Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My London Fashion Week Moments

This weekend I've been tearing around catching up with some highlights over London Fashion Week. Shows, party's and spot of djing I have to say there's been some amazing highlights. Giles Deacons show yesterday at the Halls of Justice topped it all off for me, totally camp, dresses with trains trailing (I want one), swan headdresses by Stephen Jones, sexy silver ensembles, 'm'lady' shapes and party puffs.

Prior to that I went to Todd Lynn's show (reviewed for i-D Online) a lovely collection of layered numbers in muted tones.

Todd Lynn s/s 2012

Up at the old Eurostar terminal, Waterloo... I'm a particular fan of Louise Gray who's gaining ground with her colourful and quirky designs. Part bag lady, part mata hari, her assemblage is quirky and original.

Louise Grays goodie bag

Downstairs (same place) Nasir Mazhar's installation of performers grabbed our attention, throughly on a ragga tip Grime MC's Lioness and Shystie gave it verve with a live pa. Nasirs 'must have' caps and bags are unique and stylish!

Nasir Mazhar s/s 2012

On sunday I alas missed Fashion East due to transport problems but I did get to an off schedule show- Blow Presents at St Lukes Church in Old Street. Four new designers showcased, Blow PR are striking out with a taste of what LFW is all about. I reviewed this show for Vice Style go and have a look for a full report!
Eleanor Amoroso

Liberum Arbitrum (Shinsuke Mitsouka)

Fanny and Jessy

Jane Bowler

One of my favorite shows on Saturday was the wonderful Jonathan Saunders at a space he used last season up at Paddington Central. A spacious 2nd floor venue with amazing views, Saunders used neons to light the space. Against a soundtrack of minimal beats his beautiful frocks marched forth. Completely ladylike, demure, just gorgeous. Great after party by the way at Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant at the Bread Street Kitchen, including a star turn from the top hoola hooper in the country Marawa!

Jonathan Saunders s/s 2012

Over at the official home of LFW, Somerset House on the Strand my mates from Sibling knitwear launched there debut ladies range 'Sister' with an installation in the Newgen sheds. Fresh and breezey knitwear in striking candy neo punk colourways, the pink fluffy bolero was a hit with me, I'd probably get it in black though!

Sister from Sibling s/s 2012

I did get a few glimpses of the Basso And Brooke show last Friday, lots of floaty prints, jazzy combinations and clever cutting.

Finally celebrating the launch of the latest issue of Gentlewoman I got to dj along side the lovely Pippa Brookes from Madame Says over in Mayfair on Sunday night...

And that my dears is just about it, although there's a chance I may go to mens day tomorrow to look at young men and... what they're wearing of course!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Ask Me A Question

In the world of blogging I get asked to answer quite a myriad of questions, I particularly liked these ones from artist Jack O'Brien...

What defines you from everyone else? 
What defines anybody from everyone else? We're all unique in our own way, how we express those sensibility's is probably the thing that draws attention to what we do, say, dress and think. Looking at things from different angles, putting together a 'look' with a twist, creating something with elements of the past and present with a forward thinking attitude. 

Why should people take notice of what you're doing? 
I like to think I live in a creative community, communicating with others via various expressive outlets. Whether it's on the internet or more traditional ways as in art or books and music in the 'real' world, all these levels of self expression can be challenging but also motivational. What is the human compulsion to be always doing things? Perhaps it's not really a question just part of what humans are, thinking animals capable of constructing and expressing themselves in a multitude of disciplines. What makes people interested in what others are doing or saying is all part of our interactive community. On a personal level there seems to be a fascination about my life, a life really that has gravitated towards situations outside of the so called 'norm'. It's a multiple layered conversation though, as I am continually inspired by those around me.

What do you feel is the driving force behind change?
Re-invention, renewal. Birth, life and death is the cycle of nature. Finding some sort of balance within creative process, and life itself, in order to do that I believe you may have to go to extremes as some sort of benchmark, in the process letting go of destructive forces and seeking out constructive situations. I find myself in challenging situations which test my inner resolve. The human race adapts and mutates, we logically seek peace but as territorial beings also seek spaces to inhabit and on a base level instinctively create conflict. As thinking beings capable of of choice making there seems to be a blood thirstiness to the human race, an urge to destroy, rebuild and ultimately leave a mark as testimony of an existence. Change can be slow, subtle on day to day life, the bigger picture can be dramatic. The age we live in means that change can occur quite rapidly i.e, with obvious technological breakthroughs in communication and science. The driving force behind change could be said to be in power of the human mind, limitless imagination and the ability to create, analyze and adapt. In essence ourselves.

