Elza Luijendijk, styled by Robbie Spencer, poses in front of Ben Toms’ lens for Dazed&Confused while her stunning face is surrounded by beautiful butterflies from different species. She’s wearing sculptural and metallic embroidered garments from labels such as Christopher Kane, Haider Ackermann, Yohji Yamamoto (I love that white cotton jacket of the first picture), Chanel and the inevitable – if we are talking about butterflies – Alexander McQueen (pictures no.5 and 6).
If what you’re looking for is breathtaking editorial, you can play it safe choosing butterflies! But why are they so evocative and attractive?
There are many symbolic meanings associated with butterflies.
First of all, in Ancient Greece, the word “ψυχή” was both for “butterfly” and “soul”, they believed indeed that btterfly was a human soul who had passed away and is searching for new reincarnation.
Early Christians used tu consider butterfly a symbol of soul as well.
In one of the Russian dialects, butterflies are referred to as “dushuchka” which is a derivative of the word “dusha”, also meaning “soul” and there is also an Irish saying that refers to the symbolic meaning of butterflies: “Butterflies are souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory”.
Monarch Butterflies migrate every year (around the holiday known as the Day of the Dead) to a small town in Mexico, Michoacan, whose population also associate butterflies with souls.
In the western world, the symbol of the butterfly stands for freedom, fun and joyous times, a state of naturalness, purity, change or metamorphosis (because of their evolution from caterpillar, to chrysalis and from chrysalis to the final adult butterfly stage), short life; while the Mandarin Chinese word for “butterfly” is “hu-tieh” (where “tieh” stands for “70 years”), which means butterflies have become a symbol for a long life.
Moreover, Chinese culture use the butterfly as the symbol of young men in love; Japanese culture instead refers to butterflies as representative of young maidens and marital bliss.
Germany has a very unique belief about butterflies: as butterflies can often be found hovering about milk pails or butter churns, they have become associated with witches trying to steal the cream. In fact, the German word for butterfly is “Schmetterling”, which is actually derived for the Czech word “Smetana” which means “cream”.
A Native American legend says: “If you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. Since butterflies cannot speak, your secret is ever safe in their keeping. Release the butterfly, and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted”.
But what about this editorial? Maybe is because of the grungy setting, maybe the flawless and invisible make-up, but I think these butterflies are referred to the soul dimension, which suits Elza’s graceful attitude so well.