Booze. Prohibition. Glamour. Youth. Silent Screen. Secrets. Bankruptcy. Jealousy. Roaring Twenties.
Sounds like a juicy story, huh?
Well, this is what was going through my imagination during the process of creating our newest fashion editorial for Glassbook Magazine, “Smoke and Mirrors”.
The year is 1925. Glamour and opulence is norm of the day. Sequin embroidered dresses with brocade imported from the Orient, ostrich plume lined cocktail dresses for a luncheon affair, and rouge à la Parisian showgirl is the look. Gold, fur, opalescence and expensive fabrics are every girl’s and guy’s dream wardrobe. Money, affluence, power, politics, social skills and beauty are all you needed to complete the package.
Vacation and summer homes Upstate complete with tennis courts, well stocked cellars full of champagne and clandestine whiskey, and decadent food like macaroons, passion fruit, and dessert confections are at your whim.
Leaving the hustle and bustle of a fast paced city, this group of “friends” retreats into the vast palatial “relaxed” version of their lives.
Gossip is a constant variable of this clique. “DID you hear that his dad is having an affair with a French ingenue?” “Her parents are sending her away to London to a boarding school because she likes girls” “He seems so sad when he drinks” “I heard the family is only worth the clothes on their backs”
As the week-long engagement ensues, lavish parties and costume changes occur. This makes them feel at home. The loud sound of jazz echoes through the house along with scent of smoke and opium. For a small moment, this group of teenaged heirs and heiresses smile and play in a playground where they are far away from society’s grip. Anything goes. Expression of self and sharing of their youth bonds them.
After the end of a secret week of excess, they return. To their steel tycoon offices and lackluster arranged marriages to secure family wealth and status thus proving that not everything is what it seems. Smoke and mirrors.
I have always enjoyed looking through old photographs since I was young. For this project, I chose to inspire myself by choosing 4 actual people who lived during this era. These people led interesting lives and in my imagination I associated each model of this editorial as teen-aged versions of them.
The first is a moody, sultry, raven haired female. Her name was Norma Talmadge. The daughter of an unemployed alcoholic father and product of a broken home, Norma set out to explore the world. She became a model at 14 and after several movie flops, she married a man with whom she opened a very successful movie production company in Hollywood.
Andrea Haag personified her deep sultry looks in this editorial.
Next, is the beautiful platinum blonde bombshell. Anita Page was one of the most successful actresses of the silent screen. She was referred to as the “blond blue-eyed Latin” and her face was considered the most beautiful to appear on-screen at that time. She reportedly received more than 10,000 pieces of fan mail in one year. We share common bond because her family was from El Salvador in Central America, as is mine.
The perfect model to channel Anita was Roxanna Redfoot.
A mixture of entertainment, beauty, erotica, and exotic made up the famous Josephine Baker. Part cabaret dancer, part jazz, part business woman, she succeeded in becoming famous during her time. She became the first African-American female to star in a major motion picture in 1934. Born a Creole, she applied and became a French citizen and was present during the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Married four times, she decided to adopt children of different races to show she could have them all call each other “brother”.
Amber Griffin fits her exuberance perfectly.
No story worth telling is complete without a handsome playboy. Gary Cooper was a famous actor for his time appearing in over 100 films including westerns. He was also a noteworthy playboy having affairs with famous women of the time such as Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, and Tallulah Bankhead. He married Veronica Balfe, who played the woman who was terrorized by King Kong in the original film.
This suave alpha male was played by Trevor Burchett.
I wanted to pay homage to the great era through hair and makeup but not make it look “costume-y”.
Down turned eyebrows and smokey eyes in charcoal, plum, and mocha gave an instant moody effect worthy of a flapper girl. Customary of that time was to curve the lip at the Cupid’s bow and make it appear pouty and doll-like. I left the silhouette of the lips in a natural state concentrating on making the outer edges thinner and sharper for a more modern effect. Tones in raspberry, plum, merlot, and rose matched a cooler palette to contrast the dewy skin finish. Blusher in dusty rose, pale pink and mauve was painted downward on the face to keep it true to the time period. Pailettes, or small hand cut glitter, was used on the eyes to give a sultry and vampy flapper vibe.
The hair was wet set in a finger wave pattern and pin curl pattern with Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam. I prefer this foam as opposed to a setting lotion because it is lighter and conditions the hair. Custom colored wigs were cut into blunt bobs for a dramatic effect as well.
Here is the full editorial!
I hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did creating it!
Hair and Makeup: Walter Fuentes of WAFU Artistry
Photography: Nicollette Mollet
Photography Assistant: Tyler Martin
Fashion Styling: Mary Mirsky
Styling Assistant: Allie Mora
Models: Courtesy of The Campbell Agency; Andrea Haag, Amber Griffin, Roxanna Redfoot, Trevor Burchett
Location: Warwick Melrose Hotel Dallas