Tag Archives: behind the scenes

“Wakeful Wanting” an editorial for iMute Magazine

Hi fives all round for my team on this editorial for iMute Magazine’s Summer 15 issue!  Welcome to “Wakeful Wanting”…







I’m particularly proud of shoot as I produced this editorial with the help of my all star team:

Photography: Angela Rose (who you may remember shot The Bridal Series Sydney with me!)

Creative Director, Hair & Makeup: me! using skincare by Deciem the Abnormal Beauty Company, makeup by MAC, and hair by Label M

Wardrobe Stylist: Maie Dionisio featuring  fashion by Agent Provocateur, La Perla, Maison Close, Max Black, La Fille Do, El Minara, Ginia, Witchery, Peachoo & Krejberg, La Senza, Chantelle, Stella McCartney, Rosalynn Win, Baci & Sant Elia

Model: Tessa at Chic Management
Floristry & Prop Stylist: Oak & Linden
Videography: Le Motion
Location: Studio Neon

We also filmed a beautiful fashion video to accompany this editorial which is definitely worth a watch (and guaranteed to spice up these cold winter nights!).

A celebration of femininity, sensuality and wakeful wanting.
















If you want to know what it was like being on set at this shoot, here’s the behind-the-scenes video of us doing our thing…

If you’re a fan of my work, you might like to see other editorials I’ve worked on by clicking here and here or here.

I would love to know what your favourite shot from the “Wakeful Wanting” editorial is!  Leave me comments below or questions about the products used to create the look and I’ll be sure to reply.


© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

In every profession, there are always people you look to for inspiration.  Leaders in their field and great at what they do. For me, this was meeting Australian designer Karen Willis Holmes.


Accomplished, driven and fun; stepping into Karen Willis Holmes’ beautiful Paddington boutique was a re-affirmation of just how much this designer has to offer and is captured beautifully by the photography of Angela Rose.

Get to know Karen Willis Holmes, in her words as told to me…


Always interested in fashion, Karen studied fashion design and manufacture at Bentley TAFE in Perth. She worked for herself and another company before moving to London. It was her years in London working for companies specialising in evening and special occasion day wear that she really honed her skills.

“One particular person I met while I worked for Arabella Pollen in London taught me some of the best lessons. We would make the sample patterns in the studio and after the shows I took the patterns to this older gentleman (there was no other word for him) and he would tweak them and turn them into production patterns which were masterpieces, he had such love & passion for his work and showed me so much.”


Karen- “I have always been interested in, and focused on a high level of workmanship and focused on job opportunities that involved this craftsmanship.”

Upon her return to Australia, Karen started a store designing eveningwear. During this time people started asking her to make wedding gowns for them. When the lease finished on her store, Karen’s husband Geoff suggested she change direction and specialise in fashionable wedding couture. And that’s just what she has been doing ever since, both in Australia and New York.


“I love my job and all of the different levels of what it entails to run and grow a business. It is my full time commitment and love affair. Luckily my husband works in the business and supports me fully in this.”

A hard-working woman, Karen is driven to create a bigger and better business.  She can be found either in the workroom designing and sampling the new collections, or in the office planning trade shows, overseeing the boutiques and working on the new designs and paperwork.

Having an overseas presence means travel is also part of Karen’s work.

“I travel not only between the four Australian boutiques (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth) but I now also travel overseas a few times a year to visit the boutique in New York and to show at bridal market in New York and London. I consider all my trips working holidays so I like to try and block out a few days to go and explore – especially in the US!”

And together with my photographer Angela Rose and our model Renata, Karen styling and myself on hair and makeup, this is what we created…

For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click HERE for a dedicated behind-the-scenes post.

Some of the highlights:







Asking any artist what inspires them can be one of the most challenging questions to answer. However Karen’s passion really shines through when she shares with me her design process and from where she draws inspiration.

I always draw reference from the fashion period of the 1940’s. In particular, Christian Dior’s revolutionary ‘New Look’ in 1947, following the Second World War. The construction, fit and hourglass silhouette – cinching in and defining the waist, of the collection is always a source of inspiration.

Designing is not just for the outer aesthetics of a gown, you also have to consider how the design is going to work internally – on a structural level. I also take inspiration from the history and the art of making corsets, how they manipulate the body and how they work within a wedding gown.”

