Safe with Me: Angela’s Edwardian-inspired photo shoot

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In July, I had the distinct pleasure of photographing someone whose work I’ve admired for many years. Angela Ryan is an international model; but her work doesn’t stop there. Along with a modeling career that spans from fetish to pinup, she is a performer, creative director and stylist. I’ve been familiar with her work through social media for years. So it was an absolute honor to work with her and create some photo magic!

Angela and I conversed before she made her trip to Nashville. We decided on an Edwardian-era theme to my delight. After we decided on the theme, I went to work to find the perfect Edwardian blouse. The vintage gods were in my favor as I found one quickly and she was a beauty. These articles of clothing are like pieces of art so I enjoy photographing anyone in them. I recruited my side-kick and personal muse, Lashon, to help with set design. Between the time I scheduled Angela’s photo shoot and when it took place, I brainstormed the direction we would take. I was feeling a little inspired by the green fairy so decided to have a bit of a darker element to the look.

Tarryn Feldman, a talented hair and makeup artist, completed Angela’s look. The set was designed by Lashon who is a master at making anything come together.

~ Credits ~
Model: Angela Ryan
Makeup/hair stylist: Tarryn Feldman
Set designer and assistant: Lashon Miller
Edwardian blouse: The One I Love Vintage
Corset from Angela’s personal wardrobe
Gloved cape: from Angela’s personal wardrobe; designer Louise Black

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“The world was to me a secret which I desired to devine.”

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“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose- a point on which the soul can focus its intellectual eye”

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“How many things are we upon the brink of discovering if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries”

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“But her’s was the misery of innocence, which, like a cloud that passes over the fair moon, for a while hides, but cannot tarnish its brightness.”

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“I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine…”

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“I’m a creature of fine sensations”

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“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

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The devil that dances in my head
Is never, is never dressed in red!

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A Beautiful Little Fool

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What do you do when you stay in a gorgeous historic hotel that makes any 1800s-lover’s dreams come true? Why you set up a photoshoot! There was no question about that when my husband and I recently stayed in the historic Linden Row Inn in Richmond, VA. This exquisite piece of history possessed all the Victorian beauty our hearts desired. We were pretty much convinced this could easily be our home. Below are a few photos taken during our stay. I wish we had time to take more of the room and around the hotel but we were always on the go while we were in Richmond. The majority were taken in the majestic window with me standing on the window seat. That window tugged at my heart strings 🙂

Check out the few photos of the boudoir. When I saw the final product of the photos, they stirred my affection for many lines from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 🙂

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“And in the end, we were all just humans.. drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” 

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“Why didn’t you tell me that if the girl had been worth having she’d have waited for you? No sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody” 

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“Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.” 

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“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.” 

 

Bonus photo:
Here is a photo I snapped and posted on my Instagram. You can get an idea on why I was so drunk on love with this place. 🙂

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The Victorian with an X-Factor

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When it comes to style in today’s world, there’s not too much that shocks us to our core that we’d banish anyone from our sight. Just recall how we’ve reacted to celebrities and entertainers and their choice of garments in just the last 20 years. Sure we are sometimes in awe (good and bad) by the choice of style that someone may wear but it’s not too often an outfit sends us into a tailspin.

Unfortunately, this non-nonchalant attitude towards fashion wasn’t the same during the Victorian Era. This was put to the test when John Singer Sargent, an American Artist, decided to capture the beauty of socialite, Virginie Avegno Gautreau, in 1800s Paris, France.

You may have seen this painting before in an art or history class:

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The famous painting received it’s notoriety because of the brazen way the artist painted his subject by showing so much skin (something we’re definitely not shocked by in today’s age). Both the artist and the model did not receive the reception they were hoping. The painting was debuted in 1884 under the title Portrait de Mme *** at the Paris Salon.  Viewers were shocked by the “distastefulness” this portrait portrayed of a beautiful married socialite. Sargent was asked by her mother to withdraw the exhibition but he refused by saying he painted her, “exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas worse than had been said in print of her appearance.”  He later altered the painting by raising the shoulder strap up to make it seem more securely fastened as opposed to practically falling off her body; which apparently must have sent many people into fainting spells. He also changed the title from Portrait de Mme *** to what it is known as today, Madame X.

