As most of you realize by now, I’m in love with THEIA. Don O’Neill is not only one of the most talented designers I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with, he is also one of the most beautiful individuals I’ve ever met in my life. Don is one of those people who make you feel like you are the most important person in the room when he speaks to you. He’s one of those people who can send a message of love in a single hug, even to a stranger. He’s just the epitome of an incredible human being. It’s no wonder I’m in love with his fashions. When I look at his work, when I shoot his fabulous dresses, I not only see structure, design, texture, and craftsmanship, I see beauty, motion, reverence, I see love. His designs flatter a women’s body, any women’s body. The fabrics are exquisite and the detail is superb. However, what I see most of all is his love for life, his love for the craft, his love for what he does. And what he does, he does so very well. The THEIA 2015 White Collection is no exception.
I was thrilled to shoot this collection last month at the THEIA studio in NY. A well attended event, it was standing room only filled to the brim with editors and bloggers, publicists and buyers. I sat in the photographers pit, front and center, eager for the show to begin. We were told this collection had been inspired by the legends and stories of Don’s ancient Irish ancestors, the Tuatha De Danann or “People of the Goddess Danu.” According to lore, the People of the Goddess Danu left the shores of Ireland and sank deep down into the sea to live in a magical underworld in his native Ballyheigue Bay. Legend has it, that long ago a procession of mystical beings were seen walking across the bay in swirling veils of mist. Don explained, “Today, through this collection, these magical beings will come ashore. Dripping with water, they will emerge…ethereal, mystical, robed in silver and white.” I couldn’t wait!
What started as a fairy-tale, a legend of lore, transformed into visions of breathtaking creations floating over the runway. One by one they came to me, paused, and turned back down the runway. Every look was more enchanting than the next. I noticed at one point that the audience seemed as if in a trance. They were in awe. I was in awe. The gowns were majestic, the florals divine, the makeup superb, all conveying this enchanting goddess-like archetype that each model seemed to effortlessly channel.
I couldn’t get over the fact that there I was, shooting this show, sitting with the best of them in the pit - Women’s Wear Daily, The Daily Front Row, Wedding Wire and so many others, our shutters all clicking in unison. I wondered if I was the only one in the pit aware of this amazing energy, the only one having this magical experience? I didn’t care. I was mesmerized. I settled in as I watched through my lens the elegant fabrics of silvery lamé, floral jacquards and vintage lace dance effortlessly with hand-beaded silks, luxurious chiffons and sumptuous tulle.
As each design drifted in and out of my consciousness, I felt like I was in the fairy-tale myself, like I was floating right along with them. It felt so beautiful, it was completely surreal. As I was lost in this moment of bliss, I suddenly realized this collection was not just about Don's gorgeous dresses. It was about a feeling, a vision he had for whomever would wear one of his glorious creations. I thought to myself, how would a bride feel walking down the aisle in any of these stunning THEIA gowns on her wedding day? The answer was simple. She would feel magical, mystical, ethereal… but most of all, thanks to the amazing talent of Don O’Neill, she would feel love.
View the THEIA 2015 White Collection Show here: http://www.studiodiluce.com/p243865371
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