Cabinet of Curiosity III

I've done a few of these posts, but for y'all who don't know, Cabinet of Curiosity is a collection of things I am vibing with. It's inspiring images, clothing, jewelry, et cetera. This month I am feeling particularly witchy of course. Channeling the fantastic film The VVitch, as well as these sabbath photographs from the 1910s. Loving jewelry with runes and symbols, and wanting to wear flowy tops that are still cinched close to the body. I am loving the low-cut bodice situation going on in the top right...does anyone know what that cut is called? All links can be found on my Pinterest! (x)
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Katrina Van Tassel

Following my Tim Burton post, I just had to post an outfit inspired by a Sleepy Hollow character, right? Originally I had planned to create this look with a black and white corset I was going to make myself, but GET THIS: literally no fabric store around me had black and white striped fabric. Luckily I fished some faux leather from my stack of fabric and crafted this fun little belt/corset. This outfit was of DIY importance for me. I feel like a lot of blogs have not been taking advantage of the DIY direction that fashion is moving in. I love how so many pieces these days are deconstructed and edgy, but it seems like people aren't brave enough to take that on themselves. We seem to be in an "anything goes" period of fashion, and I really wanted to take advantage of that. I turned an old striped blouse backwards and sewed some fancy sleeves onto the end of it. I tied a ribbon around my neck and cut my own damn jeans. I don't think we should be afraid of taking fashion into our own hands--that's the whole point of blogging right? This is a very silly and fanciful look, but for October and one of my favorite movies, I thought it was the right time to get creative. 

On Katrina Van Tassel: my oh my, she is the woman I want to be. I mean, she has seen some shit and lost a lot of people, but still she's so cool. For those not familiar, Katrina is the daughter of the richest man in Sleepy Hollow. Katrina exists in most (and I assume all) retellings of the Sleepy Hollow legend, but she rarely is given any more agency than her position as a Van Tassel and a beautiful woman. In Tim Burton's 1999 film though, she is a witch (really a healing woman) who falls in love with Ichabod (played by Johnny Depp and I would fall much quicker if I were her, let me tell you). Young Masbeth says of her: "[She is] a strange sort of witch, with a kind and loving heart." It's refreshing to see witches in this film shown as "children of nature" as Ichabod says it, especially when 100 years earlier New England was running wild with accusations of witchcraft--a term that then meant dealings with the devil. I always love the recognition of witches in film for what they really were: people (mostly women) who understood nature and its ways of healing. Katrina in Sleepy Hollow casts spells to protect her loved ones, follows men into the woods to help them solve mysteries, and wears some amazing dresses. I just had to honor her with my own reimagining of her iconic black and white gown. 
Outfit details: 
Shirt -- TJ Maxx many moons ago // Corset & Sleeves -- DIY // Shoes -- Target // Jeans -- H&M // Nail Decals -- NailPop
Thank you to Maddy for photos in the graveyard by her house!

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Inspiration: Tim Burton

Red alert! Red alert! It's October inspiration time. It just so happens that my Halloween inspo is my all-year inspo, but I feel that now is an appropriate time to share. Of course I'm talking about Tim Burton today. When people ask me what I want to do when I grow up, I generally respond "I want to be the female Tim Burton." Well, Tim Burton pre-2010's. (A lot of Burton fans will tell you he went bad after 1999 but I disagree, if only for the sake of Corpse Bride...okay Sweeney Todd too.) Since I'm an art history lady, I want to talk mainly about the visual aspects of Tim Burton's films and how they have inspired me.
BEETLEJUICE. BEETLEJUICE. BEETLEJUICE. Every time I watch this film is it so entertaining and hilarious. I'm not super attached to it, but this is really where we first see Burton's visual style and a theme that will continue through his films: Suburban Goth. Lydia, played by Winona Ryder, is the ultimate muse here, having famously claimed "My life is one big dark room." Seriously, goaaaals. Her bangs and costumes are flawless. Her wedding dress at the end was actually made in DTLA by a designer who makes dresses for Latin American parties like Quinceaneras. Next time I am rollin around the Fasion District I am going to be wondering jealously who got to dress Winona Ryder. Lydia's mother, a wine mom with a taste for *modern art* is dressed all in Japanese designers. Most iconic, though, is Beetlejuice's striped suit. This aesthetic carries through the rest of Burton's films and I feel like the black and white stripe pattern that I so lovingly wore in my emo days is of direct Tim Burton influence. Also check out this cool article: (x).

