Category: Interviews

InterviewsAngels We Were: An Interview with Photographer Paul de Luna

 
 
I think the pictures do all of the talking, but I am so excited to introduce you all to the breathtaking world of Paul de Luna. I caught up with him via email a few weeks ago, pestering him with all sorts of questions about these stunning pictures, and he was so happy to let all you in for a sneak peek of a photographer’s mind.

The three shoots here are each so different and lovely that I had to include them all. The last one you may recognize from my Fallen Angel post in September, and I was so excited to learn of the story behind the lens.

Now sit back and enjoy!
 
Meliae
 
 
For some reason, Yeats’ “The Stolen Child” comes strongly to mind here, mixed with a little bit of “Ever After” and Hans Christian Anderson. Who is this girl, and what’s her story?
 
The Stolen Child is an excellent reference, although it wasn’t part of my inspiration.  That poem, however, is rather similar to Baudelaire’s “L’Invitation Au Voyage,” which was.  There are a lot of elements and subplots at work in this story.  Our relationship with nature plays a huge part in all my work, and here I used the metaphor of the Meliae (ash-tree nymph) mourning the impending loss of her world by unknown destructive forces.  She, being a descendant of Gaia, is tasting one last time the beauty of the world around her knowing that it – and consequently she – will soon disappear.  She implores us to save her knowing full well that we will not. This is her swan song.  It’s easy to extend that metaphor to encompass of lot of things in our lives, and that is my intention.
 
Did you style the outfit as well? I notice there is a lot of layering going on, all with different textures and colors. It seems like there is a lot of thought put into the composition of the outfits.
 
There is definitely a lot of thought put into the styling in all my shoots as that is an essential element of the narrative. Plots, subplots, counter-harmonies and alter-themes are all prevalent in my work and the layering helps to express that.  I work closely with my stylists, but they know how to style way better than me.  To be cheeky I will quote Oscar Wilde who quipped, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” 
 
 
 
  
Angels We Were
 
 
 
 
  
The voice-over in this vignette really tied the whole story together. It wasn’t until I watched the video that I connected the “wings” on the model’s clothes with the idea of angels the title references. Are these angels fallen from grace? Fallen from love? Fallen from innocence?
 
I don’t believe that the artist and audience necessarily have to be in agreement on a work’s meaning. I envision and then create both the universe and the characters who live and breathe and dream in that universe; and then I set them free for you to speak with them, to let their universe to collide with yours.  Essentially, it’s not important what I think.  Having said that, for me this story is about the impending loss of innocence as told by someone looking back at themselves – knowing what was to come, but unable to prevent the fall.  
 
They also wish to recapture or remember that sense of freedom they once had before becoming aware of the sense of judgement associated with the knowledge of good and evil – essentially, angels on the edge of falling from grace.  On that note, I’m aware that most people see my work as romantic to the point of sweetness but the truth is there is an extremely dark and melancholic undercurrent running just beneath the surface. For me, my work is extremely tragic, and I can’t look at it too long without getting depressed.
 
Many people go for a sunny, light-infused theme when they’re at the beach. I was particularly drawn to this shoot because it wasn’t like that; instead, it was misty and overcast. Why did you choose to do this?
 
Most of my creative decisions by now are visceral and intuitive, and images just suddenly appear in my head – often at the oddest of moments. I was recently telling someone that I constantly have about 10 movies and 5 soundtracks of my own design constantly playing in my head; it’s really quite a cacophony in there.  While creating the universe of Angels We Were, I felt that things shouldn’t be too clear – they are in a place lost in time and space where there is no reference point beyond the hazy memory of a dream.
 
 
  
Fallen Angel
  
 
 
This is one of my favorite of your shoots; in fact, I featured it a few weeks ago on our blog. Obviously, it’s shot in Paris – my guess is the banks of the Seine? Is there a reason you shot it in Paris, or were you lucky enough to be there for something else?
 
