Viona’s Dejeuner sur l’Herbe

18th Century Picnic: Viona (above) makes it happen.

One thing I love about Belgian photographer/fairy princess Viona Ielegems is the extent to which she manages to make her outside world match her inner vision of what the world should be. How many times I’ve stared with longing at a sweaty dancefloor, closing my eyes and wishing the cheap satin I saw around me to turn into fine Indian silk, for the lace chokers to blossom into elaborate starched ruffs, and for the club itself to somehow morph from a sauna of cigarette butts and stale t-shirts into an elaborate pleasure den of opium, jasmine incense and free-range peacocks roaming from room to room. I open my eyes to someone spilling beer onto my own not-that-fancy corset, and the scene I envisioned evaporates faster than whatever the ending to Kubla Khan was supposed to be. Not our Viona! If she wants it, she makes it happen. In 2006, she threw her first ball at a neo-gothic chapel. I’d say “it’s like the Limelight used to be,” but no… this place is 10 times bigger. And the people dress 10 times better.

A picnic guest.

This year, Viona outdid herself by throwing a Victorian picnic around the time of WGT. Pictures have just been posted, so let’s break it down. Actual gramophone? Check. Exquisite china set that includes a bloody vampire bunny? Check. Good-looking dandies posing next to fresh strawberries, wine and chocolate √©clairs? Check. How I wish I could’ve been there! You go, Viona. Congratulations on making your dreams – and some of our dreams – come true.

8 Responses to “Viona’s Dejeuner sur l’Herbe”

  1. Ashbet Says:


    Every time I see her photos/event photos, I adore them more!

  2. Io Says:

    Wow. It’s kind of like when I was 13 years old and I used to fantasize about what the interior of a goth club full of patrons looked like. Oh, the bitter reality of a sea of black t-shirts and jeans scattered with half-assed attempts and the rare rose here and there.

    I recognize a few of these fabulous looking people from the Treffen, the next time I head over to Germany I will have to make a point of attending. It looks absolutely delightful.

  3. slurkgirl Says:

    Man. Once again you guys have led me to a new creatrix who knocks my socks off!

  4. Alice Says:

    I just keep finding out more and more things about this lady that I absolutely adore. My mind will be swimming with these picnic images all day now…how can I be expected to get anything done with all this distraction?

  5. addicted_to_your_wrath Says:

    I have been obsessed with her work since I accidently stumbled upon it, Viona is a true visionary.

  6. Shien Says:

    Viona is certainly inspiring! I was at WGT this year, but unfortunately didn’t arrive to the city in time for the picnic. They did hold a Rococo Ball event and an ongoing “Neo-Romantik Party” each night, which was also spectacular.

    Dances of Vice is holding an 18th Century gala and picnic this summer as well in New York, featuring two 18th Century “fashion theatre” shows, so I hope such pictures will inspire more new romantic costume culture in North America!

  7. André M Says:

    Love her work!

    Hope to be part of the next edition of Gala Nocturna ( Viona and I
    live in the same small town in Belgium )

  8. JackFaBOuNE Says:

    I hope people’ll understand me when I say I like Goth.Goth is not about satanism, it’s about melancholy,music,aesthetics, the way Viona presents it.