A couple of months ago a friend of mine asked me to help out with a school project - the task was to create a series of portraits that would recall literary characters.
I know every teenage girl reading Anaïs Nin's diaries has been dreaming of resembling her with her mysterious, irresistible charm and the talent of arousing that uncontrollable desire in both men and women.
I don't claim to bare much resemblance to her- for some reason I always identified with Miller's character more, especially since in the books Mara or Mona as she is referred to was a dark-haired beauty. However, she is described of having Romanian roots which is an interesting detail for me.
But what strikes me most is Henry Miller's description of her clothes- the fit, the fabrics... I remember reading in Plexus how they were always broke and hungry but somehow she was always indulging him in nice things - silk robes, satin slippers, peacock feathers.
Maybe it's part of being a vintage collector and finding rare gems in forgotten 1 dollar bins, but I can perfectly relate to that description. Not to mention my love for silk in general.
So this was a very loose interpretation - I used my vintage kimono, my favorite silk slip dress and this amazing other 80s silk dress I found, which after having the shoulder pads removed and unbuttoned all the way resembles a 20s house robe. Or an Osei Duro creation.
I also chose a very natural look, with a vague 30s updo.
Having finally watched Philip Kaufman's Henry&June recently, picturing her as a blonde made even more sense.
I went for a natural setting in lieu of trying to recreate a 1930s interior; first the lighting was superb and the tall grass in May looked very much unreal. It was also a tribute to their first Central Park love making in the grass episode.
So here is my take on 1920s-30s Bohemia and I think those photos shot on film capture some of that atmosphere.