As usually is the case when I get hit with the bug for a styled shoot, it all started with the dress. I was feeling an itch to create something. Something daring, unapologetic; something that represented me as a person, me as a designer, me as a woman existing in this world. I first laid eyes on the Mosshart gown from Daughters of Simone several months before this shoot came to fruition, and I knew it was what I needed. I still think this dress would be what I would wear if I got married again today.

So I had the dress. I had my floral vision. I needed a model who would be able to carry across the bad ass, but still soft and feminine vibe I was going for. I saw Darian through a friend’s feed, and was immediately just SHOOKETH with how beautiful she is, and how she carries herself. Cassie (Northern Native Photography) had Darian model for another styled shoot, and I had been following her on social media for a while, but never actually met. I took a leap, reached out, and was so delighted to find out that both Cassie and Darian were into my idea, and jumped on board. (side bar…social media is so strange, but so lovely, guys. Cassie is one of my good friends now, and I would have never known her without IG. She’s a delightful human, the kindest, and also DAMN funny, and her talent speaks for itself.)

I found The Schvitz also through social media – a real piece of Detroit history with a quite storied past. Current management got their hands on the space when it was rumored to be going under and reopened the bath house to the public. Its a beautiful space; you can hear the whispers of countless stories and secrets from its many uses over the past decades, and it really feels like the spirit of the city is alive within these walls. A former Jewish community center and men’s only bath house, it retains so much of its old world charm and character. The owner actually found an original Mikveh that is visible from the women’s locker room. After the original crew left its space, the house became a little more seedy in nature, and was known throughout the 60’s-80’s as a swinger’s club. Now, its a really special place where you can eat a steak dinner, steam, sweat and chill in an environment that strives to make all genders, religions, and races feel welcomed and respected.

If you need to feel refreshed and restored, go take a Schvitz.

I got to play with some weird textures, really structural blooms, and soft, flowy fabrics for the bouquet. I really wanted this shoot to just be about a woman and her dress, so I wanted the bouquet to be a piece of art that vibed well with those two things. I’m super proud of what I created, and Cassie photographed it just beautifully. Also, Darian knows how to wield a prop, guys. I have never seen a more natural, gifted model. I was seriously awed at how she knew to find the light, constantly serve up FACE, and pull out the emotion behind my vision so perfectly.

Can we take a moment of silence to honor this double exposure from Cassie?!? I have no words. Its perfection.

Photography: Northern Native Photography

Venue: The Schvitz

Model: Darian (@oybella on IG)

Dress: Daughters of Simone via Detroit Bridal House