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Idolising Love, Adolescence and Independent British Designers

by Oana-Maria Moldovan

Thinking of childhood some words might come to someone's mind. Most of them are related to the idea of playing, drawing, watching cartoons and animation, reading fun little stories and loving everything and everyone without having a reason for it.

In the midst of life's myriad experiences, one emotion stands as a timeless muse: love. 

A sentiment that evolves from childhood, in an innocent form of the enchanting desire for a feeling that seems maybe too good to be true. Love captivates us with its allure. 

An editorial team made up of Creative Director and Stylist Thea Holmes, Photographer Storm H Walker, and MUA Zoe Saward, have produced a collection of pictures showing naive love in its purest form: 'Love's Kaleidoscope'. 

Through a combination of what child play used to look like, a childish and colourful aesthetic and two models who entered the world of fantasy and young naivete this work explored how societal expectations, and personal experiences shape these idealised visions of love.

It delved into the emotional highs and lows of young girls as they navigate the complexities of relationships and the disappointment that often comes with the realisation that real love is not always like the movies.

Abid, the models did not realise this fact yet in this story of theirs, as they play their parts so well, the viewer can feel like they are entering the world of young children. The editorial would have not worked if the models would have been children.

By examining the impact of these romanticised ideals, this project wanted to shed light on the importance of self-love, even from a young age. Ultimately, this work seeks to inspire the viewers to embrace more the concept of love from the perspective of a child, who only lives deeply and purely.

The editorial has escapism motifs, strongly related in the photographer's perspective of what love used to mean as a young child, and how both Disney movies and love songs shaped their way of idealising love.

The pictures in which one of the models gives tea to their doll encapsulates just that. The model cannot see the viewer and does not wish to do so, being too caught on with playtime. Those images can be seen in two ways, as a longing, for the forgotten years of childhood, or as old, nostalgic pictures that live in our memories forever.

The photograph of the two models gossiping represents one of the most common experiences of girlhood: chatting with your girlfriends.

In society girly things tend to be laughed at, but there is a certain beauty in being something people don't take seriously, it makes the experience even more profound. It's like a little secret, just between “the girls” that aim just for them, in a world that is not aiming for their likings.

The aesthetic and the looks could not have been achieved without the art director and the independent designers and jewellery designers from around the United Kingdom that worked together, exploring once again the beautiful message of friendship.

Love and girlhood are about beauty and colour and play, yes, but they are also about doing all these thing with people that view the world the way you do it, as enchanted as a Princess movie and as real as drinking imaginary tea with your friends.

Thea Holmes provided a brief synopsis, stating “From a young age I remember being obsessed with love and romance.  This idolisation was encouraged by fantastical tales of love within the Disney princess movies and my need and want for what I knew as 'love'  grew. As young children not only are we surrounded by movies and Tv but also music – in which love is the single emotion most sung about. Love songs consume our radios, playlists and festivals. This editorial aims to delve into the naive world of young girls and their idealized perceptions of love and relationships. I aim to capture the essence of how, during our formative years, we often view romance through rose-tinted glasses and crave a fairytale love story for ourselves. I want this project to be 'A love letter to our younger self's imagination' in terms of romance.”

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