Wednesday, 28 April 2010

What goes around, comes around






So, Oscar Wilde may have said "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months", but there was one thing he forgot to mention - those 'intolerable' trends are more than likely to reappear sometime in the future...

This outfit is very inspired by the Phoebe Philo Celine aesthetic. The difference being that the clothes (or rather item) in hand are vintage.
A few months ago, I was searching through my mum's box of vintage clothes, in the hope that some new pieces might have miraculously materialised (I live in hope!) when I found two matching suede t-shirts - one in brown, and the other in grey-green. I had a very 'fashion speak' moment in which I said something along the lines of "Oh Gosh! Look how Celine these are, they're almost identical to the minimalist leather t-shirts in the latest collection." Honestly, I don't often speak like that!
But the seed of an idea was born.. A Celine inspired shoot with seventies references.

The suede t-shirt was my grandma's, and is really very comfy. I always value  the comfort of pieces, so this is definitely a winner for me! I wore it over a thrifted body-con dress (I think its nineties Miss Selfridge?) and added my favourite cable knit black tights. The black leather shoes are thrifted (Italian made!) and the faux pearls were from a family member.
It was quite hard for me to try and style a 'minimalist' outfit - my usual approach involves a lot of layering, a smattering of jewellery and a curtain tie, or something..
But stepping outside your comfort zone is always a good thing.

My dad took these photos while we were away on holiday - the decor complimeted the mood of the shoot well. The sun was setting as we did the photos,  so even the light was on our side!

I love the fact that I'm wearing a t-shirt that is very 'on-trend', but actually was first designed and produced in the seventies. And as my mum reminisced, she wore a similiar series of tops in that particular' style that her mum made her out of old curtains! (She was a child in the seventies.)

So Mr Wilde, it's just like literature isn't it? There may be only six archetypal stories in the world (or however many there are supposed to be - does anyone know?), but look at the variation - endless! So how many varieties of fabulous outfits are there then?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Purple Shaded






I'm taking a brief interlude from my usual self-styled posts to show you something I did a while back (Last summer actually - gosh, how time flies!) It was originally done as a test shoot before it was submitted to 'Baby Baby Baby' magazine. It is more of a lookbook than magazine - full of quirky shoots by various photographers and much of the photography in that issue was quite reminiscent of Juergen Teller's style. I believe the mag is stocked mostly in American Apparel?
Anyway, the photographer I worked with is called Aya Sekine - some of my very long time readers may recognize her name, as she's same photographer that I did a So-en shoot with, (featured on this blog a long while back.)
The stylist is also a familiar name:  Nao Koyabu (also from the So-en shoot) who put me in these gorgeous items! I love the fact that she has a real penchant for vintage (you'll notice quite a few items stocked from Beyond Retro - one of my favourite places to visit in London) and unique/ one off pieces. And she likes ankle socks, which is always a good thing!
On another tangent, isn't it amazing how small the world is sometimes? Nao has been featured several times on Polka Dot Street Style Jill's blog, for her amazing personal style. You can see one of the posts here..

This shoot holds quite a special resonance for me, as all the shots were taken in my Grandma's home. My Babi's (Czech for grandma) flat is one of those amazing places that feels almost like a time warp - from an ornate antique rug to genuine sixties chairs and an original iconic Beatles lamp. There's always plenty to look at and use as inspiration!
I think my favourite outfit was the pleated pink dress with the little bolero and flower headband - a great colour combination.
I've found myself loving dusky pink colours at the moment, so I wonder if this influenced that feeling at all?

Copyright: Aya Sekine & Nao Koyabu
Thanks to Select Model Management

Edit: Sorry, I've had to crop quite a few of the photos so they fitted the blogger template. Apologies!
Oh, and also - these photos are completely 'au natural'. I'm wearing absolutely no make-up.. I've just noticed how much shorter my hair iwas too!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A whisper of silk

Bonjour! Sorry, I had French today at school.. Maybe it's infiltrated my subconcious?
To start off with, a big thank you for the lovely comments on my photography post! I enjoyed doing the shoot with beautiful Chloe so much, and it was wonderful to recieve such a positive response.
Today's post is all about texture. As long time readers of this blog will know, I certainly love my silk! It is definitely one of my favourite fabrics - being both comfoortable and very luxurious. (I am one of those people who walks through charity shops, sliding a hand across racks of clothes and then getting a little overexcited when I feel anything remotely silk-like!) So guess who had a big smile on her face when this dress arrived as a package on her doorstep?
Okay, a correction - This silk dress is actually a skirt. I've used the old favorite trick of pulling up and belting. It was originally from Monsoon (I bought it on eBay - 99p! Oh I do love a bargain), and my favourite thing about it is the ruffle detail on the lower section. This is definitely one item that will never need ironing! I also love the colour - a mix of oyster with a dark shade of mother of pearl.
Worn underneath is a lace charity shopped top and I'm also wearing that silk shrug again. Well, it just fitted perfectly with the mood of this shoot. But I had to strap it down with the belt (tied, as ever) because otherways the sides inflated (courtesy of the wind!) and made me resemble a strangely bulbous balloon!
Talking of air, the whole idea for this shoot was the way that the fabric moved in the wind. And boy, did that breeze deliver! It was shot by my dad in a spot we often visit when on holiday, to stretch our legs after a long car drive... It has this perfect little hill, overlooking a stunning estuary with mountains behind. It's one of those breathtaking places that looks more like a film set than a location that lies at the end of a muddy track!

