Monday, 27 September 2010

Rust and lace









Right now I am languishing in my room with a nasty sore throat.. Cue hot lemon and honey, plenty of tomato soup and some sympathy! However, this has given me the opportunity to finally sort through the backlog of photos I took of the striking Roz. That's another Roz. Yes I know, confusing isn't it! Two Roz's! Maybe I should nickname her 'Red haired Roz' - as she has such stunningly luminescent hair.

I've known (red haired) Roz since I was little, as we went to the same primary school, though in different years. We met up again at a drama group showcase evening - she's just got distinction in her gold medal LAMDA exam! And let me tell you, if she's discovered anytime soon as the next young Fiona Shaw for the RSC, just remember that you saw her here first! She is the most electrifying performer. (I'm currently working on my bronze medal, after getting a distinction in my grade five acting.. I can only hope to aspire to her level of performance in a few years.) It was while watching her act that I thought she would be a perfect photography subject. So, after also agreeing to be styled by me, within a few weeks we met up to do the shoot at a local beauty spot. 
She was great to work with, as she had plenty of ideas of her own and wasn't afraid to experiment - she also seemed unfazed by a number of dog-walkers gawping as they wandered past!

I was feeling very inspired by early Autumn - so I chose a rust and bark palette of colours with lacey additions. The day started out beautifully and gradually progressed to stormy, providing an interesting array of background colours and lights throughout. There were ominous drops of rain every now and then, but thankfully it held off..

The first outfit is made up of a thrifted Laura Ashley jumper dress, a thirties lace camisole I'd bought the day before at a local 'flea market' (£5!), and my favourite seventies belt. The skeleton leaf necklace was given to me by my grandma and the lace up heels were for christmas.

The second was partly 1940s WW2 austerity inspired. I put together a charity shopped cable knit jumper belonging to my mum, a charity shopped lace skirt (see 'Laced into the Landscape'), and silk 1940s Brettles silk stockings from a vintage stall plus shoes that used to belong to my mum. I bought the Jaeger silk scarf from the Big Chill - the collection is still growing steadily...

The third and final includes a real favourite of mine, my gorgeous russet Vintage welsh wool cape featured back in the winter. I couldn't wait to get it out again - but this time I replaced the original belt with one of my own. Under this I put a charity shopped grey jersey dress and the skeleton leaf necklace again.

Bracelets throughout are the other Roz's.

Yesterday we finally dug out my dad's ancient record player, plus a big box of vinyl records - from David Bowie and Joni Mitchell to Nick Drake and The Doors, there's a very eclectic mix of music. My clothes tastes are like my music tastes - eighties and earlier.

The only good thing about being ill in bed today is the prospect of watching a couple of Mad Men episodes later. I now totally understand all the hype! From the cinematography to the fantastic writing and subtle status shifts or (to state the obvious) the costumes, it is surprisingly addictive.

Monday, 20 September 2010

What my mother used to wear...


I have been wistfully watching the goings-on of London fashion week (and NY fashion week too), and wishing I was there! One day, one day..
However, the emerging trend for seventies themed clothes seems to have chimed perfectly with an outfit I styled recently. These photos were taken by my dad about 3 weeks ago, before Fashion month had even started - I have to say, I'm slightly proud of my trend forecasting! I suppose this is a more traditional seventies interpretation than, say, the Rodarte look  - but it's heading in the same general direction.

I found the fantastic cream crocheted dress (just look at the detail on those sleeves) at the St Michaels  Hospice tent at the Big Chill - it truly was one of the best charity shop hauls I've ever had. And there are still plenty more Big Chill items to feature! I was particularly happy with this stand out piece, after lusting over one I saw in a vintage shop ages ago.
The vintage suede floppy seventies hat was given to me by my paternal grandma (Babi). I love it to bits! Unfortunately I don't think it will be having any more outings as a sun hat this year. But at least the change of season means it's time to bring out my faux fur, aviator-style and leather fishermen's hats from under my bed.
The much-featured leather belt was my mum's when she was a teenager, and the charity-shopped wedges are repeat offenders on this blog.. The owl necklace is kind of my lucky charm, I wear it all the time - I like the wisdom that owls symbolise.

I've been collecting a big folder of inspirational photos that I've come across over the months, so thought I would take a little trawl through them to see if any fitted with todays theme. Can't say I would have the patience to do the make-up, but love the hat!

Now I know this next one is technically the wrong era, but really - how floppy can one hat get?! Head gear that handily doubles as a tent/ umbrella. This may be one of my favourite shots ever..


Although the seventies is not my favourite era (not being a fan of synthetic fabrics or studio 54 style per se) I have to admit there are plenty more weird and wonderful seventies things lurking in my wardrobe, so you might be seeing a sudden crop of them next spring!  It did get me thinking though - suddenly everyone is so excited about the seventies looks of next spring, that it seems like all the excitement of Burberry style shearling jackets has almost already begun to die down. I totally understand the concept of working six months ahead, but by the time a much-lusted item arrives in shops after months of waiting, it sometimes seems like everyone is already onto the next thing. For me, fashion is very much about living (and dressing!) in the moment - if trends chime with my look, than that's great, but if not I don't mind.
What do you think? I'm personally very excited about all the wearable looks this autumn (especially if it involves a cape of any kind). But are you already thinking about next spring?

