Stone Crow designer Jenn Charkow's garments impart the ragged majesty that accompanies experiences of personal anxiety. "It's mostly about that moment when you're finally able to put yourself together after having some manic breakdown," Jenn says, describing a deep-wilderness fashion photography series with models in voluminous gowns. A woman has come to the woods to empty her mind, and the scenes she inhabits recall certain folklores—the ones with the beautiful lady-ghosts who're really into singing lullabies and vanishing into thick shadows, or just hanging out and mourning. "There's something so appealing about the dark romance, and this whole intense longing, and of being tucked away somewhere," Jenn says.
To bind us to the drama of her characters, Jenn uses yards upon yards of fabric—the better to swirl about constantly, in wind and water. "It's an actual parachute. I got it at an army surplus store," she says, describing a suspendered gown of emerald-green nylon, with heavy-duty triple-stitch enforcements, utility suspension seams, and cinches to bring hem-length adjustments "for easier wearability." Another ensemble pairs a goat-leather capelet and a skirt shaped from mounds of tulle. Though the fabric has been draped, folded, and piled on top of itself, one can still make out the pretty shape of the wearer's body beneath. "It's my mini-ode to Alexander McQueen," Jenn says, but she's not referencing any of his specific works. (As it happens, McQueen also developed a tulle and leather gown for stylist Isabella Blow, though his version is considerably more traumatic. It features a rip, deliberately left unmended, to showcase the stab wound that killed the animal.)
For her twin series, Jenn created a pair of dresses, fit them to a pair of models, and collaborated with Amanda Paredes of Swae Photography. "It was a hard shoot. We were outside, in a carport, because we wanted a weird, pale light for kind of a creepy vibe," Jenn says. To heighten the sense of unreality, the models wear glossy black gloves applied by dunking hands into buckets of liquid latex—a finicky material, more common in fetish-wear. "We were supposed to set it with powder first, but we didn't know that. So after the shoot, when we tried to peel the gloves away, the rubber got all stuck in the women's arm hair."
Find more Stone Crow stuff at stonecrowdesigns.com.