Monday, July 1, 2019


*If you haven't seen the show POSE (on FX) yet, it's brilliant*

One of the reasons I enjoy spending time with Melanie in Vancouver is that she loves playing with makeup, and dressing up, as much as I do.  We had planned to do a photo shoot at some point during my visit and on the Saturday we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and an low-traffic alley in her neighbourhood to channel our inner performance artist/model.  We had done a shoot together when I visited in 2016, the results of which you can see on my blog here.

My daily makeup routine consists of brow pencil and lipstick, so it's always fun to experiment using Melanie's extensive collection of products.  We go for lots of bold colour and more than a dash of whimsy. 

Mel's makeup - don't her eyes look huge!

I was inspired by a photo of Twiggy wearing "flower power" makeup on the cover of Vogue Magazine from 1967

We didn't confer about what we were going to wear but as it turned out, we were perfectly in sync with our silky, voluminous pieces.  We found a suitably grimy-but-not-stinky alley in her neighbourhood, set up the tripod and went to it.  Looking at these photos, I wish I would have had different shoes to wear (one can only pack so many pairs of shoes) so I encourage you to focus on the knees upwards.

I found this silk caftan/dress at The Sentimentalist and this was the first wearing.  It felt like wearing nothing and the fabric moved beautifully.  Reviewing the photos, I see a Japanese/Geisha influence in the poses, which I think was inspired by the shape of the dress and the makeup.

The breeze was an unplanned, but very welcome addition to the shoot, and provided great movement to the light fabrics we were both wearing.  I love this shot of Melanie and her "wings".

If we lived closer to each other, I know we would do more of this kind of thing.  I think we are serving excellent fashion editorial here.  Vogue, pay attention.

You can see the details of Melanie's makeup in this shot.  She is one of the most creative people in terms of her personal style and she inspires me to push myself further in the way I present myself in the shoots we do together.

While writing this post, I asked myself what it was that inspires me to do this, and what do I enjoy about it (aside from the obvious appeal of working on a creative project with a good friend).  Most women I know don't spend their spare time doing things like this (although I wonder how many of them would secretly like to).  I spent my childhood, and much of my young adult life, feeling very unhappy with my looks.  I was plain and mousy with buck teeth and glasses, and yearned for the  dramatic style of Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand.  Over the years, I've grown to accept, and on a good day, even like, the face I present to the world, it's only when I see myself in photos like these that I feel beautiful.  There is something about the exaggeration and artifice that I feel makes my face more interesting to look at.  Perhaps this is similar to what drag queens feel when they look in the mirror and see their fully made-up selves?  Perhaps I was a drag queen in another life?   This requires more time to fully address than I'm prepared to spend here, but definitely food for thought.

I played around with the highlights on this one and I rather like the effect

Melanie, caught in a perfect serious moment 

However, she can only be serious for so long...

It was obvious we were both getting a bit giddy, so, time to pack up and go for snacks!

Thank you Melanie, for being an excellent partner in creative crime.  You can see her first post about our adventures on her blog here.


  1. I love our creative time together, Shelley, other times too, but I seldom get the chance to do this with friends. What awesome photos we got and your moves are like dance - the real you comes out. You are such a natural in front of the lens. Thanks for visiting. This post brings it all back. I can't wait until next time!

  2. These photos are so good! There is a sense of kismet and serendipity in how your outfits and makeup turned out. It's clear you and Melanie "get" each other. And you're face IS perfect. You both are art on the screen in the way you look and the way you pose. These photos are so good!

    We haven't met yet, Shelley, but I hope one day we do and I hope it's a time like this, one when we can cut loose with make up and fashion and rule the camera in front of us. I look forward to that day.

    - Sherry

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Sherry. I think that Mel and I do "Get" each other when it comes to projects like this. I hope we can get together at some point and play!

  3. So much awesomeness in every which way. And your dress is delish. All that swanning, it's like all the ice cream you can eat with your eyes. mmmmmmm.

  4. Oh, I love these pictures so much! You both look amazing - Mel always looks like a model! You have the most amazing jawline and cheekbones - you could cut paper with them! I love your wonderful breezy clothes. That silk dress is to die for!

    I love doing dress-up and stuff like this, but most of my friends are not this adventurous...

    1. Most of my friends are not this adventurous either. It's unfortunate that the ones that are live so far away!

  5. So.Much.Fun!!! I'm so glad you shared these photos because I was wondering after seeing the makeup on Mel's blog, okay, they did the cool makeup and then they didn't take any photos?

    You do seem to come alive in these shoots you do Shelley. Mel brings out the character/actress in everyone.


  6. woww, love your fabulous photo shoot, both of you are so creative and excelent partners in crime! mwhaha You look like RockStars, love your makeup and fabulous tunic, such a magnificent shape and colors!, I can see an oriental-impressionist vibe!. And love Mel's attitude and her makeup is so amazing and expressionist!
    I'm totally your kind of people to make something like this!, I'd love to wrap myself in something unexpected and add dramatic makeup (and a hat, could I wear a Hat?) and have fun and take pics!. Probably it's not everybody's cup of tea. I was a tipically embarrassed and self-conscious teenager so I think I enjoy particularly any creative opportunity to wear fantastic clothes!

    1. I thought you would enjoy doing something like this. Of course you could wear a hat!

  7. I love how Mel brings out the supermodel in you. You both look incredible, those are some serious makeup skills going on there. xxx

  8. I have seen a number of these photos on Mel's blog but you have a few lovely ones which are different. That silk dress you are wearing is stunning. I can see the Japanese vibe.
    As for self acceptance.. we live and learn. And if dress-up gives you that, how about a few more session like you did with the dramatic pictures in that old building? I loved that photo series.