That was an extremely challenging shoot as nothing seemed to want to cooperate for us.  It was indeed mostly shot near the Seine, and I was in Paris both for this and other reasons.  Paris is phenomenally inspiring both aesthetically and culturally, and the Parisians (French in general) have a profound comprehension and tolerance of and respect for the creative process and all the eccentricity it entails.
 
Our culture tends to belittle art as an unnecessary luxury while they view it as an essential – and sublime – part of being human.  Knowing French is a huge plus – not only because the French are reluctant to speak English – but because if you do not you will be missing out on a wealth of knowledge and inspiration which can only be found through being a part of and eavesdropping in on their conversations.
 
There is something very tragically beautiful about this whole shoot (I keep hearing Lara’s Theme in the background), especially when culminating with her lying on the ground. What’s the story?
 
Loss of innocence obviously seems to be a recurring theme in my work.  I suppose I often capture that brief moment just before oblivion, where eternity exists in a moment and all things are understood. Beauty, ugliness, joy, pain, love, hate, good and evil unite and the character is whole again, for an instant.  And then disappears.
 
Also, why the feathers? They’re gorgeous and they add something I didn’t expect at all; what’s their significance?
 
Again, angels or ghosts of angels constantly appear in my work, and here the feathers represent her wings ripped away during her tragic plunge to earth and now their remnants fall around her and back onto her stripped arms, flightless, while she lays dying on the banks of the Styx trapped between heaven and hell.  While pictures supposedly capture a only moment, in mine I often try to interject distinct echoes of the past and the approaching roar of that which is to come. 
 
 
 
In all of your shoots, there seems to be an underlying theme of either quiet melancholia, or a really deep-seated peacefulness. 
 
Melancholia and peacefulness are unlikely twins and they both live simultaneously in my work.  There is little more painfully beautiful than the peacefulness of melancholic solitude.  I am definitely aware of a constant emotional and ontological thread running through all my creative work.  In a way, all these girls are variations of the same archetype.  The refrain from Baudelaire’s L’Invitation Au Voyage is very prevalent in my work: “Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, Luxe, calme et volupté” – “There far away, is nothing but order and beauty, Luxury, calmness, and voluptuousness.”
 
Do you choose specific models for specific shoots?
 
Absolutely. To the point of being exigently tedious in my castings.  Each one must be a muse through and through.
 
In all of your photos here, there are layers of wispy light – usually a misty grey or white, rarely sunlight – or pale leaves or other shapes added on top of the photos. What’s the purpose for that, and do you consider it a trademark style?
 
I’m profoundly influenced by the Impressionist painters – Matisse, Monet, Manet, Morissot, Renoir, Pisarro, Degas … the list goes on.  If anything, I consider myself to be an Impressionist photographer; and I follow much of their techniques very closely, from composition to the color palette and mixing of natural light to the emphasis of emotional impact over detail.  Another important factor in my work is that the effects are done optically at the time I take the picture and not in Photoshop via various physical filters and vignettes that I create.  The word “photography” translated from the original Greek means “drawing with light,” and essentially I approach photography as if I am a painter, light is paint, and the camera my brush.
 
How did you get started with photography?
 
I was heading off on a 5-week backpacking trip through China many years ago and the night before my father gave me his old Canon AE-1 film camera.  I read the manual on the plane, put some film in, and crossed my fingers. Putting the camera up to my eye, I felt alive …
 
Do you have any future ambitions in photography? Anybody you’d really love to photograph?
 
I would love to just be able to travel the world with my only possessions being just a backpack and a camera to preserve life and our world that is constantly disappearing, and in between come home to my family on the beach and surf and appreciate them all day, every day.  In the future I will be making more films.  I would love to photograph Nelson Mandela and my grandfather who passed before I became a photographer.
 
If you’d like to see more of Paul’s work, check out his site at pauldeluna.com.

FashionIntroducing Everly Clothing: Founders & Designers Adriana and Fabiana Tell All!

