Fashion photoshoots in Lapland

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At last a holiday! Our first proper adventure since our honeymoon over three years ago – so long overdue. and since   it as tropics last time, we knew this time it will be somewhere colder.

In the end we we chose an Arctic Adventure  in the Muotka Wilderness lodge – and we didn’t regret it! The  holiday snaps will be put into a separate post with all the details, but suffice it to say, we did lots of interesting stuff – skied, snowshoed,  mushed a husky team, drove snowmobiles, rode in reindeer sled, seen the Aurora and ate lovely food.

but apart from that, I managed to scramble a few outfits together to photograph – and since somehow the cold climate spoke East to me, I went Manchurian – and Russian. The inspiration board  is here.

Time to make the clothing was one thing – the cost and weight another – it needed to be light, and made from the materials from the stash…. a bit of a challenge, but not much!

The Manchurian inspired set was the first, and the least trouble to create. I already had silk trousers and long kaftan in silk from my Steampunk Mulan( Steampunk Amazones), so all i needed to make was a warm wool kaftan – and i wanted it to be something i would be able to wear not just for a shoot, but as a garment.

In the end, I ended up with a dark aubergine wool, with lots of trimming, including a fur trim, and a belt. Topped with my Varengian hat, it served the purpose well… the hairclips are by The Colorful world of Kanzashi

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Since the snow was quite deep, getting  into places could be challenging…. a short video here

Next was a formal Russian gown with a kokoshnik – all in silk, with silver lace. Fun to wear, though it does feel like wearing a silky tent 🙂

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  It turned out that modern skidoo and a modern down jacket were not bad accessories 🙂

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And the last look was a traditional Russian sarafan – garment that was worn for several centuries, especially amongst the countryside folk, and in all its simplicity and elegance remained in style since about 13th century – till well into the 19th… cut and styles changed a bit overtime, but basically it was a  dress work with shoulder straps over a long, often embroidered chemise. Worn with a headdress ( kokoshink for married women, scarf or similar for unmarried), the style is simple, but effective.

Here I had neither time, nor inclination to embroider a chemise, so I got mine from a lovely Ukrainian lady from etsy – made  bespoke, it arrived promptly, and was absolutely  stunning – her facebook page is here, and her etsy shop here – well work a look if you like the style, prices are very affordable too!

The kokoshnik  I could make myself – but I saw a lovely one on a page  Creations by Liv Free – and simply had to get it for the photoshoot! The artist was very accommodating, and the kokoshnik was amazing – I think it is still for sale in her shop

The sarafan was made out of some stock fabric, blend of wool and cotton – lovely weight and flowing stuff, but not best to sew in – so i ended up sewing all the decorations by hand… 2 braids were used to decorate it, and I think this look is by far my favourite one!

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I was even made to work – towing a block of ice!

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and that’s the height of the snow banks….

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Hope you liked the wintery scenery – I must say I enjoyed the shooting immensely, but was glad it was not too cold – only minus a few degrees, so nothing major! 🙂

2 Faces of Winter: Polaris

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This was the second part of the project 2 Faces of Winter, and whereas the first one, Desolation, was all about the bleakness of the season, this one, Polaris, was to be all about the sparkle of the freshly fallen snow,  quiet, fluffy and cold, reflected either in the weak sunshine, or, better still, in the cold moonlight on a starry night.  Link to my inspiration board here 

  I had a skirt , all in feathers, and a bridal coat from our Winter Bride collection lat year – but needed  a proper wintery corset and headdress to go with them.

 Once  the base was all ready ( white cotton sateen, internal boning, bound in silver), it was time to start on the decoration…

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experimenting with different textures

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snowflakes galore!

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layering the bling…

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done!

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flossing detail

 The headdress was the next step – and since the coat looks a bit Russian I decided to go for the traditional Russian headdress called kokoshnik tiara.

 First – the base, experimenting with the shape

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 when I was happy with the shape, i stabilized it, added attachment points and covered everything in white linen first, then silk. The base was trimmed with marabou feathers, and silvery white ferns were arranged on top. then just added bling, and the strings of pearls…

Image Everything was ready, but we had a slight problem… no snow in England. none forecast either for the next few weeks, and it was already the end of January… If we wanted snow we either had to think outside the box – or travel.