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The model and muse, Gautreau, was humiliated by the ordeal and Sargent permanently moved to London. Sargent remained proud of his work as he displayed it in his studio and later sold it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gautreau did not allow the humiliation to linger too many years as she posed for another artist,  Gustave Courtois, in another setting in a similar dress that revealed a bit more skin. She rounded out her modeling career by posing for Antonio de la Gandara in the late 1800s.

So as you can see, art and fashion have come a long way throughout the 20th century and “Madame X” may have started it all with her Victorian x-factor.

An Enchantment with the Edwardian Era

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You may have heard the term, “Old Soul.” Typically it’s used to describe a person that is wise beyond their years, has one foot in the past or celebrates history in some kind of way. Buzzfeed has a great checklist for signs you’re an old soul which you can read here (I said yes to some of these; can’t say I didn’t partake in a party phase in my twenties 😉 ).

If you’ve perused my blog you may have gathered that I’m kind of an old soul. I love history and feverishly can’t get enough of anything between the late 1800s up until the 1940s. It’s who I am and I’ve had a love for all things historical for a long time.

I bought an Edwardian blouse from Wildfell Hall Vintage a few months ago. She is delicate and I knew she deserved another spot in the limelight. So what better way to give her this than a photo shoot?! So I talked to my friends of And How! Imaging and we made some Edwardian magic.

Check out the photos from our recent photo shoot where we channeled my inner-Gibson girl. 🙂

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A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think

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Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me– 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves– 
And Immortality

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Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay

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By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
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A Toast to Trousers!

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“The silhouette is the most important thing in clothes. Every French girl knows that. High-waisted trousers give you long legs and a pretty bum which, after all, is what we all want.” ~ Lou Doillon

I must confess about my love of 1940s trousers. Which is why I am raising my glass in honor of trousers; women’s trousers specifically. Because they’re just so damn awesome. 🙂

My mom once told me that when I was a kid my family called me Cindy Lauper. Simply because I insisted on dressing myself and would throw together quite an eclectic ensemble. As I evolved as a teenager, my eclectic-ness grew to gothic, hippie, preppy and vintage. My high school photos are evidence of this. But of all these different styles, vintage was one that was always the constant as I always included something vintage in my style or wardrobe.

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As an adult, I continued my love for vintage style and its pretty much been how I dress myself. I even compare vintage clothes shopping as if I was planning an exquisite trip. It’s a big deal and something I thoroughly look forward to. I’m more inclined to wear a vintage or vintage re-production dress or skirt, although, I do done the occasional pants as well.

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Over the past several years I’ve closely abandoned wearing jeans. I do occasionally but not frequently. I hate hip-hugger jeans as I think they do quite the opposite as to what they were invented to do; flatter. Because, sorry (not sorry), I have hips. My natural waist, on the other hand, I’ve grown to love. Wearing your pants at your natural waist while growing up in the 1990s was a fashion faux-pas. Because, as mentioned before, hip hugger jeans where all the rage and anything else was jeans taboo. But if you’re a vintage clothing aficionado like me, you’ve realized that vintage clothing and the natural waist were a match made in heaven. I’m so glad because I’ve learned how much more flattering it is to wear your bottom separate pieces there and not like a hula hoop around your hips.

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So like anything else I’m determined about, I set sail on the internet’s vast ocean to find the perfect 1940s trousers. My search didn’t take me too long as I came across a United Kingdom company called Vivien of Holloway. I hit the jackpot because this vintage clothing-inspired UK company carries a plethora of 1940s women’s trousers. Here are a few pictures of one of the pairs I own (I’m quickly acquiring a collection).

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These terrific trousers are the most flattering and best of all, comfortable! The high waist, side buttons, front and back ironed crease and cuffs at the bottom scream sophistication. They are the epitome of an androgynous style. Which I’ve always considered my style androgynous. You can wear them with an array of tops and mix and match. Vivien of Holloway has a great collection of colors. These pants aren’t just for the colder seasons either; there are many colors that can be worn in the spring or summer seasons too. So go ahead and step into a pair of these vintage-inspired gems!

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