*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.
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.