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And now take a quick five with Karen Willis Holmes…

What special touches are signature of a Karen Willis Holmes gown?

Gowns from the BESPOKE Collection and the WILD HEARTS Collection are made in Australia. This is something I am extremely proud of, as it is becoming rare to have beautiful product made here. We also sew a blue bow into our gowns – it is our ‘something blue’ for our brides!

What trends can we expect to see in bridal couture?

I don’t believe lace will completely vanish and everyone is loving the bohemian trend at the moment, but I do believe that lace is slowly making way for luxurious simpler fabrics incorporated in to beautiful structured and flattering dramatic silhouettes. Think clean, tailored lines in fitted dramatic shapes or full ball gowns.

Who was your favourite celebrity wedding gown and why?

Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) – I do love a Royal and I love the work Sarah Burton does with Alexander McQueen. This was a win for me, fashionable, it had to be so classical but then not boring. It was a perfect gown for a Royal Wedding.

What would you name your autobiography?

“Live the life you dream of and try and make it happen!”

Thank you Karen for collaborating on this project and for sharing your journey so far with us.  We can’t wait to see what’s next for Karen Willis Holmes!

You can follow Karen Willis Holmes on Instagram and Facebook as well as visit her website for more information.  The boutique is located on 13 Glenmore Road, Paddington NSW 2021.

If you are looking for a wonderful wedding photographer, get following Angela Rose on Instagram and Facebook or check out her website.

Many thanks also to The Print Room for allowing us to shoot in your space and for being so accommodating. I definitely recommend a visit to this restaurant/bar if you’re on the lookout for a unique drinking/dining experience. And if you find yourself there, be sure to let me know if you find this beautiful inscription…


I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series as well as the behind-the-scenes hair & makeup post to learn more about which products I used for our model.  As always, feel free to leave comments and questions below.


© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Making of the “Division” Music Video for Elizabeth Rose

Growing up as a child of the 90s, Rage was as instrumental to my upbringing as learning how to make mixed tapes, playing with my hackey sack and mastering Donkey Kong on my Super Nintendo. Many years later, working on music videos is like a childhood dream come true.


Image courtesy of abc.net.au

A little while ago I teamed up with Photoplay Films…


And Red Bull Australia…

Red Bull

To shoot the latest music video for Sydney’s electronic-pop artist, Elizabeth Rose.

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Rose’s new single is called “Division” and tackles the matter of marriage equality in Australia, an issue that lies close to her heart.

Here’s what Red Bull had to say about the music video:

 “In the tracks accompanying video …we follow the moving journey of two lovers who struggle to find familial acceptance and their place in today’s world. Beautiful and poignant, it’s four minutes you wont be forgetting anytime soon.”

Pedestrian TV said:

“Elizabeth Rose has just dropped a new single that lays bare an issue that’s not only very near and dear to her, but at the forefront of Australia’s cultural melting pot at the moment – Marriage Equality.

 It’s a deftly crafted little four minutes…”

Some stills from the video courtesy of cinematographer James L. Brown…

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Some behind-the-scenes fun:

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Fabulous director Emma Tomelty

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Getting ready for a take

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The two male leads taking five- Arron Johnson and Jace Pickard

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Setting up for the underwater scenes

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And action!









You can watch the video here:

And get at all of Elizabeth Rose’s music, including the new single “Division,” over on iTunes.

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A quick shout out to the wonderful crew:

Director: Emma Tomelty
Producer: Suzanne Kim at Photoplay Films
Line Producer: Celo Wyrill
1st AD: Nick Marles
DOP: James Brown
1st AC: Ben Lindberg
AC: Justin Besser
Camera Operator: Lee Kelly
Gaffer: Zac Murphy
Gaffer: Scott Leeson
Grip: Justin Sykes
Art Director: Ella Carey
Art Dept Assist: James Hills, Luke Sullivan, Holly Thompson
Wardrobe: Cherith Crozier
Wardrobe Assist: Rebecca Tinyow, Kate Woodroofe
Make Up / Hair Designer: Sonia Allen
Runner: Harry Welsh
BTS: Lacey Cole
Catering: I Love Nosh
Line Producer: Cleo Wyrill
Editor: Brad Hurt
Colour Grade: Tristan La Fontaine

Drop me your thoughts below!


© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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