Here at LuLu*s, we do our best to bring all of you the most unique clothing we can find from companies that share similar goals of affordability, wearability, and individuality. One such company, Everly Clothing, is not only one of my top favorite LuLu*s brands, but it is also a name with a real heart behind it.
When I contacted founders – and sisters! – Adriana and Fabiana, they were thrilled to do an interview. They even threw in some never-seen-before pictures from their Fall LookBook, as well as photos from around the office. Read on for their spin on the fashion, food, and staying friends through it all!
everly clothing
Where did the name Everly originate?
Adri & Fabe: In the beginning stages of starting our clothing line and coming up with a name and muses, we realized we wanted to create a girl who would ultimately be our ever changing muse. We researched tons of books and magazines, and when we both heard the name Everly, we knew we wanted our girl to be called Everly.
There are a lot of aspiring designers out there. How did you make Everly Clothing a success?
Adri & Fabe: Honestly, we really believe with all of our hearts that Everly has been successful so far because of love. This might sound cheesy, but working together as sisters and best friends – everything we create together has been pieces we absolutely love.  When launching our line we really ran with the idea to do what we love and hoped everything else would fall into place.
Any words of wisdom for starting your own business?
Adri & Fabe: Be ready to work hard and there is no job too small for the boss. Your energy will flow through the company so always be positive in all that you do.
What your favorite part of running Everly? The hardest part?
Adri:  My most favorite part about running Everly is working with Fabe.  Everyday I really feel inspired to do my best and feel challenged to bring something to the table. I also love seeing our entire team from design to production to sales come together to make Everly come to life. The hardest part is definitely finding the right people to work with and dealing with so many different people and personalities in all aspects of the business.
What’s it like to work together as sisters?
Adri & Fabe: We realized we are fortunate because it’s not everyone who can work with their siblings. Before being partners we were best friends and really spent every waking moment together since we were kids. We had the same group of friends in high school and we shared rooms for more than 10 years where we would stay up late chit chatting about life, boys (and more boys). We rarely fight and when we do, it lasts for about 10 minutes and then we forget the reason we were even mad in the first place. The best thing about working together is that we can be completely honest with each other without any barriers. We have a deep understanding that anything that is said —  is said with good intentions and is never meant to harm the other person.  It’s been a great journey so far and we are thankful for each other – through good times and bad.
(Everly Mood Board)
Your website bio says that you love travel art, music, photography, food, and vintage. How do you incorporate all of this into your dresses and clothing?
Fabe: We take inspiration from everything we see and do. We might take a color from a photo we both love or a lace idea from a beautiful vintage dress we snagged at a thrift store or flea market.  Seeing a beautiful photograph might inspire us at the beginning of the season and might be what the entire collection focuses on for that one season.
Do you actually design every item, or do you have a big creative team?
Adri & Fabe: Here’s how it works:  Fabe is our designer for Everly and we actually design every single item. On a daily basis we are e-mailing and texting each other what is inspiring us at the moment and Fabe uses all that inspiration to create a look. Once the sample is made, Adri wears the sample and both of us will stand in front of the mirror commenting on what we love or what can be changed about the garment. It’s like playing dress up everyday, but in real life.
(Everly Clothing Patterns)
Best moment so far in this business?
Adri & Fabe: The best moment so far in our business has been watching it grow and we absolutely love receiving e-mails from people saying they love Everly and want more of it.  Connecting with the girls who wear Everly through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has been amazing.
What’s your favorite food/comfort food/standby for chilling out or distressing?
Adri: Hands down tomato basil soup with a grilled cheese.
Fabe: Shabu shabu (Japenese hotpot) or homemade chicken soup.
If we looked in your closet right now, what would we find?
Adri:  A lot of black. I love black. You would also find tons of all types of dresses and lots of vintage goodies found at flea markets.
Fabe: Button down tops of all colors and lots of coats.  You would also find a rack of blazers and a lot of gold vintage jewelry.
If you had to pick three items of makeup to live with the rest of your life, what would they be?
Adri:
Chanel Moisturizing Bronzing Powder. I got this as a birthday gift from my oldest sister and learned how to use bronzer through Bergdorf Goodman’s Twitter (@bergdorfs).  Their Twitter girl gave a step by step picture tutorial, and I noticed it did make a big difference! (who knew Twitter would teach me how to put on makeup?!).
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. Fabe introduced me to this and I have loved it since the first time she let me borrow hers. It’s like colorful lotion that will hide all your blemishes.
Chanel Teint Innocence.The salesgirl at the Chanel counter swore by this foundation and told me all her model friends gave themselves touch ups during the day with it. I totally fell for it and now can’t live without it. (That salesgirl deserves a promotion!)
Fabe:
Laura Mercier’s Undercover Pot was introduced to me by a friend and who swore by it. She promised me it would cover anything at anytime. I gave it a try, and it’s become my go to source for hiding anything.
Chanel’s Automatic Liquid Eyeliner has never failed me with smudging – even after a good cry.
Nars’ blush in Mata Hari never fails to bring me to life!! No matter day or night, it always give me rosy cheeks that don’t make me look tired.
(Everly Threads)
What do you splurge on when it comes to completing your look?
Adri: Facials. My facialist once told me that having great skin is the best accessory a girl can have.
Fabe:  A nice chunky necklace.
Are there any current fashion trends that you’re really into? Any that you don’t like so much?
Adri: I am obsessed with all the bright legwear I’ve been seeing around and am loving the cutouts and high-low anything.
Fabe: Right now I am loving chevron prints and colored lace. Fur vests are a must this season.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten when it comes to fashion?
Adri & Fabe: LESS IS MORE.
A little note: We are so excited for the next chapter, and we feel so grateful everyday to be working together and to be a part of the Lulu*s community.  We’re in the process of giving our blog a facelift and can’t wait to share our stories and experiences in running our business and life at Everly. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for upcoming events.
XOXO, Adri and Fabe

