Victorian Faerie Fashions

We asked Kambriel about the clothing she made for the project—and for fashion tips for those of us who plan to attend a Victorian fairy tea party ourselves (or just look like we might!).

Faerie Magazine: So tell us about the clothes you created for this shoot.
Kambriel: I wanted the clothing to transition from something very natural and diaphanous into something richly luxurious. I wanted to give the fairies a change of pace, where they could shed their more minimal garb and try something a bit more formal than they might otherwise wear to frolic in. After all, a decadently magical tea party was awaiting them!

FM: What Victorian details do you especially love to incorporate into your work?
K: For Victorians, more is more. No detail is overlooked, from the glisten of a sparkling carved jet or metal filigree button to a fine lace embellishment. The opportunity is never lost to add a little extra special touch to the finishing of a piece. Silhouettes are always emphasized, and there’s an unexpected pairing of modesty and drama which results in something both timeless and enchanting.

FM: What explains the appeal of vintage Victoriana, do you think?
K: There is something so appealing about the depth of sentimentality in Victoriana. A particular choice of flowers, colors, a shiny or matte finish, the flutter or wave of a fan—everything carries its own special meaning and significance. There’s a language that goes far beyond words. And there’s a charm to how Victorians can combine subtlety and extravagance in such an elegantly beautiful way.

FM: How would you dress for a Victorian tea party?
K: I’d wear a long iridescent silk brocade jacket or high-collared capelet, along with yards of delicate lace ruffles and elaborate embroidery that’s been accented with sparkling French jet beads in the shapes of crescent moons and stars—especially if it were for a midnight tea! I’d top my outfit off with a jaunty confection of a hat decorated with an abundance of rare night-blooming flowers created from hand-dyed velvet, surrounded by a cloud of diaphanous silk tulle veiling.

FM: How did you approach dressing the fairies?
K: I wanted their clothing and accessories to be beautiful and glamorous, but in a way that still feels very organic and connected with their natural surroundings. It’s a blending of the wild and the refined … much like the fairies themselves at the tea party. Try as they may to be proper, their inner whimsy and mischief can’t help but come through!

FM: Do you have any advice for someone trying to achieve a vintage fairy look?
K: Listen to your inner magpie tendencies. Reach for what attracts you and don’t be afraid to blend it all together. Soft textures, shimmering shades, pieces from around the world, spanning oceans and centuries, cobweb-fine laces and delicate, heirloom details—all in abundance! Don’t worry too much about how they’ll go together. If you combine what you really love and are naturally drawn to, a kind of magic happens where everything begins to meld in an alchemical way that ultimately can lead to a style and aesthetic that’s uniquely your own.

“ To dress our woodland fairies, Kambriel conjured a tunic-length Shadowen blouse with dramatically flared sleeves and extra full lower flounce, made from sheer floral lace mesh in a deep ivory shade; an empire-waisted, mid-length gothic nightdress with an off-the-shoulder neckline and gently flared sleeves made from an iridescent rose-gold softly pleated cotton; and a loosely fitting white Byron shirt with fully draped and gathered sleeves and an open-collar neckline, along with deep wine crushed-velvet leggings and a vintage French filigree and crystal belt. For the male fairy, she also made a high-collar, ivy jacquard Borgia shirt and decadent peacock silk brocade waistcoat in shades of black and teal accented with silver filigree buttons, topped off with an antique Edwardian silk charmeuse top hat.

For the tea party attire, she came up with a black moiré frock coat with curved lower hem and standing collar, accented with a black lace ascot and purple cuffs made from a double layer of embroidered organza; a medea gown in black moiré with off-the-shoulder cobweb mesh sleeves and a center panel framed in black soutache of gleaming golden green European silk brocade delicately woven with a design of sweet birds hidden among the leaves; and a forest fairy dress with a bodice created from a multitude of embroidered organza leaves in shimmering shades of copper and violet and bias waterfall flounces along the lower hem.” – Kembriel

Visit Kambriel online at kambriel.com.

Photographer: STEVE PARKE
Styling: TRICIA SAROYA
Clothing Designer: KAMBRIEL
Models: Sonalii Castillo, Andrew Burger, Tanya Bjork
Hair & Makeup: Ann Beckette

Cover story from ISSUE NO. 36 Autumn 2016 – Print || Digital

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