Paris, France - July 2019

What inspired this photoshoot?

This photoshoot came about by a series of events. In June I traveled to Portland for my favorite event, World Domination Summit (WDS). During the event they often have themed parties with “open to interpretation” attire. On the kickoff day of the event they held an outdoor picnic in Pioneer Square. The theme for this event was Wonderland Picnic. I immediately thought of Mad Men meets Alice in Wonderland. I thought it would be fun to wear something whimsical. Around that time, I also decided to try a trial membership for Rent the Runway. I found this really gorgeous ombré Marchesa dress that I thought would be perfect for a picnic. As part of my membership I could rent up to 4 dresses at a time so I took advantage and ordered 2 other whimsical Marchesa gowns.

After WDS I had a wedding in Albania to attend. I decided to bring the dresses with me and wear one of them to the wedding. I also made plans at the end of my trip to spend 2 days in Paris. I had a free Anniversary Rewards Night with my IHG credit card and used it to stay at the luxurious InterContinental Paris Le Grand hotel. With these dresses in hand, I decided that Paris would be the perfect destination for a high fashion photoshoot.

How did you find your outfit?

I found my dresses via Rent the Runway. They are all three Marchesa gowns. I felt like a princess wearing them. It made the photoshoot in Paris extra special by wearing such couture gowns. The sexy black jumpsuit was purchased at Nordstrom Rack. It was one I bought for fun a couple months back. It ended up being one of my favorite looks in the whole shoot.

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How did you feel during and after the photoshoot?

I felt like I had stepped into another reality with this photoshoot. I had hired a high fashion photographer who had his own MUA and accessory stylist. I was in Paris, staying at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand hotel overlooking the Opera House. And I was wearing couture fashion gowns by top designer Marchesa. It was such a dream. This photoshoot was very different than others I had done. It was more serious, more high fashion. When I first got the photos, I was a bit taken aback. I thought to myself, “Who is this woman??” It took a little bit for it to sink in that it was me.

Photoshoot Credits

Photographer: Eric Ouaknine

I found Eric through searching high fashion photographers in Paris. He immediately responded to my inquiry and was eager to support my mission of doing photoshoots all over the world. In working with Eric, I learned that he is a former nurse. He always loved photography and would do it for fun on the side. And then one day many years back, he decided to pursue photography full time. He has been blessed to work with brands like Zara and other fashionable icons all over the world. With his wife Anya by his side to model in shoots and serve as an accessory master on shoots like mine, the two have created quite an impressive lifestyle.

What’s fun about Eric is that he (like me) loves to travel and has designed his business so that he can work and travel in countries all over the world.

Learn more about Eric and Hire him! via his website and Instagram. And check out his wife Anya’s stunning portfolio on her Instagram.

Hair + Makeup: Stephane Dussart

Stephane is a masterful makeup artist and hair stylist in Paris. He accompanied Eric on our shoot and was available to touch up my hair and makeup in between locations. I really loved the subtle yet dramatic touch he added to my eyes.