Plush Decay means dying with fullness.
For our tenth installment, fall fashion and layering inspired me. Yet, opposed to our first shoot a year ago, I wanted to stick to a more strict color palate, and just a few textured details. Grunge fashion, which stems from the grunge music genre of the 90's, is a powerful but simple trend to convey. The moodboard included shots of long haired folks in distressed denim, flannel (of course), and Doc Marten boots. However, I wanted another element - my mother in law had given me these beautiful red boot heels that I found impossible to walk in. I brought those along with my red flannels, and decided each model needed a pop of glamour in their outfits (thus the big earrings, lipstick, and belts).
As far as the setting goes, I loved the idea of pairing the everyday and comfortable edgy look of grunge with layers and layers of books. My narrative thoughts behind the vision was that a group of people have been stranded in a book store, and have no choice but to read every volume, forgotten by the world outside. I needed a book store that was dim but still organized - a place that felt vintage (like the thrift store clothes most of them are wearing) and also timeless. I spoke to Dan at Bayview Books and Music, asking him if we could shoot there. He graciously said yes, and the day of the shoot all 12 of us (respectfully as possible) swarmed in and around the store's aisles, adding layers, applying the dots to faces, holding piles of books (making sure we put them back in their proper place). Bayview Books and Music has a wonderfully curated selection of books, records, even VHS - check the links below for more information on when they are open and how to get in touch with them.
For the photographers, Dorian Gray Photography came and worked his magic like he did on a previous Plush Decay shoot (Spirit Animals and Twisted Trees). There's something so immediate, raw, but glossy about his work and the way he captures people. Michael (aka @meekiullah_da_vinci_) has a very colorful and childlike nature to his work, and the way he edited his set highlights the grunge feel of the styling. Our third shooter was Olivia Kinneston, a young and talented woman who shoots mostly black and white, but floats between them and color photos effortlessly. Her group directing is particularly striking.
The models all have two dots above their eyes - one signifying birth, and the other death. The previous shoot I chose many dots above and below to signify the mystery and complex details above and below ground, also carrying with it the Hermetic maxim, implying that the self and the universe contain each other. But for this grunge and glam fashion, I wanted something simpler. Distressed denim representing, to me, a fashionable allegory to the messy births we experience into the world - the haphazard way we learn to talk and interact. We begin stumbling and broken, we begin imperfect. The shiny red boots that Desiree wears are, to me, a fashionable allegory to the styles and the excessive tastes we develop. Since we are given this life with no choice, we may as well make theatre out of it. The concept of theatrics and performance informs my every day life, and to me, how I live goes hand in hand with how I think of death. If I fear my inevitable decay, I may as well befriend it. If I'm cursed as all are to live with a skeleton, I may as well dress it up. Death is a process, a crystallization into something different. Glamorous red boots insist themselves to the eye. Glamour is a beautiful veil the fae or the witch cast to create beauty for the traveler on her way. This implies a sort of danger, too - the mystery of how your end transpires. As humans we begin broken, and we usually stay that way - but along with that comes experience, comes the development of your tongue to taste the flavors of your days.
A period to set forth the line of your life, and a period to end it.
The models for these sets contain eight talented people. Coco Monet - performer, model, and makeup artist, is effortless in her poses and powerful in her facial expressions. Ariana Vaeth is an amazing visual artist, whose paintings depict everyday life in a very tender and intimate way (and whose curls charm the viewer in every shot). This was my co-worker Brittney Hillmer's first time modeling in a group shoot, and I was glad that she let me convince her to take part. Desiree Roberts, the woman in the boots, is a very talented vocalist and musician. Elizabeth Brunner, a recently graduated philosophy student, has a quiet power to her face and presence that is a pleasure to work with again (she appeared in our Geometry Dreams shoot a few months back). I met Celeste Bellinger on Instagram through a Ladies of the Loon photo - she makes beautiful moody paintings, colorful and dreamy. Dylan Hartwig, besides being hilarious and fashionable, is an illustrator and vocalist (check the links section below for his Instagram). And for the third time, Molly Corkins blessed Plush Decay with her fierce expressions and beautiful presence - she's an actress, and it shows in how she holds her self, how she molds to the different outfits she wears.
Look below for the three photo sets, check the links below those for more info on the models and photographers and the beautiful bookstore.
Bayview Books and Music: https://www.facebook.com/Bay-View-Books-And-Music-624522847577374/
Dorian Gray Photography: http://doriangrayphotos.com
Dorian's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/doriangrayphoto/
Olivia Kinneston's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/esotericlens/
Michael's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meekielluh_da_vinci/
Ariana Vaeth's art: https://www.arianavaeth.com
Dylan Hartwig's art: https://www.instagram.com/fayreie/