Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Jean Paul Gaultier Road Show

Yes she's arrived The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk  newly opened at the Barbican. I got a nice VIP invite for Monday's gala presentation. Rumors of Madonna in attendance rustled through the singing ringing tree, was she there? No dears. JPG turned up with a HRH Queen lookie likey, crikey! Jean Paul has got a sense of humor ain't he! We got a nice few glasses of bubbly and some canapes as you do and popped into the JPG photo booth before we had a look round the show. Very jolly indeed...

Omar and I in the JPG photo booth waiting for Madonna

Now then seriously Jean Paul Gaultier has got a major body of work to choose from, his archive is vast... 40 years vast, his first solo show was in 1976. I was thinking to myself, if this is the final edit imagine what they had to leave out. There's some bits from a 1977 collection that actually look very contemporary, inspired by punk he managed to successfully capture  something of the movement in chic way. There doesn't seem to be any chronological order rather collections are gathered together to create a mood, specialist numbers (Madonnas conical tits, Grace Jones' inspired pant suit, the Boy George moment, Beth Ditto's sparkly frock, that sort of thing) placed in the upper level booths and artworks hung around and about. 

Early punk inspired look

I'm always fascinated to peer close up at the amount of detail that goes into the creation of this kind of work, and I liked the fact that next to the description of these clothes went the number of hours of intensive labour that has gone into their fruition. Mostly everyone was taken aback by the mannequins projected moving facial expressions. Yes they are quite spooky. And I was amused by the fashion conveyer belt, very Are You Being Served? As the mannequins trundled and cranked round they gave us a bit of a wobble. 

Life-like - animated mannequin

The JPG fashion conveyer belt

Later on in the proceedings JPG took to the stage to give us an animated ramble and we were given a star turn from Rufus Wainwright. Go and have a wonder round the JPG show it's quite a thing!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Tinder Issues

Over the past few months I thought I'd give this Tinder dating app malarky a go, I signed up quite on the spur of the moment at a dinner party at the recommendation of an excited friend who seemed rather enthusiastic at the time. As a confirmed single person I do every now and again imagine what it might be like to be in some sort of intimate relationship but well having been single for a good few years I think I can give or take that sort of thing by now. 
Anyway it's quite an efficient system this Tinder, meandering your way through a series of profiles you can either swipe left or right or touch symbols 'X' or '' meaning you either like or don't like said prospective. Hopefully at some point you will get 'It's a Match!' which means you can go on to the next stage and start a DM (direct message).

Well I have got a few matches and I'm happy to say I've got a bit of queue going on but I'm not to sure how you get past the conversation part. Bit of chit chat, bit of banter some of it a bit saucy... *tip, be careful how you describe yourself on your profile, is there some sort of Tinder etiquette I haven't quite cottoned onto here? Some say this is Grindr for straights but you can choose your sexual orientation and go either way. Other people tell me they have friends who have found relationships from this app. 
So anyway, blimey I thought, 'I see a window of opportunity here' and told said match okay, 'lets meet for a drink'. It was in the middle of London Fashion Week, we arranged the meet. He was late, not a good sign, it was somewhere I don't usually go to on the Kingsland Road, Saturday evening, a pub of no account. So yeah, it went okay... after a splash of red wine we went our separate ways. Fine, we obviously exchanged phone numbers so ping, that's when the texts went a bit 'Carry On' in my mind. 'So can I ask are you a little bit submissive?' He asked. Oh gawd, where did that come from? I'm Miss Vanilla in my mind, there was no sort of lead up to the line of rhetoric that ensued. In the end, because I thought it was a bit of a joke, the descriptions of him tying me up and rendering me helpless got a bit tiresome and vaguely hysterical. I suggested he take a visit to Torture Garden to but to no avail. 

Tie me up? What Like this?

In the space of 24 hours I got bored of him and a bit bored of Tinder. I'm still on Tinder btw.

'What Would Julia Do'... news on my forthcoming book

'What Would Julia Do' by Rebecca Thomas is a contemporary photographic account of my life over the past 5 years, a vivid visual diary of how I combine my many interests, where I go and the people I meet, of course dressed for every occasion. I always try and make the best of myself and through the years have maintained a personal style and image, for instance I would never go out (even on a local jaunt) without my lipstick on.

For me 'dressing' is a way of life, it's as natural as breathing. Exploring potential is a continual challenge and it's a challenge that I thrive on, I take everything into consideration and applaud the daring people who follow their dreams and inspire me and those around me. I have a creative community outlook on life and spend a great deal of time encouraging others to realize a world where anything amazing can happen even when things don't appear to be going so well. My attitude may seem adventurous but it's led to a life full of surprise and wonder, a life where the smallest detail causes excitement and the bigger picture is simply mind blowing. 

Forward written by Paul Flynn, 'What Would Julia Do' is self published by Rebecca Thomas and will be out in the next month or so...

