Oakland Warrior Goddess
Recently, I had the privilege of working with Oakland-based designer Myrrhia of Myrrhia Fine Knitwear on a Spring 2013 lookbook project.
Myrrhia Fine Knitwear is womenswear that “skirts a line between the stylishly casual and the soberly formal for the active woman”. The Spring 2013 collection utilizes naturally colored cotton from Northern California as well as other sustainable fibers. Myrrhia constructs each piece on a Stoll sweater machine that she trained in Germany on and just recently acquired. The new machine allows her to create one piece in 30 minutes as opposed to two days thus creating a potential micro-industry for other knitwear designers in the Nor Cal region. Her designs are soft in texture and feminine in shape, with intriguing patterns and vivid colors. To capture the essence of Myrrhia’s Spring collection, which was made up of soft lace knits, structured skirts of various lengths, mesh tops, cardigans, and shapely tunics, we decided on a theme that would embody both a beautiful, intelligent and empowered woman, but also the nature and universe that she attains energy from. We went for a little something like this:
“ A woman crossing space and time who has found herself in a strange and obscure place somewhat familiar, but only in her dreams; In a post apolocolyptic world where elements of tribal, nomadic roots meet artificial, futuristic creations of the most recent species. It is here that she finds her true sense of being – an intergalactic warrior goddess evoking elements of the past and future. She is adorned in regal metal elements mimicking the ancient accessories of the gods. Finding her place in the universe, she explores the battle within.”
I also found inspired from doing research of the Goddess Oya– “goddess of change, transition, and chaos” — a warrior spirit who is loved and feared.
In order to accomplish this beautiful shoot, I brought together some fantastic, strong women who were up for the challenge: a beautiful model, Nikia, who had been one of the pioneers a la pose back in the 90′s with a blog called model liberation; an amazing photographer from Los Angeles, Emily Sandifer, with years of experience in fashion photography; the lovely Rita on paint who has a new make-up and styling blog that’s about to launch; me, Andrea Krystine, creative director who specializes in ethical fashion branding …and of course the talented visionary, Myrrhia Resneck, who designed all these awesome pieces we were working with!
After the concept was concrete, I called up Rita (our make-up artist) for a little shopping in San Francisco’s Union Square. We met for lunch at a little cafe, outside amongst the concrete jungle, and went over some make-up looks– making a list of colors and textures that we wanted out of the accessories to accommodate the styling. After a full day of trying not to indulge in buying something for ourselves (so many pretty summer colors!!) we were successful in purchasing four pairs of shoes and accessories in regal gold with tribal inspirations.
Although we wanted to keep things simple with the beauty of the model’s naturally short hair, I thought it would be cool to have a headpiece for some of the shots– something that would evoke the “goddess” feel of our warrior in her “gentler” side. We made a final stop for some flowers. I took them home and along with a wire hanger, and only a couple attempts, constructed a botanical headpiece that worked out perfect (phew!).
When the day finally arrived, Rita, myself, and photographer Emily hauled all our professional goodies in rolling bags to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Trasit). The shoot was in Oakland, so we all met up at the Embarcadero and embarked under the bay via train.
Once we were in Oakland, we walked from 19th street, with coats in hand (it was much colder in SF) and rolled on over to 25th street where Myrrhia was awaiting us. She was buzzing around like a busy bee shipping samples and working on her computer while we began prepping up our work area.
After the collection hung and accessorized, sketches scattered about, and make-up carefully strategized, we ended up moving the studios white wall several times in order to find just the right light (we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful natural light that comes through the sky lights of Myrrhia’s studio). Being all petite ladies it took a little effort, but the willpower of a few strong women made that wall move and move quickly into its proper place right in time for our model’s arrival. The lovely Nikia had flown in from LA the day prior for a vacation. We were lucky to have caught her and we all had so much to chat about.
After a little discussion on the agreed make-up looks, Rita took over with the make-up and I ran to the clothing rack to prep the first outfit.
When look no. 1 was established, we were off to shooting! (AND, we had to go swiftly because we had 17 some items to shoot and only 4 hours to work with!)
We all worked so well together that I think the only challenge throughout the whole shoot was just getting the headpiece initially pinned to Nikia’s hair! …And not disturbing our neighbors with our bad-ass Fela Kuti Pandora mix.
After all pieces were captured, all of us happy, goofy, and a bit delirious ladies were extremely stoked about what we had created… together.