The Shimmering Savannah

Who wouldn’t want to do a fashion shoot with baby white tigers? When photographer Scott Womack and I realized we had a similar vision, the possibilities for this shoot just kept coming. Scott found a source for the cubs and the location while Jeanette Chivvis and I collaborated on the gorgeous dresses. Hours of prep work went into this shoot—Scott even made the tent!—and on the actually shoot day we began at dawn.

That cloudy Thursday morning in October an entourage of extremely talented, highly creative people descended on a small farm in Texas to create a fantasy that’s been floating around in my head for quite some time. That morning will rank head and shoulders above the many dozens of days I spend as editor of Living Magazine. I imagine many of you have days like that—Top Ten Days, I like to call them. Days that shimmer in comparison to the others that stack up like ordinary bricks in a wall.

Over the next five hours, together we erected Scott’s handmade tent, created an out-of-Africa camp set, watched in awe as Siberian tiger cubs were delivered, unloaded a dozen metallic gowns and primped our model to perfection. All before one frame was shot! Thankfully, by the time we were finally ready to begin shooting, not only had the light drizzle stopped, but the clouds broke and dazzling sunlight streamed down on our fantasy land.

When we finally wrapped, the sun had set and a storm was brewing. As I drove home in the downpour, I felt as though I had run a marathon but was floating on an elated high because I knew we had captured some amazing images.

Join our model, Todiana (from The Kim Dawson Agency), as she plays the role of ingénue on a fantasy safari while modeling gowns that shimmer in a dazzling display of metallic wonder.

Living December Fashion

Dawn breaks across the arid land, casting a warm glow on the pewter-clad enchantress. David Meister silver shine gown, $100; Lee Angel silver Etienne Necklace, $25; and Chamak by Priya Kakkar bangles, $15: RentTheRunway.com. Brown leather boots: ChivviStyles.com.

Living Mag December Fashion2

She dresses every day as if she has a ball to attend. Never mind that the only heads bowing to her beauty are the wild grasses of the plains. Badgley Mischka glitz gown, $150: RentTheRunway.com. Gilligan lingerie slip, 28: Target.com. Brown leather boots: ChivviStyles.com.

The light hits her then splits into fragments of color, like rays beaming off a prism. Badgley Mischka screen Siren Gown, $125; RJ Graziano pirate treasure necklace, $35; and Erickson Beamon gold digger cuff, $95: RentTheRunway.com. Brown leather boots: ChivviStyles.com.

Living Mag December Fashion3

Across the wilds she travels, leaving a glimmering trail of glamour in her wake. Halston Heritage golden draped gown, $125; and Nicole Romano earrings, $40: RentTheRunway.com.

The animals befriend her, recognizing the wildness she carries within her gypsy soul. Nicole Miller artic mist gown, $125; and Rodrigo Otazo diamond cuff bracelet, $65: RentTheRunway.com.

Living Mag December Fashion4

In a golden tent she waits, surveying the paradise that spreads before her. Aiden Mattox quarter-length sleeve gold sequin gown, $228: Bloomingdales.com. Tuleste Market golden petal necklace, $20; and Oscar de la Renta rose petal motif earrings, $25: RentTheRunway.com.

She treads carefully, not disturbing the flora or fauna, taking with her only images and memories. Haute hippie queen of the Nile gown, $175; and Deepa Gurnani bronze palace earrings, $15: RentTheRunway.com. Brown leather boots: ChivviStyles.com.

Produced and Written By Abby Hoeffner • Photography by Scott Womack and Nora Mezioud • Styling by Jeanette Chivvis • Hair and Makeup by Gary Parson (Kim Dawson Agency) • Stylist’s Assistant Ashli Vondara

Originally published in the December 2012 issue of Living Magazine.

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