Disney have always had a penchant for declawing fairytales. Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was far, far darker and more distressing than its perky, brightly animated Disney descendent. Andersen’s mermaid gives up everything in order to be on land with the Prince, gives up her home in the sea and her beautiful voice, gives up her tail in favour of feet that can’t walk a step without feeling like they’re being repeatedly stabbed by a thousand sharp knives.

The Prince nonetheless decides to marry a Princess from a neighbouring kingdom and the Little Mermaid’s heart breaks. A way out presents itself: she can slay the prince with a magic dagger and the shedding of his blood will return her to her original mermaid state, ending her suffering.

little mermaid fashion shoot

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat
The Little Mermaid, A Fashion Story by Michelle Aristocrat

Of course, she can’t bring herself to kill the Prince. Instead, she throws herself from the bow of his ship and her body becomes one with the sea, turning to foam. Her spirit lives on, becoming a daughter of the air, one given a precious gift in exchange for her good-heartedness: she can continue to do good deeds for mankind for the next 300 years as a way of earning her own soul and, eventually, a place in heaven.

Happy, no?

Its with good grace that we can say Michelle Aristocrat’s fashion story, also titled The Little Mermaid, seems to pay closer homage to the bubbly Disney version, the vibrant red mane of model Sian resembling Ariel’s, her beautiful gowns (styled by Talecia Gordon) perfectly glamorous.

Canada’s Ripley Aquarium in Toronto provided the backdrop to this fantastical story. View it in full by clicking on the gallery. For more about Michelle Aristocrat, visit her website.

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