Bali : A Stylist’s Trip

In July 2015, I had the fun of travelling to Bali to shoot a bridal campaign for wedding dress designer Kelsey Genna.  I always find that travelling internationally as a creative, freshens up my ideas and approach. Different cultures, different surroundings and working with people from different countries provides inspiration, so it’s like a creative retreat for me … although less spiritual and much more hard work.


Photo Credit : Amanda Alessi

I’ve worked with Kelsey many times here in New Zealand and overseas as well.  I sometimes think we are a muse for one another.  There is even a slight competitive streak to our creative concepts and the ideas we scheme up seem to know no bounds.  Like most of my overseas trips with Kelsey, there are one too many stories of adventure.


Photo Credit : Amanda Alessi

A lot of my lovely clients are not necessarily creative, I guess that’s ultimately why they’re working with me, so I appreciate my time spent working with other creatives even more.  I sometimes find that the day-to-day running of a business doesn’t call for much hands-on creativity, so it’s nice to be focused on what it is that you love doing and remind yourself that this is what made you start a business in the first place.  The excitement starts long before I leave to go anywhere, curating ideas and writing the story for our shoot.  For Bali my inspirations came from the natural environment, the BLUE ocean, the GREEN vegetation, the GOLD sunsets and the WHITE sand.  These colours led to the titles of our shoots.

Photo Credit (clockwise from top left) :  Brown Eyed Whimsey, The Style Junkies, Farandaway Photographic Arts, Isabell K

Travelling for any of the photoshoots that I work on, I find myself pulling together my own tailored kit of essentials that I need for a particular location.  Going to Bali, I took into account that I’m slightly allergic to insect bites, so I made sure to pack a supply of Goodbye Sandfly (a natural oil repellent made in NZ for all biting insects) and a plug in citronella diffuser.  Working with flowers and water isn’t always ideal in the field, so hand sanitizer, baby wipes and a good selection of floral tools were all in my suitcase.  Along with this, I also had three wedding dresses so I was hoping I wouldn’t get stopped at customs on the way in to have to try and explain myself.  Although there was nothing illegal packed, it could have been difficult explaining why I have three wedding dresses and an array of floral tools.

Photo Credit : Amanda Alessi

A true champion behind the scenes of this trip would have to be my driver Agus.  I honestly don’t think I could have done everything I did without him.  He helped me pick up the flowers, carried props for miles along sandy beaches, and even negotiated prices for me with locals if he thought they were charging too much.  He told me his dream was to go to Miami and thanks to Facebook I can see that he made it!  He even wished me a happy birthday in a message recently, so I obviously left an impression with him too.


Warung Saya was my favorite places to eat while in Ubud.  Kelsey has great taste in places to eat and had found this little place for us to try.  It only had five tables and you had to pre-book your menu as the owner was the chef and the waiter, so he had to shop and prepare everything for each meal each day.  It was the most delicious food we had, so authentic, and really what made the whole experience was the character of the owner and his poodle, “Princess” who royally sat in a decorated plush chair at the front the establishment.  The Gado Gado, which is an Indonesian salad, was the best we had and I have made it since using this recipe from Jamie Oliver.  It’s delicious, but not as much as the Warung Saya version.  There must have been some special ingredients.  When I make this, I like to also add some fragrant lime leaves as that’s what we had in Bali.


Photo Credit : Alma

I stayed at the heavenly Viceroy Bali.  I had my own daybed and pool within the large villa that I stayed in and they even treated me to a bath full of petals when I had to return to stay with them after my flight had been cancelled due to a volcano.  The erupting volcano only delayed me for a couple more nights but I could have stayed for a month it was so relaxing there in Ubud.


Bali was an adventure and at times a little out of my comfort zone, I’m not particularly an intrepid style traveller and the volume of work we created made for a hardworking trip.  I’d love to say I’ll go back soon, but it’s always hard to plan to return to the same place as trips away are precious and I like to keep going somewhere new.  I would one day return if I had the need to but otherwise I’ll be adding somewhere new to my passport stamps.

Photo Credit : (left) Alma, (right) Amanda Alessi


Photo Credit : Amanda Alessi

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