By Siobhan

For my 21st birthday this year I took a roadtrip to New Orleans and the first drink I had was an Absinthe Frappe at the Old Absinthe House.

This design is inspired by that spirit, which is light green in color and has a strong licorice taste, owing to one of it's main ingredients: Anise, where my doll also derives her name from. Much of my inspiration came from 18th century Art Nouveau posters, and from artists such as Alphonse Mucha, Henri Privat-Livemont, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Gustav Klimt. Toulouse-Lautrec himself was a fan of absinthe; he had a cane custom made for holding the drink so that he always had some on him and is responsible for the invention of the cocktail, "Earthquake", an almost lethal mix of half absinthe and half cognac. I have always especially admired Mucha's jewelry designs, and I drew a lot of inspiration for the accessories from those. There is also some Indian influence, which I saw a lot of on my trip to New Orleans, in both the antique stores and in the music. Of course I also sought inspiration from the countless jazz and Mardi Gras costumes I saw in the museums and vintage clothing stores. Most of my inspiration, however, came from my experience in beautiful New Orleans, and this design is a sort of collage of memories from my trip.

Anisette is wearing a bronze and enameled headpiece, displaying a mix of nautical and Indian influence and Mucha-like ear covers. The swirled black and creme design on the ear-piece reminds me both of nautilus shells and licorice twists, and the twisting, curled band reminds me of seaweed that you find washed on the shore, with the seed pods still attached. In the center is a slightly curled feather, which I would imagine to be slightly polished. Nested behind the ear-pieces there are three small bronze chains with fan-shaped beads at the end of each. The bronze itself would be antiqued and slightly polished in certain places. At the back of her head, there are four black silk ribbons, which remind me of Degas' ballerinas that I saw in some of the paintings at his house in New Orleans, and touches on the licorice theme again.

The beaded apron was inspired by a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum, where they have an excellent collection of the Mardi Gras Indian's costumes. Each costume takes a year or more to make, and they are made in different sections out of beaded sections of cardboard and feathers. Here is a beautiful example: http://img850.imageshack.us/i/000317261181429700.jpg/. The straps for the dress are braided fabric that wrap around the back of her neck. The dress itself is lightweight fabric that is a pale bluish-green that is faded to a darker green near the bottom. The trim at the bottom is black and white striped ribbon, but could also be made out of long seed beads, to complement the red bead fringe at the back.

I imagine her bronze and enamel belt to be made in several hinged pieces, so that it moves easily with her body. The crescent shape mirrors the nickname "Crescent City", used to describe the course of the Mississippi River around the city. Hanging from the center is a single bronze chain, again with a fan bead that matches the headpiece.

Her shoes were the place where I let my imagination go. The swooping arches remind me of river bridges, where steamboats sail through on sweet afternoons. They are kind of chunky, and round toed, to balance out the delicate look of the rest of the outfit. On each toe is a fleur de lis, which I learned a long time ago were actually used to mark slaves in New Orleans.

Her tattoo is the culmination of the theme of Anisette; a single open anise seed. I would imagine it to be done in brown and purple ink, with white highlights on each seed.

Anisette's looks were inspired by the beautiful Art Nouveau paintings of the 18th century, which often portrayed round faced, rosy cheeked women with small, plump and bright red lips. Her eyes are green, probably because she drinks so much absinthe. She reminds me a little bit of my mom in her wedding photos.

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Copyright © 2011 Marina Bychkova.