halloween 2012: kiki de montparnasse in emak-bakia

film stills of man ray films
[heads up: there is an animated gif at the end of this post!]

i must admit, i was feeling a bit overworked and uninspired around halloween this year. i realized about a week before halloween i hadn’t really planned anything ahead of time, and was dogged by the fact that so many of my dream costumes reference ridiculously obscure early cinema or 1970s performance artists. this lead to me briefly debating choosing something super recognizeable as a costume instead… but after looking back at my costumes over the past six years, and remembering what it is i truly enjoy about this holiday (instead of focusing on what i hate about it) i settled on something.

in the end, i decided i wanted to have an excuse to cut my bangs (which no one even noticed!) and to once again not give a shit if anyone “got” my costume. i also spent a fair bit of october re-watching some of my favourite silent films. i don’t know what it is about this time of year that just feels perfect to watch the world in black and white.

it was after re-watching Emak-Bakia that it came to me. Emak-Bakia, (basque for Leave me alone) is a 1926 film directed by Man Ray. “Subtitled as a cinépoéme, it features many new and innovative filming techniques used by Man Ray, including Rayographs, double exposures, soft focus and ambiguous features.” one of its stars also happens to be one of my icons.

so a simple but still creepy costume idea popped into my head: it still fell into my category of dressing up as my dream women of the past, all while still being slightly off-kilter, a bit unnerving. without further ado, here is my transformation from julia to kiki de montparnasse in emak-bakia.


makeup step 2
steph did my awesome eyelid makeup after i botched several attempts… pretty tough to do yourself

ta-dam! the end result.


black and white witchy women
steph dressed up as a black and white witch, which was incredibly impressive.

silent film stars and witches collide
silent film stars and witches collide!

we were a bit disappointed by some of the halloween parties we checked out, so we just decided to wander around the city a bit. it was a blustery fall night, so perfect for wandering near our favourite cemetary…

cimetière st. matthew



the moon was almost full, the cemetary gates were locked, so off we headed home.

the original inspiration:

and the result:

julia dressed up as kiki de montparnasse in emak-bakia for halloween 2012

we were a bit underwhelmed by most of the costumes we saw out and about. aside from one particularly well-done “1980s grade school class picture” costume no one really stopped me in my tracks. a lot of people playfully chide me for choosing obscure costume ideas, but it is tough to find something equal parts creepy and crowd pleasing. i’d rather just go for something that tickles my fancy in the end.

also, if you’re new around here and haven’t seen my halloween costumes from the past, they are all up on flickr. check it out!

what did you dress up as? what were the best halloween costumes you saw this year? leave photos and links in the comments!


Filed under halloween, quebec city, self-portraits

3 responses to “halloween 2012: kiki de montparnasse in emak-bakia

  1. Well I didn’t go out for Halloween, went to see a movie instead. However seems I didn’t miss much and on the way home from movie saw mainly “sexy cat” and “scary clown” costumes. But it’s not really a thing in England like it is there, I don’t think. Still your costume was awesome and I’m glad you posted about it.

  2. oh my god! oh my god! this is brilliant! man, eyelid painting looks SO tough, lord knows i can’t even apply eyeliner, but you did a wonderful job. especially with the white face paint. looks gorgeous.

    i like to be men for halloween. a couple years ago i was karl lagerfeld, last year i was robert smith. for halloween 2012, i decided to dress up as everyone’s favorite dubstep DJ, skrillex! mostly to troll those who actually like his music.

  3. This is SUCH a great costume. I always love your Halloween costumes!!! I was a pumpkin which isn’t very scary but is at least Halloween themed, I guess. I wanted to do another costume as a kind of ghost lady all in black with a veil, etc., but it ended up being about 36C the day I wanted to wear it so I decided I’d rather not dress all in black and just went to my second event as ‘generic sailor girl’ because it was all I could do last minute.
    My favourite costume this year was, what I would described as, Bearded Woman Abraham Lincoln! Or Abraham Lincoln wearing a dress.
    My own dream costumes would probably be either one of the Cat Women of the Moon or Devil Girl From Mars. The first would be easy, the second…would require a lot of PVC. Oh, and a Picnic at Hanging Rock group costume! But all my friends are super flaky/I don’t see them often enough to plan so it will probably never happen. I’m already compiling a list of ideas for next year’s Halloween, though. Haha.

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