When fashion photographer John Vater first met his wife Adriana, a
stylist and makeup artist, on the set of a fashion shoot, it was the
first of many years of collaboration between beauty and fashion. Today,
the Vaters own Spa Adriana
in Huntington, New York, a salon that prides itself in involving its
junior staff members in editorial work from the start. And, by working
closely with local business, the Vaters have developed strong ties to
their community as well.

As a photographer, John
Vater frequently sources fashion and accessories for photo shoots from
the local boutiques. “Over the course of time these bonds have become
strong,” he says.

For example this year, Vater
collaborated with the emerging design team duo Jumelle (which means
twins in French) on the runway looks for their first show. “They
started designing pieces one at a time out of their home and just
released their first collection, producing a show for 400 guests in
their home,” he says.

Spa Adriana sent seven
people from their artistic team to create the hair and makeup for the
show. “It’s great exposure for some of our junior team members,” says
Vater. “In addition to the experience, they are exposed to a number of
people which helps them build their clientele.”

Fashion images from the Calypso Collection, a collaboration between Jumelle Designs and Spa Adriana.
The Marriage of Beauty and Fashion


The Marriage of Beauty and Fashion

The Marriage of Beauty and Fashion

When fashion photographer John Vater first met his wife Adriana, a stylist and makeup artist, on the set of a fashion shoot, it was the first of many years of collaboration between beauty and fashion. Today, the Vaters own Spa Adriana in Huntington, New York, a salon that prides itself in involving its junior staff members in editorial work from the start. And, by working closely with local business, the Vaters have developed strong ties to their community as well.

As a photographer, John Vater frequently sources fashion and accessories for photo shoots from the local boutiques. “Over the course of time these bonds have become strong,” he says.

For example this year, Vater collaborated with the emerging design team duo Jumelle (which means twins in French) on the runway looks for their first show. “They started designing pieces one at a time out of their home and just released their first collection, producing a show for 400 guests in their home,” he says.

Spa Adriana sent seven people from their artistic team to create the hair and makeup for the show. “It’s great exposure for some of our junior team members,” says Vater. “In addition to the experience, they are exposed to a number of people which helps them build their clientele.”

Before an event like this, Vater typically meets with the designer three weeks earlier to examine the pieces and discuss model choices.The designers and the Spa Adriana artists will pre-establish the look for the show. Prior to the event, Vader will shoot three or four of the models in the fashions on location, so completed discs with all the images and bios on the designers can be handed out to the press at the show. Having materials prepared in advance pays off. “After the Jumelle show, four different publications ran the editorial, and there were many other announcements and postings," says Vater.

While Vater maintains the copyright to his photography, he frequently grants the designers permission to use the photography as long as proper credit is given. “Our fashion and photography work sets us up as a leader in the press, so we frequently get calls from editors asking about trends or the next season’s looks. You have to be able to consistently deliver answers and images, or they’ll stop calling,” he says.

Vater offers the following tips for owners and stylists who want to break into fashion and editorial work:

  • Collaborate with fashion merchants in your own area. If there's a local university, there frequently are design students working to put together a collection.

  • Stay involved in philanthropic work and donate your time and talents. 

  • Junior team members with five years of experience of less tend to have the highest level of energy when it comes to shows. "We make working editorial part of the training—it's a requirement," says Vater.

  • Anyone who aspires to model needs her own head shots. Many students will willingly model in exchange for salon services.