Friday, September 30, 2016

Fashion & Fairy Tales: Dancing Princesses

We should mention up front: this is less about shoes* than the dresses and the photography.

This fashion shoot is from a few years ago (2012) but we re-discovered it in one of our (many) "potential posts" lists, and with the buzz about The Twelve Dancing Princesses seeming to grow stronger over social media (though we haven't found the reason why... yet), we thought it would be good to show this updated version of many people's favorite fairy tale party girls. (Or are they under the influence of different "enchantments"?)

There's so much to explore in this tale: the three enchanted woods (Silver! Gold! Diamonds!), the nightly draw of all these sisters to underground dancing, the ever-growing pile of ruined shoes (does the King have tailors on retainer? And for how many years?), the unnamed princes (were they human? Were they under enchantment too?), the sort - or sorts - of enchantments at play... It's easy to see how it translates so well to modern party culture, and is thus, perfect fodder for fashion editorials.

This theme was the major portion of the Winter holiday shoot titled "A Fairy Holiday". Anna Palma and Chadwick Tyler, working for fashion retailer FreePeople, did a very interesting interpretation of this, harking back to many of the tale motifs, making for some intriguing photographs (and possibly some writing prompts too).

On the FreePeople blog, Julia reminisced about the tale in such a lovely way, I'm re-posting her summary here:
When I was little, one of my absolute favorite stories was the 12 Dancing Princesses, and it is something that will always bring to mind the holiday season.  The fairytale told the story of 12 beautiful princesses who were drawn from their beds each night by the desire to dance. They would sneak out of their castle and travel through three magical forests, which was always my favorite part of the story. The first forest was shining silver, the second a glowing gold, and the third was the most magical of all, full of shimmering diamonds. The imagery was gorgeous and I dreamed of one day finding these enchanted forests. 

The princesses would reach a lake where they each met a prince who would row them to a castle in the middle of the lake, where they would dance the night away until they wore out their shoes.  Come the morning, the king would find them sleeping in their beds, but with a pile of worn out slippers that were a mystery to him.  He would recruit princes to watch over the princesses and see where they went at night, but the princesses would trick them by bringing them along and at the end of the night, offering them a special drink that would make them fall asleep and forget everything. I always found it to be such an intriguing tale and it has stuck with me ever since. I love that it was the inspiration behind one section of our November catalog!

*Has anyone seen a shoe fashion editorial based on the Worn Out Dancing Shoes? Seems like an editorial waiting to happen.

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