A quick mention to Jill, and her fantastic American Apparel post... Follow the link to see the rest of the photos. I just love these jodhpurs. Is anyone else noticing a trend here? Great drapery of the jacket too.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Red Shoes: I don't know why I dance, but I must...

This is Chloe - the subject of my latest photography project, inspired by the film the Red Shoes, especially by the famous conversation between Vicky and Boris Lermentov.
"Why do you want to dance?"
Vicky: "Why do you want to live?"

My friend Chloe is a stunningly talented ballet dancer so I had the idea to ask if I could take some pictures of her graceful self! She very happily agreed and one month, a lengthy form to hire the venue and the ardous process of reducing 600 photos to twelve later...here are the pictures!
I story-boarded them to follow the photo narrative below.

All the clothes I styled her in were mine (except for the shoes and leotard which were hers)- the majority being vintage. There was a slight theme of transparency throughout, and I wanted fabrics that would move well. I then added some quirky details - from a curtain tie for a belt, to an underskirt as a DIY tutu. But my favourite outfit was the one pictured above. I made her a dress entirely from plastic (the only way I can think to describe it is as thick cellophane). It was so fun to create, and a real exercise in how a dress is put together. So armed with only with a stapler and a roll of said cellophane, I attempted to make a bodice - and it worked! Not only that, but it even fitted Chloe perfectly.. Cue a rather large sigh of relief. The shape was partly inspired by Vicky's performance dress in the Red Shoes - Especially the full skirt.

I took all the photos in my local village hall which took a while to arrange, but was totally worth it! This place is one of those classic small village places - dusty curtains, an old piano, beautiful wooden floorboards.

Gosh, I think this is the least I've written in a while.. Blame the start of school tomorrow and my need to get everything ready for a new term.. But don't worry, in the next post I'll be back to my lengthy writing self. Talking of which, I have a few shoots from my holiday that I cant wait to share!

 Oh, and a massive thank you to Jill for her absolutely wonderful interview post about me! I appreciate it so much, and her words were so kind.

Okay, here are the photos:

A young dancer arrives in a dusty old hall, ready to audition for a part in Swan Lake


She warms up, and waits for her turn - anxious to perform


Noticing that the hall now appears deserted, she can't resist the urge to dance


She imagines her stage debut vividly, the rapturous applause and being lost in the movement


Everything forgotten, she pirouettes and then reflects


And finally it is time for that moment she has been waiting for, dressed in dreams that rustle as the music starts...


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Librarian looks


I'm back after a very lovely few days in Bristol, staying with a friend. But more on that later..
This shoot was inspired by all the books in our house. We are a family of voracious readers, and books quite literally litter every surface!
The whole idea for this was my favourite black trousers dressed up in three different ways - all with a slight 'librarian geeky chic' influence. These trousers (which I 'appropriated' from my mum) are both incredibly comfortable and are that perfect ankle grazing length when turned up.

In the first outfit I paired the aforementioned trousers with a vintage pink (although it looks more like tomato soup red in the photos)  jumper that was my great grandma's. It has intricate beading all across the shoulders.. The shoes were for christmas and the necklace is vintage. The belt was my mum's.

In the second ensemble, I used a pink silk top (Is it a shrug or short sleeved bed jacket? I'm not sure..) from ebay and a simple grey long top. The grey Mary Janes are from New Look and the long pearls are my mum's. I'm also wearing my silver 'buckle bracelet.' Much featured and much loved -  bought at a local market.

For the third variation, I added a silk shirt (You knew one had to appear at some point!). It's a Saville Row, again from ebay, and like the trousers is supremely comfortable. The little silk shrug originally came with a matching fifties dress, but after my mum disastrously tried to dye said dress it had to be thrown away. * Cue silent sobbing from me * The blue hat is another from the great collection of my great-grandma's, which I have mentioned many times. The 'clutch' is a leather case which I think is actually a gentleman's vanity case which belonged to a great-great-grandfather of mine! (As mentioned before, family of hoarders!)
Apologies for the horrible, flaking nail varnish throughout. I only noticed it after the shoot!

And now for a brief summary of my time in Bristol... We went to Bath on saturday and visited the most amazing vintage shop called 'Vintage to Vogue'. We disappeared down a tiny alley, and entered an alternative world full of Chanel sixties shoes, Jaeger blazers and countless other treasures!
We also stumbled on a market with some vintage stalls, and found a genuine Biba (!) blue silk shirt for £5 and a fifties green Betty Barclay dress that makes me feel like Scarlett O'Hara! (Even though it is totally the wrong time period, but big skirts always make me think of Gone With the Wind.) Hopefully both items will be appearing on the blog shortly...

