Belarus-born and Vietnam-raised model Elle Muliarchyk first gained attention for her photography in 2006, for a series of self-portraits taken in dressing rooms. With a portable studio in tow, she would try on the priciest garments (in the tiniest spaces) and become a new character for each outfit, practicing for future shoots. Though her guerrilla method had some drawbacks — "I got arrested many times and was photo-IDed and fingerprinted in New York, London, and Paris," Muliarchyk told the Cut — it was how she initially discovered fashion.
Muliarchyk's latest project, "Escapes From Paradise," builds on her fascination with different personages. For the debut installment, she turned to her friend and designer Chadwick Bell, whose spring collection "was inspired by, what I would call, a contemporary version of Georgia O'Keeffe," she explained. "It's a girl who is bombarded by this city life and she says, 'Okay, basta! I am going to the desert and I am going to find peace and completely reinvent myself,' because of the serenity." Muliarchyk, who hadn't been on vacation in ten years, borrowed Bell's clothing, packed her camera, and embarked on a two-month-long road trip to Utah and Arizona, then along both coasts, and transformed into the designer's imagined woman.
Instead of creating 2-D images, she put together an experience driven by synaesthesia. A friend, Anne B. Kelly, wrote the accompanying text, partially based on a diary Muliarchyk kept during her travels, and composer Superflux created an original soundtrack; the photographer wished, "Somehow, I could also add smell and tastes and maybe the desert wind." Jacob Wildschiødtz, art director for Love magazine, suggested she post the multi-sensory gallery on Tumblr, so the road and story unfolds in front of viewers as they scroll.
"It may sound too flowery, but I believe in fashion more as a dream machine than, let's say, film ... Hollywood is no longer 'silver screen,' or what it used to be," Muliarchyk, who is already planning her second installment of the "Escapes" series, added. "Contemporary art is more and more just about exchanging money. But fashion I still believe in. It's so evocative, it's like a pastiche of memories and other associations, and it really has to do with your life on an everyday basis."
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Finally Possible to Understand What Happened to Amanda Knox
The Very Uncomfortable Experience of Rewatching Election in 2016
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Reportedly Broke Up
Ask Polly: Should I Try to Help My Alcoholic Friend?
Outrageous Party Photos From Andy Warhol’s Factory Days
Ask a Boss: My Co-worker Wants Everyone to Call Her Boyfriend Her ‘Master’!
Chelsea Clinton Says She Didn’t Initially Know Her Mom Had Pneumonia Because She Was Trying to Power Through It
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
YogaToes Cured My Lifelong Fear of Bunions
This Lipstick Was Designed by a Woman Who Can See 100 Million Colors
From Our Partners
Who What Wear
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.