Olivia Brabbs

Olivia Brabbs

Antonia Houston Couture – From Mill to Model




Antonia Houston Couture opened York Fashion Week 2018 in style on Monday night with a catwalk launch of her new Yorkshire Dandy Collection in the beautiful Belmont Rooms at Bettys York.  Over the last few months I’ve been documenting Antonia’s journey from fabric sourcing all the way through to catwalk.  It’s been a fascinating process to be involved in and the images taken give a real insight into the expertise and passion that goes into the creation of a couture garment.

The first commission was to document Antonia on her fabric sourcing visit to Marton Mills which is situated in Pool in Wharfedale in Yorkshire.  Marton Mills have a long history of fabric production and in particular for their Yorkshire Tweeds.  Antonia was determined to source fabrics as close to home as possible to this was a perfect option for the collection.  One of the tweeds selected was actually in production on the day of our visit so we were given a showround of the mill floor.  It was an amazing opportunity to capture images of the fabric actually on the loom.


antonia houston couture and Yorkshire Tweed from Marton Mills www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk





yorkshire tweed fabric in production at Marton Mills www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk



yorkshire tweed fabric in production at Marton Mills www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk


yorkshire tweed fabric in production at Marton Mills www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk





loom at marton mills in Yorkshire www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk

Although a different fabric, this shot of one of the Mill team completing a hand check demonstrates the level of quality and care that goes into each piece.


hand checking fabric at marton mills in Yorkshire www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk

Alongside the Yorkshire Tweeds, Antonia commissioned a bespoke piece of silk fabric from local textile designers Meiji Designs.  Meiji incorporate traditional Japanese hand dye processes into their work with a devore finish.  Each piece is unique and the colours were created to match in with the overall look of the collection.  I’ve had the privilege of working for Meiji and you can read more about their work and creative processes through this blog post – MEIJI DESIGNS – STUDIO SHOOT.

It was wonderful to be asked to document Antonia cutting out the silk fabric.  I have to confess that I held my breath during the first cuts and was totally in awe of the confidence Antonia brings to her work with fabrics.  There was also the opportunity to capture Antonia doing a garment fitting with Daisy one of her models for the catwalk show.  Here is a selection of favourites from this stage of the journey:

















In the week leading up to the catwalk launch I was commissioned to undertake a ‘Look Book’ shoot of several pieces from the collection.  We chose the stunning location of Middlethorpe Hall near York for it’s beautiful gardens and grand backdrops offered by the main house.  The shoot was timed perfectly as the garden was still quite dormant so the colours of the clothes were really able to pop.  The shoot day was a rainy one but this actually worked brilliantly in our favour – the light was just gorgeous and gave a lovely tone to the finished images.  For the catwalk launch Antonia had collaborated with Jo Pull from Knot & Bloom who creates stunning headpieces with vintage influences and materials.  It was great to bring the headpieces into the shoot.  Make-up was by the brilliantly talented Sonia Schofield.



























And finally – introducing Antonia!  This branding portrait was taken in the lead up to York Fashion Week for the events brochure and editorial features.



There will be lots of images to come over the next weeks as pictures from York Fashion Week are shared including some action shots from the Yorkshire Dandy Catwalk Show.  I love bringing a documentary storytelling approach to my fashion photography.  More examples of fashion and lifestyle photography can be viewed through my portfolio:





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Thanks for your interest in my commercial and branding photography. To discuss a commission in more detail please do get in touch. If you’re in the early stages of developing a photography brief I’m always available for a chat to bounce ideas around.

I’m based in central York but it’s very much a case of, “Have camera will travel”, so my client list spreads across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.

T: 07779 345819 E: info@oliviabrabbs.co.uk