Bewitching trepidation

“There is no beauty without some strangeness.”
~Edgar Allan Poe

Decadent dream

Ever since I can remember, I have been slightly obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe. Somewhere between the morose romanticism and engaging storytelling, I fell down the rabbit hole that is the magical world of one of the 19th century’s most prolific writers.

Although recognized more for his literary criticism during his lifetime, Poe’s writing spins gothic tales of tragedy, insanity, and magnificient macabre. No stranger to misfortune himself, perhaps Poe used his work to deal with many of the complex issues surrounding his own life. In addition to brilliant prose, Poe was also known for developing intuitive “scientific” theories and had a love for cryptography. I believe that Poe possessed a unique combination of attributes which add a delicious spin to his works, making them detective stories as well as spine tingling tales of terror.

Annabelle LeeI’ve wanted to create an Edgar Allan Poe inspired group for some time. Last winter I spent many hours searching for the ideal fabrics, drafting bustle patterns, and collecting a myriad of vintage findings in order to put together a trio of beautifully melancholy couture looks. I was so happy to find that The Velveteen Rabbit was the perfect backdrop for my concept. I recruited the insanely talented team at Radiant Inc. to capture some incredible images of spooky beauties Moxie Macabre and Annalee Belle.

Exquisite

If you are a fan of Poe, I highly recommend you check out “Tales of the Macabre” illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe. This book has some ghoulishly gorgeous  artwork accompanying favorite works by the grim genius. We’re currently redesigning the gallery on our site, so if you’d like to see more photos from this shoot, take a peek here.

 

Step into my parlor…

Most people know me to be a bit of a coffee addict, however I managed to become quite the connaisseur of tea while living in New Orleans many years ago.  Instead of engaging in our usual afternoon cocktail hour, my friends and I would occasionally organize fabulous tea parties.  Inspired by the fine English tradition of afternoon tea, these little get-togethers were a way to relax with the simple pleasures of a fine beverage and good conversation.

Tea Time top and skirt

The “Tea Time” style group is dedicated to the diverse personalities that made up my little tea parties.  The top and skirt embrace the tradition of English plaid contrasted with London 1970’s punk style.  The matching pillbox hat has classic vintage allure with the spooky twist of a Kustom Voodoo skull flower.  The “Tea Time” necklace is a captivating piece comprised of a skeleton key pendant accentuated by a ruby red rosary style chain.

Tea Time hat and necklace

From my tea party to yours, wishing you all the best in 2014!

 

 

 

Face On By Tamara – Photographer extraordinaire!

I’ve known Tamara, the lovely lady behind Face On By Tamara, for several years.  She is an incredible photographer, and as I recall, our friendship began when we collaborated on some images for the Poison Candy® line. I’ve worked with many photographers, but Tamara captivated me with her ambitious nature and take no prisoners attitude when it came to getting the perfect shot.  Many times I have asked for a simple catalog style shot and gotten not only the ideal image, but a host of unexpected photos in various locations.  She is brilliant at converting any space into a studio, once turning her garage into the perfect bordello for a Moulin Rouge inspired collection.  When Tamara organizes a photo shoot it becomes more of an adventure for model and photographer alike, the gorgeous imagery being a pleasant side effect of playtime.

Tamara impresses me not only with the quality of her work, but also with her kindness and incredible multi-tasking skills.  I am so grateful that she was able to find the time in her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me as I have wanted to interview her for this blog for quite a while!

 
When did you develop a love for photography?   

I have always loved photography ever since I can remember. I remember asking my parents for a camera at six years old. I have lots of talented artists in my family, I use to pose for my uncle who is a artist. He would take photos of my cousin and me in victorian dresses and paint portraits referencing the photos. I loved seeing the outcome.  I also use to model when I was younger and always loved collaborating with photographers to make art.

How old were you when you got your first camera?  What/who were your first subjects? 

I received my first professional camera when I was 26 years old. My husband bought me my first professional camera after my first son was born. My son Noah was my first subject . 🙂 As a teenager I would do photo shoots with friends all the time using film cameras.

What valuable lessons have you learned over the years?

