On a surprisingly snowy afternoon in an oddly warm month of February, Vital VOICE, Kate Clark Hair Designs and Steve Truesdell Photography met at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis to create something special: an original photo shoot with Real Housewives of Orange County star and St. Louis native, Meghan King Edmonds. Through staging, styling and a great smile, the team made it happen. Now, we’re giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes with thoughts and ideas from the visionaries themselves. Check out a few bonus photos from the shoot, read up on what the Four Seasons, Kate Clark and Steve Truesdell had to say about the day, and don’t forget to check out the final product in the Vital VOICE March Issue.

The Location: Four Seasons St. Louis

The Four Seasons hotel opened in 2008 and was designed by Marnell Architecture, the Las Vegas firm responsible for the Mirage and the Bellagio. The 19 story hotel tower‘s defining feature is an oversized light box, a 650 foot ribbon of illumination that stretches up, over and down the edges of the building and contains over 500,000 LED lights.  The lights can produce 16 million different colors and a wide array of patterns.

Originally conceptualized as fabric, the light box’s glass exterior utilizes a cutting-edge glazing system that is literally stitched to the hotel’s concrete frame using a point-supported structure.  Sparkling during the day, it transforms into a glowing lantern at night.

“This feature will not just draw people to the Lumiere Place development; it will also symbolize the revitalization of downtown and this project’s place within it,” Ewing says.

Home base for the photo shoot was River North, the newest addition to private dining space at the hotel. Styling, hair, makeup and wardrobe were headquartered here. Once a gift shop for hotel guests, River North was repurposed and designed as a residential-style meeting room featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the historical River North district of St. Louis and the new Stan Musial Bridge.

“We wanted to create a space for private dining that is not only accessible and stylish, but also more interesting and comfortable than a secluded meeting room,” General Manager Alper Oztok. River North is located on the 8th floor, just steps from the Cielo Bar, and can accommodate up to 20 people.

The Four Seasons loves to promote the work of local artists and currently have abstract pieces by Jennifer Hayes located on the 1st, 7th and 8th floor of the hotel, which is seen in the backdrop of Meghan’s second look.

The Style: Kate Clark Hair Design

“When I saw her, she was very naturally beautiful, and I just wanted to even out the normal shapes that every woman has,” Kate Clark explains. “I wanted to really bring a Midwestern feel – we always see her so dolled up on the Housewives. So, I wanted to bring her into more of everybody’s home in St. Louis. I used a very basic, full-coverage foundation from Naked Skin, and I really played up the cheekbones and the eyes – she has wonderful eyes. I also wanted to incorporate more of a glossy finish for her cheeks with the Chubby Sticks, which bring out a lot of that definition. They’re very moisturized, so there’s kind of a shine there.”

“With her hair, we did a variation of those beachy, tasseled curls,” she continues. “A lot of times when people try to curl their hair, it turns into a huge, ‘Dallas Cowboys’ effect where every curl has to be perfect and it’s really big. I wanted to focus on – with her being a new mother – having an easy style without having to go full out.”

And while we have Kate, she says to be on the lookout for a few new trends for 2017. “Men’s hair is becoming less formed, kind of steering away from the ‘high and tight, perfect fade, get my hair cut every week’ type of thing. We’re looking at more ‘hands-through-the-hair’ type effect. More at ease. Now you absolutely still have to use product and do your hair, but it’s less formed.”

And for the ladies? “Pretty much the same,” she says. “I’m doing a lot of those easy curls and loose braids so that the layers fall out and it looks easy. For color, it’s all about balayage. It’s very in right now, and I see that as the way to go with color for the summer.”

Kate is currently in the midst of re-branding, but her brand has always been “Make your look amazing,” and that’s here to stay. Check out her Instagram page for more information on what she does and to book your appointment with Kate.

The Photographer: Steve Truesdell Photography

For the shoot led by Steve Truesdell, three scenarios were put together. “We chose the first one with the gold background because it complimented an outfit she brought,” Steve Truesdell, owner of Steve Truesdall Photopraphy, explains. “Meghan is an experienced model, so the lighting was set up to give her the ability to turn either direction as she moved and still be lit nicely. This type of set up is great when working with talented subjects because it allows them the flexibility to move at will and still have the benefit of full lighting.”

“We fell in love with the large painting that was used as the second background, and thought Meghan had a cool outfit to go with the art,” he continues. “Again, because Meghan is a talented model, the idea was to light the area in a way that would allow her to move at will and still look great.”

The third set was done in a glass stairwell. The day was overcast so the natural light was very even and allowed a shoot without any strobes. “We chose an outfit with shorts to show off Meghan’s legs, and began with her standing,” Steve says. “Once she was given an orange – to represent the show – she immediately began to play with it, tossing it in the air and eventually squashing it under her heel. All things she just did naturally, which is what makes her such a great subject to photograph.”

See what Steve and the rest of the team are talking about in the slideshow below, and pick up a copy of the Vital VOICE March Issue to see what the finished product looked like, on stands now. V

by Kevin Schmidt