 Fortunately my parents live in Oslo – and snow is there aplenty. after a quick look at budget airlines and timing, we were booked on the flight to Norway. A short trip, 2 days, should be enough to do a shoot, catch up with my folks and maybe do some skiing!

 We arrived  on Saturday afternoon and had a brief wait for my parents who were out at the language school, studying Norwegian. we used it constructively – bought gloves, hat, and started making a sledge out of the snow.   in the afternoon we just managed to catch enough light to shoot one part of the Polaris  the results below…

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and the sledge! 🙂

for those of you wondering what footwear was used, wonder no longer….

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the answer is – reasonable footwear. 🙂

The next morning brought a change of weather – thaw:-(  it was raining a bit and all the snow was gone from the trees, but there was still enough to snatch some proper pictures in the daylight.

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Norwegian daylight is sort of more of a UK dusk…

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  And the job done, we could relax. Alas, due to the weather conditions, no skiing for us – but fortunately sledges were still game! We hired sledges  at the top of one of the mountains – the route winds down for about 2.5km  and ends at a train station. Very convenient, as the train carries you all the way up –  to the start of the sleigh route!  it was great fun despite the drizzle and dense fog:-)  a few pics below:-)

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 After a few hours  of sledging fun, wet and achy (  the route has a lot of moguls throwing your sledges into the air – and sometimes you land ok on the sledges, sometimes you don’t… impressive bruises were gained thus…) we got warm and soothed our pains with copious amounts of tea and cake in the local restaurant:-)

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the restaurant… very cool

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even cooler…

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the interior design did not disappoint…

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neither did the cake…

  Next morning it was time to get back home –  tired, bruised, but happy with the pictures! 🙂

Many thanks to my parents for putting us up for the weekend:-)

 Hope you enjoyed them too – all costume pictures by Pitcheresque Imagery, clothes by Prior Attire.

2 Faces of Winter: Desolation

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 Following the autumnal fun with Spirit of Autumn, i decided to have a series of seasonal projects – and the next one, naturally was to be Winter.But since I couldn’t make up my mind which part of winter I like more, I have ended up with 2 sub projects; the first one, Desolation,  was inspired by the bleakness of the season – the muted dark colouring, dirt, mud, rain, fog and ice; death and decay – a typical British winter for more of its duration 🙂

I wanted to include some organic bits, just as I did in the Autumn part – but it turned out to be rather tricky! in the end i settled on the lunaria pods ( honesty plant, silver dollar plant) and some twigs.  once that was decided upon, the design was made…

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soon after i started collating bits and pieces that would go together – chiffon, bling etc…

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The corset (pattern – Sew Curvy overbust) was made in white and black sheer, with pods of the honesty plant sandwiched between the layers. The pods symbolize the rebirth – that even in death there is a seed of life hidden within, awaiting awakening once the seasons turn.

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The channels are exterior,  fashioned of a lovely grey tape – I used the same tape to bind the corset.  Boning – usual mixture of flat and spiral steels; some of the steels can be seen between the layers of the sheer – adding a hint of a skeletal deathly character to the corset.

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 Additional decoration is provided by the bling – black, grey and transparent crystals emphasising the hip and bust; two big crystal brooches  provide anchors for strips of chiffons – grey and black, matching the skirts, hanging in the front. They also anchor the black chiffon cape.

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The skirt is on the big side and was a real fun to make – big cotton base then strips of torn chiffon are randomly attached to the base. Not the most comfortable attire to walk in, but looked impressive while stationary 🙂 . About 20 metres of different chiffon were used…

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the base of the skirt, in cotton

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attaching the strips of chiffon, with the usual helper….

The crown is made out of frosted twigs and pearl and bead strings – all fashioned in about an hour.

Finishing the outfit was a bit hurried – originally we were hoping for snow, and since no snow was forecast, I was taking the project easy. and then one Monday evening we had a fog – a proper, dense, milky fog. next morning we were both more or less free, so we decided to shoot the thing in the morning, using the fog as a background.

Alarm was set for 6 – if it was foggy we would get up, get ready ( make up, contact lenses, hair extension etc all take time!). and  go and shoot. But when i woke up at 6, no fog was about. I even got up and went outside – the ground was white with frost, but no fog. back to bed then.

And then, at 8 am, with the sun rise, the frost turned into milk white fog….

Make up etc was done in record time and we were off – I even managed to get the contact lenses in less then 5 min, a huge achievement!

