For avid fans of cinema history, it is well known that Joseff of Hollywood is ubiquitous with the jewels of Old Hollywood films. It is difficult to find a movie from the mid 1930’s through the 1940’s that did not feature Eugene Joseff’s creations, from the outlandish custom designs, to the mundane background pieces.
The genius of his rental business model was actually borne out of necessity; he needed to be able to quickly amass a collection to keep up with production needs, and by renting he was able to maintain an inventory. Of course he did sell to the studios quite often, but it is this rental collection that has stayed in the possession of the Joseff-Hollywood company, which is still family owned and operated in Burbank today!
Few people realized that this massive collection was still in existence, with the exception of those who had known older connections with the studio, despite several museum exhibits. In 2017, we at Joseff of Hollywood decided to partner with Julien’s Auctions to release a portion of our collection out into the world in hopes that the pieces would find new life being loved by collectors, or being added to collections for display, etc. At the time, we had no idea that this would launch a platform to meet some of the most interesting new friends!
One such collector is Taz Saunders, Aerial Cinematographer with a host of other creative practices under his belt, including film and TV production (he co-produced The Contender), and a relaunch of the Palter DeLiso shoe brand.
Taz purchased quite a few items from the Joseff auction for his personal collection, and came up with a concept to highlight the pieces in a photo project with Bryona Ashley, a burlesque performer and pin-up model who has been published in over 60 independent magazines, as well as featured on various runways for LA fashion week, and recurring model subject for Pinup Girl Clothing Boutique and Bettie Page Lingerie brands. When we got word of the project, we asked Taz and Bryona if they would be willing to let us feature their project in an interview and they graciously accepted! Continue reading below for Kristin Joseff’s interview with the two of them.
Kristin: “How did this photo project come to be? Who had the original concept idea and did it change over time?”
Taz: “The concept originally started in November of 2017 when I initially purchased the pieces from Julien’s auctions “ Treasures From the Vault “ which featured just Josef of Hollywood Jewelry. These were and are incredibly special pieces and I had the original concept to shoot them but wanted to make sure I captured them in the best light possible. So I held onto to the jewelry and did not shoot it until I found the perfect model, wardrobe, and setting. Bryona helped contribute the the styling of the Hair, makeup , and wardrobe, we actually chose all of the wardrobe from her collection of vintage clothing. We paired the pieces together in a way we thought showcased this timeless jewelry beautifully.”
Kristin: What was your favorite part of this project?
Bryona- “My favorite part of this was being able to work together with Taz. I always have so much shooting with him and we always create some incredible stuff. His attention to detail is amazing and I loved how passionate he was about wanting to shoot these pieces as beautifully as he could. Another favorite part of this project for me was being able to wear and work with actual pieces of history.”
Kristin: “Tell us about the elements of the shoot. Where did they come from? (Wardrobe, etc.)”
Taz - “As I mentioned briefly earlier, Bryona has an incredible wardrobe of vintage gowns and clothing and we laid out all of the jewelry and began pairing the jewelry with clothing we thought complimented it the best. For example we paired the beautiful blue Marlene Dietrich butterfly broach with a vintage iridescent hostess coat. The other two butterfly broaches we shot which originally were worn by
Gloria Grahame and Janet Leigh we chose a beautiful shocking pink couture gown with a long train and Christian Louboutin shoes. We decided to pair all of the gowns with Louboutin shoes to give it a little bit of a modern twist.”
Kristin: “How long have you been working together professionally? Does it pre-date your personal relationship?”
Bryona - “We have been working together a little over a year. But our personal relationship began before that.”
Kristin: “Tell us a little bit of your relationship as a couple.”
Bryona - “Taz and I were friends through Instagram for a while and I have always been a huge fan of his work so we talked about working together and I did a photoshoot with him and we just hit it off instantly and have been dating ever since!”
Kristin: “How long have you been together?”
Bryona: “A little over a year now.”
Kristin: And what’s your favorite date night activity?
Bryona - “Watching a old movie together on the couch.”
Kristin: “What do you hope people take away from these images?”
Taz: “Bryona and I hope people love the images and hopefully help people bring interest to vintage culture and film.”
Kristin: “How did you get started in this line of work?”
Taz: “I took a photography class in the new school in Manhattan and really fell in love with it and have been doing it ever since.”
Bryona: “I actually got started (modeling) by helping friend of mine who was a photographer and I posted the pictures I took online and started booking jobs and one thing led to another and now I am here participating in this article.”
Kristin: “What's your dream project?”
Taz: “Make a film!”
Bryona: “My dream project is a clothing and lingerie line that I am actually working on currently with a very close friend mine.”
Kristin: “Had you known about Joseff of Hollywood before the auction with Julien’s?”
Taz: “I had known about Josef of Hollywood before the Julien's auction and had collected several pieces from eBay and off other sites on the internet. I am an avid Turner Classic Movie fan and had seen many of the beautiful pieces that Josef had created for some of my favorite movies.”
Kristin: “What's one thing people might not know about you?”
Bryona: “I know how to throw knives. Its something my grandmother knew how to do and I picked up the
trade some while ago.”
Taz” “I am related to Thomas Jefferson and have kept the same two dollar bill in my wallet since 1995.”
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE COMPLETE GALLERY OF IMAGES BELOW!