Featured Designer: Juliet White

Under/cover was recently lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Juliet White, the Art Director and Stylist responsible for Bella Notte's gorgeous inspiration photos. Originally a visual designer here at Wildflower, Juliet now lives in England, remotely designing Bella's sets and shoots down to the last detail. Here's an inside look into her story and her process.  

WF: Can you describe what sort of work you do in general?
JW: As an art director and stylist, my job is to make a product appealing and desirable through a photographic image. I have to carefully decide on each detail in every photograph produced for marketing materials. The images are used on websites and in paper format, like in inspiration books or magazines. I create and implement a visual story for whatever the object may be - in this case bed linens.

a Bella Notte set

a Bella Notte set
WF: How did you get involved with Bella Notte?
JW: I started my journey as a visual merchandiser at Wildflower Organics in Austin, Texas. Due to the focus on luxury textiles at Wildflower, I spent a great deal of time putting together bedding ensembles; many of them were created with Bella Notte Linens.

Because the buyer, Cori [Hedman, Wildflower's owner], had such a great eye for design, I was exposed to the high end of the design market: the best of the best interior products. We regularly visited trade shows that inspired my work in the store. I was also one of the in-store designers, but my passion was always creating displays with beautiful products.

After moving to Dallas, I joined a team of photographers and worked with another stylist in a commercial photography studio. Here I was exposed to a different side of things, and this is where I made the move from visual merchandiser to stylist.

After 14 years in America, I moved back to England. Just after doing so, I was approached by Bella Notte to work with them as a consulting Art Director/Stylist on a new marketing campaign. It seemed a natural progression, since I had the hands-on experience of working with their incredible line for 10 years.  We are now in are fourth year of this ongoing project.

a Bella Notte set

WF: What are some of your inspirations right now in creating shots? How do you keep your design ideas fresh and current?
JW: I am always absorbing visual information: through magazines, and online, through some great blogs. Trade shows are an important source too. I recently went back to Paris with Bella Notte for Maison&Objet, an incredible trade show for interior design.

I am also a great lover of nature and being surrounded by beautiful countryside definitely helps. But inspiration can come at any time. It can be something I hear on the radio about an art exhibition, or something I see someone wearing, or often something I find in an auction house. I keep folders of inspiration for whenever I may need it.

"Taylor, at Bella, put out a request for some bunnies for the shoot on her Facebook page! A friend's friend lent them to us. They were really well behaved but kept eating the moss."

Its a never ending challenge to keep things fresh, but, that said, it certainly helps having an innovative product like Bella Notte to work with.

WF:What is your process of creating, from your initial inspiration to the finished product?
JW: The process starts with the arrival each season of a box on my door step! I am sent the new colors for that season from Bella Notte, along with fabric swatches and samples of any new collections. From there I have to decide how best to show it. I create the actual bedding ensembles and then decide on a story for each set. The fabrics often inspire the story.

I spend a while thinking about it and absorbing the new colors and designs. Then I start to compile visual information for each story. I sketch out how I envision the finished set to look.  Next I send all the information I've put together to Bella Notte. For example, I send them what floor to use, what wall, the colors and textures applied to them, the furniture to use, and all the tiny details added to a  set, like flowers and so on.

The Bella team then buys props, builds sets and manufactures the products according to that information. The studio is in California and I am in England; having the Atlantic Ocean between us makes things interesting, but it works because there is a fantastically talented team on the other side of the pond. When all the sets are built, props collected and new products made, we set a date for a shoot with the photographer.

The shoot is carried out via Skype. I give direction remotely, while Jay Graham, the photographer, sets up his camera so that I am able to see exactly what he is seeing through the camera, on my screen. I feel very lucky to work with Jay; not only is he very talented, but also a very patient teacher. There are always unexpected things that come up during a three day shoot and Jay can always work around it.

When the shoot is finished, the shots are edited and Bella Notte creates the actual inspiration book to send out.  We also recreate many of the bedding ensembles in the Bella Notte showrooms for market.

the Peach/Seaglass Bed
the Peach/Seaglass Bed
WF: What's your dream home look like, and where is it?
JW: It would be very simple: cozy and rustic, in nature. Maybe a strawbale house here in England, deep in a forest. I appreciate all kinds of design, but my personal taste is very simple.

WF: What's a shoot you worked on that you're most proud of?
JW: It used to be some work I had in Homes and Gardens magazine (UK) when I was a student, many years ago. But now it would have to be a Bella Notte inspiration book, maybe the most recent one. (Coming your way soon!)

a Bella Notte set
To see more of Juliet's lovely styling work, visit the Bella Notte Linens site. All studio photographs are courtesy of Bella Notte photographer Jay Graham (to be featured on Under/cover soon!). And of course, to scope our wide Bella Notte collection, visit our website or stop by and see us!