Thursday 22 March 2018

The lady in the portrait

Corset top, €635; embroidered skirt, €695, both Claire Garvey.
Corset top, €635; embroidered skirt, €695, both Claire Garvey.

Constance Harris

Occasionally, on a fashion shoot, magic happens. It comes, I find, when people are at the top of their game, have years of experience of their craft and get to do what they do best.

So it was, one day, when multi-award-winning hairdresser from Kazumi, Jenni Crawford, and photographer Emily Quinn finally realised their creative dream to work together. Joined by the mega-talented, veteran make-up artist Zoe Clark, the evocative, beautiful, otherworldly portraits on our pages today are the result of the team's dream.

"There was something that kind of happened on the day. It wasn't forced. It was a very special moment for us all," Jenni explains.

"On the Sunday we shot, the atmosphere was great, everyone was excited, but nervous, too. I was really nervous, as we had no big plan, but we had an idea and a lovely meeting of minds - and then it fell into place," Emily says. "When [model] Katie stepped in front of us for the first time, something just appeared. It was magical."

"I had 'thinkings' going on in my head for a shoot," Jenni says. "I love that portrait Sir John Lavery did of his wife, Woman With Golden Turban; I have always been fascinated by their relationship in that painting. I have always been fascinated by painting and that medium; we all have seen those portraits from that era, and they hang there and we have wanted to know - what was going on in their heads, in their lives, at the time of painting?"

I agree. It is why portraiture is so fascinating. I love that Jenni and Emily went after those elusive qualities in a fashion shoot - backstory, character, emotion. It is the stuff of great fashion editorials, and 99.99pc of the time it is missing from them.

"My thing is I tell a story in what I am doing," Jenni explains. "In this shoot, we had our 'Miss Havisham'. We had 'The Countess'. We had 'The Seductress'. We had our angels and our not-so-angelic. Our blonde model, Katie, was the light and angelic. Then Paloma, the dark-haired model, was about the dark and darker emotions, like envy and manipulation. It's about looking at the two sides of femininity - the light and the dark."

Jenni constructed the 'headpieces', which are crucial to her characters, from monofibre hair that she had set in advance. "I make a material out of it, paint it and turn it into shapes," she says.

Paloma Feijoo , the dark-haired model also helped to source clothes, with Jenni's direction, on this unusual shoot.

If you like the style from this era, Claire Garvey is always a go-to designer for 'costume drama', as is vintage store Jenny Vander.

But Jenni and Paloma also sourced gorgeous pieces from Costume in Castle Market, Dublin; Emporium Kalu in Naas; Coast; and All Saints in Kildare Village.

The creativity never ends.

Photography by Emily Quinn

Styling by  Jenni Crawford & Paloma Feijoo

Fashion edited by  Constance Harris

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