From the tales of Ancient Greek Mythology Calypso is described to be of beauty, and the sea.
By taking this mythological goddess and juxtaposing her image with Tia Dalma of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, an ultimate image of the ruler of the seas is created. Because in truth “Calypso” is a simple “old legend,” however; she is also “the goddess herself, -- bound in human form.”
Tia’s character personifies Calypso as a mesmerizing trickster with dark and inviting eyes that can pierce a human soul, paired with a grin so grossly devilish it rivals the call of a Siren.
But Calypso is just a girl, a soul lost in another all its own. After falling in love with young sailor; Davy Jones, Calypso rewarded his love with an incredible ship, The Flying Dutchman, she was called.
While Calypso had to collect the souls lost at sea, Davy agreed to only set foot on land once every ten years to be with her. The day he came to shore Calypso was nowhere to be found, so Jones schemed to take away her power of the seas, and make her mortal. Calypso disguised herself as mystic voodoo Tia Dalma and tricked a slew of pirates into helping her escape that mortal form and return to her former glory as a Goddess. She also manages to return Davy Jones to the open sea.
There is no hiding that I am a Pirates of the Caribbean fan. It has much less do with the whole ‘Pirate Aesthetic’ and more to do the with the diverse 18th century costume work that is showcased in this trilogy. From Elizabeth Bennets’ latest Parisian fashion pieces to Jack Sparrow's black leather boots, the costume department for these movies outdid themselves.
The most impressive costume design in my opinion was the styling of Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma. The concept of this character was essentially “Calypso, the sea goddess, but no one can know its Calypso the sea goddess because she is trapped in human form and hiding.” The team did just that, brilliantly. To be completely honest, her character is one of my favorite screen characters and because of that, I had to recreate her for myself.
You almost believe that if she were real and you were to meet her in person you would want her to smell, like actually bad, just to prove that this is one of the most realistically styled movies in the common era.
While I could have easily worked with the other looks in the film I think I went directly for Calypso because she is the penultimate manic pixie dream girl that people write books about. (See Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, both by John Green).
But all at once, Calypso is the manic pixie dream girl who is actually one of the most powerful women in the natural and supernatural world and all at once completely mesmerizing looking. In short, I am head over heels in love with this concept.
Images of piece planning and sketching as well as proof of research
All images are drawn and created by me, with the exception of the printouts, found on the mood boards created for Calypso.
Most images depicted are inspired by the Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
The biggest part of this piece was making the wig the model is wearing. I hand blended dreadlocks from 100% Kanekalon in small sections and then pinned them into her own natural hair. I used her natural hair as an anchor for the extensions by fake dreading with her natural wave pattern then pinning the extensions in upside down and flipping them over afterwards to hide the anchor and the base.
The face makeup was the most simple, I wanted to work with her natural oil-based skin, blemishes and all, to give her the overall down dirty and natural look. I used a Maybelline NY black Kajal stick to darken around her eyes and for the black markings on her face and chin. I covered her face around the T-zone in Vaseline to mimic sweat and grime on her skin.
For styling, I found different pieces of clothing in my and my mother's wardrobe. The shirt is a pillow case that I pinned shut with safety pins, and the jewelry are miscellaneous pieces I both found and made.
We photographed it at a local lake where the backdrop could be both ‘aquatic’ and rustic. I think if I found a more exotic area to photograph this piece it would have been better suited, because the houses give this shoot too much of a suburban feel. I would also have liked to put more of me in this and less of just a replica of the movie character. I think I was unable to do so because I saw so much of me and what I believed in, in this version of Calypso that changing anything would have tainted it.