Art Nouveau, Enchanted Living Magazine, Alphonse Mucha, Prague, Czech

We’ve worked with gown designer JoEllen Elam Conway of Firefly Path on several projects—including our summer 2017 cover featuring six luminous fairies garbed in diaphanous, pastel gowns and the elven crown tutorial she contributed to our Tolkien issue—and we immediately thought of her when we decided to do an issue devoted to Art Nouveau. The influence of the period runs through all her designs. “To me it’s the most romantic way you can express style through fashion, architecture, and art,” she says, “and it’s the perfect combination of nature, humanity, and the ethereal.”

Her first exposure to the style was through a ’90s anime series called Record of Lodoss War. “The ending credits scrolled beautiful images of elves, floral motifs, and organic vine-like borders,” she says. But wasn’t until years later that she discovered that the style had a name. And when she saw the work of Mucha, she was hooked: “The first time I laid my eyes on his Seasons Collection and La Primevere, they struck a chord in me that has influenced my work ever since. Mucha’s work is the perfect balance of floral, flowing gauzy fabrics, and heavy details like jewelry and beading.”

When asked why she thinks Art Nouveau is relevant today, she says, “It’s a timeless style. At our core, I believe we appreciate nature, and the style incorporates it into our aesthetic, making us feel more entwined with nature in a modern setting.” On the following pages are some of Elam Conway’s favorite looks from the past years. “I incorporate Art Nouveau influences in each gown,” she says. “From the headpieces, filigree accents, and jewel-encrusted bodices, I tried to capture that Art Nouveau celebration of decoration and adornment. If you search through images from that era, you’ll find beautiful goddess-like women wearing gorgeous hairpieces and flowing gowns.”

Photography- Elizabeth Elder Model- Rachel (from youtube.com:rachelandjun)
Photography- Elizabeth Elder Model- Rachel (from youtube.com:rachelandjun)

How would she recommend that our readers incorporate an Art Nouveau aesthetic into their own looks? “Wear a flower crown the next time you go grocery shopping or any other everyday routine! You don’t even need an outfit to match, but you could if you want to be extra like that. I know it may sound crazy, but adding a little nature to your look—even if it’s fake flowers—or to an everyday setting is such a mood booster, not only for yourself but everyone around you!”

Photography- Elizabeth Elder Model- Jessica Dru
Photography- Elizabeth Elder Model- Jessica Dru
Photography and model- Elizabeth Elder
Photography and model- Elizabeth Elder
Photography- Mary Elam Model- Naila Hadjas
Photography- Mary Elam Model- Naila Hadjas

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