Sparklewren

aesthetic art corsetry

Seaglass Selkie

You may have seen the Seaglass corset before, whether in-progress on Instagram or as a completed piece photographed on one of our lovely mannequins. 

Well Seaglass was also responsible for a new experience for us. Made bespoke for lovely Trish in the US, Seaglass is obviously a coastal inspired piece, very personal to the client and an absolute treat to make. Now, when we have UK customers they often become friends. And when that happens, I often end up shyly or cheekily asking if I could photograph them modelling the corset. Yes, to show the piece in our portfolio, but mostly because I enjoy making pictures and love it when the images and experience has them feeling extra beautiful. And I say "making pictures" because I'm not the most skilled photographer! I don't know as much as I could about the technical side of things, I don't care if my images are pin-sharp or if I lose detail in the shadows... I just want to make something beautiful. And for me that means something with beautiful lines and proportions, everything else is secondary. 

So I try to make photographs that could be drawings or paintings, in a sense. The lines are more important to me than anything else (as with corsetry), and I hope to capture movements or poses that have a sinuous quality to them, like black ink drawings. 

Kindly, Trish asked if we would like to take some photographs of Seaglass, modelled. With the distance so great, this meant modelled on someone other than herself, which is an absolute first in our world! I had never before had a bespoke client encourage us to lace their corset onto someone else for a photoshoot. But I'm glad she did, as the shoot was great fun and the results rather lovely. They're dark, sinuous, not technically accomplished(!) but I think (I hope) that they are evocative in their own way. 

Firstly, here is the Seaglass corset, photographed simply as a record for our portfolio. 

Photographed softly with muted contrast on a papiér maché mannequin. Quite beach-inspired, save for the golden backdrop!

Photographed softly with muted contrast on a papiér maché mannequin. Quite beach-inspired, save for the golden backdrop!

For the shoot, we enlisted the help of gorgeous Hannah (who I had met in our pop-up boutique years earlier) as model, with Holly and myself doing the MUAH, lighting, styling, etc. I had expected to be presenting Seaglass in a soft and beachy way. Pale lips, textured hair, perhaps a sweep of yellow eyeshadow for some Spring-time freshness... But on the day a wish to be dark emerged and we went in a very different direction. We still had that pop of colour, except now it was deep red instead of thin yellow. Black Cherry lips and sparkling jewellery were paired with a pewter sequinned skirt, everything twinkling like scales, seaweed and anemones. Our light-source was mostly set high up, like light filtering down from the water's surface, and we played with mirrors a lot. I love my old mirrors, they soften the image, give broken reflections, and some are speckled with dirt and fog. Since I can't photograph underwater, using mirrors at least helps diffuse the light in a nod to the quality of light under water. 

I hope you enjoy these. Once I'd done them it made me think of selkies, seal-women from the sea. And though Lamia wasn't a selkie, I was also reminded of her and the way Keat's described such a fantastical creature. 

She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr’d;
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed,
Dissolv’d, or brighter shone, or interwreathed
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries—
So rainbow-sided, touch’d with miseries,
She seem’d, at once, some penanced lady elf,
Some demon’s mistress, or the demon’s self.
— John Keats, Lamia.

I also edited a couple as portraits for the model, since I always enjoy them. 

Credits: Hannah Robinson in Trish's Seaglass couture corset, as photographed by Jenni Hampshire. Assistant Holly Swinburne.