Part of the backstory we wrote for this shoot
At the forests heart she dwells. In feathers shrouded she spends her days among the trees. The ravens call is the music she craves but it has been years since their wings have burned black against the mid days sun. At last she has found the secret of their entrapment and today they will return to her. Buried deep in the forests winding corridors a prison sits. Shaped as a crystal ball it holds those from whom she has been forcefully estranged.
As she invokes the spell that will break the chains of imprisonment she herself begins to take on another form. And when she has liberated the ravens from their confines her transformation is complete...and she joins them not as a keeper but their sister. As daylight streams between the branches halo the somber winds carry the whispers of battle. High above the bones and flesh of torn grace they circle the sisters three. The time has come to count the living and choose the dead. –Lord Tanner Skrocki
For this shoot we worked with the delightful Breanne Marie Photography who captured our visions and pieces with her beautiful photography. The model was the wonderful tattoo artist/model Poppy Del. Makeup was done by Ashley Skrocki Makeup Artistry.
With the creation of the raven mask for last year’s collection we wanted to do a series of raven inspired items. The concept behind the new pieces was to create three different raven characters similar to The Morrigan from Celtic mythology. The Morrigan, who are considered to be a triple goddess composed of 3 sisters, fly around the battlefield prophesizing death on the battleground. We wanted to make three complete looks that were similar but different enough to be individual characters.
Photo by Studio E. Raven mask created in July 2015.
With the first mask already created I styled it with the cuffs and belt / waist-cincher from our 2015 look book. Next I created a feather bib/necklace, made a blue shirt, from some special fabric I had been saving, to bring a bit of colour to the silver and black. The look was finished off with the completion of a velvet cape I had been making for a while.
For the next look I wanted to make a more elaborate version of the leather mask with black feathers, featured in our 2015 look book, which had sold last fall. I redesigned parts of the mask adding lots of Swarovski crystals, beads and carving to really make it pop! The shoulder amour was a piece I created in 2015 and I used it because I wanted to hint at the battlefield that the ravens fly around. The armour corset was created for the upcoming 2016 Western Canada Fashion Week and is inlaid with blue/black tigers eye which only further shows the “war goddess” interpretation. I added a number of different pierced layers and lots of hand carving to the front panel of the corset to give it dimension and focal points additional to the beautiful stones. The armour style cuffs were created this year as well featuring Swarovski crystal, hand carving and hand painted leather. A blue accent skirt was added under the black skirts from the 2015 WCFW to continue the hint of blue featured in the other photos. The sterling silver pendant was created shortly before this shoot and has a different look with a bit of classy edginess I felt suited this shoot. It was made start to finish in our workshop. First it was patterned and shaped, then oxidized and pierced, and finally I bezel set the large blue druzy to create a captivating focal point.
For the final look I wanted to show the models face. The headpiece is based on one of my mask designs made into a fantasy kokoshnik style headdress (note: this headdress can be created as a mask and most of our masks can be created as a headpieces/crowns/French style hoods – please email me if interested). These historical headdresses first appeared around the 10 century and originated in Russia. The style become the most popular around the 16-19th centuries and variations can be seen throughout the Slavic areas. It apparently was a huge fashion statement during those times, in Russia, and is similar to the French hood worn in Tudor England. Nearing the end of their popularity they were inspired just as much by the traditional Kokoshnik styles as they were by Italian Renaissance fashion. I figured the Morrigan sisters were probably unmarried and created an open back Povyazka (a style of head dress worn by unmarried girls). The shaping for the piece I created is made in a half-moon shape but some of the historic pieces were also created in a crescent shape. Since I was only inspired by the kokoshnik I decided to have it resemble a crown and add black rooster feathers to symbolize the ravens, which was fitting for what The Morrigan actually stands for “the phantom queen” or “great queen.” Interestingly enough the Kokoshnik style of headdress was brought back into popularity in recent times when it was featured as costume wear in Star Wars and other numerous fantasy/sci-fi tv shows and movies (Queen of the Damned). The leather cape was another new piece which took an incredible amount of time to make and design. With movement the cape looks like wings and it has a very couture feel to the piece which can be worn for any number of “non-costume” events. For this piece I used supple garment leather to create the body and most of the additional layers of adornments. I created custom trim which is stitched and riveted along the front. Next I made dozens of feathers, which were each strategically stitched into place. And finally I hand sculpted, carved and dyed some thin vegi-tan leather to create some more structured, yet flexible, panels for the back shoulder area. This raven cape is actually one of my, and my husbands, favorite pieces! To complete the look I added for this “character” I created a beak mask I had designed in early January (featured with no straps, but straps can be added), blue earring inserts and one of my blue druzy wire wraps. For the beak mask I created a bunch of differently shaped individual feathers, from vegi-tan, hand sculpted, dyed and carved them. On the bottom of the beak there is an ornate pierced pattern and the silver areas are hand painted while the bottom is dyed black. The wire wrap is hand sculpted from sterling silver and gold-filled wire and features a large blue druzy stone.
To see more of Breanne's photography visit her website here.
To see more of Ashley's makeup visit here.
To see more of Poppy Del's work visit here.