We're Going Behind-The-Scenes with AMAIÒ Swim
Samantha Khoury, owner and designer of AMAIÒ Swim, shares what it takes to execute a top-notch campaign, with a peek behind the scenes of the brand's latest photo shoot. Her spring 2018 collection celebrates old glamour with a chic, contemporary edge — a vibe that's perfectly captured on Italy's finest coast. Check out the beautiful raw imagery below while you wait for the new arrivals.
BIKINI: Can you tell us about your team and how you all came together?
SAMANTHA KHOURY: I'm very lucky — the reason our photo shoots go off without a hitch is because of my creative team. I get to work with not only some of the most talented individuals, but also some of the best people I know — the photographer and stylist are a husband and wife duo from Australia, and they've been in the business forever. I was put in touch with them through recommendations from some of my good friends that own We Are Handsome.
They had been in Italy shooting already for about a month starting in Milano. Jesse, the stylist, is pregnant, so they were doing a baby-moon, as well and drove down the coast from Como to the Milan area, all the way to Amalfi. They suggested a campaign shoot out there! At first, I was a little hesitant, but two weeks before Miami Swim Week, I did some research and found an excellent availability and opening, so that's when I decided it was all happening after Miami Swim Week. My pattern maker shipped all of the product to me for the show, and it all came directly to Italy.
BIKINI: Were there any other shooting locations in mind other than Italy?
SK: Well, we were bouncing around three location ideas for the shoot at first. One option was Amalfi, and another was getting a boat off the coast of Mexico or the coast of Marina del Rey. But the boat that we were looking at locally in California felt too generic, and our passion as a creative team is to find what's going to be new and exciting for swimwear. We wanted to have a different kind of campaign that stood out from most. That's the challenge we like to pursue — what is the next thing or perspective that is fresh and creative, and something you have not necessarily seen before?
It's more interesting for us to challenge ourselves, so Amalfi was really our only option. It ended up truly being the perfect scenario because this upcoming collection was 100 percent made for southern Italy. The pieces, in particular, are very much inspired by old world, European glamour, but we wanted it to still maintain a modern feel. We didn't want to be too retro because we're not a retro brand, but this collection sits on the cusp of classic and modern. The scenery perfectly matched that concept.
BIKINI: We can see the old-Italian glamour — the off-shoulder white one-piece (pictured above) is reminiscent of Sofia Loren. We can't wait to see the final campaign! How is that post-shoot process coming along?
SK: Yes, we're very excited! All the images are done, we just sent everything out to the graphic designer to compile it all.
BIKINI: Regarding styling, what were some concepts in mind?
SK: We wanted to be consistent, yet fresh with details that were implemented in our previous campaign, and build off of some of our fundamental concepts. The styling of this collection definitely embodied that slightly more “Old World,” luxurious feel, while still staying clean and minimal.
BIKINI: What about hair and makeup?
SK: We wanted to truly tell a story. We decided to start with dry, natural hair, down, then move towards a subtle, slightly messy up-do, and finally end on a sleek and modern look with wet hair that still felt grounded. Makeup is always natural. Amaiò fundamentally is about being modern, and timeless. We believe the two are synonymous with each other, as the 21st century woman has evolved so much towards continuously reinventing iconic styles and silhouettes to be perfectly effortless, chic, and grounded all at the same time– A celebration of natural elegance, and femininity.
Trevor, our photographer, used his network and ended up finding an incredible [hair and makeup artist], Tina Hoffmann, out of Germany. We flew her and the model into Italy and Tina ended up being on my same flight. Once we both landed in Naples, I rented a car, had her hop in, and drove us two and half hours to Amalfi.
Tina actually lives in Cape Town as the fashion industry has been booming down there for quite some time and is continuously gaining momentum. We got lucky because she just happened to be in Berlin.
BIKINI: Can you tell us about the model?
SK: We just worked with the agencies in Europe to find our model Gintare. She lives between Milan and London and had that perfect modern Euro look to her.
BIKINI: Did you have to do any photoshoot prep work while in Miami for Swim Week?
SK: Since Trevor and Jesse were already there. They did all of the location scouting. I trust them entirely, as they inherently know the brand in and out, so I knew it would be amazing. We mainly shot in Atrani, which was great because it is less crowded and it hasn't been totally over shot like Capri, but Amalfi is conveniently right next door.
BIKINI: Can you tell us about the day of the shoot?
SK: We got up at the crack of dawn. Atrani is gorgeous because the whole town is built into the cliff face and all the little roads are charming and historic. I got lost a few times in the tiny streets — there are so many winding stairs! We shot there at sunrise, and then we hit the first beach location right out front, which was beautiful. We then went towards the back-side of the town and encountered a picturesque, Italian stairway, which is where we shot our white linen dress before an Italian cop came out and shooed us away! It ended up being fine. He didn’t want to cause us trouble but did not want us shooting in that particular location. We then migrated back to the main road to shoot at this perfectly rustic pink wall right on the coastline — the team were total troopers carrying the collection. The day was hot — running around in 85 degree weather in super-high humidity, we were all so drenched because of all the stair climbing, but it was really fun and well wroth it. Our team is just the best and we always have a great time together. After the pink wall, we headed out on a 10-minute walk towards a beach club in Amalfi.
We really wanted to get some quintessential boat shots and take it to Positano. Our goal was to shoot uniquely from the perspective of being out in the water. We originally wanted an old-fashioned, speedboat for a good portion of the day, but the one we found got booked up fairly quickly as it was high season. It worked out, though, as Trevor was able to negotiate and secure it for sunset so we managed to take a three-hour break in the middle of the day and reconvened at the dock later on. We shot about four styles, which was a huge feat as the boat was super rocky! Nobody got too motion sick, except our poor social media-marketing guru, Roxana Saidi, but she pulled through!
BIKINI: How did the team celebrate?
SK: We were all so exhausted, but had a cute dinner and glass of wine before bed. The next day we rented a speedboat and spent the entire day on the boat, swimming, having fun, and exploring along the coast and around Capri.