Elf Girl Book Cover by Anna at Simon & Schuster.
When you’re nonchalantly checking your email, the last question you’d expect to see is, “Hey, do you have any elf shoes?” But back in January, I was faced with that very question. The natural assumption would be to write it off as a creepy fetish inquiry and delete it immediately…except that this email was from my friend Anna who just happens to be a senior designer at Simon & Schuster in New York. Anna designs book covers for a living and runs one of my favorite blogs on the planet, Door Sixteen. She was working on the cover for Rev Jen’s new book, Elf Girl (formerly Elf Like Me) and needed a cover shot. Of course, I was up for the job.
Unused Cover Concepts. Love the variety! Anna is great at her job.
Joey and I immediately got to work shooting the cover ideas (well, sort ofâ€¦Anna had to help us track down elf shoes first). Anna gave us some great direction and we then tried as many variations as possible; I know from experience that when I’m pulling selects for a job, it’s best to have ample options to work with.
We shot the images in our all white dining room, stomped through rainy, muddy parks, stood under bridges and visited the industrial area of S.E. Portland (cobblestones galore) to get the combination of images we wanted. These are a few of my favorite unused photos:
Anna came up with some truly stunning options that summed up the premise of the book perfectly and besides being a fantastic designer, she’s an all-around awesome person. We’ve known each other for a decade now (online and off) and it’s easy to be friends with someone who shares a passion for graphic design, a love of Michael Jackson and is as excited about home decor as I am. Thanks Anna for the amazing opportunity!
Elf Girl Cover Design & Direction: Anna at Simon & Schuster. Photography: Joey Maas. Model & Concepting: Nubby Twiglet.
This is the last in a series of three sets of photos I shot with Lydia Hudgens back in September. What I love about these sets is that although they were all shot within three days of one another, they are so incredibly different. There was the punk rock back-to-school look in The Bowery with Amelia Arsenic, the early morning East Village stoop loitering with Gala and now, this.
You’re probably wondering about the mouse ears. Gala and I have been to Disneyland twice together and I’ve been to Disney Wold four times on my own (and I never plan on growing up) so I’ll wear mouse ears any change I get. Sequined ears paired with more sequins? Why not! A group was gathered on the sidewalk for church as we walked by at 9:30 in the morning and literally stopped what they were doing and started singing the Mickey Mouse Club song to usâ€¦ears cheer everyone up!
These photos were shot in a very special place; a private garden that Gala & I had our birthday in two years ago. This is a quiet, magical refuge in the middle of the East Village and feels straight out of a fairytale.
Gryphon Sequin Dress, Tokio 7
Wedges, Camilla Skovgaard
Nail Polish, Pop Nail Glam in Yellow
White irridescent mouse ears
Vintage turquoise beaded dress
Vintage bed jacket
Rings by Dyrberg/Kern
Betsey Johnson starburst Pollys
With all the sequins, it was only natural to finish up with a Michael Jackson-inspired dance-off.
After this shoot wrapped, I grabbed my bags, said goodbye to Gala, Hank & Dolly and headed towards the subwayâ€¦.back to Wall Street, then JFK, then home. It was a long day but so worth it. Thanks once again to Lydia Hudgens for the wonderful shoot!
On September 16th, my last morning in New York, I woke up bright and early to catch a cab over to Gala’s apartment in the East Village. We had a shoot with Lydia Hudgens booked for 8 a.m. (this meant that the streets were very empty) and when I showed up five minutes early, in true Virgo fashion, they were both ready to roll.
I really wanted to get some photos in my special birthday dress, a vintage Marimekko number that I’d worn to my party a few days earlier. I paired it with a Kate Spade newspaper clutch that I’d spotted in Gala’s office (the print is of a vintage New York paper!) I’d really like to find one of my own and I know that a number of brands have produced these in the past; do you have any suggestions?
My streamlined look was balanced out by Gala’s punch of pink and yes, a petticoat. Needless to say, we were slightly overdressed compared to the locals.
Leather Jacket, Rick Owens
Vintage Marimekko dress, Etsy
Headband, Forever 21
Wedges, Camilla Skovgaard
Kate Spade Newspaper clutch, borrowed from Gala
Nail Polish, Pop Nail Glam in Yellow
Vintage pink bowler hatâ€¨
218W Perfecto leather jacket by Schottâ€¨
Diamond necklace (a wedding gift from my mother â€” I havenâ€™t taken it off since)â€¨
Angora heart sweater from ASOS
â€¨Betsey Johnson beltâ€¨
Vintage pink crinoline (I also wore this under my wedding dress!)
