lair of disrepair

room V

I promised my bloglings a room tour, and a room tour they shall have. My space is currently overloaded with brights, the better to guard against seasonal blech. As it happens, funnily enough, my affinity for gothic decor grows more pronounced in the summer, when I’ve already got a natural source of light. It’s an ebb and flow. I’d rather have eccentricity than out-and-out darkness, anyway.

And lest I ignore the undertone of class snobbery that “room tour” posts often exhibit, let me say that 90%+ of my collectibles are thrifted or scrounged. I rarely pay more than $20 for any given item. If I can engineer myself a flapper den as a barely-writer who didn’t finish college, then it’s easier, I’d wager, than many people think.

room I

room II

room VII

room X

room IX

Pictured: current reading material (a book of essays by and for pagans) and my laundry bag. Also, a walrus.

room VIII

french maid

french maid II

Earlier this month, I approached Downtown Threads about doing a series of costume tutorials. They loved the idea. I currently have a whole chairdrobe of loaner clothes languishing in my bedroom. Until Halloween, I get to borrow interesting/eccentric/eyesore-tastic clothes from their main store and have my costumey way with them. I get blog traffic, and Downtown Threads gets free promotion. A win-win if I’ve ever seen one.

With two weeks to spare ’til that day of days, the first post drops today. Behold my own painfully literal take on a classic costume: the French maid.

french maid V

This dress reminded me instantly of a French impressionist painting. It got me excited to design a concept rather than a character. I did some research into the artistic dress movement and discovered that this dress fits it not only symbolically but more literally as well: its structure and texture are very much in keeping with the loose, muted, medieval-inspired dresses of the pre-Raphaelites and their ilk. I love it when pieces work on multiple levels.

french maid VI

french maid III

french maid I

For accessories, I turned to staples of the Impressionist period: summery hats, gold jewelry, and heeled shoes with narrow toes. The white tights have little historical precedent, but I think they still work. Most of the time, I’d rather capture the feeling of an era than go for strict accuracy.

french maid VIII

french maid XV

french maid IX

I’ve been meaning for years to get into the Society for Creative Anachronism. My friend Holly promises to drag Josh and me to an event sometime this winter. I need some motivation to refine my knowledge of historical dress. I can date pretty much anything from 1900 on, but I’m ashamed to say I’m utterly lost in older times.

My hair would probably scandalize the entire Society, though. Holly says they’re sticklers. I really enjoy having a few obviously-not-vintage things about me, though. My hair, my tattoos, the stud in my nose. It keeps my costumes fresh. No matter how timeless the rest of my look, there will always be something that breaks the flow. And I’m all about shocking people out of their collective comfort zone.

french maid X

french maid XIII

french maid XIV

french maid XVII

Dress & Shawl: Currently for sale at Downtown Threads Bangles: Old Gold Hat: Gifted Shoes: Goodwill Tights: Sox Market

french maid XVI

broken open

This is my attempt at telling a story about madness. I really like how it turned out.

This dress is old. Really old. Proper vintage. It’s pretty much coming apart in the back. I liked the effect of the stiff, fraying material sliding down my chest. Something that was once grand and hasn’t quite realized it isn’t anymore. I think of this series as a sequel to the last one I did with Brent: the burlesque-dancer shoot. She’s since fallen from her heyday. The slightly dirty knives were a really cool complement.

This, right here, is what I love about modeling. The sheer raw theatre of it. Each shot is like a still from a play.

Copyright Brent Gould 2012.

vintage I

vintage IV

vintage III

vintage II

vintage IX

What I love about this one: how the full-body shot looks kind of pensive and artsy, but the cropped version looks absolutely anguished.

vintage X