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  • Writer's pictureCristina Olivito

Under the Big Top

What is the circus? The word “circus” comes from the French term for the big top. A big top is a circular roof supported on poles or columns and used when shows are performed outdoors. The first modern day Circus was created in 1768 by Philip Astley. He used horses to perform equestrian stunts, this is far from what we think of when we hear the word circus today. It wasn't until 1899 when “The Greatest Show on Earth” would come to a town and create the majestic experience we think of as the modern day circus. A 3 mile parade would travel from town to town making a grand announcement and creating excitement that the circus would be in town. Both children and adults were amazed when arriving to a giant big top tent, with huge red velvet curtains that would draw back to reveal a trapeze artist soaring high above the ground, gracefully though the air. There were acrobats, clowns, horses, and ele- phants mounted by circus troops. A ringmaster in a top hat and tailcoat was always in the center orchestrating the acts. Today the circus is different. Most require elaborate sets and costumes, focusing on the exciting performances, animals and music. The Circus World Museum is one of the few traditional circuses still in existence. Founded in 1952, the museum is currently located in Wisconsin.

Entertainment at a Circus The purpose of the circus is to create excitement and to entertain, showing that the impossible is possible! It’s a place where everyone express their personality in a colorful environment and just let loose and have fun. For us this was the first part of what we wanted to create with our editorial. We wanted the kids to really feel that they were becoming a part of the circus. It takes an incredible amount of work to create an amazing and unbeliev- able show each and every night. Each year, there are new acts that are added to keep things fresh and exciting. It takes practice and commitment to ensure that each act is flawless. People love everything about what the circus has to offer; the performances, the food, the costumes just to name a few. The entertainment they provide is guaranteed to draw people in, bring smiles to their faces, and create positive emotions, and the ability to leave everything behind and have fun. With the help of some amazing vendors we were able to bring that celebratory athmosphere to the children.

Crust and Crumble Bakery in Glendora provided morning pastries that were promptly devoured. @crustandcrumblebakery

Olli Salumeria from Oceanside gave us some much needed delicious protein to power through a long, fun day. @olli_salumeria

Cheesecake De Granger was the perfect pick me up, middle of the day, with adorably decorated cupcakes that made everyone oooh and ahhh! @cheesecakedegranger

And to take home, each child got a to-go jar of the perfectly light but absolutely delicious cheesecakes by the Mergerson Family. @eighty7_art_club_cheesecakes

Everyone, adults included, was delighted!

The Fashion of it all... The circus has been entertaining and inspiring people, including artists and designers for over 250 years. Fashion inspired by circuses is no longer exclusive to clowns; it has been regaining popularity within high fashion, often combined with an unexpected twist. We see these looks on the runway, wild editorials and even cosmetic campaigns. Prada, Christian Dior, Moschino, Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham are just a few of the hundreds of designers that have used the circus to inspire their fabulous collections. Some designers take a more literal approach featuring mime-like make up, big puffy sleeves and bright colorful wigs. These type of looks have been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, London Fashion week and many other long standing iconic fashion venues. Other designers take a subtle approach and use subtle elements of circus fashion to create everyday wearable pieces.

Our take on it Within moments of arriving to the Elsewhere property in Topanga Canyon we knew we were some- where special. Our location featured beautiful lush greenery and 3 amazing Vardos. This backdrop set the mood for the entire shoot! Stepping on set really felt as though you were stepping into the big top tent of a circus. The amazing costumes were designed and created to bring the circus to life, we wanted that literal feel of the circus, with a dash of fun fashion added to it. They outfits are colorful and elaborate. The hair and make up is joyful and fun, allowing unique personalities to shine through. The circus is all about being able to express your personality and be in a world of our own, and for that day the models really felt like they were a part of this very special little circus we created.

Marie Lafranque @marielafranquephotography
Make Up:
Cristina Olivito @cristina_olivito
Erica Chism @ericasdarlingdays Hair:
Leilani Dumlao Hunter @ladyshear Fashion:
Little Animals Custom Designs @little_animals_custom_designs
Ozuri Couture @ozuricouture
Rachelle Appelle @rachelleappelle Animal Talent:
Giggle Factory Events @gigglefactoryevents Place:
Elsewhere in Topanga @elsewerecalifornia

@izabellahdiez @siennahmichaela_ @violetanicks @alexandrabull__ @emma_rose_barclay @adamrockstartalent @isabellathedancer5678 @thevictoriafield @zuri_miles @keirarosepepper @coco.weller @alishaliston
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