May 2011 issue of Harlow Magazine; Black Swan article.
Concept, art direction and article by Matthew Rivera. Text of article below:
A flutter of feathers, the cracking of fatigued joints, the pitter-pattering of pointed toes that glide across the stage with effortless pirouettes and swan like eloquence. These are all familiar images of the prima ballerina, the epitome of grace and strength, able to tell a story through dance. This is Hello Drama’s fashion story of Swan Lake, the timeless tale of Odette, the swan princess under a spell that only true love can break.
The film “Black Swan”, which served as our main inspiration, follows ballerina Nina Sayers on a journey from vulnerable perfectionist, down into the pits of madness brought on by her unwavering desire to embody the dark savage creature known as the Black Swan. Perfection is an attribute that most of us strive hard to attain, especially so for those individuals who decide to walk down the path of creativity and beauty. Perfection, along with imperfection provided the foundations that gave life to this shoot. We decided to take that idea and bring it forward to the future and create a ballerina meets android tale.
For this shoot we took elements from the movie “Black Swan”, and incorporated a future rock element to it. We discovered a real life ballerina in model Natalia as she inspired us to find the essence of ballet and the film and turn it into something that hasn’t been witnessed before. Our Russian beauty Mila stands out as the Swan Queen wearing a frock by designer Morgan Gerhis along with the silver Cross My Heart pendant earring by Hello Drama Jewelry. Her icy expression and regal poses transcend her character breathing new life into the Swan Queen.
Hello Drama head designer Katt Lee had this to say about her inspiration for designing pieces for the shoot, “When designing for this shoot I was very inspired by ballerinas, vampires, jewel encrusted accessories, gothic culture & [famed French painter Edgar] Degas. I wanted to make the pieces soft and feminine (with lace, glitter, white) but also incorporate heavier/darker elements (studs, spikes, metal, black). I decided to use a mesh fabric that was heavier than tulle- it could still hold its shape, yet was very soft. Because of the color and glitter on the fabric, the dresses have an elegant, angelic appearance so I styled that with metal/spiked accessories to give it balance.”
The stark contrasts between the black and white swans are apparent, the Black Swan being the harsh edge of the dueling forces, outfitted in a studded black corset, black tutu, and the Sid Vicious necklace in black, complete with spikes. The Black Swan pulsates with erotic beauty, and possesses the power to entrap you with her quiet discourse. The White Swan is our gentle protagonist that belies her ultimate goal of total control of her craft. She is styled in a sparkling tiered ballerina outfit. Wearing a white tutu, the Drip Drop necklace, pointe shoes, and leggings with vein details that bring to mind scenes from the film in which Natalie Portman’s character imagines herself mutating into the Black Swan. It’s a subtle allegory that depicts glimpses of flawed perfection.
Whether you identify with the carnal chaos of the Black Swan, or the soft intensity of the White Swan, I believe one cannot survive without the other. The balance of opposites, masculine and feminine, light and dark, it’s about losing control and tapping into that passion and intensity, yet having the strength to find yourself within that chaos. Fashion is all about finding meaning within the madness, taking risks and being unafraid to attack it with an open mind. Natalie Portman’s character had to destroy herself to find glory in her performance. Hello Drama picked up those shards and brought to you our interpretation of that eternal struggle to find perfection through the pain, in the pursuit of creating something beautifully broken.