I present to you, The Biker Mermaid From The Black Lagoon!
Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes you dig for it for ages, and sometimes it’s a flash of lightning. When I opened the parcel Kate’s clothing sent me to style and shoot and review, the first though I had was: this looks like something a biker mermaid would wear! Ideas do that sometimes, they pop up and lodge themselves into your brain; the french call it an idée fixe. I found it best, at those moments, to just go with the flow.
I recently started making mood and inspiration boards on pinterest for my photoshoots. They serve both as a reminder to me, and a visual aid for the photographer and/or set mistress I work with.
A little note on set mistresses: A set mistress is what I affectionately call my friends who decide that they will sacrifice a portion of their valuable weekend to prance around strange locations, toss glitter on me, fix my hair and make sure that everything is just so, while also getting eaten alive by bugs and possibly making behind the scene photos/videos. A price above rubies, those ladies.
There is always a gap between what’s in our minds and what we can create with our hands. This can lead to a lot of frustration.
My pinterest board proved invaluable in this case. It not only helped me find the right aesthetic for the shoot, but also gave me ideas on how to do complex makeup with my, limited makeup skills. The final result was a mix of my pinterest board, spur of the moment inspiration (I literally grabbed a handful of jewellery as I was already leaving for the shoot because another idea had struck me, which is something I almost never do), and the descriptions of a character who is partly human and partly Deep One (as featured in H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ from Charles Stross’ book The Jennifer Morgue. Somewhere in there the cult movie titled Faster Pussycat Kill Kill also snuck in. Like I said, inspiration is a funny thing.
I tested and tweaked the makeup for this a few days before the shoot. Testing new makeup on the day of the shoot can lead to disasters, delays and other dreadful things starting with the letter “d”, the same also goes for preparing the clothing (ironing, picking out accessories etc.)
I also try to be in bed by 10 or 11 pm on the evening before the shoot. There is no makeup in the world that will replace a good night’s sleep. It’s a glamorous life, folks!
It took me about 2 hours to do my hair and makeup for this photoshoot. I did the scales by clipping a fishnet stocking over my face and then contouring and shading until I got the desired look. This proved to be the simplest and sturdiest method, and after that I just added more contouring to my neck and chest area. I knew it wouldn’t really show much on the photos, but it would give that subtle “not from around these parts” look I was aiming for. Because everyone knows I’m all about subtle!
Our shooting locations are always a bit strange, and one of my favourites is the large city park called Bundek. In its middle is a double lake, intersected by a wooden bridge under which a natural filtration system is set up so one half of it is a swampy, natural lake (where we shot) and the other is a clear lake with a pebble beach where the people of Zagreb come to bathe and lounge in the sun during the summer months.
We walked (or, in the case of my photographer who had a broken foot and a plastic cast, limped) to the location where Hybris, the set mistress, proceeded to add finishing touches to the look by dousing me in tons and tons of glitter and adding more scaly details. After that I more or less squished around in some mud, glared at mosquitoes and clenched everything clenchable while trying to look otherworldly and alluring.
I gave this blog post a lot of thought. I use photos to tell a story. Sometimes the story is a little prosaic: a romantic stroll through the city, a captured moment in nature… Sometimes it is something more- a daring lady adventurer, a steampunk captain on her day off, or a Lovecraftian mermaid coming to have some fun on land. I feared that revealing all the prep-work and behind the scenes in it might ruin that magic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Do you prefer just the description of the inspiration and a review of the outfits, or are you interested in the entire creative process? Does peeking behind the curtain ruin it for you? Let me know!
The final verdict on the collection
As Kate’s clothing have my measurements on file, they picked the sizes for me, and while at first glance some of the pieces looked like I will never squeeze into them (looking at you trousers), they proved to be a fantastic fit. The material is firm, but stretchy and dotted with glitter flecks. The little mermaid/fin detailing on every piece give it a special appeal. The collection would have been perfectly fine without them, but adding that extra step really shows they went a step further than creating a couple of run of the mill mix and match items.
Plus, you know, it looks really really cool!
All the pieces, the dress, the trousers, the jacket and the skirt are made to be worn skin-tight, so don’t expect any pockets, as they would definitely ruin the silhouette. As much as I adore pockets, in cases such as this, their absence is justified.
As the material is really high quality and somewhat thicker, I would suggest this for spring/fall (or maybe even a milder winter), as it got a bit warm in it at about 23 Celsius, which was about the temperature we were shooting at.
I would definitely recommend wearing the dress with some kind of shapewear, just to get this smooth and sleek look we got in the photos, but without all the sucking in of bellies and standing ramrod straight.
Ease of maintenance:
Ironing Required: MAYBE
Until next time!
Set Mistress: Hybris Photography