â€¨Betsey Johnson over-the-knee socksâ€¨
Matiko Ai For Ai boots (so comfortable, & I love the suede/patent leather/perforated leather combo!)
It just seemed appropriate to try jumping. In five inch wedges. At 9 AM.
Once the shoot ended, we weren’t quite done. There was one more outfit change still in storeâ€¦but you’ll have to wait a little longer for that one. Thank you to Lydia Hudgens for shooting the photos! We had such an awesome time!
The Moose Head at Bedlam // September 14, 2011.
For the last few years, Gala and I have been combining our birthday parties into one big celebration since they’re just a day apart. In the past, we’ve done everything from open-invite picnics in Central Park to private garden parties outfitted with a disco ball and skull goblets. This year though, we wanted to try something different. Gala wouldn’t be arriving home from New Zealand until September 12th and I know how un-fun it is to plan a party and gather favors when you’re jetlagged! So, I asked around and a bar called Bedlam kept coming up. And upon further research it became clear that this place was beyond perfectâ€¦because it very much resembled my living room. What better venue to have your party in than a place that feels like a home away from home? The taxidermy and patterned wallpaper both evoke a Portland-esque feel and it seemed low-key enough that we could focus on what mattered most: spending time with our friends.
Fuji Instax photos by Gala Darling.
I’d picked out a special dress for the festivities (it was my 30th birthday, after all) and the vintage op-art Marimekko number was found on Etsy. It arrived just in time but unfortunately, it was a little big. Since I didn’t have time to get it altered, I cinched the waist with a thin black patent belt. Gala on the other hand found the most gorgeous burgundy strapless dress at Betsey Johnson that fit her perfectly. I liked that it was outside of her normal style and everyone I knew was raving about how great she looked all night. Sadly, all the joint photos we took in front of the moose head turned out too blurry to share but we made up for that by having a photo shoot with Lydia a few days later.
Enjoying turning 30 surrounded by my friends and Joey.
We each had a great showing and spent the night catching up with friends from all over. When we were introducing our friends and their accompanying professions, we realized that most of them were pros in more than one area and started simply labeling them geniuses. It’s true, we are surrounded by a pretty creative group that collectively inspires us from coast to coast.
Top L to Bottom R: With Bianca // Bianca and Cindy // Shots with Amelia, Voltaire and Jayme // Joey // Jazzi!!!
Once the party began to wind down, we agreed that this was our favorite version yet: it was simple, inexpensive, allowed our friends to mingle and there wasn’t the pressure of planning (or cleaning up afterwards) that we normally feel.
At the end of the night, Bianca and I morphed into a real life art installation!
Thanks to everyone who came out to Bedlam, sent birthday wishes and joined Gala and in ringing in another year!
I’ve always loved Amelia Arsenic’s style but it’s been nearly impossible to meet up in the last two years. She’s based in London, I’m in Portland and though we both travel all the time, we never seem to be in the same place at once! When we found out that we’d both be in New York at the same time in September, I arranged a shoot with photographer Lydia Hudgens.
The real fun was in scouting a location. I asked Bianca for some recommendations and she immediately mentioned the corner of Bowery and Spring. I distinctly remembered the spot from past trips as being a great graffiti mecca and after some googling, I was astounded. Get this: The building previously housed Germania Bank which was built in 1898 and is now the home of a photographer and his wife and daughter. Yes, one family shares this building featuring 72 rooms! He purchased the building for a mere $102,000.00 over 40 years ago (no, that’s not a typo) and has lived there ever since. Amazing! Read more about the building’s history here.
We spent Tuesday afternoon shooting around the edges of Soho and though we hadn’t coordinated what we’d be wearing, I loved the contrast of the green in Amelia’s hair paired with my red accents. What I’ve realized is that sometimes the best shoots aren’t overly planned.
Vintage plaid skirt, Etsy
Sonia Rykiel for H&M Sweater, Ebay
Bow Headband, Forever 21
Avant Garde Necklace, Plastique (Etsy)
Patent Wedges, Cheap Monday
Bag, Miu Miu
Nail Polish, Pop Nail Glam in Yellow.
Thank you to Amelia for posing with me and to Lydia for doing such a great job. And FYI, Lydia is now based in New York so if you’d like to shoot with her, get in touch!