Other adventures included experiencing 'modern art', a bit of charity shop purchasing and visiting nice cafes. Ah... Cafes. My friend and I went into a rather upmarket deli/ restaurant/ cafe to order coffee. To which the waiter replied "You? You're not old enough to have coffee!" I was tempted to reply by saying "Well actually I'm a diehard coffee drinker and usually prefer home ground beans, especially a nice organic Kenyan mix. However, on this occasion I have decided to order a cappucino in this cafe, at this counter. I'm sorry that I don't fit the description of the average customer here. But I believe its a free country?" But instead I just smiled sweetly and said yes please, I would have a coffee thankyou, before ordering a chocolate macaroon to go with it.

However, this and various other reactions by adults during the day made me think about perceptions. Was the security guard in Habitat (an interior design shop) keeping an extra eye on us because we were teens? Did the woman tut at us in an arts and crafts fair because she assumed we were going to cause trouble?
I suppose the fact that my friend and I chose to visit places that are a little less used to having two teenage girls wander through their doors might have been a contributing factor, but it seemed a little unfair to me. It was quite obvious that we weren't there to cause havoc. As my friend joked afterwards, we should have had badges made saying "We are nice teenagers, we shall not bite or cause trouble - in fact we actually want to enjoy this art/ food/ bookshop (delete as appropriate) just as much as you!"

What do you think? Do you/ did you ever feel judged by the fact that you are/ were a teenager? Or do you  ever find yourself having a stereotypical view? ( I know that even I'm a little guilty of judging others sometimes). I would really like to hear your opinions.

 I am going to be away at the coast until saturday with no internet access. Yes, I know - I have been neglecting my blog a lot this holiday... Oh well, hopefully I'll to return with lots more shots on the camera!

Friday, 9 April 2010

A 'short' story

Ah, spring has finally sprung! Yesterday, it was warm enough to sit outside.. Now to you who take the sun for granted, this probably doesn't even seem like news. However, I am so happy that I can stop playing the 'how-many-layers-can-I-fit-under-my-cardigan' game!
So, out comes the sunshine and out comes the shorts! I bought these beautiful cream shorts in a charity shop last week (they're Marks and Spencers I think.) I was attracted to the classic shape and fabric. I then put them with a thrifted silk top - it has a faint spider's web pattern, if you look closely. It was one pound (!) and, like the shorts, is incredibly comfy to wear.
It's still not summer yet though, so I added blue tights and my favourite cardigan from a charity shop. It's kind of a cross between a cardigan and a blazer. (A blardigan? Hmm.. That doesn't sound very appealing).
I was wearing these faux pearls in my last post, and the belt is thrifted  Radley. I have my usual blue rings on, one of which was my grandma's, and the other my great-grandma's.
And the loafers... My new favourite shoe style! These brown loafers are from a charity shop too, a present from Mum after a drama exam.
In this outfit, I was quite inspired by a seventies aesthetic - somewhat influenced by a shoot I did a while back, full of loafers and a colour scheme of blues, browns and creams.

These photos were taken by my dad on another family walk. I have to say that this seems to be one of the most spectacular views in the UK. In the evening sunlight, the patchwork of fields were quite literally luminous. We also found the remnants of a crumbling stone cottage - perfect for photos! 

I'm currently reading 'Mill on the Floss' by George Elliot. There was a paragraph in it that really struck me:

"We would not have loved the earth so well if we had no childhood in it - if it were not the earth where the same flowers came up every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass... What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known, and loved because it is known?"

I felt that this observation holds a lot of truth for me. I grew up making dens in the forest, catching frogspawn, sledging down hills in winter and climbing trees. I hold very find memories of these 'adventures', and certainly feel that my loveof the countryside has been influenced by the wayI used to play in it.
Now I appreciate it in so many other ways - landscape + fashion photography ( the countryside being one of my favourite locations for shoots!), family walks, playing with my brother and going for 'rainy picnics' -  a friend and I went out in the pouring rain with big umbrellas, walked through a field and sat under a tree with thermos flasks of tea.
I thought this was a good post to illustrate my thoughts, as the backdrop is so amazing, and really sums up the countryside to me!
So what do you think? Did your environment as a child affect your appreciation of things today? Would you rather live in a city or the countryside? I'd love to hear some of your viewpoints.

I am so grateful for some a large number of really wonderful comments recently, and I really will try and keep up to date with those! It has just been quite a hectic holiday so far.
Also, thank you to Olivia, Izzy, Pearl, Rae and Erin for another host of blog awards! They are much appreciated.. If there is anyone else that I failed to mention, then please let me know!

I am going away for a few days now to see a friend, but I'll look forward to catching up when I get back!