Sara Scanderebech and Giulia Revolo push ILARIUSSS’ madcap millinery into the shadows

Some sort of lampshade, a curvaceous pirate’s hat, a bit of dead sardine. In a new fashion editorial, Sara Scanderebech and Giulia Revolo have repositioned the work of ILARIUSSS – an outré Italian millinery – alongside painted faces and gloomy lighting, forging a time-hopping contingent of could-be royals. There, a champagne-hued fez has been embroidered with beaded tendrils, purple feathers are wrapped into little turbans, and militaria caps sprout all kinds of plumage and fish scales. “The designs come from fantasy, and so we placed them in a dark environment,” says Revolo, who styled the shoot. “Depth and darkness are fundamental elements.” 

Drawing on the work of photographer and make-up artist Serge Lutens, alabaster heads emerge disembodied from the background, as if the subjects had been “absorbed into their surrounding space,” as photographer Scanderebech explains. “It was to deliberately contrast with ILARIUSSS’ romanticism, a new world worth exploring.” This notion bled into the styling, too, where precious tiaras are juxtaposed with baggy denim and thrifted band merch, baroque headpieces with lace-up trouser-skirts and shredded knitwear. “I just love playing with contrast – it’s a constant in all my work,” Revolo says. “Dark settings with a hidden red light, like a foulard falling from a pocket, underwear popping out of trousers.” 

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Though Revolo and ILARIUSS have been collaborating for years, it was their first time working with Scanderebech, who contributed some of her own archival imagery to the shoot. Koi carp ponds, a flower’s pollen-covered petals, and a fishmonger’s kill emphasise the models’ sweat-slicked skin and grainy, caked-on face paint. “I’m interested in the intangible relationships between things, discovering the other world,” she says. “In a very short time we got along with each other and we received a super cool result without issues, which is very rare,” says Ilaria Soncini, the founder of ILARIUSSS. “This is something that happens when passionate people work together. Honestly, we didn’t really have any bad moments.” Click through the gallery above to see the rest of the shoot.