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far from home...
Join Date: Aug 2005
Article and picture from style.com
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a stammering bachelor professor of mathematics at Oxford University, was a gifted amateur exponent of the fledgling art of photography and a man of profound religious beliefs and bounding imagination. Under his nom de plume, Lewis Carroll, he gave posterity two of the most enduringly enchanting children's books in the English language. In
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,
first published in 1865, and its sequel,
Through the Looking-Glass,
Dodgson transposed the conventions of his genteel world into a magical universe. Instead of the dour, moralistic tales that were considered appropriate nursery fare at the time, Dodgson served up absurdist takes on Victorian England's polite tea parties, its eccentric dons, its gossipy news stories, its popular poems, songs, dances, and parlor games. All this was calculated to entrance the grave, well-mannered, and preternaturally poised young girls that Dodgson cherished, so ambiguously to modern eyes. First among these was Alice Liddell, the middle daughter of Dodgson's dean at Christ Church;
is her story.
fantasies, available in dozens of editions, are the most translated and quoted books after the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. Since their original publication, countless artists (from Arthur Rackham to Salvador Dalí and Ralph Steadman) and filmmakers and directors (from Walt Disney to Jonathan Miller) have risen to the considerable challenge of improving upon Dodgson's imagination and John Tenniel's brilliant woodcut illustrations. Now
joins this illustrious roster, with Annie Leibovitz's photographs of a cast drawn from fashion's own often fantastical universe.
s Alice is 21-year-old Natalia Vodianova, whose heartbreaking blue-eyed beauty made her the inevitable choice to play the poignant and spirited heroine. "Alice is my dream girl, and so is Natalia," says Grace Coddington,
s creative director. "She's a rare, rare model." Vodianova's unique trajectory—this self-proclaimed "poor little Russian girl" helped to support her family as a teenager, selling crates of fruit in far-flung Nizhniy Novgorod—is part of what made her ideal for the role. In 2002, Vodianova made a fairy-tale marriage to the Honorable Justin Portman, the dashing scion of a patrician English family; she gave birth to the adorable flaxen-haired Lucas; and she now has multimillion-dollar contracts with Calvin Klein and L'Oréal. Her trip has been every bit as fantastical as Alice?s fall down the rabbit-hole.
"I feel very chosen," Vodianova says, "by
but also by the book, which is very precious. It's just amazing that people would give it up for a great idea—forget their own egos, give up their personalities—and become something different for a second. Alice is a very special little girl."
"Alice in Wonderland" by Hamish Bowles has been edited for Style.com; the complete story appears in the December 2003 issue of
Above: Chanel Haute Couture satin jacket and skirt.
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