This is the most-involved photoshoot I have done to date, and involved DIY fashion with make-up by the talented Chelsea Burford (check out her page!)
My friend, E, of Faith in Fools inherited this red velvet nightgown from her Nanna. It had a lovely colour and texture, as well as an interesting quilted section along the neckline. She liked it a lot, but the sleeves were too short and she couldn’t find a practical purpose for it. As I am significantly shorter, it fit me well and was perfect for a project I’ve been longing to do for years now.
I shortened the coat significantly (to a length just past my hips so that I can wear it with leggings modestly), changed the buttons (formerly matching velvet-covered shank buttons, swapped for black and gold shank buttons) and used the excess fabric from the hem to create a hood. I lined the hood with a powder-blue floral cotton for a whimsical contrast.
For a Little Red Riding Hood photoshoot, we started off with a simple, innocent make-up look with childlike pigtail plaits. I decided to style this shoot with a steampunk theme (remember back when I was doing costumes for a steampunk Into the Woods musical production? #throwback), complete with over-the knee socks, leather skirt with a petticoat, black leather corset and cream lace undershirt. Harry the Christmas Bear wanted to join in with his matching red coat too!
However, the theme for this photoshoot was not only Little Red Riding Hood; I wanted to play not only the role of Little Red, but also undergo a transformation into the Big Bad Wolf. As such, Chelsea then gradually added shadowy, lupine facepaint.
I also wore pale blue contact lenses throughout the shoot. Coloured contacts are something I’ve always wanted to try, and we thought it would suit both the doe-eyed innocence of Little Red, and the icy wolven coldness of the Big Bad Wolf. But it was a definite struggle! The diameter of the lens was wider than my palpebral fissures (i.e. the gap between my upper and lower eyelids); it was only after >10 attempts by my dad (an optometrist with more that 30 years experience and also the immense trust of his daughter) that we were able to finally get them in! I don’t have any pics to show you (sorry, I’m shy about revealing my face XD), but the blue was most noticeable in direct sunlight (in the shade, it was sometimes masked by my naturally dark irises)
Through these photos, I wanted to explore the interplay between Little Red Riding Hood’s naivety and the Big Bad Wolf’s ferocity and cunning. Are the two mutually exclusive? Does purity and piety require naivety to the wicked ways of the world (ignorance is bliss?), or can we choose righteousness despite that? Is there a certain rough edge to all of us, hidden beneath sweet smiles? Is this fierceness necessarily ‘evil’, or simply another facet of the complex human psyche? Are all wolves wicked, or does every have a sweet side too (tsundere, if you will)? This is at topic I personally like exploring; as a devout Christian who is a small Asian girl with a naturally cheerful disposition, I am sometimes stereotyped as ‘cute’, ‘innocent’ and ‘naive’. But perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions; everyone has their own story to tell. Anyway, sorry for the rant. I’m not here to host a deep discussion on this per se, but just to raise some interesting questions (after all, isn’t that what good art is for? Not that I am so self-indulgent as to consider what I do to be ‘good’ art hehe)
We photographed the transformation in a step-wise sequence and eventually added more intense face-paint with ‘furry’ streaks, as well as DIY fake-fur ears.
All in all, definitely the most involved photoshoot we’ve done (most of mine are done spur of the moment, depending on the availability of gifted fresh flowers and my sister-in-law as my photographer, and are usually done bare-faced/minima make-up), but definitely one of my favourites! It has been a big hit amongst our facebook friends, and I hope you enjoyed it too. It is such a privilege to work with two talented individuals/beloved friends (Chelsea and my sister-in-law), and I look forward to similar collaborations in the future!
Email me/message my page for any photoshoot suggestions/collaborations xx