When Charles Lucima capped a feature in our One Frame Fame section a couple of weeks ago we hinted that you would soon see more of Charles on Ben Trovato. Today is that day, and he debuts on Ben Trovato with a wonderful editorial fashion film entitled Lost. It features the breathtaking Codi Babcock - who made her debut on Ben Trovato a week ago - wearing gowns by Thai Nguyen.
“Our film is an emotional journey through time and alternate realities,” Charles starts. “- Throughout the journey our protagonist’s wardrobe reflects her emotions resulting from romance, sorrow, escape and despair. The changing outfits are whimsical and dreamlike with no clear beginning as they just happen. When the film ends, the viewer is left with such questions as “What really happened?” or “What was real and what was imagined?” But the reality is that none of those questions or answers truly matter. What matters is the emotional journey and experience itself. What matters is that the audience was captivated by the emotional journey itself within the very dreamlike construct of our story.”
Lost originally started out as an idea for a simple shoot revolving around three components: a girl, a horse, and the wilderness. But after discussing the idea and brain storming with stylist Jacqueline Lavaun, their concept evolved into a full-fledged fashion-editorial story that would take the audience on an emotional roller-coaster ride.
“From that point on the story was our inspiration for Lost. I think that the current wave of fashion videos are mostly animated versions of their still-image counterparts; basically videos of what would otherwise be fashion-editorial photoshoots with no real stories. We've got one where she's just playing in the yard with a dog. Another we nicknamed a serious improvement in office desk accessories with mouse pads and chairs. We challenged ourselves to tell a real story using fashion as an abstract interpretation of emotion, but with no script and only one model/actor,” Charles says.
Mentioned fashion stylist Jacqueline Lavaun has already been featured on Ben Trovato three times before, and Charles mentions their relationship to be the key to their success in making this wonderful film: “- Jacqueline Lavaun and I click on so many levels that “Lost” simply would not have come into fruition without her,” he says, and continues: “- It was her idea that the wardrobe should reflect the emotions. And I remember seeing the wardrobe for the first time at the studio and marveling how perfectly the styling matched each scene’s emotion. So much consideration went into selecting the right pieces not only for the “forward” scenes but also the “backwards” scenes. Having the different outfits was crucial to telling our story because we wanted the wardrobe to suggest that the “backwards” scenes were not simply reverse versions of the “forwards” scenes. That maybe our protagonist was on a different “timeline”? That perhaps this reality was altogether different? The wardrobe reflected that idea brilliantly.”
As mentioned, the wardrobe was exclusively made up of amazing Thai Nguyen creations, and to Jacqueline it was an easy choice: “- When Charles and I were brainstorming and putting the plot together I immediately knew who I wanted to use for wardrobe. But I wanted to use him exclusively, so Charles and I talked about the pros and cons of using one designer throughout an entire short film. Ultimately, we decided the pros outweighed the cons and I contacted one of my favorite young Southern California designers: Thai Nguyen.”
“Thai’s creations have this wonderful dichotomy about them. On one hand they exude something very strong in color, in silhouette, in the way the dress feels when you put it on. But very interestingly, they also have this extremely romantic vulnerability about them. A Thai Nguyen gown can make you feel like you have a mad case of teenage puppy love, pulled a dress from your older sister’s closet for the evening, AND know you look good doing it. I think there is a little piece of all of us that wishes we could get dressed and feel that way everyday. For our protagonist, that dichotomy was a necessity.”
Thankfully, Thai was immediately on board, and Jacqueline drove down to his studio in Orange County, met with him and his assistant, and hashed out all the scenes. “- We discussed emotions, colors, silhouettes, etc. and came up with something that would transition well, and mirror each other equally as well. The consistency of mirrored shapes, fits, and colors contributed to the overall emotional crescendo of the film.”
Jewelry was provided by Ben Trovato favorite Gasoline Glamour, and Jacqueline says “It was a ‘no-brainer’ to incorporate a little Gasoline Glamour, Shannon quite simply creates beauty, and her pieces represented elements of the storyline very well.”
The rest of the team consisted of makeup artists and hair stylists Jacqueline Piccola and Jennette Pulecio, wardrobe assistant Breanna Broach, photography assistant Rodney Alan, male model Matthew Hendrix, and of course the aforementioned star of the story, Codi Babcock.
“Having the right model with emotional range to tell our story was critical and Codi did not disappoint,” Charles says, who has worked with Codi on several occasions before. “I was very impressed with Codi’s ability to portray the four different emotions/scenes (romance, sorrow, escape, and despair),” he continues.
“Like-minded talents are pivotal to good working dynamics. I had worked with each member of the team on various projects in the past. Having those working experiences allowed us to collaborate effectively to shoot the entire film from 6AM to 5PM (8 scenes and 6 transitions). Speaking of 6AM call time in Mojave, CA, Jacqueline Piccola was battling a flu before and during the shoot. Rodney Alan began his drive from San Diego at 3AM and picked up Jennette Pulecio in Orange County at 4AM. Without the dedication of these individuals, Lost would still just be an idea revolving around a girl, a horse, and the wilderness.”
If you like the film, you can check out the rest of Charles work here. Not being the traditional fashion photographer archetype, Charles is really an educator at heart: “- I teach because I have a passion for teaching and I have been an educator in one capacity or another my entire life. It’s why I keep a written blog, podcast, teach private workshops and group workshops such as the Fashion-Editorial DSLR Video Workshop on June 23-24.”
He found his way into the fashion photography business after he quit his consulting position at a software company a few years ago: “- I found myself at a crossroads in life. At the ripe old age of 29, I still had not found a career to which I was willing to dedicate my life. In a strange twist of fate, I rekindled my love for drawing (in the form of retouching) through Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. Combined with my lifelong fascination of photography and beautiful women, I left everything I knew to become a fashion photographer. And since that day, I’ve been completely driven by my passion for the art.”
Photographer / Director / Editor - Charles Lucima
Makeup & Hair by Jacqueline Piccola & Jennette Pulecio
Styling by Jacqueline Lavaun
Models - Codi Babcock & Matthew Hendrix
Photography Assistant - Rodney Alan
Stylist Assistant - Breanna Broach
Music by Michael Giacchino - Moving On (LOST soundtrack)
Dresses provided by Thai Nguyen
Accessories provided by Gasoline Glamour