I have learned so many valuable lessons over the years in this business, and I learn more everyday. Most importantly, never give up, it doesn’t matter what equipment you use or how much money you have…its what you do with your abilities that matters. Your dreams can come true if you work hard enough!

You have so many diverse styles of photography in your portfolio.  What types of photos are your favorite to shoot and why?

I have always liked many styles of photography and never wanted to limit myself to just one style. My favorite photo style to capture are my makeover photo shoots. I started with make over photo shoots and thats my passion. Its very rewarding to make over normal women into rockstars!

 You are a super busy lady!  What is an average day like for you? 

Ha! My average day starts with my boys jumping all over me in bed, being a taxi driver, making sure the family is doing what the should be, emailing, consulting with clients, booking clients, retouching photos, being a mama, cleaning the house, more retouching,  taxi driver, getting prepared for upcoming shoots, playing with my kids, and more retouching photos! 😉

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

My advice for aspiring photographers is to ask lots and lots of questions, even if you feel like they are dumb. I keep my camera and sketch pad with me everywhere I go! I scribble drawings of ideas for photo shoots, make up looks and business ideas! If photography is your passion….and you really, really want it, you go get it! You don’t dream it…. you do it! I literally woke up one morning told my husband, ” I’m gonna do make up & photography!” ,that very day I started advertising and I never looked back. You must be ready to give up your life for some time….you will loose friends, but will also gain many! You will have haters, people will tell you your not good enough, or think your stupid because you don’t know every technical answer to a camera question, believe me….I get judged a ton, let God be the judge and let him be your defense! Let your work speak for itself 🙂  Don’t listen to negative people, stay positive! You CAN do anything you put your heart too! You have to be ready to give everything you have in you in order for your photography business to succeed. You will fail over and over, and learn from each mistake.

I love to inspire other people to do what they dream, live your passion….its not impossible! “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.”  I am self taught. I practiced, read, watched, questioned, slept-dreamed- loved photography and makeup with all of my being! Never give up!  I have had my share of ups and downs, you have to get back up and keep on going….It’s a ton of blood , sweat and tears…but it is all worth it when you can take a step back and say-  “Wow, I did it!….I’m living my dream, I’m supporting my family, and my job is my passion!  I can be a stay at home mommy ,that is a true blessing. When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

What do you think sets your work apart from other photographers?

My work sets me apart from other photographers because I am self taught, I see things outside of the box. I have developed my own creative vision and style of photography and make up. I always try to be different.

You are also very skilled at makeup and hair artistry.  Did you know your way around a makeup kit when you first started out?   

Thank you, I love make up! I knew my way around a make up kit at age six! 🙂 My mother and grandmother had fancy make up tables and I would gaze at them when they were putting their “face on” . I wanted to be just like them. I started doing makeup before photography. Once I decided to combine my two passions of make up and photography I knew I had found my dream career!

 

Be sure to check out Tamara’s blog on her official website!  Stop by her Facebook page to check out her amazing portfolio and say hello 🙂

Key Lime style for summer sexiness!

Foxfire dress-Key To My Heart

I was so happy to finally get our new colorway in the “Foxfire” dress in stock this week!  I adore the skeleton key print we used for our “Debutante” dress that I thought it would be cool to make something fun with the same print, but in a lime green colorway. This new colorway also has hints of purple, in addition to the green, which is fun to play with when accessorizing.  My dear friend Tamara of Face On By Tamara took some great photos showing the versatility of this dress.  Tamara shot a lovely traditional pinup pose and then followed up with a fun steampunk inspired image-so cute!

We didn’t make that many of these new dresses, so I offered preordering to our newsletter subscribers and we sold out of the x-small and size small sizes almost immediately!  After one day on the site our size mediums were gone too!  We still have a few of the large and x-large sizes available.  If you were hoping for a size medium and didn’t get one in time, we still have some of the sassy leopard and red colorway available in that size.

I’ve decided to offer more preorder opportunities for future styles as our fall collection will be extremely limited.  Please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter to get first pick of exclusives!

Foxfire dress-Key To My Heart