Say yes to #FlyingDress: billowy dresses take social media by storm

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying dress.

The train of Adriannea Smith’s canary yellow gown blowing in the wind could be seen for miles as she posed against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea and the whitewashed rooftops and blue domes in Oia, the seaside town on the Greek island of Santorini.

“I’ve had this on my wish list,” Smith told The Post. “I planned this trip with the shoot in mind,” Smith, of Atlanta, Georgia, said of the Greek island cruise he took last month.

Travelers are saying “yes” in droves to the photo of flying dresses, with dresses flying in photos of idyllic destinations like the Greek Isles, Dubai, Cappadocia in Turkey and even the Brooklyn Bridge.

Travel agent and content creator Adriannea Smith’s canary yellow dress billowing in the wind in Santorini. The photo shoot with the flying dress, she says, has been on her bucket list. She planned her cruise last month specifically with the glamorous photo shoot in mind.
Courtesy of Adriannea Smith

Smith in a yellow dress.
Smith said tourists gawked at his paparazzi photo shoot.
Courtesy of Adriannea Smith

Smith in a yellow dress.
Smith showed off her glamor on social media and made her 161,000 followers envy.

The images, which usually take just over an hour to take, are gaining thousands of likes and appearing all over Instagram and TikTok as the latest vacation status symbol.

The #FlyingDress hashtag has 52.6 million views on TikTok, and photographers in some of the most sought-after vacation destinations are cashing in on the trend.

Smith, a travel agent and travel content creator who runs the @StandByAdrie account, says the photo was meant to spark travel envy in her followers, helping her promote her business and, in the process, serving as a time to “treat yourself”. The video showing the session garnered 20,000 views on Instagram and 481 likes.

Women in flying dress photo in Dubai with camel.
Keisha Nelson, pictured in green wearing a ponytail (left), and seven of her friends put on a Flying Dress formation in the Dubai desert for a whopping $4,200. The shots included hair, makeup, and a camel.
Courtesy of Rashidah Timothy

Rashidah Timothy posing in a blue dress.
Nelson’s friend, Rashidah Timothy, a publicist from New York City, shown here, opted for a shade of royal blue. The camel came with the $4,200 session.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Nelson said she felt “regal” after doing her hair and makeup to pose in the jewel-toned dress.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

The photos, he says, will last a lifetime.

“I definitely felt like a supermodel,” Smith said of the $605 shoot. She booked it through, which bills itself as a “premiere flying dress company.”

Flying Dress photo company has a package for around $1,680 that includes transportation to and from the session, hair and makeup, dress, a two-hour session, editing, retouching, and ownership of the photo and video rights.

Timothy in a blue flying dress in Dubai.
Manipulators were on display to help Timothy, Nelson and their friends pull up their dresses at the perfect time for the sky train effect against the backdrop of dessert.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Burj Khalifa woman in flight dress.
The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is another popular backdrop for flying dress photo shoots in Dubai.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Women dressed in green in Dumbo.
Cabrera says that Dumbo in Brooklyn is one of her most popular destinations in New York for taking photos with flying dresses.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

That also includes a wizard to help achieve the dramatically long look when subjects pose and waltz in videos.

Smith said that while taking photos seems like a breeze, it’s a back-job behind the scenes. Since the photos are usually taken barefoot, she comically recalls having to jump on hot cobblestones in the heavy dress as if it were effortless.

Meanwhile, in the Dubai desert on a recent girls’ trip, Keisha Nelson and seven of her friends put on a Flying Dress formation, for a whopping $4,200. That included dresses, makeup, round-trip hotel transportation, and cameo appearances for the two-hour shoot, which incorporated both individual and group shots.

Woman in flying red dress on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Flying Dress photo packages come with wizards to help you get the perfect air angle for the shot. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most booked New York destinations, Cabrera said.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Woman in green dress in sunlight.
Cabrera says she only books two flying dress sessions per day because they are labor intensive and need to be taken early in the morning or at noon for optimal natural lighting. One popular location is Fort Tryon Park, in Inwood, Manhattan, NY.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

A woman in a metallic colored dress poses in New York.
Cabrera began incorporating flying dress photo shoots into her business model in 2022 when she saw demand on social media. His rates start at $400 for an hour session like this session in Central Park.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

“We wanted to do something glamorous and fun…we’ve been planning this trip for over a year and thought this was one of the activities we could do collectively that would fit our personalities and vacation vibe,” Nelson, 43, a manager account supervisor who opted for a green halter dress, she told The Post.

While the photos look aesthetically airy, Nelson, from Manhattan, says the rising mercury brought a lot of heat to the shoot. Still, he says it was worth every penny: posing with a real camel, he said, was priceless.

“I felt beautiful and majestic and empowered,” she said.

Woman in orange in central park with flowing dress in autumn surrounded by leaves.
Some clients choose to pair their dresses with the background for a more monochromatic look, like this auburn-inspired fall shoot in Central Park.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Woman in pink dress.
Edits and retouching are billed to the shots, Cabrera says, of the contrast of moody lights against jewel-toned gowns. This photo shoot took place in Edgewater, NJ.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Woman in red dress.
Cabrera typically hires two assistants to help manage styling and styling, which paid off in this shot at Fort Tryon Park, Inwood, Manhattan.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Her friend, New York City publicist Rashidah Timothy, who opted for a blue dress in the photo, enthusiastically posted the group photo to her Instagram, garnering 272 likes and 69 comments, Nelson said.

I’m thinking of framing one [photo] for my husband for our anniversary this year,” Nelson said.

In New York City, photographer Leo Cabrera began taking photos of flying dresses after seeing an influx of train shows passing through Turkey and Santorini on Instagram. He began incorporating the shots into his business in early 2022, averaging 100 shots per year, locally on the Brooklyn Bridge and around Central Park and flying to Dubai and the Dominican Republic to get the shots.

Woman in blue dress.
The stairs are the perfect accessory for the draping of the flying dress to be perfect in the photo sessions in Central Park in New York.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Golden dress overlooking the New York waterfront.
Evening photo shoots are also a popular time for Cabrera’s clients to capture the sunset against the backdrop of sparkling jewel-toned gowns, like this one in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

“I try not to do more than two shots a day,” Cabrera told The Post, about having to limit demand because the shots are labor-intensive. His packages include a 1-hour photo shoot, dress rental (the dresses, he says, are designed by a stylist in Turkey), 15 edited and retouched photos, and location scouting for $400.

“Usually the photo sessions are done very early in the morning to avoid crowds and in places with enough space to work with the dress,” she told The Post.

Get dressed in the park.
Cabrera worked with a stylist in Turkey to source the flying dresses and put them to use in Central Park.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

Woman in purple dress in Central Park on the bridge.
Central Park is in full flight, that is, in flying dress mode. Cabrera says the park is another frequently chosen location for her flying dress photo shoots.
Leo Cabrera @photowalkny

A little vanity fanfare comes free: Smith remembers feeling like a celebrity, with onlookers gawking at her shoot.

“Passing tourists say, ‘Oh my gosh, you look so pretty.’ It was definitely a good time. I was like, ‘I look good and I feel beautiful, even though I was sweating,’ she said.

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