Behind the scenes with stylist Rosie Underwood

Behind every new campaign is a team of photographers, stylists, models and assistants who help bring each scene to life. Back before lockdown, stylist Rosie Underwood was the creative force behind our new sage and cornflower shoot. It was down to Rosie to style two models with our two new trending tones across our Clifton cases, our Chelsea overnight bag and daypack, as well as new product launch—our new Chelsea weekender. The shoot took place back in February at London's new Great Scotland Yard hotel. We caught up with her on how she got started in the fashion industry, the importance of a great photographer/stylist duo, and how sperm whales are hard to miss... 

Tell us about what you do. How did you get started in the fashion industry?

I’m a stylist, art director, lifestyle journalist, yoga teacher and integrative health coach! I decided I didn’t want to be too linear and single minded with my career path, because I was massively passionate about a variety of things growing up. I think it’s quite a limiting belief to tell someone to pick one thing, and that’s you, go!

I was always very vocal and creative, two things needed to cut the mustard in fashion. An editor noticed I’d be a good fit for shoots when I was on work experience, and soon I was on location assisting stylists all over the country so I climbed the ladder from there. I loved the buzz of being on location, especially when I was out in nature.

What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Failing in some areas is never a step backwards, it shows you exactly where you shouldn’t be.

Can you pick one career highlight so far? 

Once we were getting some under-water shots for a swimwear shoot in Mexico and a pod of bottle nose dolphins photo bombed us, deciding to make the shoot all about them. Needless to say, it worked!

What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had on a shoot?

Getting a producer to be on snake watch on location in Africa, and on shark watch shooting in the shallows in Cape Town. It’s always great when we finish a shoot with every team member in one piece!

Tell us about this campaign—what was your inspiration and what did you want to portray?

I loved the sage and cornflower tones of the Clifton cases and Chelsea holdalls so we wanted the styling to be neutral—composed separates with some tonal tailoring thrown in for good measure. We wanted it to look aspirational yet approachable, which was initially a challenge, especially when it came to casting, but we got there! We wanted energy and movement in the shots and for the fabrics to move freely without swamping the models, so that they still created elegant silhouettes.

You and Alex have worked together a lot. How important is a good stylist/photographer relationship?

I’ve worked with Alex for over ten years. He has the ability to make a shed look like a palace and to think outside the box, whilst keeping energy levels high and putting a smile on everyone’s faces. We’ve shot all over the world. Once, he even made me be a crash test dummy on a frisky horse when we were on an equestrian shoot! There’s not many people I would do that for! It’s really important for stylists and photographers to have a good relationship because it's the relationship that sets the tone for the end result.

Had you been to the Great Scotland Yard hotel before? 

I hadn’t shot there before and I kicked myself for it—it’s so eclectic and the interior style was way more playful than I’d imagined. There’s a lot of scope for campaigns there.  

Antler luggage, Clifton suitcase and Chelsea lifestyle bags

What do you think of the luggage you shot for this campaign?

I loved them all, but the sage Clifton case would translate well with pretty much any outfit of mine!

What do you look for in a piece of luggage?

A four-wheel drive that moves effortlessly and adds an extra level of sophistication to rushing through an airport!

What’s your ultimate packing tip?

The Marie Kondo fold!

What’s the most unusual thing you pack in your hand luggage?

A copper oxide eye mask. Don’t ask! 

Where in the world are you happiest?

I went to Yosemite in September.  I love to surf so I never go inland and it completely bowled me over with how beautiful it was. I could have stayed forever! I also adore Nosara in Costa Rica. It’s one of the world’s Blue Zones which means people that live there, tend to live for a very long time. The waves there are perfect and the yoga studios hidden in the jungle had me at hello! 

What is your favourite travel memory or trip? 

I once took a stand up paddle board down a river through a jungle in Sri Lanka. We went for hours, so much longer than we planned, just getting lost, and meandering inland. As the sun set we got a bit scared because it got so dark, so all the local villagers came to the river banks with flamed torches to show us the way home. The stars were next level and the fire flies were out in full force to top it all off. It was like a scene from Avatar (a good scene, mind you.)

What’s your favourite photograph that you’ve taken whilst travelling? 

I’m honestly not the best photographer, despite working on shoots nearly half my life—the actual taking photos part isn’t my area! I think the best photo I’ve taken was of a sperm whale in New Zealand but that’s only because it was so big it was hard to miss! 

Which is your favourite European city for a city break?

I’m not big on city breaks because I live in the city, so a break for me involves nature and lots of it! Having said that, you can’t beat Barcelona for a good munch and ocean views!

Is there any part of the UK that you particularly love?

Devon, Cornwall and West Wittering beach (home) are some of the best places in the world!

Favourite UK hotel?

There’s this little hotel I’ve shot at a lot in Devon called the Cary Arms & Spa. I used to surf on the north coast and then drive there to the south coast to shoot. Big local seals would always come and gate crash the shoot too!

Quick fire questions

Podcast or paperback? Paperback 

Train or plane? Train, slow travels the way forward

Cut it fine or leave plenty of time? Leave plenty of time

Sightseeing or sun lounger? Sight seeing

Early start or slowly but surely? Early start

Plan every detail or wing it on arrival? Wing it on arrival


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