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SS19 Saturation in the Florida Everglades by Helen Peña

Saturation by Helen Pena
After collaborating with the Miami Femme Collective {F}empower for our 2018 Miami Swim Week event and photoshoot last July, then again for a special presentation on the future of fashion for Miami 2040 at Basel, we knew we wanted to work with {F}empower founder Helen Peña on a special project.

We asked Helen Peña to imagine the Spring Saturation collection through her eyes- and she unveiled a vision where powerful Black femmes from the future converse with Miami’s origins: the Everglades.

Presenting the Spring 2019 Saturation collection, styled by Margo Hannah and Carleen Renee on models Tsiann Alexa and Monica Sorelle, with makeup by Rochelle Bins at MAC.

Read on to see and hear Helen’s vision behind Chromat’s most saturated shoot yet.

SS19 Saturation
Why did you choose the location? What does the Everglades mean to you?
Helen Peña: I choose the Everglades because I am interested in harnessing the power of nature in my work - connecting with it and letting it influence the outcome. The Everglades is one of the only places in Miami you can go to and be completed enveloped in the natural world. 
Made up of coastal mangroves and swamplands, the Everglades is what Miami once was before “development.”
It is rich with ancestral memory. There is familiarity there, somehow. It’s about placing these powerful Black femmes from the future in Miami’s past and having a conversation about it. 
Saturation SS19 Wet Print
Monica in the Mica Top and Drew Bottom in Wet Print
What inspires you about models Monica and Tsiann?
Monica and Tsiann are two carefree Black girls that truly stand confidently in their power and empower others around them. 
Tsiann has really strong personal visual direction.  The way she styles herself is an inspiring work of art. And the way she unapologetically walks in the world brings me joy! 
Monica is a brilliant filmmaker, producer, DJ, visionary. I am honored to be able to work alongside her in several other projects too!
Tsiann in the Uma Suit in Wet Print, Monica in the Chiffon Jumper Pants
What drew you to stylist duo Margo and Carleen for the shoot? 
Margo and Carleen are two unbelievably resilient and passionate Black women from Miami. I had the honor of collaborating with them during (F)empower’s 2040 - a 3 day multimedia installation and program imagining what Miami will look like in our near future and the impending climate crisis affecting us. Margo and Carleen worked on the fashion presentation portion called Project Z and it blew everyone away. 
Carleen and Margo have the uncanny ability to breathe art into the world with very limited resources. I’ve singlehandedly seen Margo turn dollar store wrapping paper into high Wearable art!! Margo is someone I’ve had the honor of working with from (f)empower’s very first event. We’ve collaborated many times since then and TBH I still drool every time I see her work. 
Saturation shot by Helen Pena
Tsiann in the Uma Suit in Wet Print, Monica in the Mica Top and Drew Bottom in Wet Print
How did you get into photography and what draws you to image-making?
I’ve been into fashion my entire life - from drawing designs in my grade school note books to starting a fashion publication in college, it’s something that always follows me even when I try to shake it off. As an adventurous Sagittarius with a moon and rising in perfectionist Virgo, it came to a point where I wanted to be the one to recreate the image in my head. Then having an iPhone and using Instagram as a creative outlet gave me the confidence to take photography seriously. Image making for me is about creating dream worlds and finding dream worlds tucked in our everyday lives. Image making is a spiritual practice - it allows me to capture the God alive in us and around us everywhere. 
Saturation SS19 Wet Print
Tsiann in the Uma Suit in Wet Print
Tsiann in the Uma Suit in Wet Print, Monica in the Chiffon Jumper Pants
What does it mean to be a #ChromatBABE?
Being a Chromat Babe is having walking in your personal power, ancestors right by your side, creating work aligned with your purpose in the world, and radiating so brightly you make the sun shine for others. 
Tsiann in the Uma Suit in Wet Print
Photos by Helen Peña
Styled by Margo Hannah and Carleen Renee
Makeup by Rochelle Bins at MAC

See more of Helen Peña’s work here.

Shop the SS19 Saturation Collection here.

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