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Glamourous Model Recreates Vintage Moments in Time
Blending provocative flirtatiousness and an elegant wholesomeness, the pin up style has clashed throughout history with women’s struggle for equality both in the work world and in relationships. Modern pin-ups icons ranged from movie to and musical performers
Boosted by the global disruptions --- war, terrorism, poverty, natural disaster --- the “retro pin up” has undergone a resurrection. Photographers often offer women a session of glamour or pin up photography where they dress in vintage eloquence and accent their own best features.
West Virginia has its own 21st Century “pin up” model specializing in shots that appear more like a painted illustration than as an image from daily life.
Selina Kyle started modeling at the age of 20 posing in a classy dress by a grand piano. Captured by over 50 artistic photographers, the Huntington based model has found a small network of adoring aficionados who share her flawless taste for art deco, surrealism , and Hollywood legends. She recently celebrated the birthday of actress/pin up Veronica (“Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Glass Key”) with a retro shoot at a Huntington studio, where she found photographer Jeff Hedgecock had the skill in front of and behind the camera to re-create the 40s era with impeccable lighting that highlighted her shoulder length “peek-a-boo” blonde hair which partially hides one side of her face.
Accustomed to bringing her own creative vision to the table, Kyle, describes herself as “all about the 40’s.” She admires the “elegance” of the era, which contributed to the feminine allure of the wardrobe. Whether set in a period era or not, her photos suggest confidence , dramatic flair, and a sense of intrigue.
Featured in the 2013 calendar, Portraits of a Muse (photographed by Chris Hayes) Kyle describes modeling as more than wearing an outfit. Modeling is , for her represents artistry. “I channel that creative energy most efficiently through being part of a photograph.”
Carefully adjusting lighting and tone, the “pin up” pose could be that of a celebrity or an artist’s vision of a drawn figures such as when director Robert Zemeckis in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” which blended live action and animation and reawakened interest in the golden age of cartoons.
Ms. Kyle's photographic portfolio inscribes a tremendous range displaying caricature in a snap. Retaining a strong sense of charisma, a sultry flirtatious innocence, and an attitude of pride, her work does not often include close ups. Instead, she's in an angelic, wistful, commanding mysterious scene achieved through expressions, posture, and wardrobe that brings a contemporary edginess to the femme fatale persona. Or, her magnetic eyes maintain a rigid, realistic gaze which convinces viewers that she is straight from a Disney Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.
Although vintage eras mark one phase of her work, Selina’s face has turned architecture into people places, converted a phone booth into a Dr. Who portal, or splashed in crystal clear waters. Photographs throughout her vast collection have titles reflecting both season, venue, and mood as her graceful charm and nearly irresistible luster metamorphoses a once random scene into the pages of literature and history.
Calling the 20's to 40's “the epitome of style,” the 26-year-old woman prefers dresses, skirts and heels (she has high arches) for her everyday wardrobe. “Whether shopping or working, they are a wardrobe staple,” she stressed. What does she find missing in today''s apparel? “ The details of the styling, and overall cut of the garments,” Ms. Kyle explained, adding that "I love evening gowns especially."
Notice how her photos accomplish polished classiness. It’s not simply a dress or a particular pair of shoes. Glamorously dressing in the era meant combining a certain hairstyle, the right lipstick (often bright red), a flattering hat , and a color coordinated dress. In her recreations, she often selects a wardrobe that accents Art Deco architecture.
“Art Deco is the greatest thing to happen to contemporary art. The Art Deco movement was all about the future… most people don’t have an appreciation for the surreal.”
Not surprisingly, the model has a likeness for fantasy. “I’m into science fiction so anything that is either set in another time or gives the feeling of another world” are favorites. She’s serious about the concept of time travel, as depicted in her vintage prints. “I’d like to see it (become) more than fiction someday.”
Don’t mistake Kyle’s interest in styles of the early 20th Century as a rubber stamp for the second class treatment of women i.e. their taking second place to men. Nothing could be further from her perception which acknowledges a “girlie” , even prissy, flair, but a 100% standing with the male species.
Not by coincidence, she describes 40's movie icons, Veronica Lake and Grace Kelley , as favorite actresses.
“On screen and off Veronica Lake was feisty, she did not let people push her around.” Suggesting “This Gun for Hire,” as her favorite Lake flick, Kyle added, “She was a wild card much like Catwoman. I’m impressed by her ability to be such an individual.”
Growing up, Selina saw the 1990's, the Catwoman character played by Michelle Pfeiffer as a female role model.
“Her costume is symbolic, it's a literal interpretation of her character. The black latex resembles glass, meaning that she's fragile, but the white stitches represents how she sewed herself back together. I customized my cat suit in the same fashion,” she explained.
TONY: Do you see yourself as “Catwoman, ” or is she merely a strong female character?
SELINA: I identify with the Catwoman of “Batman Returns” (Michelle Pfeiffer) and of the animated series. Yes, I think there is still a bias (against) us. If women want to pursue politics or other positions of authority/power, they are considered cold. We often don’t get the same pay. There’s no logical explanation for that double standard.
TONY: How would you respond to those who say that a more glamorous, even sensual wardrobe, is merely to please a man?
SELINA: That’s ridiculous . I enjoy being a girlie girl. My clothes are a reflection of my personality. I don't follow trends."
She doesn’t just utter “hush” to those women that eschew colorful, fragile, silky clothing as catering to a man’s instincts. Ms. Kyle defends pageants, modeling and, obviously, artistic pin ups.
“Men have body building and professional sports. We have modeling and pageants.” And she take no offense to a swim suit segment. “The wardrobe goes with the job,” she said.
When not imagining a forthcoming shoot, she will express her disappointment that Hillary Clinton was passed over for President of the United States in 2008. She’s adamant that Ms. Clinton should be a 2016 candidate.
The calendar is $35 and available from photographer Chris Hayes. https://www.facebook.com/messages/Christopher.Hayes.Photography
EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out a gallery of both vintage and current Selina modeling photos at: http://www.huntingtotnnews.net