Christmas is all about family.
It’s an incredibly tired cliché that is trotted out year after year in film, music and television, but it’s true. Christmas is for coming together and enjoying (or enduring) time with each other, whether you’re Kevin McCallister’s criminally negligent family or a teenage mother giving birth to an illegitimate child in a stable full of animals, shepherds and Eastern men.
The thing is, family doesn’t just have to be the people who share your surname. Sometimes family are your friends, neighbours, colleagues, or the barista who always gives you extra whipped cream on your gingerbread latte (God bless you, Trevor).
That’s why I was delighted to get some of the team at Gap York involved with this Christmas/family themed blog shoot. And I was even more delighted when I found out we would be joined by some extra special little helpers!
A huge thank you is in order to one of the most creative people I know, photographer Luke Porter. Check out his fancy new website here. Another big thank you is definitely owed to our models. The big ones were Jon, Darcey, Jen and Rachel; while the smaller, cuter and, frankly, better ones were Massey, Aami and Isobel.
At the time of writing, all of the items were available in the Gap York store and I have included online links of the pieces or similar ones where possible. Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching The North Pole. Please mind the Gap.
I have a soft spot for pastels. Baby blues, mint greens, heather greys, pale pinks, I love them all. While winter often brings to mind many deep, bold colours like bright reds, greens and burgundys, there’s a gentle simplicity to lighter, paler colours this season.
Isobel’s sweater dress and sparkly tights, and especially Massey’s Chewbacca jumper also go some way to stealing the show. The boys’ Star Wars collection is full of fun, cute and witty pieces like this, and quite frankly outstrips anything that adult men are wearing this season. Sorry lads.
Jen and Rachel both went for long-line roll-neck sweaters and partnered them with complementing shades of velour denim. On top, Rachel’s wool coat borrows the clean lines and minimal design of Scandinavian style, while Jen’s oversized ribbed cardi is the perfect layer to wrap yourself up in and keep warm.
Jon’s pink hoodie is right on the money – pink shades have been huge for men over the past few seasons. We butched things up a little with the distressed denim jacket, and duly un-butched things with his ladies’ skinny jeans as Jon prefers the more snug fit.
Aami’s shirt plays around with classic patterns and proportions, contrasting different sized checks, but still keeping the same colours for a sense of uniformity. Both he and Massey look great in the grey biker jeans that, if nothing else, provide an extra layer of protection to the scuffed knees that young boys seem unable to avoid.
Altogether, with the soft candy tones and the snuggly, cosy materials, I can’t think of a better uniform for the season of peace and goodwill to all men.
At Gap, these rainbow stripes come out every Christmas season (though we call it ‘holiday’ season thanks to the politically correct and non-denominational Americans who run Gap). Though perhaps a little much at first glance, I have come to love these quirky patterns and kooky colours. Most of these items come in a set of similar-coloured pieces so, if you were so inclined, you could deck out your entire family in matching (read: clashing) stripy or fairisle knitwear from head to toe.
Naturally that would be too much for most reasonable people, so for the rest of us, it’s nice to mix and match with simpler pieces.
Rachel has definitely earnt her stripes here with the rainbow jumper and scarf. Gap also offer some stripy leggings but I think we can all agree that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Underneath, she has on a pair of distressed slim straight jeans – a modern take on the 90s destroyed denim trend.
Jen has taken a leaf out of Rachel’s book by adding a matching scarf to her fair isle jumper, stopping just shy of overkill. The Scottish knitting pattern is a Christmas classic and immediately makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And outside.
Speaking of which, her legging jeans are lined with brushed cotton which means they feel as comfortable as your favourite pyjama bottoms.
Darcey’s jumper is a little more reserved than the others, restricting the stripe motif to the heart on the chest. Her gold puffer jacket however, is far from reserved, bringing a little bit of luxe to the colder months. Finally her otherwise simple hat delivers a burst of colour with the fluffy pom-pom at the top.
Aami’s long sleeve tee pokes fun at the questionable jumpers we get given at Christmas (sorry, Grandma). but his blue striped snood and hat set bring a less ironic sense of Christmas cheer. My favourite item however, is Aami’s varsity jacket. Effortlessly stylish, this jacket will keep you feeling warm but looking cool. I just wish they did it in adult sizes.
On the other hand, Massey keeps things classic in his stripy sweater and gilet. You’ll notice that the shades in the boys’/men’s stripes are subtly different to those of the ladies/girls, but I like how the patterns tie together.
Isobel is wearing all things bright and beautiful, but her denim jacket breaks up the otherwise overpowering patterns. The fingerless glove and woolly hat set look great paired with the stripy dress and leggings and, coincidentally, her hair braid.
Styling and directing these guys was so much fun. Being a family themed shoot, I decided to put everyone in matching outfits, like on a cute family Christmas card – you know, a cute family Christmas card sponsored by a multinational retail corporation.
For this shoot, I was inspired in part by the #DGfamily campaign and in part by the multi-layered drama of a renaissance painting. I wanted to get shots that reminded me of my family – dysfunctional, but happy. It’s all about everyone coming together in the mess that is life, whether mucking around with a scooter or giving your mum a cuddle.
It was great fun having the kids involved. I really wanted to give them a chance to show their personalities, so I asked them to bring in their favourite toys. Expecting three fidget spinners, I was pleasantly surprised when Aami arrived with a scooter, Massey, a Star Wars book and Isobel, a cuddly toy. Even in something as simple as that, it’s clear to see their differing characters.
In spite of their differences however, it was great to watch all of the gang messing around and joking with each other. Most of these guys don’t have modelling experience (though Isobel could run circles around Naomi Campbell) so, although I tried to get some slightly more staged shots, none of them looked as good as the natural ones.
The genuine smiles, the uncontrollable laughter, the occasional squabble.
And yes, it definitely is too early to be saying this, but…