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on the way to the shoot

It was still bitterly cold and wet – and muddy! we decided to use Harold Odell Park again – a lot of interesting places there!

and the results….

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 Very happy with the results –  it was worth doing it with the fog, worth getting cold and getting dirty boots too…

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 Hope you enjoyed  the pictures –  all images by Pitcheresque Imagery

The other face of winter, Polaris, is already done – and will sort out the post on that soon!

and in the meantime, the corset is up for grabs at a discounted price  in our shop!

Victorian Christmas at Holkham Hall

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 For the last two years we were lucky enough to be working at Holkham Hall during their spectacular Christmas events – again organized by  Black Knight Historical .  The venue, located on Norfolk coast, nearby a lovely beach is simply stupendous – indeed it has been used in a few film productions ( The Duchess was, I believe, one of the most recent ones). The Coke family still lives there and it is a real privilage to be able to work in such lavish environment – our favoirite room was the  South Dining Room.

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The room set up for Christmas dinner.

 In the 2011 we spent a weekend  there – and since it was just a few months after our Victorian Wedding, we assumed roles of a newly wed couple on their visiting round. Our task was to interact with the visitors, chatting about  Victorian wedding customs, fashions and dances. We were also scheduled to do a short public talk about Victorian dances and do a Vienesse waltz demonstration.

 

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the Christmas tree in the upper hall

There were lots of interesting things happening around the venue: the kitchens were busy preparing festive food ( lovely stuff by  4and20 Blackbirds), and at noon Her Majesty Queen Victoria ( eve from  Live’n History ) arrived in style.

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 The Queen had a good look around the Hall, and then sat down to tea – and to spend some time chatting with the children.

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Her Majesty, Eleanor as the MIstress of the Robes and two brave girls asking for a position at court no doubt!

 

Altogether two very busy days, in great company and fantastic surroundings. So when we were approached to participate in the 2012 event, for two weekends, we did not hesitate!

 One thing was clear – I needed more frocks! My wedding gown, worn already on several occassions  needed a rest – and I now had a perfect excuse to make some new  Victorian  outfits!  I have decided to wear my 1885 Riding habit on one day, and make a warm 1877 polonaise and a walking dress for the other days.

 The polonaise was based on a fashion plate from Harpers Bazar and I made once before – for one of my bridesmaids. this time i wanted to make one in wool, with decorative border.

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1877 promenade dress in wool

 the other outfit was also based on a fashion plate from the same book.

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autumn costume,1883

 This time the whole of the house was open and the decor was absolutely amazing. the rooms were transformed – and one corridor was made into a lovely winter’s paradise, complete with moving animals!

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the wintery paradise

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 There was a different Christmas tree in every room – my favourite was the one made from the antlers shed by the stags from the local deer park.

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unusual tree!

 

 A different room was set up for the feast, all being prepared by a  an army of servants in the kitchen, and the laying of the table supervised by a dashing butler.

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the maids

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 The yard and the museum were alive with entertainment, Victorian market, photographers carriage rides and storytellers – a little paradice for the kids! Inside the little ones could visit  The Green Man ( the Victorian Santa!). The entrance was guarded – we all felt extra safe with sucha  sentinel!

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 Each room had different interpreters entertaining the public. Lucas, Eleanor and I were in the South Dining room; my role was to talk about the secret language of the fan, Victorian ettiquette, manners and customs. What we did talk about ranged from fans to railways, toys manutacture, corsetry and post cards – absolutely everything, so we had an extremely interesting time – and we talked to  over a couple of thousands people each weekend!

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antique fans at the ready!

 altogheter an action packed  4 days were had – and we did enjoy wearing our new frocks! Here’s Eleanor, resplended in silk taffeta

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Eleanor in her new mouring gown, 1885

  and my promenade dress, which turned out very christmassy and very cosy! – more pictures here

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1877 polonaise

 Am very happy at how wellthe welking outfit turned out – called now The grape dress due to the pattern and the colour of the silks. again, more pictures on my page, here.

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the grape dress

  and , just a few silly pictures of what was happening after hours…

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some were naughty and needed a bit of discipline

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the boys being up to no good no doubt

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corsets? what corsets, all I need is a bit of exercise to keep my waist trim! as if…

 

   And the good news is – we are back for the Victorian Christmas 2013!!!!