My friend, and all-around amazing model & actress Brianna LeBlanc came up with this great idea for an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed fashion shoot in the fall. She posted an open-call for other models & creatives to join up and I couldn't imagine anything more fun than bringing Alice to the PNW. It was a BIG project---8 models in multiple scenes all happening in one day.
Alice was inspired by a journey to seek out an artist's life and relocating to Portland. The characters are a celebration of all of the wonderful weirdos that inhabit this eccentric realm. There were so many talented folks who wanted to be involved that we decided to create three different scenes with a distinct style and look.
I'm fortunate enough to live in Sheridan, which has amazing views and is close to some of the unique locations we used for this shoot. I'm also lucky enough to have studio space in my basement. For most of the day, my house was buzzing with creative energy: a whole room full of wardrobe, multiple stations for hair and makeup, and a club kid-inspired tea party set up in my studio space. We also had some amazing designer jumpsuits, stockings, accessories and a custom-crafted crown from local designers.
Our first set-up was the Red Queen (Lauren Hatch), the Knave of Hearts (Ross Hammer) and Alice (Brianna LeBlanc). Brianna's styling choices in this section are genius and gothy. They fit perfectly with the location: The O'Dell graveyard and Ebenezer Chapel in Dayton.
The chapel and graveyard are one of the most haunted locations in Oregon. The original chapel was built in the 1860's and was rebuilt in 1926. According to local legend, the Preacher Ebenezer, who founded the Ebenezer Chapel, was a polygamist cult leader with seven wives. In a violent rampage, he murdered his thirteen children (aged 9 mo-13 years) then burned their bodies in the chapel’s fireplace. There have been a number of spirit sightings in the chapel and in the cemetery nearby. People have reported seeing eerie glowing lights drifting through the forest and voices and scratching noises have been heard inside the chapel.
Our second set-up introduced the Cheshire Cat (Brian Shoop), the White Rabbit (Chey Rivers), and the Caterpillar (Nick Strasburg). The styling and vibe for this part of the shoot was surreal and psychedelic, as the three new characters are meant to represent the street punks and weird kids on the streets of Portland. Alice encounters the White Rabbit, and follows her into a different world.
Our location was the equally wacky and retro Galen McBee Airport Park in McMinnville. This beautiful park opened in 1977, and it is home to sculptural old drinking fountains, a year round stream and a concrete mushroom house that served as our primary backdrop.
There was no way we could do this shoot without the Mad Tea Party. For this set, we decided to use my studio space to create a club-like vibe with Party Monster details: bottles, pills, pot brownies and over the top decorations. The Mad Hatter (Sara Pittock) and the March Hare (Chelsea Bowman) pull Alice into their world of excess, color and fashion.
This was, by far, the biggest solo project I've worked on. I also loved getting the chance to feature some amazing local artists and designers. A HUGE thank you to Brianna, all of our models, Rosalee Rester from Nonesuch Clothing, Noelle Zimel, and Under The Root. I am thrilled with how everything turned out and I am so stoked to work with some of the same folks on another larger shoot premiering in March.