Recent work for OneTwo Agency for an event celebrating the first birthday of fashion retailer, The New Trend, which specialises in bringing luxury International designers to the racks of Australian consumers. The brief was to incorporate this stunning Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini polka-dot dress. Engulfed in a cloud of wisteria, this girl was used on invitations and coffee cups for the event.
A subject I can never quite put to bed, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has once again provided inspiration for my latest illustration and print in my Fairytales & Fables series.
It didn’t ease my fascination to recently visit the ‘Wonderland’ exhibit in Melbourne’s ACMI centre.
To see so many iterations of Lewis Carroll’s famous story, along with original artworks, manuscripts and various animation stills, was a treat beyond all others!
(Scroll down further for a few images from the exhibition.)
With a brain abuzz with Wonderland magic, and feeling inspired by a particular chapter in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ - ‘The Garden of Live Flowers’ - I decided to portray Alice in a garden bed surrounded by oversized, talking blooms.
'How is it you can all talk so nicely?' Alice said, hoping to get it into a better temper by a compliment. 'I've been in many gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.'
'Put your hand down, and feel the ground,' said the Tiger-lily. 'Then you'll know why.
Alice did so. 'It's very hard,' she said, 'but I don't see what that has to do with it.'
'In most gardens,' the Tiger-lily said, 'they make the beds too soft — so that the flowers are always asleep.'
This sounded a very good reason, and Alice was quite pleased to know it. 'I never thought of that before!' she said.’
– Lewis Carroll.
Of course in this version we see Alice in all of her sartorial splendour with a little nod to the extraordinary impact she has had on the fashion and beauty industries via an imagined Diptyque scent Wonderland which would, of course, be used as a vase in its namesake habitat.
(As I, myself, do with my own empty vessels at home.)
I hope you like this latest ‘Alice’ illustration.
Prints are available in limited quantities in my shop here: www.birdyandme.com.au/shop
It felt quite fitting after re-watching 'Black Swan' this past weekend, drooling over those stunning Rodarte costumes, that I should wake up on Monday morning to see images from their debut show at Paris' Couture Fashion Week (their first away from their native NYFW).
There were so many stand-out moments, it was hard to choose which images to include in this post. But, all I can say is, if ever there was a collection that embodied everything I love about fashion, it's this one. Feathers, florals, bows and tulle. I love it all! Ethereal beauties adorned with babies breath, floating through a garden in full bloom.
I did choose one of the softer options to illustrate (No pink! Shocking!) as I wanted to focus on colours closer to nature.
Rodarte Spring 2018 photographs © Kelly Taub + Giovanni Giannoni / WWD
It's come to the point in my fairy tale collection where I've started saving the best for last.
While it's so hard for me to play favourites, as so many different stories appeal to me for different reasons, 'Beauty and the Beast' is one of those stories that just gives me butterflies.
Admittedly, it's a tale that I never connected with until I saw the Disney adaptation in 1992. Prior to that, I think I had seen an 80s soap-style version that starred Linda Hamilton – which didn't exactly grip me. Of course, we can never forget Shelley Duvall's 'Faerie Tale Theatre.'
However, from the very first moment I laid eyes on that shiny, big screen and listened to a host of villagers sing 'Bonjour!' to each other I was hooked. I still vividly remember turning to my Mum half-way through 'Be Our Guest' and requesting we 'buy this on video as SOON as it comes out!'
It was love.
Over the past 25 (gulp!) years I have devoured other editions of the story - most notably the French live-action film starring Léa Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassell as the Beast.
This version is much more in keeping with the original tale and I highly recommend watching it. It's visually stunning.
I also have to make mention of Disney's current live-action remake. I admit - I've already seen it three times. On first viewing I wasn't sure what I thought of it, having already seen (and loved) such a high quality live-action version of the story, but also being so familiar with the original 1992 version.
However, on subsequent viewings, I was able to take it in without any pre–conceived ideas and just enjoy it for what it was.
I digress! Back to the illustration. I started my interpretation of this story almost a year ago!
I had some initial ideas of how I wanted to capture it in illustrated format, but I kept putting it off, wanting the idea to have time to grow if needed - and I was never entirely happy with what I was doing. To try to encapsulate such a delicately beautiful and layered story into just one image is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many themes within 'Beauty and the Beast' - not just the love story between Belle and the Beast, but also those of jealousy, greed, materialism and the superficial manner in which we can judge each other. There was also the symbolic nature of the rose.
Some interpretations of the original tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve are quite grotesque. Others are beautiful, and opulent. I think we all tend to associate fairy tales with the fantasy of royalty and beauty. However, they always hark back to darker roots; stories created to scare children into making good moral choices. Which is why it can be so hard to truly depict each story.
But, strip it all back and no matter which way you look at it, this story is ultimately about love; lost, platonic, coveted, and deep, true love. Which is why I decided to focus my illustration on the enigmatic rose at the heart of the story - with a side of couture as always.