Rebecca Thomas website


Monday, 24 March 2014

We're Shopping... Guest shop girl at James Long and other musings

Next Saturday, 29th March, I'll be taking a trip to James Long's sample sale 'pop up' over at The Hackney Shop, 99 Morning Lane to take up residence for an afternoon as a shop girl so come and see me for a gossip. James is known for his fabulous menswear, knits and womenswear and I've been a fan since I saw his shows at Fashion East a few years ago. Anyway it got me thinking about my previous illustrious days on the shop floor...

My first ever shop assistant role was in 1978 at PX in James Street, Covent Garden with Steve Strange and deejay Jay Strongman. It was a part time job, we opened around 11am in and finished around 7pm. The shop initially was off Floral Street in a defunct fruit and veg shop as Covent Garden market, then boarded up was being renovated into the shopping centre we see today. The area was bleak in those days but PX became known as the home of the new romantic era. Designer Helen Robinson took the task of creating a neo-futuristic look worn by the dandy's of the day, press studded shirts and 'peg' trousers complete with piping were mixed with retro items such as German storm trooper leather trench coats, vests, and various vintage accessories such as medals, caps and diamonté broaches sourced by her partner Stefane Raynor who had by then moved on from BOY to create the lo-tech shop. Our playlist included Kraftwerk, Bowie, Iggy Pop and Grace Jones. I would go to work caked in makeup, beehive, cinched in waist and on blues (speed) and we'd basically sit around all day smoking, catching up with the gossip and rearranging stock.
Michael Jackson came in one day but most of the time we were visited by friends, although people would travel to London to see what it was all about. Marc Almond told me a funny story recently that I was totally unaware of, about how he came down from Leeds and visited with a friend. They went shopping in the area and spent all their money at Paul Howie's on Longacre. By the time they got to PX they were too frightened to come in as they thought they should buy something but they still wanted to visit the shop. I was in that day Marc told me, but as we didn't know each other then he just peaked round the shutter to have a look! I wish they had come in, I've always been a huge fan of Marc's and had heard of him even then. 
I still worked at PX when they eventually moved to Endell Street, the look had changed, ruffles, taffeta and velvet were the order of the day. With the help of designer Claire Thom we introduced a women's line of bespoke creations and Stephen Jones set up his first millinery salon in the basement. 

Outside the PX Endell Street store courtesy of Shapers Of The 80's / photo Martin Brading

In the late 80's and into the 90's my next shop job was at World, Michael and Gerlinde Costiff's shop in around 1986/7 where I took a part time job once again. The shop on Litchfield Street, WC2 near Cambridge Circus represented an eclectic life of travel. Michael and Gerlinde took a fascinating journey collecting African beaded dolls and accessories, Brazilian headdresses and Asian artifacts. Mixing it all up with flashy NYC 14th Street gold jewelry (think Neneh Cherry in Buffalo Stance or Man Child, she and Judy Blame came by to stock up for said video's), fake designer track suits, bum-bags, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf T-shirts and the designers in London such as Rachal Auburn, Michael Kostiff's own logoed 'World' designed T-shirts, plus the club T's of the late 80's... Schoom, Spectrum etc.

Pages of Michael Costiff's recent book  Michael & Gerlinde's World' courtesy of Charlie

I worked there with deejay Martin Confusion and model and muse and singer Roy Brown (aka Roy Inc) once again our time was taken up with gossip and folding t-shirts. We'd have mix tapes in those days, usually soundtracks created by Martin himself. From the shop came the club Kinky Gerlinky which monthly night started at Legends on Old Burlington Street and later moved to The Empire, Leicester Square. Of course we all deejayed there as well with Roy on the door in an outrageous get up prized nipples exposed along with Tasty Tim, also trés beyond. The shop closed in the early 90's. Michael Costiff still has a shop, you can find World Archive in Dover Street Market nowadays where Michael mixes his ornate finds with his own designs and screen prints. 

My own career in deejaying took off by the 90's and I haven't thought of being a shop girl since really, mind you if I did it would have to be a very special shop, the sort that opened around midday and sold an interesting mix of clothes and nicknacks... (& have a sneaky fag in) perhaps I should take it up again and open my own! 

James Long website

Friday, 21 March 2014

What Is She Wearing... Lulu & Co

New in from Lulu & Co a capsule range from Louise Gray, a personal fave designer of mine I was thrilled when Fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy sent me a personal orders look book. A bit about Louise and her exceptional designs, she's the one who goes for bold prints, swirling patternage and hand woven fabrics. She mixes it up with ingenious shaping and layers on fierce accessories... In one of her last shows Stephen Jones did the placky bag bonnets for her, Tatty Divine have given her reflective baubles and she's even worked toilet roles as bracelets! Although Louise is taking some time out from London Fashion Week we are hoping she'll be back. 

Some of Louise Gray's Lulu & Co bits 

A bit about Lulu & Co, Lulu Kennedy and friends put together affordable diffusion lines from a few of our favourite designers including Jonathan Saunders, Bella Freud and Roksander Illinic on a seasonal basis. Separates in the form of emblazoned T's and sweatshirts,  frocks, skirts everything a girl could want to keep abreast of the fashion fireball!