Omg Edward Scissorhands. Why did I feel that Edward was the perfect man for me when I was 13? I liked leather and misunderstood boys, I guess. This is where we see the true Suburban Goth, with those fucking amazing rainbow houses in contrast with the dark castle on the hill. The juxtaposition between boring people and weirdos was too real. As Tim Burton's first project with Johnny Depp, and really the film that put Johnny Depp on the map, this film holds a special place in my heart. Edward is just a kind boy lost in a world that doesn't understand him. Pair that with the fact that I had reason to believe that I too would find a tortured soul that looked like Johnny Depp, Edward Scissorhands made me feel "not so alone" as an equally tortured teenager.

Aw okay how could I not mention Nightmare Before Christmas? My boyfriend and I just watched this and admittedly we agreed the best part is definitely the opening in Halloweentown, but this film is fantastic nonetheless. We saw Danny Elfman perform the score at the Hollywood Bowl last year and it was honestly one of the best concerts I've ever been to. In thinking about the visual language of this film, I think it is so much more about movement than any of Burton's other films. The spindly legs of Jack Skellington are so spideresque while Sally is the perfect stiff ragdoll. I am still shocked by how striking the eerie light in this film is--I have no idea how one achieves this in stop-motion filmmaking. More than anything, I think I love this one because it is kind of an exercise in monster-making. The artists really got to dream up all of the Halloween monsters and come up with their personalities in a very funny and charming way.

This is probably my favorite Tim Burton film: Sleepy Hollow!!!! More outcast Johnny Depp goodness. I don't know how I am supposed to believe that no one likes Ichabod because damn, those cheekbones. And then there is my favorite lady, Katrina Van Tassel. More on her coming soon... Because it is set in New England farming village in the fall, the colors in Sleepy Hollow are pretty stark, mostly blacks, greys, and browns. But that, my friends, is what allows for the blood to look so deliciously striking on camera. Burton does an almost orange-red blood which makes it all the more Halloween-y. I also especially love the little nods to steampunk with Ichabods "instruments of his own design." Sleepy Hollow is so Victorian and lovely, even though the time period might not exactly match up with the Victorian era.

And last but not least, Corpse Bride! Again, this one was of emo importance to me. "Can a heart still break once it's stopped beating?" All that unrequited love stuff had me feeling all the feels. This one is actually set in the Victorian era, with main characters named Victoria and Victor. Obviously owing to advances in stop-motion filmmaking, this film appears to be so much sleeker than Nightmare Before Christmas. This allows for more close-ups on the beautiful props used and generally a more ethereal look. The juxtaposition between the living and dead worlds are very fun, but ultimately I just love the character of Emily and her ability to move between the two realms. She is so fun but also a classic Victorian beauty and I mean she turns into butterflies so that's pretty cool.

Tim Burton has always represented escapism for me. So many of his stories are set in suburbia or some Victorian version of " strict normality", but so much magic and weirdness happens there. His films always made me believe that the world might be a little stranger than it appears, which is very important to me I think. He provides Halloween as well as year-round inspiration for me.
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like a lady

Maddy said to me, "You look very safari." I was kind of going more for cool lady who wears men's clothes and goes on adventures...which I guess could be safari-esque. Okay but secret time: I was really thinking about Catriona in Penny Dreadful. I'm sorry for the reference point--this blog honestly gets nerdier with every post, but I just finished Penny Dreadful a few days ago. I watched the whole series in like five days. It was so good and I don't really know how I hadn't watched it before this. 
Okay anyways, the point is I wanted to look like a badass slightly steampunk vampire hunter...probably didn't necessarily achieve that but I like this outfit nonetheless. I wore it out to Apple Hill with my friends. (Apple Hill is a region in my hometown made up of orchards and pumpkin patches. It's basically a fall dream.) It was a gorgeous day and made the world feel like October. Finally! 

