Happy second birthday blog! Last year I used outtakes from projects I had already worked on for the anniversary post. This year I wanted to create something (shiny and) new. I worked for three weeks on this project. The first idea that came to mind (and the one that I stuck with) was that I wanted the pictures to be shot in a theatre. I wanted six people to look like a theatre troupe but I didn’t have a specific play in mind. My main inspiration was the Cockettes.
Taken from Wikipedia: The Cockettes were a psychedelic drag queen troupe founded by Hibiscus (George Harris) in the late 1960s in San Francisco’s North Beach neighbourhood. The troupe performed outrageous parodies of show tunes (or original musical comedies in the same vein) and gained an underground cult following that led to mainstream exposure. In 1971, over differences in philosophy, the group split into two separate groups, the Cockettes and The Angels of Light. The Cockettes continued to work as paid performers while the Angels of Light chose to do free theatre without admission charge.
various images of various Cockettes, in the early 1970’s (couldn’t find credit for the pictures).
I initially was inspired by both original pictures of the Cockettes and pictures of an homage Steven Meisel paid to them in Italian Vogue (The couturettes – a huge fashion editorial in September 2006). I then started looking elsewhere for inspiration (keeping the 1970’s theme) and ended up referencing hairstyles and make-up from all over the place. From an obscure 1970’s French film to John Galliano’s Dior spring 2004 couture show. My main concern was that I wanted to do something that would look like it was done in 2013 though I was just going to reference things from the past. It was the clothes that Meti (the main stylist) came up with that made sure the whole thing was going to look contemporary.
After shooting my imaginary play on the stage of Embros theater, I wanted to take some pictures backstage, as if they were taken before or after the show. Portraits instead of group shots, so I could give everyone the credit they deserved. A lot of people worked hard on this and I would like to thank everyone for making my vision come to life, especially the people of Embros theater for letting me work in such an amazing space and Vagelis Sagris for using the lighting control console, a.k.a. being the director of photography. The painting featured in one shot is by Polish painter Tadeusz Robert Bialek.
Billio is a dancer and the hair inspiration behind her look was actress Florence Bellamy playing Lucrezia Borgia in the 1974 film Contes Immoraux, directed by Walerian Borowczyk. I wanted to simplify the back and just pulled the hair in two low ponytails, one under the chin and one at the nape of the neck. Androgyny is something I wasn’t afraid of for my project because the real Cockettes were gender-bending anyways. Aphrodite Misiakouli did Billio’s make-up, assisted by Lois Papadopoulou.
Actress Florence Bellamy playing Lucrezia Borgia in the 1974 film Contes Immoraux, directed by Walerian Borowczyk.
The inspiration behind Giorgina’s hair was the hairstyle actress Darlanne Fluegel wore as Lulu at the gallery opening scene of “Eyes of Laura Mars”, directed by Irvin Kershner (1978). Again, I wanted to simplify the back and instead of the accessorized French twist, I went for a small bun low at the back. Katerina Mitropoulou did Giorgina’s make-up, assisted by Irini and Christina.
Actress Darlanne Fluegel as Lulu in “Eyes of Laura Mars”, directed by Irvin Kershner (1978).
Valisia has a similar hair colour to (a very famous image of) one of the actual Cockettes, Goldie Glitters. Obviously, that was the inspiration behind the look. I just wanted to do sexy 1970’s wavy hair instead of the 1970’s turquoise afro. Irini Georgopoulou and Christina Tzani did Valisia’s make-up.
Cockette Goldie Glitters, photographed by Gilles Larrain in the early 1970’s.
Panagiotis X (above) and Jamie’s (below) hairstyles were inspired by girls’ hair during the 1920’s. This is 2013 doing the 1970’s doing the 1920’s. Panagiotis’s make-up was done by Aphrodite Misiakouli, assisted by Lois Papadopoulou. Jamie’s was done by Aphrodite Misiakouli, assisted by Lois Papadopoulou, Irini Georgopoulou and Christina Tzani.
Evripidis’s hair I kept much simpler shape-wise but I went crazy with colours. I used blue finger-paint and a ton of glitter for his middle parting. His make-up was done by Aphrodite Misiakouli.
I shot so many pictures that I went through again and again in order to make final choices for what was going to be used and when I showed them all to my friend Bibi, she suggested I make a video out of all them. This is a labour of love.