The darkest hour...
The winter solstice just passed, and daylight is at its lowest. Our ancestors believed the veils between the physical world and that of the spiritual were at their thinnest, and that it was a dangerous time to be abroad, for fear of death snatching us. Thus our ancestors prayed at the altar of the weakened sun's light to be blessed and survive the winter.
A classic example of superstition based on common sense - the weather is extreme at this time of year and care is needed. So wrap up!
Today, we might not have the same knife-edge awareness of how vulnerable we are to the vagaries of the gods and nature, but we are creating our own darknesses. And conversely, routes to light.
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale frightened readers, as it shed light onto a dark possibility. Creatively, Atwood's dark vision of the future and its silenced women, especially, but of oppressed people really, has inspired not only other writers and various media, it has inspired fashion and fashion's creatives, profoundly.
Photographer Patrick McHugh, make-up and hair artist Ivey Sullivan, and stylist Aisling Cooney came together to explore its dark vision and create hopeful light.
For all that the clothes selected by Aisling are dark and near-cloaking the beauty of the woman they try to conceal, there is also a subtle sensuality and strong life force within the look and landscape. Further enhanced by Ivey's beautifully created make-up look.
Red was huge last year, this year and even more so next year, most likely as a result of the TV adaptation of Atwood's novel.
Red is an oft misunderstood and much maligned colour. But it is essential to this time of year. For two months, December and January, red is luminous and wondrous. It represents blood and life everlasting. According to eastern chakra energy systems, red represents the root of the self, upon which the whole is built. It is about groundedness, energy. Red is essential right now, because it is about life force and surviving the cold winter and providing strength for life's challenges.
As we are in the midst of preparing for family and friends gathering, and as many are preparing to make long journeys to see loved ones - remember that this time of year, though it can be arduous, marks the end of the long, dark days of winter. And the beginning of the slow and lovely walk back to summer's embrace.
Have a lovely holiday, everyone.
Photography by Patrick McHugh
Styling by Aisling Cooney
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine