Southern Gothic in New Orleans: Halloween Editorial 2019
I don't talk about it much, but I'm Southern. As in born and raised in the South. I was born in New Orleans. I grew up in Georgia. My family is from Mississippi. The South and being from the South is a part of who I am, even if it's not something I feel the need to talk about all the time (especially online).
A couple of months ago, once I realized I'd be going to New Orleans for the grand opening of Dark Garden's new boutique, I thought why not take full advantage of the trip and schedule a Halloween-inspired photoshoot as well. I haven't styled an editorial with dark and gothic vibes since my very first shoot with Lars years ago, and I felt it was time to revisit the concept.
Whenever I'm planning a shoot, I usually start with one or two "hero" pieces that I know I'm going to include and structure the rest of the editorial around those. For example, I fell in love with Agashi by Christina O.'s skeleton catsuit months ago, and had been looking for any excuse to potentially borrow it.
After that, the rest of my looks came easily. I'd been coveting a Fleur du Mal red silk slip for ages, and has the good fortune to have a TLA reader gift me with one. I'd also recently been gifted a Playful Promises velvet robe, its rich texture and color perfect for a late autumn vibe. Finally, since the entire reason I was in town was for Dark Garden, it felt only right to wear one of their corsets in the shoot. They also went above and beyond and generously allowed me to borrow their NOLA boutique for the evening.
The inspiration for this shoot started off pretty vampy (think Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned), but it wasn't long before I decided to in a more witchy direction (inspired by Angela Basset's role as Marie Laveau in American Horror Story).
Though I'm not religious, I do feel a deep - perhaps even spiritual - connection to my ancestors. To being a product of their blood and sweat and tears and joy and faith and happiness. I also felt inspired by all those little Southern folk remedies...that no one would ever call witchcraft, of course. New Orleans is a magical place. Apart from being one of the most well-known cities in the South, the architecture, the streets, and the general spirit of the city feel like anything might happen at any moment. Especially at night.
Finally, I wanted my enchanter to feel as if she'd up all night performing spells and watching charts and observing signs. And even though the day is rapidly shifting to evening, she'll likely stay up through this next night too.
I wanted her to feel peaceful and calm, yet powerful. And I wanted to give the sense that she wears lingerie because it's comfortable and because it feels most like her, and because the textures of the fabric helping keep her grounded in her body. She is the person you want awake in the darkness, silently watching for the evil things.