I chose a gorge double denim ensemble skirt and bustier and I'm not taking it off this week!

Wish I had ordered this as well though now... #Obsessed 


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kylie, She's Nice...

And she's camp and vamp all at the same and therein lies the loveability of Miss Kylie Minogue over the years. She has something enduring and endearing, she's no frosty diva and she doesn't take herself to seriously but she is serious about her work and perhaps that's why we all love her. In real life she's funny with a line in witty repartee and likes nothing more than snuggling up in a cashmere blanket with a good book. That's one side of her, the other is the bit we all see is the Kylie stepping out and working it. She's doing a bit of promotion at the moment what with the release of a new album 'Kiss Me Once'. I went to the intimate gig she did at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch last month where she managed add to add a bit of sparkle to the hipster venue and she flung herself into the after show Karaoke 'Kylieoke' shenanigans with drag performers Jonny Woo, Ma Butcher and the Gay Bingo team much to their amazement and amusement. See it's moments like this that everybody takes her into their hearts. The other night I popped by to see her perform at the Bloomsbury Ballroom for another helping courtesy of Mastercard #PricelessSurprises. She gave us exactly what we wanted, a selection of previous hits 'La La La' included, some new ones from her latest work including 'Sexcercise' complete with dancing girls and exercise balls (which I would say is her homage of Olivia Newton John's 'Lets Get Physical'), plus 'Les Sex' and a costume change thrown in for good measure.

As seen in Stylist magazine - photo by Ellen Von Unwerth

It's that voice that fascinates me, in essence it's the perfect pop voice, there isn't anyone that can match it really. A little bit like she's had a quick inhale on a helium balloon except she hasn't, her high pitched range sits perfectly upon the pop compositions she known for. It's a voice made for pop. In the olden days in order to obtain that kind of warble producers sped up artists voices, (think Madonna's 'Holiday' era), today we have the auto tune.
So with all this was going on I was having a chat with a friend who wondered if Kylie actually had expanded her fan base, 'course she has', I said. She does have a very loyal following who have kept with her through the decades and that's very apparent. She has also kept abreast of of the pop machine, adored by the younger generation who love the latest on the pop scene and I hasten to add have this information on good authority!
Anyway pop fans Kylie is hotting up for a tour so catch her while you can...

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pam Hogg Reveals All - talk at the V&A 14th March

She started off studying fine art but she doesn't draw her designs, 'They're all in my head', she said at her recent talk at the V&A to a full house as she explained the complexities within her creative process. She spent the 80's establishing herself as part of the London artistic scene and by the end of the 90's she'd given up fashion design more or less to focus on her music (she sings btw) and a dj career. In the past few years she's once again donned her fashion crown and taken to the catwalk with seasonal shows via the Fashion Scout platform amalgamating her various talents within music, film and fashion by means of expressing her creative outlook.

She is indeed a scene queen and embraces a red carpet walk with the best of them, Pam represents a side of London life that appears both in the mainstream press and with the rock 'n' roll elite. She likes to party but ultimately she's a focused and intense individual. 
Knowing Pam Hogg for some years she's extremely passionate about everything she does, her life is full of drama as she strives for her vision to become reality. Fashion is a tough old world let it be said and Pam's struggle for perfection has led her to a life on the edge and I suspect she wouldn't have it any other way. She more than once explained she didn't have any money, slept a mere 2 hours a night in the weeks leading up to her London fashion week shows and went out foraging for inspiration on the streets of Dalston. Working like this she has found that flashes of perfection reach her imagination like thunderbolts... the show must go on! 
Pam's bodysuits made of intricate figure forming patternage have become her signature pieces, they emerged in the 80's and have featured in magazines by rock and pop royalty alike. And so, as each season goes by Pam Hogg further develops the look, sheer, lace and sequined but it's the shiny multi-coloured ones that have set the precedent and they're a bugger to produce, so much so Pam takes it upon herself to make each one herself. Do not be deceived though, Pam is no one trick pony, delve into the Hoggsters collections and find her draped gowns, party frocks, tailored suits and ruffled and strapped creations are at once futuristic, glam and gothic all at the same time. She says she feels she's empowering women, that's one of her main themes and although she doesn't feel over political there are overt symbols within her female stand point, some more obvious than others. 
Further into the talk Pam explains further personal revelations, ideas plucked seemingly from thin air relay a sense of a spiritual journey, each collection interlinking with the next within the context of social awareness. A close bond with her father revealed something of a eureka moment in more recent years when reminded that her childhood bedtime reading matter consisted of the book 'The Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyon from 1678. She refreshed her mind and reread it realizing all these years she had been subconsciously referencing passage after passage from the book. Pam's penny dropped and after such a sharing instant with us Pam excitedly and in depth explained how it all made sense...

A/W 2014