Anastasia is probably one of my favorite childhood movies. I grew up knowing all the lyrics to every song and pretty much have the whole movie memorized. I know for a fact we have some seriously embarrassing photos of my sister and me dancing around in costume putting on a performance of the Rasputin bug scene. My sister knocks that one out of the park every single time.
It has always been an aspiration of mine to translate my love for this movie into a personal project. I have always played with the idea of a movie script, book, etc., but I think for now this shoot has satiated my desire for creating something powerful for myself to remember the movie by.
I spent a great deal of time thinking about how I wanted my Anastasia to be portrayed. I wanted something rich and luxurious, to still tie some of the same aspects of the real Anastasia in with it, but also give it a sleek twist. I started researching Faberge eggs, which the Czar’s reign was particularly recognized for. They are gorgeous pieces of finery that I first saw at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts when I was 8 years old. If I could never own one, I can definitely make a human version of one. They are over the top with detail and vibrant color, gold linings and lovely patterns. It was the perfect way to develop a look for the Anastasia we were to create.
I researched so many different Faberge eggs for the right color combination and finally discovered a love for the marriage of rich cobalt blue and gold. It was decided.
I went through several failed attempts to make this dress a reality. We went through several stages of a short egg inspired hoop skirt that would emphasize the Faberge egg element in an Alexander McQueen extreme. Naturally, I measured the diameter to be a whopping 5 feet. I love the dramatic and extreme, but sometimes it doesn’t work. It is pretty difficult to manage the twisting and molding of wire and while we did finally make the wire base, it ended up collapsing in on itself when placed on a person.
Option two involved a hula hoop and pool noodles. An unlikely combination that I did not want to deal with, but I wanted so badly for this dress to become a reality. I tried attaching the noodles with ribbons running along the inside and then tying them tightly in order to create a curve form. This worked for the most part, but they were never even. It grew into more of a hassle than an enjoyable process. At this point I was so frustrated with what we were creating I had to let the project go for awhile and focus on the other queens in the series. It was so important to me to not let my irritation taint my vision for the project.
For whatever reason, I started researching tutus. I don’t remember what led me down this venture, but I found an extremely helpful tutorial on Youtube that made it an easy process (minus the static electricity battle). It was then that the skirt portion of the dress was transformed into more of a dramatic and fluffy cobalt tutu as oppose to the symmetrically perfect egg dome I had wanted before. In a way, it was more fitting. With the tutu I was able to incorporate another element of the Russian culture by tying it to the famous Russian ballet. It reminds you that everything happens for a reason.
With all the elements of the wardrobe finally figured out, we could finally move on to the makeup and hair design necessary for creating our human Faberge egg. I loved the use of gold leaf as a makeup element in the Catching Fire shoot and really wanted to use it again. To me, it just created the perfect pairing of color and texture in a way to truly emulate the essence of the Faberge egg. Different blue tones were also tied in through the makeup as well as the model Kelly’s eyes, perfectly enough. The element of the gold hair ribbon added a simple touch from the real Anastasia into the mix with enough volume to make it a dramatic choice.
Makeup and gold leaf magician: Krista Delvalle
Hair extraordinaire: Britny Bassett