This past Wednesday was the culmination of about 6 months worth of brainstorming, creating and planning for a big fashion editorial with the theme of “Warriors.” As per usual, I am extremely inspired by ideas of post-apocalyptic life and the ability that human beings have to overcome adversity and survive even the worst disasters. The concept behind this shoot was relatively simple: a group of young girls traipsing across a desert, trying to survive after an apocalyptic event. Each girl is a different personality (simple versions are: shaman, princess, warrior, gypsy), but all are relying on each other to survive in difficult circumstances.
While I was watching the movie The Centurion this past winter, I was struck by the strength of one of the female characters, and she became the initial visual inspiration for the look I started building a fleshier idea off of. In the end, I decided that the visual concept was a going to be a bit Mad Max, a bit “Resident Evil: Extinction,” and a little bit Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. With this idea in mind, I started contacting designers on Etsy, asking them about renting or loaning out items for the shoot, and I had two spectacularly kind women actually respond with enthusiasm about the shoot.
The owner of Savage Salvage loaned me three absolutely perfect pieces of her jewelry. She creates amazing pieces from recycled, repurposed pieces she has scavenged from many different sources… she has a lovely bohemian, tribal aesthetic and I would definitely recommend you check out her etsy shop to see her brilliant, eco-friendly and affordable designs. She provided us with a porcupine quill bib necklace with matching earrings as well as a beautiful brass slave bracelet.
The other designer who responded was Anna, from Madhu Designs. She sells lovely leather and crochet pieces as well as some handmade tops from India. When I contacted her, it was because the aesthetic of a number of her designs was EXACTLY what I was thinking we needed for shoot wardrobe… once I started talking to her, however, I realized how much more amazing she was than just a creator of beautiful clothing. She is actually a documentary film maker who spent a number of years in India, traveling around, creating a film about the orphaned children of India who live in the train stations. She sells these clothing pieces to support a man she met in India named Lucky who is a former street kid who currently is devoted to becoming a film-maker himself so he can share the story of the street kids who live on the train platforms all across India and Nepal. It is such an amazing story and Anna is so devoted to sharing with the world the plight of these children, that I was even more excited to have her work as a fundamental part of the shoot. The website for the documentary is: LUCKY EXPRESS: A Documentary of India’s Train Kids— check it out and please consider supporting her incredible project!
Around the time I started actually hearing back from designers, I was also talking with my three favorite makeup artists: Jayne Riot, Erin Driscoll of Killer Instinct and Devan Weitzman of Devanelle Makeup about what wondrous things they could do with the faces of our (as of yet unchosen) models… we brainstormed and brainstormed, and eventually come up with the idea of doing 2 different, distinct looks- one that had super-fine details and one that was very slap-dash, with a finger-paint kind of feel to it. I created a virtual mood-board on Pinterest, and was able to share it with all participants to give everyone an idea of what we were going for.
On top of this, I started designing/creating feather mohawks which would be worn by the models, that would play a part in describing their character. Originally, I had planned to create 10 of these, each with a very distinct, very separate character to inspire the models, the wardrobe and the makeup… in hindsight, this was a bit over-zealous on my part. In the end, I created five of the feather head-pieces, and we used 3 of them. Here are the one’s I created and actually used in the shoot:
and here are a few behind-the scenes pics from the day:
Erin doing makeup on Emily, Yana in the background in my kitchen while we’re getting prepped for the shoot before going on location.
Erin doing Yana’s second look, Jennie & Marie snacking while we wait for the 2nd look group shoot.
I feel very lucky to have been able to work on this project with such an amazing group of ladies, and despite a few bumps in the road, we created some amazing images, had a fantastically memorable day and hopefully all of our effort will lead to the publishing of at least some of the images in a magazine or two! I am so proud of what we accomplished and I really can’t wait to share the images once all my submissions are taken care of and we determine where the images are going to end up! I can’t wait to work with these ladies again, and I certainly couldn’t have done this without them!
The Final Cast of Characters:
Erica Templeman, Designer & Owner, Pretty Thoughts Latex