InterviewsHigh Spirits: The Photography of Brooke Shaden

 

Ever wonder what it’s like to be an artist?
Today we have a behind-the-scenes interview with a fashionable artist:  Brooke Shaden!
 
 
1. So, you were raised in PA, what brought you to LA?
I graduated from college in Philadelphia in December 2008 and decided then to pick up my still camera. I went about creating self portraits, and soon after moved to Los Angeles to pursue film making. It wasn’t long after the move that I decided to do photography instead of film making, and have been living in LA ever since creating art!

2. Where do you get inspiration for some of the looks in your photos?

I am constantly inspired by timeless wardrobes. I love something that looks like it could be from any time period and helps to tell a story. I am inspired by long flowing gowns and the way that wind catches in fabric.

3. What’s your favorite time period?
I love the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of painters, they inspire me so much!

4. Do you have an amazing dress and prop collection?
I like to think so! Though, admittedly, I have ruined most of them by dragging them through the mud or slopping them around in creeks. I have probably 20 or so dresses that I use on photo shoots and take with me to workshops, all of various styles but all of them timeless as well. 

 
5. What is your fascination with water?
Aside from my name being Brooke . . . I am fascinated with the way that water is a foreign element for the most part. We as humans are not naturally water creatures, and so water seems to be a place where a new world can easily be formed. I like how fluid it is, the way that it can softly pour over skin and hide body parts that are in the water. It has so many meanings associated with it, like life and death.

6. How long does it take you to prepare for a shoot?
I spend at least a few hours per photo conceptualizing and planning all of the details. I always know what I am going to shoot before I pick up my camera, so half of my entire process is spent planning while the shooting takes about 10 minutes.

7. What do you splurge on for your photo shoots?
Usually my big splurges come from props! I recently purchased a giant octopus for a photo, something that I had been wanting for a very long time but never had the guts to buy. I will splurge on a dress if I think it can be versatile enough, too.

8. One thing that is very unique about your photography is that you use solely a square format. Why the square?

To me, the square format allows for the viewer to see into a whole new world instead of a photograph. Suddenly the traditional photographic frame is gone, and instead of focusing on the medium the concept can shine through even brighter.
 

