Long time followers of La Lune Collection are sure to recognize the memorable photo of Little Red Riding Hood sitting on a La Lune Collection canopy bed and reading to an attentive big, bad wolf. But what they won’t know is the story behind the image – until now.
This particular Little Red happens to be none other than Cristina, the 9 year old daughter of La Lune founders Mario and Cathy Costantini, photographed when she was in the 3rd grade. And the “big, bad wolf” was an actual pet wolf named Sheba, who belonged to an elderly neighbor couple residing down the street from the La Lune Collection factory.
The photo shoot is a story unto itself. Taken in the studios of Milwaukee photographer Greg Gent – La Lune professional photographer and long-time friend of Mario and Cathy (he even photographed their wedding many years ago) - the shot predates photo-shop and other graphic technology that we take for granted in 2014. Mario and Greg worked to make the set “just right” – a basket of ruby-red flowers, fallen leaves from the forest scattered on the “ground” – even the dove was real, Greg’s pet bird who lived in the photo studio. Grandma Yolanda Costantini lovingly sewed a sweet hooded Little Red cape, and after Cathy carefully braided her daughter’s long, thick hair Cristina daintily assumed her place on the bed, book in hands, a veritable picture-perfect Little Red Riding Hood straight from the story books. When all else was ready, wolf Sheba was led into the studio, ready for her close-up and destined for stardom. Coaxed to sit opposite Cristina, Sheba was an attentive, obedient model – at first. Cristina spoke to Sheba, and Sheba listened - until, that is, Sheba caught a glimpse of the small, pure white dove delicately perched on the canopy bed’s headboard. Greg had just enough time to get off ONE shot, after which Sheba lunged for the bird. The little dove darted to safety, Little Red hopped off the bed, and that was it – no flurry of camera clicks, no subsequent clever photo-shop adjustments, no rescheduled studio time. Just one PERFECT shot, and that’s what is seen here.
And where is the La Lune Collection Little Red Riding Hood cast of characters today? Greg continues to operate his successful photography business, Mario and Cathy, and the beautiful Canopy Bed #4278, can be found in La Lune Collection’s factory showroom, and Little Red is a journalist in New York. And, “big, bad wolf” Sheba is forever merrily chasing birds with the rest of her pack, in the big Happy Hunting Grounds in the sky.