Quote by Jennifer Wright via Twitter
Several months ago Verdinium asked me to review this post I wrote over two years ago and tell her if what I wrote back then was still true today. I guess she did not expect that I would feel something I – as a player of Changeling: The Dreaming – can only describe as a surge of glamour, a wave of inspiration crashing down on me again, as if I had opened a time capsule and a golden dust had streamed out of a mental biscuit tin, wrapping me in ideas that I had almost forgotten.
And when I read the quote above by Jennifer Wright it felt like one of those small everyday epiphanies. I don’t want my ghost to look boring, do I?
So I decided to write another post on what inspires my fashion, decor and lifestyle cravings most – and this time not only for Lolita -, and I hope you’ll find something you like there, too.
First and probably foremost there’s History and Art.
It starts with late Roman and early medieval fashion, then come 12th century braids and tapestries of tame lions and wild unicorns from the Middle Ages, doublets and musketeer boots from the 16th to 18th century, riding habits and the 18th century Highland attire from Outlander, the Pre-Raphaelites with their deep jewel colours and their own expressive, bohemian attire and lifestyle, flowing Edwardian dresses and sailor collars, Jugendstil, Art Deco and Lebensreform and after all that working class boystyle of the early 20th century.
I’m inspired by all these thing, things that my ancestors wore, the striped blouse in my great-grandmother’s photograph where she looks so stubborn. Or the braids of Brave‘s Elinor, the small details in pictures of the Romanovs. Armour, especially spaulders, muslins that look like props from a Jane Austen film and of course the whole costume department of Downton Abbey.
Through all ages I’m inspired by the things people used to express themselves, probably because I live in an age and place where expressing yourself is incredibly easy and at the same time rather complicated.
Then there’s Ritual and Magic.
Dark, mossy woods and cold ashes of ritual fires. Crystals and tarot cards, moon tables and the aesthetics of the early Harry Potter films. Herbs in the window, the devil’s traps from Supernatural. Alchemy symbols, copper cauldrons, polished copper in general and an abundance of darkened silver rings with shimmering stones. The idea of the kithain of Changeling – The Dreaming and the subsequent dreams of chimaera and flowing sidhe gowns, dancing lights in the darkness combined with the sound of Loreena McKennitt’s older works.
When I was younger – in my tweens – I spent every Friday after school in the library, reading everything on magic and witchcraft and myths I could ever find. I dreamt of dragons and mermaids and to find Atlantis, ruins covered in algae, dreamt that one day something inexplicable would happen, a cat with a crescent moon on her forehead would talk to me or I’d discover that I had the power to conjure flames or lightning.
Well, suffice to say that these things never happened, but practising witchcraft, honouring the things around me and the things I cannot see and dressing the part sort of make up for that.
Not as far from that as one would initially believe lies Dystopia.
The aesthetic of post-apocalyptic or cyberpunk things isn’t lost on me. Bleached rags and goggles and dirt are as fascinating as street samurai and techno druids. Basically we are already living in a science-fiction novel, compared to 20 years ago. The fascination of touch screens and scavenged clothes, Shadowrun and Degenesis, is inspiration enough for me to sometimes dress like someone from the not-too-far future or a time far, far after our civilisation has gone down.
Sweets and Theatres are a completely different thing. I have a weakness for stripes – red and white, or pastel-coloured – and vintage packaging design, als well as for theatricality. Best example would be the classic paper moon, oversized props and ballet tutus. Glittery flowing dresses and fake diamonds have their place, too, just like dramatic make-up. All in all this ties in well with my love for the turn of the century, but the Commedia dell’ Arte now and then proves to be a source of inspiration, too.
Last but surely not least there’s Nature. I remember a scarf my mother had when I was little – black and white wool, loosely woven – that looked like the bark of a birch tree. I grew up between fallen leaves and dried grass and the mud of spring in the shire, always (almost always) dirty and often damp and scratched, small twigs stuck in my hair. I am a moss daughter, a fairy accidentally stuck in a human body. I admire raw gems far more than cut diamonds, the shape of oak leaves are my favourite and I wish there was a perfume that smells like faint log fires on an icy day.
There are dried herbs hung all over my place, twigs and crystals, raw wood. My closet is full of wool and linen and coarse silk and I try to reduce my consumer habits in regards to plastic as far as possible. Nature is not only my inspiration for fashion and decoration, but also for my lifestyle.
You see, this post took surprisingly long to write. That’s among other things such as real life and uni and stuff because the parts of me inspired by the things above are seldom at the surface of me at the same time. Which is perfectly normal, by the way.
My plan is to come closer to these parts and not always hide behind the “oh, this is safe and comfortable and nobody will notice me” part. It will be a slow process, but I think I might get there. But more on this notion another time.
What inspires your fashion and lifestyle choices most?