What has been a conscious influence to your working practice?
It's funny I had a meeting today and had to describe what it is I actually do for work. I've managed to survive doing the things I love. Some things I get paid for others very little or nothing at all. I'm practically unemployable in the real world, not that my world isn't real but being able to exist and enjoy what I do seems to be of importance I believe. I have to motivate myself into a vague routine, set myself tasks and deadlines, in reality it isn't hard mainly because I'm surrounded by people with similar ideals. I'm hooked on expression, excited by beautiful things, ugly things, humor, insight, the pattern of daily life, the mundane and the decadence of opulence. I'm fascinated and intrigued by the streams of information channeled into our lives and how it affects the way we communicate and create. 

Are there any rising talents in music, you believe will gain/ or should deserve global recognition? (link YouTube video if possible)
Indeed there are, I'm looking at Gross Magic, Novella and Toy at the moment... perhaps not so mainstream but you never know.

The meaning of the word 'Art' is subject to personal interpretation. What is your personal definition?
'Art' is the practice of personal statement making, you can view art, make art, be art. You can think of art in classical terms or you can take it into conceptual realms. Art is an idea, a notion or a solid object, a sculpture or a painting. Art reflects society at any given time, art is at the mercy of available tools and methods of construction. Art gathers together many forms of thought and process and hopes to put a provocative/poigient point across. Successful art triggers a reaction. 

Who or what would you say is the epitome of beauty?
Beauty is everywhere, it's in nature, it's perfections and imperfections. To say something or someone is the epitome of beauty is to recognize elements of ideas of perfection in that particular moment or person. To watch a dancer perform, to hear a singer sing, to capture a photo, to read a line that perfectly describes an idea, to view a masterpiece or gaze upon a person that radiates an exacting state of beauty. The notion of that moment can become the epitome of beauty.  

Do you see birth and death as two separate events, or more so an infinite moment? (Depending on which answer, does it affect the way you live?)
In the greater scheme of things these two points are intrinsically linked, there's no two ways about it. The cycle of birth, life and ultimately death is all there is. All the old clichés apply and for good reason. Life itself is a series of infinite moments, a series of events, past, present and future, a sum of memories and chapters, a scene of curves that shape our individual personalities. I try very much to live in the present, in the now, I take what is good from past experience and learn from mistakes, the future is up for debate, one can never be so certain as to what may occur, but you can be sure whatever energy you invest into something that it will be returned in some form. Nothing is a waste of time even if it turns out to be far from your initial vision. I try to turn things around, when things or people upset me I see it as experience. I don't wish to dwell on the negative and much prefer to see the good side of things because as the saying goes 'life's too short'. 

How relevant is 'Celebrity' to society?
Celebrity is a somewhat modern invention, what exactly is it? I shall endeavor to analyze briefly... the notion of celebrity in contempoary society seems to stem from the idea of fame and recognition. One can be famous for many reasons but the 'pop-culture celebrity' we know and love celebrity tends to be pigeon holed as someone keen for mass approval on the premise of just existing without really doing or saying very much of constructive input. Celebrity once acquired is actually quite a hard job to maintain, routes to becoming one reflect our society in manifold ways. Like any institution a heirachy exists, those who have earnt their celebrity through sheer hard work and talent and those who have found instant fame by invovlement in media vehicles. The beginings of celebrity can be traced back to the era of glamor, the movie era of the 20's, 30's and 40's where starlets were created in film studio's. Later the TV generation of the 50's emerged where quiz shows invited various members of the public to become involved, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was considered a second rate actress is cited as one of the first mainstream celebrities who made a living from TV shows, appearances and marrying a lot of  different men. Reality TV of the 60's further invited the public to view 'normal' people in their day to day lives and spawned a format that exists today. The idea of celebrity culture in our society is relevant insomuch as it exists to satisfy ideas of glamour, pop-trash culture and money making, but it also satisfies our human act of voyeurism, the celebrity must put up with exposure which also reveals a 'real' side to their lifestyle, a side we can relate to or be entertained by.   

