• Julie Gallahue

GMP International Models : El Retiro Park

Our beloved country, with wide open spaces, crashing waves, soring peaks, wild rivers is rich in history. An entire 241 years of it moving stedfastly forward, transforming cabins into skyscrapers, trading horse drawn buggies for ride shares and letters to friends written on parchment with a quill tip and a pot of ink to hitting a little blue arrow on your phone and that person receiving it in seconds. On occasion, hints of the beginnings poke their heads out between the cracks. A cathedral tucked in the corners between a pay-to-park lot and a pay-by-the-hour hotel. Or a one room school house circled by an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. Where did all these kids come from?

But, the reality is that the United States of America is a young 241 years old. That's practically still a toddler on a developed country's timeline. We ain't got history yet. We're still learning how to walk without the aid of the couch and coffee table.

Michelle Holmes

When our company traveled to Madrid Spain at the beginning of the year, we traveled back in time. It wasn't obvious at first, when our feet touched the airport floor tiles, or when we climbed on the subway, bags dragging and stood in a crowded train full of well dressed locals. But, there were hints when we arrived at the apartment on a cobbled one lane street in the center of the capitol.

I chose this apartment for out stay not just because it had the capacity to sleep fourteen bodies and was in walking distance of a small grocery store. I chose it because it was just a few short blocks away from one of the most spectacular places in the city. A place that an afternoon can be experienced without noticing the time slipping away into darkness.

Mishael La Bella

It's just a little place really, called El Retiro Park, with a meer 350 acres of lush green lawns, streams, marble scupured lined walkways, fountains, a large pond, a greenhouse and royalty. Royalty at every turn. Nothing in this world has ever made the little princess voice inside whisper tales of romance and have her looking over her shoulder for a knight on a white horse more.

Paris Creed

And we have royalty to thank for the park that provides such a blissful and easy escape from where ever and what ever all those well dressed train passangers had on their agenda's. Isabella I of Castile upon her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon aparently had some time to kill and some peasants that needed work, so thanks to her vision in 1505 and the Jeronimos monastery that needed a new place to call home, today the world has this treasure. Two birds. One stone.

Racquel Parsons and Jeff Warnock

If you're going to do a shoot at a location like this, you're not going to throw your models in jeans and a tee shirt. This is not a dad sneaker kind of place, unless those dad sneakers are surrounded by hungry pigeons looking for the crumbs of your potato chips. This is a place to bring all your things rich and touchable. The things you would never wear to a job interview or ball game. This is a place for fur (the faux kind of course, becasue this isn't actuall the 1500's), silk, satin, velvet and all those things that sparkle.

Mishael La Bella

And sparkle she does! Mishael La Bella is a vision, like a mermaid that may, or may not be spending her nights in a palace under the sea, but she is most definately doing it in a pewter sequin dress by Little Mistress. Sitting here on the edge of a tranquil fountain edge, she is the epitome of Isabella waiting for her Ferdinand. I hope he isn't underdressed for the occassion.

Jeff Warnock

Of course he isn't. He is a king after all. A king with an eye for the esthetically pleasing and a pair of green velvet pants from Alloy and a silk jacket from his special trunk of stage wardrobe. Ferdinand is a well rounded man with his hand in the running-of-the-country pot at the same time as keeping one in the indy rock star pot. His stage name is Jeff Warnock, incase you want to look him up on the concert schedule.

Alec Elder

We all know that royality is not a one man show. There's a huge court full of advisors and bandmates to turn to in a moment of crisis if one is to arise. And if not, than your wingman, Alec Elder, is ready to ditch the armour and don a festive floral print tie and a plush, touchable midnight blue blazer by Ween Charm.

Racquel Parsons

And how does your lady in waiting pull off a body hugging, slippery one piece jumpsuit the same shade of flesh as her own? It's all about the foundation beneath it. The foundation needs to span mid thigh to breasts, be in the same shade of your own skin and be smooth and slippery. That's important, because a jumpsuit like this needs to move freely and without obstacles like lace to chatch on while moving. Racquel Parsons, moves like liquid lust in this Alloy gem and even though you can't see them, there were plenty of passersby that slowed down and took a second look.

Michelle Holmes and Alec Elder

And romance does seem to thrive in this garden of Eden. Around each turn through hedge lined pathways, pockets of privacy poke out and invite a quite moment to reflect, relax and share tender moments. It's easy to imagine knights and advisors slipping away from royal banquetes to steal a kiss from a beautiful maiden. This maiden, Michelle Holmes, pairs a velvet blazer by Lane Bryant with silk cropped slacks, and gold flats by Sole Society and keeps it all classy with a traditional strand of pearls.

Paris Creed

Yes, it easy to let yourself slip into another identity, in another time, but when the sun sneaks its way over the horizon, and the people on the promanade clearly look modern in attire and actions, you'll just have to slip on a warm coat to keep the evening chill at bay like Paris Creed does and wander back to your apartment for a glass of local wine. Until next time El Retiro Park.

Photos by Kayla Rain Photography.

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