a black and white polka dot print would tone this down from the roller wig and help it look less space themed. The dress had a typical 50s full skirt, to keep it closer to the style of the film. I used wiggle dresses for Frenchy and Marty to give a sleeker fit, as a fuller skirt with Frenchy would have looked a bit too youthful and Marty needed to look classy. Simple pearl earrings and necklaces were used, which were typical of 50’s jewellery. 

The glasses Frenchy uses in some shots were my own, as I had previously worked on another late 50s/early 60s styling project, so that came in handy! It was a pleasure to work on such a fun collaborative project.

See more of their work on Instagram:

Lydia  Tamara

Charlotte Ward

July Sumalde