Sexuality is a prominent part of our lives, does it affect your working life? Do you believe it should?
Whatever sex you are throws some stereotypes into the equasion, in the past we are conditioned by society and the media to fall into various roles which supposedly reflected our sex and sexuality. Boys wear blue, girls wear pink, boys play with guns and girls dolls and so on. For me djing in the 80's, I was often asked the question of what it was like to dj on a scene that was predominitly seen as a boys club. It was true there were hardly any girls djing at the time I started (80's) which always seemed quite bizarre. I could count on one hand (even in the early 90's) the amount of girls who djed. It seems mad today where everyone is a dj or at least has attempted to experiment with playing music on various occasions. The idea of even being asked such a question today seems antiquated to say the least. Like so many things attitudes have changed, and perhaps I have been integral to part of that change, it would be nice to think so! 
In our politicly correct society stereotypes and cliché's are questioned, camp mannerisms need not mean you are gay, cross-dresser's experimenting with gender roles, the male role as a parent and vise versa, job descriptions and roles in the workplace etc. I think these issues should be questioned in the name of equality and fairness. Self expression, presentation and opinion are always valid in our society and infact reflect the diversity and opportunity to be our unique selves within the human mindset. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Modeling For Illamasqua and Other Experiences

Well, I actually did go to the casting for Illamasqua's latest campaign 'Theatre Of The Nameless' and I was most excited and flattered to be asked to part of this latest shoot. Alex Box did my makeup which was fascinating,  there's nothing I like more than being coated with a liberal layer maquillage and as Alex explained the inspiration behind her work and this shoot I quickly became mesmerized by her process and technique.
The final result for Illamasqua.

I thought I might have grown out of it by now but not to put too much of a finer point on it, I realize I'm part of the Joan Collins school of presentation. I really can't leave the house without at the very least lipstick on! I've been lucky enough to have my make up done by some amazing makeup artists such as Richard Sharah who like Alex Box studied fine art before becoming involved in face painting. Responsible for the high drama looks of the late 70's and 80's Richard conjured up masques of layered pigment creating surrealist visions for people such as Zandra Rhodes and model Vivienne Lynn.

Still from Visage 'Fade To Grey' makeup Richard Sharah

Friend Lesley Chilkes also emerged as a prolific makeup artist and did my makeup for an early shoot with Mario Testino, she created the looks for 80's label Body Map and has continued a career in makeup with a much more natural approach.

On Mario's balcony, makeup Lesley Chilkes 1980

For an invite to one of Antonio Beradi's first shows we did a mock up of an iD cover, Pat McGarth did the make up. She carried on in the tradition of experimentation with surrealist notions of beauty seeking inspiration from unlikely sources.

Pat's makeup

I'm forever intriqued by the art of makeup artists, I had every intention of becoming one when I left school but really only dabbled in a few shoots and videos. There's something very of the moment about makeup, creating a look that will last for the duration of a shoot but ultimately recorded as a photograph for eternity, but that's another story!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lovely Hat's at 'THE MILLINER'S TEA PARTY' S/S 2012

What a great idea, 'The Hat Collective' got together today to unveil the latest collections of up and coming milliners in the relaxing surround of Metro Garden Restaurant in Clapham, a garden party indeed named 'The Milliners's Tea Party'. Angela Bruce, Ellen Bowden, Awon Golding, Eliane Sarah and Mandy McGregor each showed the craft, care and love of creating the prettiest, dramatic and artistic sides of hat making in the UK.
In afternoon tea party tradition the soiree began with a selection of refreshing cocktails and delicious tidbits, scones, savory delights and lashings of tea!

Right on with the show...
Galapagos- Angela Bruce

Kaze-Awon Golding

Libby- Eliane Sarah

Lapsangsouchong-Ellen Bowden

Shadow Rose-Anna Pulleyn

As you can see these are very 'my lady' creations, very feminine and jaunty statement makers. I spoke with some of the designers who revealed a passion for their craft.
Bonjour-Awon Bruce

Lorie-Eliane Sarah

Lady Grey-Ellen Bowden

Peony Passion-Mandy McGregor
Fabulous names by the way!
Ni Hao-Awon Golding

Assam-Ellen Bowden

Gertrude Stein-Anna Pulleyn

These are but a few of this seasons collection, the aim of The Hat Collective is to provide a platform for newly graduated miliners. They plan to exhibit future collections each season in and around LFW.

Lastly the Gin Trifle, delightful! (we took the glass cup and saucer home with us!)

The Hat Collective.co.uk
Turn To The Left PR
Metro Garden Restaurant