Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand, by Eugene Bird, David Downton and David Ellwand, 130 pp, RL All Ages
Before Disney's Tinkerbell and her newly created hometown of Pixie Hollow took over as the face of Fairie, David Ellwand opened a window on their world in 2002 with his book Fairie-ality Style. From Candlewick Press, traditionally a publisher of children's books, this book is hard to classify. Where I work, it ends up in the Art/Fashion section of the bookstore. However, I see this book, along with Ellwand's second visit to the Realm, Fairie-ality Style: A Sourcebook of Inspirations from Nature, as having huge kid appeal, especially for girls old enough to make their own crafts. When I was approximately that young crafty age, the book Gnomes, illustrated by Dutchman Rien Poortvliet and written by Will Huygen, entered my world. Compiled almost like a field guide of these imaginary creatures and graced with painterly illustrations that covered everything from homes, food, medicine and maternal habits and then some, with handwritten notes as well as more lengthy text, I was endlessly fascinated and inspired by this book. Looking back, I think that Poortvliet's book opened the door for the Ology books and their knock offs that are so popular these days. I have no doubt that readers who enter David Ellwand's Fairie-ality will be out in the back yard building fairie houses and creating wardrobes from flowers in no time.
Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand is the genius creation of British photographer and artist David Ellwand, with the help of Eugene Bird, who wrote the text and David Downton, who provided the fashion illustrations. Of his inspiration for Fairie-ality, Ellwand recalls, "I've worked as a photographer for more than fifteen years and spent a lot of my time photographing flowers. One day, after working with some calla lilies, I left them out without any water. They started to dry naturally, and I noticed how one of them resembled a small silk shirt. I then started to bend and shape the flowers and model them into items of clothing suggested by their organic shapes." The resulting "fairie clothes," fashioned as playthings for David Ellwand's then three-year-old daughter, caught the eye of a visiting editor from Candlewick Press. Before long an exquisitely designed, tongue-in-cheek catalog of fashions for fairies was in full flight.
Really, this book is so amazing that the photographs can speak for themselves...