Outfit details:
Sleeveless Trench--SheIn // Overalls -- Madewell // Boots -- Madewell // Scarf -- Vintage
Cuff -- Madewell // Necklace -- my childhood closet? // Sunglasses -- Garrett Leight

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Muse: Half-Hanged Mary

A small tribute to a woman of history. The words are from Margaret Atwood's poem "Half-Hanged Mary" about a woman whom she believed to be her ancestor. Half-Hanged Mary was executed for suspected witchcraft in Salem, but she did not die. She seems a fitting muse for the beginning of the wildest and most mysterious month. The photos are mine, taken of my friend Arianna who encourages me to be my wildest self.

This is who I am. I want this space to follow.
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Inspiration: Ziegfeld Follies

A post for the last day of September that really just signifies me looking forward to October. Things are about to get real spooky on my blog. I just love Halloween and I can't help but make the entire month about it. For now I want to share some amazing costumes with you to kick off the best season of the year. I recall finding a book on the Ziegfeld Follies during my freshman year of college and falling absolutely in love. The Ziegfeld Follies was a revue show in New York in the 1920s. It was something like a Broadway show but also a vaudeville variety show. Most importantly, the "Ziegfeld Girls," who I imagine were like the 20s equivalent of go-go dancers, were dressed in the most exquisite costumes EVER. Here are some photographs of the costume collection entitled "The Illuminants."
"The Illuminants" is a costume collection based on different sources of light. The girls are dressed as the moon, a lightbulb, a lantern--and the one on the left just above is the Northern Lights which I find to be fantastic. Something about this collection in particular embodies the wonder of the 20s for me. It reflects a time when technology was changing but old superstitions still remained. The same could be said for today, I suppose, but I just like to think about how sparkly the world would have looked at this time when universal electricity was new and exciting. I've always felt like I responded very strongly to different light sources and as a photographer light is very important to me, so I just love this.

I'm not positive who designed these costumes, but I  would assume it was Erté, who designed a lot of the show's pieces. Erté was a sort of "King of Art Deco" and was a contributor to Harper's Bazaar as a fashion illustrator, as well as to show business with design. Erté just makes me dream.
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A little outfit post for the end of September. I am gearing up for all the things I want to post in October (I get very enthusiastic about Halloween), but for now I just wanted to document this pretty dress and share some thoughts. First things first, this dress is from Urban Outfitters. I boycotted them for the longest time, then caved when I saw this because I absolutely loved it. Back to boycotting now. But still how I love this dress! I feel like it has some major puritan/peasant apron vibes going on in the front but the back is so sexy and lovely. It's one of those minimal pieces I love to reach for on incredibly hot days like today (seriously what the fuck LA). I usually wear it with my white Tretorns and look sooooo California Girl.
As for the update side of things, I feel like I have been struggling with "what to do next" in my life. I graduated, laid around for a little bit, and now I'm not sure what to do with myself. I feel like I should be looking for a big-girl full-time job, but in truth I have no real interest in the "Social Media Intern" positions in the world. I want to be able to use my brain and creativity on projects that feel right to me and so many of the jobs I am seeing look so bland. On the other end of the spectrum, of course, are the research jobs I so desire in the art history world, but am not qualified for without a Masters Degree. So here I am in the middle. The conclusion I am coming to is that I really should be relishing this time of questioning. I should be taking advantage of the time I have and using it to explore some things I had forgotten. I have been teaching myself new art forms, and dreaming about others like tintype photography and pottery. I am happiest when I am creating, and I really hope that I can arrive at a place where perhaps I can feel confident enough in these passions to want to pursue them "full-time." I know this might be a difficult path, but I am tired of feeling uninspired and like I have let my art fall to the side. It's who I am and I want to embrace it. 

Dress -- Urban Outfitters / Shoes -- Tretorn / Earrings -- a.v. max via Rocksbox
Photos by Greta (thanks bb!)
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Muses: Julia Margaret Cameron

The fantastic thing--though also possibly overwhelming--about being an artist today is the accessibility we have to so much inspiration. The internet, along with dedication of those who work to preserve our culture's consciousness in museums, archives, and beyond, has given us a chance to engage with the artists that came before us in a beautiful way. The fact that I can simply type "Julia Margaret Cameron" into my search bar and come up with a beautiful array of images makes me so thankful for the age in which we live. I can compile a blog post like this and say, "Look look at this!" and then carry that inspiration with me.

