Last month Vogue published Tim Walker and Karen Elson’s epic expedition into the Kingdom of Bhutan. The editorial explores the striking Himalayan scenery, astonishing Asian architecture and the colourful composition of the countries rich cultural costumes.
Titled “The Land of Dreamy Dreams” the shoot explores a folkloric journey into the wilderness of the beautiful Bhutanese landscape. Couture collections from Céline, Loewe, Prada & Valentino are theatrical styled by Kate Phelan to embrace the drama of the costumes worn in the Cham dances of the monthly Tscheu festivals.
Traditionally part of Tibetan Buddhism (where the Tscheu festivals are now banned), the Bhutanese festivals are large religious social gatherings held on the 10th day of every lunar month. Seen as a form a meditation, Cham dances are performed by Buddhist monks who chant sacred mantras from beneath their costumes. Different dances tell the tales of local gods, myths and legends and are caricatured through garish, comical and often horrifying costumes and masks.