ToddleWood: Kids model mini red carpet fashions
So far this awards season, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis has been the most adorable star to walk the red carpet, but now thanks to the pint-sized stars of New York-based project ToddleWood, she’s got some cute competition.
Founded by former advertising executive-turned-photographer, Tricia Messeroux, the ToddleWood project imagines everyday kids as A-list celebrities, historic figures and other icons. The idea was born in 2008, when Messeroux decided to shoot her then-three year old daughter, Skylar. “I’ve been told that she looks like Diana Ross so I said, ‘You know what? I guess I’m going to play along and photograph her looking like Diana Ross.’ We did that and I realized I had something on my hands,” Messeroux told EW. “I called a few women that I knew were very talented in different areas: wardrobe stylists, dress designers, makeup, hair–these women that were talented in all these different areas that I needed– and I held a casting call.”
Since the first shoot, Messeroux has received submissions from hundreds of pint-sized hopefuls. “My process now to think about what the look that I want to achieve is, so it needs to be an iconic celebrity or a political figure or someone notable, or a moment in time,” she explained. “Like when Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch, or when the Obama’s did the fist bump. It has to be either a really fantastic look or moment in time.”
Click through the gallery to see more pictures from Messeroux’s Golden Globes ToddleWood shoot and find out how she and her team executed the mini-me fashion moments.
From casting, to recreating the clothes, to the actual photo shoot, Messeroux and her ToddleWood team turned around the Golden Globes project in just two days. “I had a casting call on Saturday—literally 24 hours before the Globes. I didn’t know who or what was going to end up on the red carpet wearing what,” she said. “On Sunday, my team and I watched the Golden Globes and studied the red carpet to look for the right dresses.”
Not every frock made the cut. “The right dress is something I happen to like and I think my designer can [recreate]. It also needs to be something that is kid appropriate,” Messeroux explains. “There were several designs where the plunging neckline was way too low, and then there were the sheer and paste-on looks like Jennifer Lopez’s dress. Although it was very beautiful, I will not be the one to put a kid in that dress.”
Next: Recreating the Looks
Recreating the Looks
The child-size dresses are designed and handcrafted by Andrea Pitter, who turned around the entire wardrobe for the shoot in just one day. “We chose the looks that night and I called the parents of the models to get the kids’ measurements,” explains Messeroux. “[Andrea] started making the patterns that night. Monday morning she went to the fashion district to get all the fabric, while I did all the shopping for the props. We didn’t sleep Monday night.”
Next: Hair and Makeup
Hair and Makeup
ToddleWood’s glam squad — including lead hair and make-up artist Shameika Bowman, hairstylists Danielle Wright and Sharon Alexander and makeup artist Charlene Armstrong — gave the little models the full star treatment on set. “Hair and makeup tends to be the kids’ favorite part,” Messeroux says. “They let people pamper them, they eat Goldfish and Oreos, and when they’re ready we ohh and ahh over them and clap for them and make them feel like they’re the kings and queens of the earth. They love it!”
And just like real Hollywood stars, the kids often need a few minor (but temporary) enhancements to pull off the look. “They’ll wear hair extensions or wigs to help complete a look when necessary. For instance, Halle and Anne’s hairstyles are short, and models had long hair,” says Messeroux, who adds that the team uses Make Up Forever products.
Next: Ready, Set, Pose!
Ready, Set, Pose!
How does Messeroux get her kid models to nail those red carpet poses? “The moms usually show [their kids] pictures beforehand. They come to the shoot pretty much ready because it’s clear that they’ve been practicing,” the photographer explains. “It can take about 15 minutes to get the right shot.” She’s got to be quick when dealing with short attention spans. “We pretty much turned the whole thing out in four hours.”
Next: ToddleWood is Growing
ToddleWood is Growing
Up next, ToddleWood will tackle the Oscars red carpet, and Messeroux is considering taking on the Grammys. “The Grammys have some of the most outrageous outfits, which for someone like, me is exciting,” she said. By then, The ToddleWood Agency should be up and running. “It is a response to the demand. A lot of people ask me how to get their child into the business, and I have tons of kids on my roster from submissions for ToddleWood, so I decided to marry my 15 years of experience in advertising and my experience casting kids and taking pictures to create an agency.”
ToddleWood also offers photography packages for kids who want to have their own Hollywood moment.
Watch behind the scenes video from Messeroux’s ToddleWood photo shoots at triciatv.tv.
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