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Fashion Editorial: Tea Time

Fashion Editorial: Tea Time

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Inspired by an English style of the past, two young ladies meet and engage in a tea ceremony. Models Stavroula and Vivienne wear romantic pastels created by fashion designer Stavrianna Georgiadi. The duo’s look is perfected by bright eye-shadow, soft coral tones for the lips and cheeks and feminine vague hair with soft waves, courtesy of makeup artist Ria Kanakari and hair stylist Gogo Sarri, respectively. / Photography by Olga Martzoukou.

We wanted ‘Tea Time’ editorial to have an elegant feminine air, which is perpetuated by the soft-colored wardrobe and the flower decorations. Central to the ladylike style is the friendship story-line, as it centers on an afternoon tea theme. I felt inspired to do a fashion shoot in a classy indoor setting, created by the combination of different elements that serve as reminders of a past era. We en-treasured old-fashioned fabrics to drape all-round the studio for an overall rich feeling, while the “Good China” is artfully set up on the table. The atmosphere is serene and as the season allows, the ladies are surrounded by colorful flowers. The furniture of choice is Louis XV style, characterized by the rare, well-polished woods used for sumptuous effects, and richly veined and tinted marbles. Chairs have curved legs and floral decorations that match the overall feminine, elegant, chic feeling we wanted to achieve.

Fashion is abuzz about the afternoon moments when ladies entertained their friends with Afternoon Tea. There are many ideas about tea etiquette and the when and how tea was first made popular in England. Charles II grew up in exile at The Hague and thus was exposed to the custom of drinking tea. He married Catherine of Braganza who was Portuguese and who also enjoyed tea. Catherine had grown up drinking tea in Portugal -the preferred beverage of the time. It is said that when she arrived in England to marry Charles II in 1662, she brought with her a casket of tea. She became known as the tea-drinking queen -England’s first.

The common conception of taking tea in the afternoon, between four to five o clock, usually brings in everybody’s minds the images of polite ladies, chitchatting to each other over cups of steaming Oolong or Darjeeling. Women were taxed with reading “novels” as a vice.

Romanticism was first introduced in England and spread throughout Europe and the United States. It was a rebellion against the current classical rules governing creative work. Followers of the Romantic ideal believed the innermost emotions should be expressed, art should please the senses, and imagination was more important than reason. Romantics also had a deep connection with the past and often revisited historical tales in their art, writing, and music. The Romantic style connected with the American people and had a significant influence on popular culture. American romantics had an innate love for goodness, truth, and beauty and believed these were qualities all individuals should be capable of possessing. The revolution in printing technology along with increased literacy among-st the American population gave rise to famous Romantic writers like Lord Byron, Keats, Emerson, and Thoreau. The Romantic heroine was innocent and virtuous, wholesome, and genteel. Women now had the opportunity to engage in leisure activities and form friendships with other women.

The afternoon tea custom gave birth not only to numerous delicious cakes, bakery recipes, but also to a new fashion trend: the tea gown. Tea gowns were intended to be worn without a corset or assistance from the maid; however, elegance always came first. For this specific editorial, we wanted to the give the clothes a modern touch of fine silk and discreet lace, still as elegant and feminine as the soft flowing robes of filmy chiffon. Stavrianna’s handmade romantic bouffant skirts become more accentuated when paired with matching cropped strapless tops. The shoes of choice are high-heeled, as they were originally made fashionable by women to reverse the subservient position, signify power, and boost confidence. In the 19th century women used rouge and at the end of the 19th century painting the lips became common. At the turn of the twentieth century, lipstick continued to symbolize femininity as it continuously had done for four hundred years prior, but now this symbolism contained a twist. Due to the endorsement of leading suffragettes, lipstick more specifically symbolized female emancipation. Lipstick’s long proscription by social, religious, and legal male authority made it a ready symbol for female rebellion.

“Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” ~Nelson Mandela.

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