Like pastels? Good. Like creepy? Even better. Like elaborately-crafted confectionary? Then this lady is someone to look out for.
Or, chances are you’re a member of the lolita community looking for inspiration for your next tea party.
Christine pulls off styles from the Victorian and burtonesque to the candy-floss dresses that inspired the Rockabilly chic, playing at the dainty 50’s housewife image with a creepy, menacing twist.
She is the epitome of a low-key-scary, crafty woman with a glamorous, goth twist to her creations. The point of her videos – as of her Netflix series – is more to inspire people to get creative than to give step-by-step instructions on, for example, how to make a Haunted Gingerbread House. These semi-tutorials start out simple, then quickly take a turn towards the crafting equivalent of participating in the Olympics without any sort of prior training – leaving the audience to essentially go “Wait, what?” while on screen, another combination of cardboard and spiced dough has magically turned into a miniature witchy dream resort. The seemingly effortless perfectionism in which everything Christine creates is presented easily fills one with envy – and awe, and like with any good brew, you keep coming back just to marvel at the beauty of coffin-shaped shelves, spookily repurposed upholstery and cute gothic aprons with embroidery so elaborate that merely looking at them will make your fingers bleed. Then, there’s the downright spine-tingling creations, such as a lifelike cake edition of the H.R. Giger Alien and tea party treats straight out of Alice: Madness Returns.
The audience is awe-struck – and still clueless
Christine puts a homely, sugary-sweet spin on the goth theme – only edging the subject with all the pastels and pinks and off-white lace – until you take a slightly closer look. She stylizes and mashes the goth aesthetic with the detailed sugariness of a 50’s French patisserie, and, much like other goth icons, the Instagram-famous model herself is very much part of the exhibit. Just look at the promotional photos at her website, which feature images that sometimes read like a pastel counterpart to Elvira – without the sharp-tongued sass.
Enjoy with a cup of rose tea – and a grain of salt
Christine is no actress – there is no goofy mischievous “oh la-la” witchery á la Elvira or mystic charme akin to Morticia Addams emanating from her – she really goes through the notions of focusing on the presentation of the craft itself, and shines in the calm and focus she radiates throughout.
What works well in her YouTube videos kinda falls flat in the Netflix equivalent, where she has to interact with plush puppet characters and an overarching witch comedy plot that feels very much stilted due to her over-professional demeanor that just isn’t quite cut out for delivering comedic lines. If you can look past the performance itself, here are some fun ideas in it, and the creations remain as stunning as always – but overall, From the Mind of Christine McConnell is a weird mix of cooking show, scripted reality and sitcom-esque comedy, and therefore best enjoyed with a grain of salt and a honey-sweetened cup of rose tea on a dark, rainy afternoon. To hide the suspiciously bitter taste lurking beneath…