Oliver Short and Kira Panfilova

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Lily and I met Oliver and Kira at a flea market in Brick Lane, while we were there shooting in London, for SLU. The exuberant eclecticism of their imaginations meant love at first sight for us. The two looked as if they had stepped out of a Russian 18th century countryside fairy tale, mixed with the late 19th century urban dark charm of Charles Dickens, and some free-spirited ’60′s/’70′s classic rock and roll. Oliver, resembling a Rembrandt portrait, in Kira’s ruffled high collared shirt and Amish meets pilgrim, hat. Kira, in Victorian layers of red velvet, fur trim and her signature white tights and slouchy socks. The two are actually living the life of the true romantics that they are, day dreaming in their music, art and the art of their relationship. Oliver says of their union (melt), “it’s about a vision and I guess just living.” They have a painting that was the result of the way they communicated during a disagreement between them, “sometimes it’s easier to draw than it is to talk.” And they spent six months writing down their dreams, which they want to turn into an exhibition. The two are absorbed in the pursuit of being fully present and in the moment, there is no tv, Facebook or Myspace, and they consider music as top in the pyramid of communication between people. For them it’s an odyssey into Bowie, The Kinks, Syd Barrett, The Doors and the era of what they consider to be tunes made with honesty and by people who were living true to themselves.” They could be the inspiration for Haute Couture. Kira, in her full-blown, Indian headdress (melt), peace pipe, folkloric chunky cardigan, ikat print dress, voluminous necklace of charms and indigenous slippers. Oliver, in Kira’s vintage rabbit coat, liberty print shirt and Indian arrow. However, everything is borrowed, shared, found or from the endless antique markets of the English countryside. Completely befitting to their utopian ideals, the two met randomly in a train station. Oliver says, “She was standing at the top of the escalator with a brown suitcase, a leopard print jacket, with this beautiful red hair. ‘I thought if I don’t talk her, then I will never know her.’ She had a lot of random stuff in her suitcase, brushes, sketchbooks..’I said my name is Oliver’ and she looked up and smiled…I asked her what she was doing here and she said that she is going to Central St. Martins. That was the kind of answer I could have dreamed of, because I wanted her to be. It just so happened that from that moment on, everything we spoke about we had in common.”

Oliver and Kira’s blog The Riddler’s Garden Party

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