A London based taxidermist has given a new meaning to the phrase drop dead gorgeous with her range of animal corpse fascinators. The one of a kind accessories are designed by Margot Magpie and are created using stuffed, dead animals such as mice and birds. The 31-year-old from Battersea took up the hobby three years ago, creating pieces for herself and friends but has since seen the business gain popularity and now sells the accessories for around £60 a piece.
Far from being run of the mill, most pieces are specially commissioned by Margot's clients guaranteeing that they will not suffer the embarrassment of matching outfits at a wedding. Despite the unusual method that goes into the making of the pieces Margot says that it is the unique materials that attracts her clientele, 'They ask me to make something for a wedding or events, or just for fun as I am very creative and I tend to use different techniques and materials' says Margot who adds that, for her, taxidermy was an obvious fashion choice. She says that birds in particular capture her imagination when creating the unique head pieces.
'Taxidermy just made sense to me as something you might wear on your head or just on your person. 'I love birds and wanted to incorporate unused bits of the ones I found dead on the ground as roadkill. 'I thought that as a fashion statement it was unique as each bird wing is shaped differently depending on the bird type, and I love the asymmetry and pointy yet smooth edges the feathers create. 'I think birds are just stunning, especially when you are close enough to see the fine detail and color. Many people think a crow wing is just black, but there is so much more spectrum to the color and all birds have this.'
Margot says that she never has trouble selling any of her macabre pieces and has gone from selling exclusively online to working with individual commissions. 'Usually if I make a batch and put them online, they sell very very fast. However I have recently starting just taking commissions. 'It is more personalized and I think people enjoy experiencing the creative process with me like choosing colors, fabric, and sourcing particular birds.'
Since starting her businesses, the quirky designer has seen the interest in taxidermy grow and has started teaching a range of taxidermy classes across London. In the sessions Margot teaches her students how to gut, clean, stuff and pose mice, birds and small mammals in a variety of positions.
Margot's classes have proved extremely popular and she has since extended her tutoring to private classes where clients can specialize in guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters as well as the usual birds. Margot says that despite the popularity of her work she does receive some abuse for her controversial fashion statements.
'Sometimes I do get negative reactions, I get people telling me they think it is absolutely appalling, cruel or disrespectful. 'But I don't kill anything purposefully for taxidermy, so I don't have any issues with it. 'There will always be people who think it is distasteful or who are against it - but each to their own.'