Depending on which version you want to read into, the rose symbolises the Beast's love for his previous wife; his grief and guilt at her death which was (inadvertently) caused by his own callous and beastly nature, but also the love that Belle's father feels for his daughter, as it is this rose that he plucks from the Beast's garden to give to Belle when he returns home. A rose is what Belle covets most, when all of her sisters crave jewels and finery. In the Disney version, the rose is a physical reminder of the Beast's curse, representing the time he has in which to break the curse that befalls him, before the last petal falls.
One of my favourite parts of researching this tale was seeing how their relationship is depicted in different variations of the story. I wanted to focus on the progression of their relationship, and in doing so fell back into the original tale. Belle, having taken the place of her father, sits down to an opulent dinner with the Beast each night. After every meal he asks her to marry him, a proposal she refuses. However, gradually, as she begins to know him, and to feel empathy and gratitude toward him for the kindness that he shows to her, she starts to see his true character beneath the beastly guise, and falls in love with him.
Chic as ever, dressed in Chanel-inspired lace, Belle and a Versace-clad Beast are ensconced inside the glass cloche, standing amongst opulent candelabras and the peony roses that represent their budding love affair.
The latest in the collection, 'Beauty and the Beast,' is available in my store now in limited A3 + A2 editions until sold out.
SHOP HERE: www.birdyandme.com.au/shop
More Beauty and the Beast inspiration below:
Happy New Year!
I'm back at my desk and kicking off the 2017 posts with some recent work for L'Oréal Paris and their 'Root Cover-Up' product using pencil and ink to create a glorious mane of flipped over curls with just a hint of grey.
I thought it'd be fun to show this one as an animated gif. Greys - no greys! Magic!
Earlier this year I worked on a beautiful project with make-up artist, beauty blogger and all-round cosmetics aficionado, Sona Gasparian, on an illustration for the packaging of the very first product in her JUST LAUNCHED cosmetics line, Pérsona.
Readers, and beauty enthusiasts alike, may recognise Sona from her insanely popular make-up tutorials on YouTube and her website Simply Sona.
It is always best to read about any Creative's passion project in their own words, so I highly encourage you to visit Sona's post about Pérsona here: www.simplysona.com
Taking inspiration from the city of Paris, the illustration for this product had to convey the idea of its namesake 'Identity Palette' and the way that we can transform our look through make-up, especially when adapting to new surroundings. For this eye-shadow palette and its warmly smoky, metallic hues, the brief was to create a mysteriously alluring French beauty. In true Gallic fashion, our girl has a look that is both effortless and natural, yet striking and seductive at the same time.
Needless to say that it was such a lovely job to work on, and I send Sona so many congratulations on such a huge achievement and I'm excited to see what comes next!
These gorgeous eye shadow palettes can be purchase via the Pérsona website here: www.personacosmetics.co
I recently had the honour of working with the incredibly luxurious Grand Hyatt Melbourne on their Spring fashion campaign, HYFASHION, in collaboration with Australian designer, Con Ilio;
celebrating the iconic beauty of the 'Paris' end of Collins St, Melbourne's premiere shopping precinct, and home of the hotel.
Incorporating the stunning pink 'Charlotte' gown with its hand embroidery and signature camouflage print designed by Con himself, we wanted to create the image of a bold and confident woman; the personification of Melbourne's celebrated fashion and design scene.
As a huge fan and admirer of Haute Couture, working with a designer championing the very specific and intricate methods of creating such gowns was a dream.
During the course of the promotion, guests can book a very special 'HY FASHION' package which includes, with a luxury stay at this beautiful hotel, an exclusive stationery suite (designed by me), High Tea for two in Collins Kitchen, and a one-on-one consultation with Con Ilio.
To book a stay at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne visit the website HERE.
New work for Clarins and their day & night 'Multi-Active' products.
Inspired by high fashion florals and one of the formula's key ingredient of the teasel plant, this beauty is available from Monday next week as a gift-with-purchase phone case at select Myer & David Jones stores nationwide.
I think I have a problem at the moment of coming up with the most intricate concepts for new works that ultimately end up taking me weeks, if not months, to finish, whereby I end up constantly pausing them to start something new.
Which is exactly what happened this week. Growing a little tired of the tedious details of my current illustration, as well as the freezing cold weather we've been experiencing Down Under, I thought I'd try to hurry Spring on a little bit with a floral-themed piece.
I'm no where near done with the Thumbelina-sized girls just yet (will I ever be?) and I thought it would be lovely to have one carrying an enormous bunch of blooms.
I've titled this one 'The Florist' because, well, sometimes I just think it would be the most wonderful job in the world - surrounded by beautiful flowers all day long. Can you even imagine?
'The Florist' is available in my store now in a limited edition of 30 A3 and 30 A4 prints until sold out.
You can plant her in your home visiting the nursery here: www.birdyandme.bigcartel.com
Now, back to client work as well as that complicated piece I've been putting off...
I first stayed at La Maison Favart a few years ago on my Honeymoon and I'm so happy to have been back here again on this current trip. On top of the marvelous exterior, there's just something so incredibly whimsical about this beautiful, boutique hotel. From the smoke-grey walls to the pink upholstery of the breakfast room, it's the perfect blend of Parisian charm!
But, somebody better pass me a croissant while I pack my bags...I've got a plane to catch *sniff*