 
9. You also have a background in film and English, do you still write or film?
I have not yet jumped back into film, but I know that I will someday. I don’t feel that it is right quite yet because I don’t have the means to properly translate my ideas. I am infatuated with photography still, but I am sure that sometime, maybe soon, I will get the itch to make my images move. As for writing, I keep my blog updated very regularly with essays and musings. I love writing about photography and philosophies on photography. I am also writing a book which I hope to publish in 2012 all about inspiration and creating new worlds.

10. Tell us about your upcoming workshop in New York.
My workshops for the fall are numerous, as I will be teaching in New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Texas. The New York workshop is an 8 hour day full of hands on shooting and editing a levitation photograph. Each workshopper leaves with their own creation from the day. I go through my process, start to finish, on how to shoot and edit a levitation image. I teach how to make people fly!
 
 
Learn more about Brooke Shaden at her website and blog.

InterviewsThe Photography of Bunny Jenny

You know that feeling when you first discover some hidden talent in the world? It’s sort of like falling in love.
 
Elated by my new favorite photographer, Jenny Woods (a.k.a Bunny Jenny) I am pleased to share her with you in this inspiring interview.
 
But first, please indulge!
 
 
 
 
First of all, your website says you’re only 18. Is that true?
I sure am! I’m just a baby still.

Where is your home base, and do you travel a lot?

I live in a small town entirely made up of sugar cane. I prefer the country to big cities, at the moment. It keeps me inspired and my own. I feel like bigger cities are so fast paced and you can lose yourself if you’re not careful. My town keeps me sane when it comes to art. I don’t do a lot of traveling outside of South Florida. I hope to one day though.

Do you remember your first camera?

My first camera was a Olympus film camera. I got it for my 16th birthday. The sad part is that I just recently started using it a couple months ago. It’s amazing to shoot with. I absolutely love film.

Where do you get some of the concepts for your photo shoots, like “A horse with no name” where did that idea come from?
I keep a journal with me at all times and I jot down whatever comes in my mind. I get really inspired by music and old black and white movies. I had the idea when passing a horse pasture; I thought combining a woman’s delicate body with a horse’s would be mind blowing. They’re both so beautiful and soft. I wanted the model to feel as if she was a part of that horse; to be one with it.
 

What do you look for in a model?
I don’t really look for anything specific when looking for a model. I just try to look for one that matches each idea perfectly. They’re all just really playing a part when being photographed. I like to tell my models a story before shooting and I tell them to play that story in their mind while shooting. It makes the photos feel more natural and real, than just a pose. I try to bring stiff bones to life.

How long does it take you to prepare for a shoot?
I’m VERY controlling when it comes to my shoots. I don’t like using stylists or make up artists, unless absolutely necessary. It takes me a couple months to plan out one idea. But that’s also depending on how difficult the idea would be to create. In my mind, you never stop planning a shoot.. even after the shoot is over with. You always come up with new ideas or things you should have tried; it eventually evolves into a new photo shoot.

Is there anything you splurge on for your photo shoots?

Oh geeze.. haha, I buy all of my own props/clothes/camera equipment for shoots! That’s where all of my paycheck goes. I don’t remember the last time I bought something for myself. My mom gets so mad at me, too, because I don’t get paid for any of my photo shoots. She doesn’t understand though. I don’t like shooting for money… I feel like you lose your passion for something once you start getting paid to do it. You stop doing it for yourself and forget the reason why you loved it, in the first place. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accept money for taking pictures.. It doesn’t seem right to me. I have rates up on my Model Mayhem site right now, but I don’t ever see myself actually telling someone to pay me, ya know?
 
 
 
A lot of your photography is very fashion oriented; are there any current fashion trends that you’re into?
I’m digging florals! Haha, I love color and flowers; they make me in such a good mood!
 
