Imagine it is 1895, Alphonse Mucha has invited you into his studio to model for his new body of work. An idea has struck him and the twinkle behind his eye is sparkling, ideas are raging inside his brilliant mind. The studio is crowded, paintings and furniture languish every available space with other Artists and Musicians just as much a part of the complete picture. Its a languid, bohemian atmosphere.
The Art Nouveau movement is flourishing and Alphonse Mucha is driving the craze. His paintings of women, epitomised by the great Sarah Bernhardt in her theatrical posters, ooze naturalistic sensuality. Flowers flow down impossibly long hair and the looks in their eyes hold your gaze in unblinking revelry.
The champagne house of Perrier Jouet still holds this magic within its effervescent bubbles. “Inspiration drawn from nature, the desire to infuse beauty into daily life” is at the heart of Perrier Jouet. That could just as easily be a statement about The Art Nouveau period.
Mucha discovered photography in the early 1880s, capturing his models in different poses for numerous works of art. This practise continued into a daily activity and today, we can be voyeurs into his space and muse on the very things he did, through his lens. I visited his most extraordinary piece, The Slav Epic in Prague last year. I fell in love with his women but I was completely… utterly… entranced by the romantic bohemianism within his photographs. One in particular portrays (allegedly) Paul Gauguin playing the harmonium without pants! How amusing! What a divine thing to do, can you imagine writing “Artists Muse” under the title ‘Occupation’ when filling out forms?! Oh that would give me a thrill!
Concept and Styling: Sophie Armstrong, The Moon and The Mirror
Headdress Styling: Olivia Freear