I’ve always had an infinity for fantasy and childhood tales…one of the fables that always comes to mind is Lewis Carol’s “Alice In Wonderland” & “Through the Looking Glass”. The inspiration for this collection was fueled by my imagination to reimagined the classic fairytale.
I wanted to create more of an avant garde interpretation and chose only a few of the standout characters to develop for this collection. The obvious selections, Alice and the Queen of hearts and I chose to do the Mad Hatter.
behind the lens with Genna
Of course I enlisted the help of Genna Yussman Greene at our studio, Absolute Studio. She would curate the wardrobe as well as doing photography and Micah Severo would be the make up artist for this collection.
Of course preparation for this took a very long time; several months and several purchases of hair extensions from Ebonyline and Doctored locks with various lengths but I got a great deal on 22 inch hair extensions.
it take s village
The hair took 6 month to prepare as I had a full schedule of traveling for shows and taking care of my clientele behind the chair. I would have to order several lots of hair extenisons wait for them to arrive.
I had to color all the hair prior to using them. They had to dry and be styled and I made from three front lace wigs all hand sewn. Top hair pieces that would adorn each model and wanted to take it to another level by fabricating matching earrings made of hair that would be worn by each model.
custom Kanekalon hair earrings
Lots of money was spent on hair and materials. I fabricated a metal base for the Queen of hearts. I would take large sheets of red hair and cut and roll them into roses. I mixed variations of red hues to layer and to show off the texture of the hair.
I decided I wanted to book a female model of the Mad hatter/ Mad Hattress. For her hair I created a long black front lace wig of which I colored large panels of violet and blue. I again fabricated hair “Mats” by using Redken’s Control Addict 28 and an iron to fuse the hair together. Afterwards hair was cut into squares on which I made a patchwork hat using a active mesh base. Very lightweight but strong enough to support the shape of her hat. I also rolled hair like I had done on the Queens hair and layered them around the rim of the hat.
For Alice I created a blonde wig with bright yellow panels and a created this huge flower-like piece that was made from custom yellow mat hair. Folding and glueing the piece like an accordian. I played around with the yellow pigment to get variations in tonality.
The earrings were a lot of fun, tedious and required a lot of time and patients. I twist wrapped kanekalon hair around florist wire using a hot glue gun. After the pieces were done I shaped them and hand sewn them together to become pairs of earrings for each model to wear.
I’m obsessed with the wardrobe Genna put together. Dark hues with bright tones and brooches, textiles and safety pins were added to each model. She made sure to layer texture and distinction of each character quite obvious.
We photographed each model on dark, velvet backdrops with props for a darker vibe. Cincinnati, make up artist Micah did beautiful, clean makeup. I love the bee stung lips he did on the queen of hearts.
For model selection I booked Olive Flick of Heyman Talent Agency to play Alice, Margarita Karizskaja to play the queen of hearts and Rachel Madison to portray the Mad Hattress.
The shoot took all day of ten hours and very cold as we were working in the month of December. Everyone did a fabulous job of transforming all the models into the characters.
We were honored to have this collection in six page spread in the limited edition, hard copy holiday collection in Faddy Magazine in Italy. When I received my copy in the mail I had cried…I hadn’t seen our work in that format. After all the work, time and money this collection required it was all worth it seeing it in print. I am so grateful to this team.
Olive Flick (Heyman Talent Agency) @oliveflick
Margarita Karizskaja @margarita_karizskaja
Rachel Madison @officialrachelmadison
Hair / Creative Direction / Earrings | Matthew Tyldesley @hairbymatt
Photography / Wardrobe / Set | Genna Yussman Greene @gennayussman
Make Up | Micah Severo @micahsevero
Assistant | Tony Welscher