How did you come to be known as Bunny Jenny?
It was a nickname in high school! My best friend used to call me her “little bunny” and I guess it just stuck? I don’t think anyone calls me by my real name, actually. I like to think of it as my alter ego; you know, the artistic me. I’ve thought about changing it and just using my real name, but I love it too much. ‘Bunny Jenny’ will always be part of me. It’s who I am.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
“You only have one person to make happy in life: yourself.”

If you just fell in love with Bunny Jenny, like I did, see more on her website!

InterviewsLuLu*s Featured Fan: Miraya!

We absolutely love our Facebook and Twitter fans! Each one of you is important to us and we enjoy chatting on 
Facebook or tweeting with all of you. So, we wanted to feature some of our lovely fans and get to know them a bit better. If you’d like to be a featured fan, just get on our “radar” by being active on our blog and 
Twitter or 
Facebook page. The more you interact/post/tweet/comment, the more likely you could be a LuLu*s Featured Fan!

            

Some of you still have the last snow flurries lingering before the weather turns to warmer days. Today, we are featuring the cutest snow bunny, Miraya! We have some pics of her in a LuLu*s dress and and interview. She is a 
Facebook fan who is an active participant in all the fun on our page.   

Where are you from?

I currently live in Michigan but I’m originally from sunny Florida.

How did you hear about Lulus.com?

I actually stumbled upon Lulu’s.com when I was surfing the web. I immediately fell in love with the clothes and ran to Facebook to Like the page.


What are your favorite activities?

Favorite activities? Yikes! That’s a tough question to ask. Let’s see, I love art, music and fashion. My main passion is art, especially digital art and traditional art –some of my art can be seen on my personal site at www.firedust.net. My second love is creating jewelry and sewing costumes for the Renaissance Festival. In fact, with a lot of encouragement from friends I have recently taken on the venture of selling some of my pieces online and will hopefully be opening an online store this coming month which is both exciting and daunting! I enjoy metal working and have recently worked with glass fusing. In short, I love trying new things and learning new things. Yeah, I guess you can say my list is pretty broad and endless so I’ll zip this up by saying I also enjoy gaming online and reading comic books. I suppose at the end of the day I’m a self professed Geek! However being a Geek does NOT mean you sacrifice being fashionable — the trick is to always make Geek look chic.

What does your closet look like?

Ahh, my closet. I am one of those lucky girls with a walk in closet. My closet is color coordinated by seasons and lengths. I basically have rows of shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, dresses and each section has to be color coordinated into a rainbow. My shoes are all tidy in plastic boxes for easy access and my belts are hung neatly on hooks. I have a vintage jewelry box my mother gave me as a child where I store my endless array of goodies. I also have some vintage boxes I use to store scarves and gloves and the such for winter. In the corner I have a tall stack of hat boxes where I keep all my fun hats for the spring and summer! I’m very fortunate to have the space and I love it because it defines my style and what I’m about. I’m an artist and I love clothes and I’m able to combine both passions in one lovely place.

What would you want to see more of in our blog?

I think you guys are doing a fine job thus far. Your articles are engaging, your staff is full of fantastic talent and your store is amazing. If I had to pick something though I guess I would suggest more tips –maybe make up tips!? I love make up and tips on application or the latest color trends seem to have some real potential.

What are your favorite Lulu*s products?

Oh Gosh, well first off let me say I LOVE the Look Books! Those are a great source of inspiration! As far as a favorite product goes – I can’t pick just one! I love the shoes and the clothes and the accessories – I love some of the vintage stuff you guys have! SO CUTE! <3.

What would you like to see more of on Lulus.com?

I think I’d like to see a bit more of Career wear. Why should our fashion sense suffer at the office, right? :)

What is the most inspiring quote or motto you’ve heard?

My favorite quote is “Little minds are subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them” – by author Washington Irvin. I think everyone has potential, given the chance. One thing I’ve learned in life is that, yes — life is a challenge but as long as we give it OUR best and as long as we do everything we can to never give up, everything else will fall into place.

We enjoyed our interview with Miraya! We can’t wait to see YOU as our next featured fan! So, be sure to say hello to us on 
Facebook and Twitter.