Behind the scenes at our 2019 catalog shoot!

08/5/19

Wanting our 22nd annual color catalog to be our most beautiful yet, we chose our town’s newly and sumptuously restored St. Francisville Inn as our location. Built in 1878 in the Steamboat Gothic style, the Inn was an apt choice: It hales from both the same era and has the same highly-decorated design style as our Victorian buttons! We were delighted when the new owners, Jim Johnston and Brandon Branch, gave us free range of their antique-filled parlors, dining rooms, and bar to style our photos.

The Inn’s welcoming front porch looks out on a century-old grove of live oaks. Owners Jim Johnston and Brandon Branch in their renovated gardens.

Both native Southerners, Jim and Brandon had for years lived in Savannah, where Brandon was creative director for Paula Dean Enterprises, and more recently a star in Bravo’s Southern Charm Savannah reality show.  Bringing their respective talents in interior design and business development to the project, the couple transformed the venerable old structure into our area’s first four-star inn. For more information on the Inn’s 11 beautifully appointed guest rooms, their famed Sunday Brunch and other dining options, and the engaging cocktail menu at The Saint bar, visit:  https://stfrancisvilleinn.com/

Our lovely model Mathilde posing the The Saint.

With our location decided, we began the search for our model, and again found the perfect solution close to home. Mathilde is a local teenager, the granddaughter of Susan’s best friend Dorcas, and the daughter of Ashley and James, publishers of Country Roads magazine. At 16, Mathilde had never modeled, and is more likely to be seen running track, playing the violin, or acing her ACT scores than focusing on hair and makeup. She took to modeling, however, like the proverbial duck to water, soon developing the technique of creating personas for each jewelry and wardrobe change (at least one of which she told us had a “chequered past”). Brittany Luman, our New Orleans store manager as well as a hair and makeup artist, transformed Mathilde into the sophisticated model you see here. All clothes came from our New Orleans store’s stock of both new and vintage pieces.

The St. Francisville Inn’s crisp and cheerful breakfast room wall paper is the perfect background for our new blue vintage glass collection.

Completing our catalog team was Anna Davis, Susan’s daughter and part-owner of the business. She began her involvement with our catalogs at age 14 as a cover model, and within a few years graduated to catalog photographer, an experience which led to her degree in art and photography from Tulane University.

Anna on the cover of our 2001 catalog, and shooting our 2019 catalog.

Working on the catalog cover shot in front of the Inn’s gilded pier mirror, with Mathilde in a 1960s vintage evening dress, and an 1880s Victorian velvet jacket (with stunning cut steel buttons) thrown over her shoulder.

Shooting our jet Art Deco statement pieces in the Inn’s lovely front parlor.

This custom-painted entranceway mural of the Inn made for an evocatively romantic backdrop, as did the textured faux bois wallpaper in The Saint, the Inn’s already legendary bar.