In my excitement for Society of the Night I asked Laura Henley to be my #WCW. The crush is real y’all! We started the morning shopping for flowers for tomorrows event, had breakfast at Copacetic Coffee /// The Farmers Daughter and then played dress up with some of Laura’s treasures!
Jaime >>> Where does your style come from? Any major inspirations? People or eras that excite you?
Laura >>>I’m basically trying to be American Girl Doll Samantha and / or Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden, minus the parental tragedy and weird turn-of-the-century illnesses. Samantha and Mary both lived in these massive haunted houses, were English or sorta English, and did the whole full-body-coverage clothing thing which I’m a huge fan of. Not out of a sense of shame or like I don’t like my skin and my body (I love both!) but because I just think puff sleeves and high necklines are the height of sexy. I also love that in their era messy hair, all-day drawing, hanging out in your attic, and hiking in muslin dresses were their norm. So basically I’m telling you I want to go back to an era where the things I do on a daily basis are considered really OK, not like an adult living a neglectful and wanton life like they seem now, kinda. ALSO everyone had hella cool names like Cordelia and Carmella and Opal.
Disclaimer – I realize this is a super white-girl fantasy.
Jaime >>> Any themes you see coming through in your art and personal style?
Laura >>> I like flowers a lot. I like to draw them, steal them from my neighbors, wear them, look at them and think about them. But I’ve had to stop just drawing flowers and be like “Okay, Laura, let’s just imagine that the IRL flowers are sitting on a table … what would look cool NEXT to them.”
Jaime >>> So for the shoot you pulled out some real treasures… give us the story! How did you acquire such goodies and what do you love about them?
Laura >>> I love Pinterest because I am a normal person with a pulse. I found that Betsey Johnson dress on Etsy, pinned it, then promptly bought it. And I love going back into my Pinterest and seeing it there because now it’s mine! The cut is very flattering because I have thick limbs and a small waist so… something about the dress is just really small-waist friendly. The black velvet dress is vintage Laura Ashley and I just don’t even have to explain to 80′s babies what it’s like to find brands of your childhood. Not only is this Laura Ashley but it’s like 2 layers of velvet, exposed seams on the inside so I can see how the thing was made, deep pockets, a sweetheart (or princess?) neckline and buttons on the back. It’s just the utmost in tailoring. And I feel like even though it’s heavy black velvet, it could have easily been made in one of those famous 80s oversized florals. I feel like it has a floral heart, ya know.
And I only wear sentimental jewelry. So I only have like 2 pieces of jewelry. My mom gave me both of those necklaces for Christmas this year and I wear at least one of them everyday.
I don’t know how to buy or wear shoes. Just… I don’t.
Jaime >>> THE SHOW >>> What should we expect tomorrow night?
Laura >>> Flowers and lights and my baller glassware. My boyfriend (who is wonderful and just as balls-deep in this event as I am) has been filming this stuff from start to finish and we’re wrapping up a video of the whole thing this afternoon. So that will be there – you can see how the glasses were made! Sort of. I did not blow them which is a questions that people keep asking me and I just really want to know why people think glass blowing is that common? I appreciate that people think I’m so varied in my skills, but I hope the fact that I did not blow 388 piece of glassware doesn’t disappoint anyone. I did, however, screenprint them
I’m very proud of that. I almost caught my hair on fire doing it and I bled a few times because in my last day of printing, I had tightened parts of the machine a bit too much and it was applying to much pressure to the glass so every like 15th one would explode. It was thrilling. I had to drink a lot last night to calm down from it.
Uh… the show should be like something Samantha or Mary Lennox would have done in their coming-out years (which is a term for girls parading around after puberty, Jane Austen-style but with electricity in all the ballrooms and parlors), which is to say there will be flowers, exposed bulb lights, cocktails, ragtime music (but maybe Drake later or in the women’s bathroom? idk. we can only hope.) and probably a lot of things like branches and hand-made wire chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. I hope I actually make the event.
Buy tickets here!
This is the good stuff y’all. It’s the people behind an event like this that make me love living Chattanooga.
If you need me tomorrow night, I’ll be dressed to the nines on the 13th floor of the First Tennessee building.
P.S. Yes, I found these in the cabinet at Laura’s house. No, she did not see me take this photo.