VIRTUALITY by Lisa Muscat-Vitale

Lisa Muscat-Vitale is, in my opinion, a force to be reckoned with. An unstoppable, creatively enigmatic being that pushes boundaries and continuously raises the bar on collection standards. I have my favorites. It’s a list of probably 11 people right now, and Lisa is in my top five for certain.

Many think putting together a collection is simple—someone does the hair, the makeup, the fashion and the photography. Boom. Said. Done. Sometimes, that is the case and the end result is basically run-of-the-mill and ordinary. However, to put together a standout, talked about, stop-what-you’re-doing-and-look-at-this type of collection that makes people say, “How is that possible? Tell me more,” well that takes a vision, resolve and real bonafide talent.

VIRTUALITY is just that. It’s captivating and a genuine showstopper. Each image catches your eye and then it makes your brain go in several different directions. It makes you ask questions about the hair, the makeup, the photography, the styling…the absolute everything. It’s a tall glass of creative juice for people who thirst for something new and thought provoking.

The Inspiration

It all started when Lisa set her eyes on a Facebook post by Fashion World. She saw an image that appeared to be real. It was a live model, wearing garments and makeup, yet it appeared to be hand drawn.

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I was creatively and mentally stimulated. This image enabled the viewer to decide on its context, its reality. I knew from this point I wanted to offer a similar experience with this new creative collection.

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Still fixated on this particular image, Lisa began to evaluate the hair, being drawn to its transparency. From there, her thought process moved to the fabrics, the textures and the possibility of manipulating hair to appear textile. “Textiles—the canvas for so many shapes, silhouettes and styles, weaving, puckering, lace and crochet, the options are endless,” adds Lisa.

The Collaboration & The Process

There’s this quote I often reflect on made by a South African author named Lauren Beukes, who Stephen King just so happens to fancy, that goes like this: “What I love about collaborating is that you’re working with other minds that work differently to yours.” It’s one that echoes in my mind when I see a collection that multiple people have come together and collaborated on. This quote resonated and rang true when reading the media kit that accompanied the VIRTUALITY collection images.

VIRTUALITY was a creative collaboration between Robert Lobetta (Creative Director), Kay Lobetta (Post Production), Blair Palmer (The Artist) and Lisa and Emiliano Vitale (Hair & Styling) to merge drawing with photography and the virtual world with reality. The way the collaboration process was explained is as follows:

The creative process began with a photo shoot directed by Robert, and this was undertaken in a step-by-step manner. Lisa was inspired by a photograph which was part photo and part sketch. Robert shot the imagery with a specific lighting set up to support the post-production needed to create the desired finish.

Post-shoot, Robert & Kay sent the images to Blair, the artist, who sketched each image separately, which were to be identical to the finished images.

The final step was undertaken by Kay; each image was sent to Kay and using a specific technique, she was able to marry the sketch and the photo. This allowed the images to appear as half sketch, half photo with a seamless blending of the two.

It was not retouched to seem like a sketch; each image is in fact part photo and part sketch married together in the editing suite by Kay.

The single objective was to create a series of images in which the viewer was unsure as to whether which part was photo and which was sketch/illustration.

The Hair, Styling & Makeup

Lisa explains the inspiration and intention of the collection:

I wanted the VIRTUALITY woman to be strong and sophisticated, yet with a soft, feminine element—affluent, yet approachable in style and demeanor. With hair providing a lot of detail in texture and shape, it was important for our stylist to execute restraint where required, opting for one-piece statements and hero accessories where suitable. Overall, we wanted the styling to feel simple, yet affluent in texture, embroidery and embossment by way of jewel-quality and luminosity. Knowing the images would be drawn, it was important that the styling avoided density while incorporating detail and contrast for an effective image. Again, inspired from the Fashion World Facebook post, I was drawn to the dark, smokiness around the eye, further accentuated with a wide cat-eye—two techniques that really worked together in making the eyes a feature. Thankfully, we all have different strengths, and for VIRTUALITY, I granted our makeup artist the creative space to work within my brief, always emphasizing the integrality of suitability.

It just goes to show that when a group of creative individuals gather, great things surface, inspire and truly enlighten.


Creative Direction: Robert Lobetta

Hair: Lisa Muscat-Vitale

Post Production: Kay Lobetta

Makeup: Chereine Waddell

Photography: Robert Lobetta & Peter Tabor

Artist: Blair Palmer

Styling: Fleur Egan

Salon: é SALON


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