We’d been fans of Magaela Accessories for a while—the nature-inspired flower crowns, the beaded floral decorations that drape over a bare arm, the floral barrettes and combs and belts and jewelry, even the dog collars, all delicate and feminine and fairy-esque, pictured on lovely young models (or canines) in sunlit fields.
One day last year, we saw a new image, and this one floored us: It was of a gorgeous, ebullient older woman with long, silky white hair, her face serene, smiling slightly, as she sat calmly in a field of wheat. She was dressed in white, wearing a pink and white flower crown that tangled down in her own white locks. She held a stalk of wheat and seemed relaxed and at peace. It’s an astonishing image: The lady is undeniably beautiful and undeniably old, a combination we’re not often presented with. There’s been no attempt to conceal her wrinkles, no bright light to make them disappear. She doesn’t even seem to be wearing makeup. The caption? “I love her every wrinkle, her beautiful silver hair and endless smile. She is my personal fairy.”
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@magaela_accessories posted this utterly enchanting photo of her mother @gerhardova, saying “I love her every wrinkle, her beautiful silver hair and endless smile 😊 She is my personal fairy.” Photo by @michaela.durisova ❤️ #fairybeauty #beauty #fairies #fairiesarereal #fairiesofinstagram #faeries #faerie
We shared the photo on our own Instagram feed, and it became one of our most liked images of 2018. The response was enthusiastic and emotional. @lunawolf85 commented “When I saw this lovely picture, tears of love came out of me, love everything.” @faerneth said: “Beautiful. this made my world stop for a minute. wow. a true faerie” And many people echoed the thoughts of @julielovejoy: “It’s about time!!! The idea that faeries are always beautiful nubile young things is a myth.”
In The Faerie Handbook, we included a photo of eighty-year-old Sharron Roads, whose ethereal fairy portraits taken by her daughter Marsha Steckling had provoked a similar response when we shared them online. People want to see these elder figures in all their radiant beauty and want to live in a world that fully embraces their magic and wisdom. What could be more fairy than that? As Grace Nuth wrote in the book:
In Faerie, there are no rules about cutting your hair once you reach a certain age. Ancient wisewomen fairies wear their hair snow-white and pooling around their feet in luxurious piles. Each wrinkle on a woman’s face is revered as the sign of a memory, just as the beads and baubles collected on trolls’ tails tell stories of where they have been and what they’ve learned.
We love these wisewomen fairies and wanted to know more. Some day, we hope to become them ourselves.
The creator behind Magaela Accessories is thirty-one-year-old Michaela Durisova, who comes from Dubnica nad Váhom, a small town in Slovakia, and now lives in a village in Austria near the Slovak border. “This photo [below or above via instagram] was taken in a field near our village,” she says. “My mother wanted to cut her hair, so I told her that I have to take a picture of her long hair first, wearing our floral accessories. So we found a few pieces of clothes for her and went off to the field with the sunset. There were bugs everywhere, and our dog wanted to be on the pictures also, as always, so it was quite funny.” Everyone loved the pictures, of course. “They got very popular on social media. After that, my mum decided to keep her hair long.”
Durisova started her business five years ago, and now, in part thanks to her mother’s otherworldly modeling, it’s taken off, freeing her to spend more time on photography while the team at her floral workshop busily conjures up enchanted accessories. And she loves the forest: It’s an “enormous library full of energy,” she says. She’s especially taken with the architecture of the forest, the rocks and trees and their shapes, the hills, the different colors and scents. “Its individual images are stuck in me, and I try to transfer them to my creations,” she says. It’s like dipping leaves in paint and then pressing them on a paper. They can’t be fully pressed, but there are obvious abstract and sensory traces.”
We asked for more of the story of the fairy in her photos, whose name is Vlasta. “My mum was forty-one when I was born,” Durisova says. “She worked as a hairdresser, and I grew up in her hairdressing salon since it was in our house. When I was ten, she did not have enough clients to make a living, so she started working wherever she could. She worked in a factory helping make components or in the supermarket Tesco as a cashier. When my mum was younger she was interested in theater and art, but she didn’t carry on with that because she had to feed her five hungry children.”
Durisova goes on to talk about her mother’s hair. Imagine this modern-day Rapunzel checking out your groceries at the local supermarket! “I remember how she always had short hair and different hairdos; she even dyed her hair red. As a hairdresser, she always had to wear the latest hairstyles. Six or seven years ago, my mum decided to let her hair grow. She used to say that she couldn’t defeat it. Maybe it’s strange for some people, but she washes her hair only once in two weeks. She braids her hair and after, she does a bun with her braids. She has a special postiche, which she uses to cover her bun in order to give it a nice look. The only hair product she uses is her special oil, which she applies to the hair ends to keep them healthy and moisturized.”
Vlasta and her husband recently celebrated their fifty-year anniversary. For it, Durisova did a photo shoot of her parents on one of the highest peaks of the High Tatras, Lomnický štít. How did her parents help her view the world, we asked. “I was always a scaredy-cat,” Durisova says. “My father kept reminding me of all the bad things that could happen until I started to be afraid of everything. Then my mother came, grabbed my hand, and helped me start all over again. She’s been my guardian all my life. I always admired how strong and fearless she was. She taught me to be fearless too but cautious, strong but sensitive, to enjoy little things. She is not particular about material things but rather about the atmosphere and quality time with the family. For her, good coffee and company are the best ingredients of a good life. She takes life as it comes and tries to enjoy every day to the fullest.”
Find Michaela Durisova on Instagram @magaela_accessories.