”If It Can Be Imagined, It Exists”

The Surreal Photography of Madame Peripetie

A new fashion photography book by London-based image maker Sylwana Zybura (a.k.a. Madame Peripetie) is just about to be released by German publisher Seltmann+Söhne. Titled ‘Dream Sequence’, the book contains a series of portraits of imaginary characters, whose features are replaced by flowers or other objects while their bodies are covered with bizarre garments and colours. The book which evolved out of a long-term photography project, has won several awards (including the Double Gold at PX3 2011 in Paris, and an honourable mention at the International Photography Awards 2013 in New York), and has been compiled for costume designers, fashion stylists and everyone who is interested in character design and image building in general.


The motto of the book {If It Can Be Imagined, It Exists} reflects the overall approach used in its creation, since the images it contains plunge straight into a surreal world of mixed references and rampant imagination, all the while staying in touch with ”the philosophical concepts of the beautiful and the sublime.” The impressive part of the project however, is that all the objects, compositions, beautiful colours and patchwork aesthetic were achieved not with the aid of digital retouching and editing, but rather live in the studio and on the models themselves, deploying advanced make-up techniques, bunches of real flowers and the clever use of props and camera. As a result, the book is not just a captivating collection of images that are a feast for the eye but also the documentation of an ambitious costume-design and character-building project – which, as the images make clear, was a very successful one at that.

Sylwana Zybura is a Polish-German linguist and image maker, whose adventurous spirit and visual style do real justice to her assumed pseudonym Madame Peripetie. Her work draws inspiration from surrealism, science fiction and the work of theatre director Bob Wilson. She has worked on and produced many editorials and fashion campaigns for clients such as Topshop, Hunger Magazine and several indie fashion labels. Her book ‘Dream Sequence’ can be pre-ordered from the online shop of seltmann+söhne publishers.