This ease of accessibility is certainly a blessing, but often I get nostalgic for a time when art had a little more mystery. Before social media, self-promotion happened with a little more effort. Pursuing a new art form didn't come from dabbling, but rather from an "all-in" mentality. For instance, my girl Julia Margaret Cameron here put her life into marketing, showing, and copyrighting her work. Within 18 months of the start of her career, she had sold 80 prints to the V&A(x). Her dedication to her craft is something that has been sitting with me, and for that reason she is my muse this week. 

Julia Margaret Cameron began her career in photography at the age of 48. That's right! This badass lady didn't become famous at a young age, wasn't an It-Girl (well she did run in a circle of elites like Tennyson and Charles Darwin). Instead, she made her name simply by doing the damn work. She figured out her own style and perspective by experimentation. In the face of much doubt, she strived to make her photography akin to the artists of the Italian Renaissance. While photographers of the time were concerned with technical skills, Cameron preferred to imbue her work with a certain spirit rather than perfection. Other photographers accused her photos of being out of focus with incorrect shadows or coloring. While she wished to bring mythology and history to life, other men in her field found her work to be worthy of mockery and derision. I can't help but wonder, dear readers, if perhaps her subject matter and style were seen by male photographers as trivial and unstudied only because she was a woman. Ah, the age-old question. Still, I cannot travel in time to convince their sorry (and uncelebrated) asses of her brilliance. I can only admire her here. 

A bit about her subject matter: she brought in only her friends to sit for her. She didn't do commissioned portraits, but preferred to stage her portraits in order to evoke a character or feeling specific to her work. Her subjects complained about the amount of time they had to hold their poses, often in romantic and dramatic outfits. She brought to life Arthurian legends and mythic archetypes. I love work like hers because it proves the eternal fascination that mankind has with stories. There are some things that never die, and it seems that the stories she has tapped into are some of them. And what better way to make them true than by photography? 

Julia Margaret Cameron is an inspiration to me both because of her dreamy subject matter and her devotion to the craft. She is proof of the fact that one really can start a new art (or career path/hobby/life/personality/whateverrr) at any age. She rarely took no for an answer. She inspires me to be fearless in the things I love, and to listen to the things I am drawn to. 
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Inspiration: Getty Neoclassical Statues

Lol how many times have I talked about this Valentino collection? Can't even count. I took a few photos of these statues at the Getty last time I was there. I just have such a fondness for ancient Greek art and the endless re-imaginings of it. I think when I was younger I didn't realize that the white marble statues I saw in museums were more than likely from the Renaissance or Neoclassical eras--I thought they were all from 2000 years ago. Still, there is a magic that lingers in these pieces and in the fascination that we have with the old myths and aesthetics. I put together a little inspo collage of Valentino, ancient Greek jewelry, and reimagined Medusa brooches. Also threw a little Pride and Prejudice in there because that scene is flawless. 

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A Modern Marie

I've been thinking about play; about how fashion has always been a way for me to dabble in other personas, to play dress up of both body and mind. I've also missed doing self-portraits. Ian has been so lovely in taking my photos so often, but I really do enjoy the process of taking my own photos for this blog, even if they are a little off-kilter or look too much like they were taken with a tripod. Self-portraiture is a way for me to check in with myself because it's just me and the camera--I'm running between my chosen spot and the tripod (even more today because my remote died). It's quite cathartic; everything but my immediate surroundings and my own feeling of existence just fades away. 

Today I reached for this fun velvety shirt and this collar I made while I was home. They reminded me of Marie Antoinette, or rather, the characters that I have seen her become in the public eye. I've actually read a few Marie Antoinette biographies and of course I adore the Sophia Coppola film, if only for the delicious visuals. Marie Antoinette is the epitome of privileged white girl, I suppose, but there is something so mournful that I have always found in her character. She was a young girl thrust into high society and away from her family. I imagine her spending a lot of time alone, trying to pass the time while absolutely nothing is expected of her (for better or worse). So today I honor her with a pink color she would have loved, some unnecessary frills, and a collar--which, now that I think of it, seems almost like a reference to a guillotine. 
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