I finally got to see 'An Education' last week, and loved it! The cinematography and outfits were suberb. And talking of  the Sixties, my parents and I are finally catching up with the much-lauded 'Mad Men.' So I'm off now to go and slaver over some stunning dresses...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Needle in a haystack (plus Next blogger pop up shop)


It's that time of year- leaves beginning to fall, having to think about taking out a cardigan everywhere (wait, I've been doing that for most of the summer too!) And, here's something you don't often hear on a fashion/style blog: the combine harvesters are out and about!
I took the opportunity offered by these straw-bales before they disappear into barns for winter - by asking my dad if he'd mind snapping a few shots while the late afternoon light was still wearing its Sunday best. It's pretty rare now to get square bales like this - (everywhere else they are usually huge, round cylinders sealed with polythene).  In fact, it felt very much like I was a child in the 1950s running around and climbing on these golden stacks. Famous Five here I come...! In turn, the outfit was very fifties inspired too.
My mum bought this silk Zara skirt from a charity shop for me, aptly pointing out it was 'very Prada this season' - I've taught her well! It was a fair few sizes too big though, so I elasticated the waist one rainy weekend, and it has now become a steadfast staple of my wardrobe. To this I added a woollen Jaeger tank top - worn back to front, as I love the colour, but not the V-neckline! The leather belt is 'thrifted', the watch pendant from ebay and vintage watch, leather gloves and handbag were all inherited from one of my great-grandmas. In some of the shots. Then there are the shoes.. Oh the shoes!
These brogues are what I spent a Next voucher on after participating in the Next blogger competition. They are incredibly comfy (very rare for new shoes) and possibly the perfect shade of  palest, pastel pink? Plus,they're perfect for scaling straw bales  ( as opposed to the heels I nearly wore, but decided against)! They are my favorite flat shoes right now.
However, the title 'needle in a haystack' title does have a reason as I went on a second shoe hunting trip at the end of the holidays, hoping I might get some black brogues exactly the same as these pink ones for school. However, this turned out to be wishful thinking - wherever they had the right style (Topshop, Next, Aldo, Office etc) they didn't have my size, or they were the wrong colour or were too expensive. Seven shoe shops in an hour and a half with no purchase: not pleasant! However the happy end to this story is the rediscovery of a pair of gentlemen's brogues I'd bought from a charity shop last winter. I'd thought they'd be too bulky for daily wear - however, I'm breaking them in and they pretty much epitomise 'sturdy' and rather ridiculously sensible!
So, on the subject of shoes, I was recently contacted to ask if I would be a part of the 'Next Blogger Pop Up shop' initiative - the premise being that I chose my four favourite outfits from the new collection, and these items are now available for anyone to buy. I started from the shoes up when deciding - my favourite being the lace up high heels in plum and grey. (I want them!) I tried to select outfits that I could imagine myself wearing too...
This outfit above seems like a very popular blogger choice! Maybe it's the allure of that shearling aviator jacket contrasting with the lace. (I'm getting deja vu, didn't I do that a few posts ago? Oh well, all inspired by the big Burberry in the sky!)  I'm also liking the new trend for hiking/ grandad style socks - I've been doing that for a while now.

Oh dear, now that this Next grid has been published, it seems the blogger template (which I still haven't managed to fix..) has cut off the right hand side when viewed on some computers! However, clicking onto the slivers of pictures available brings up a full description. I highly recommend the tan cable knit cape! (third down, right hand side..)






Thursday, 9 September 2010

Variations on a theme - Charlotte Taylor

As some people may remember, I featured a (then) 'up and coming' amazing designer called Charlotte Taylor, back in the spring. With the next fashion week just around the corner (and how I wish I was going!), where she is due to show as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout's 'Ones to watch' scheme, I thought I'd share a little styling collaboration I recently did with one of her amazing scarves.
Her collection was inspired by trashy grannies, penguins and soap operas, with one of the key parts being an instantly recognisable penguin print. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the silk scarves - recently worn by Fearne Cotton - after Charlotte suggested I might like to style it in a variety of ways for some promo shots. I adore this print, with its graphic penguin outline and quirky colour scheme.  I had so much fun putting together ensembles that I thought reflected both my own personal style, and the design aesthetic (granny chic? What a, cough, challenge for me). I was also inspired by the colour palette of Charlotte's A/W10 collection - lots of khaki, blue, cream and a hint of dusky pink. These are the results...

For the first outfit I'm wearing my favourite pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans (charity shopped by my mum, and 'appropriated' by me) with the bottoms turned up to ankle grazing length, plus a thrifted DKNY top. Ontop I added charity shopped silk Laura Ashley shirt dress (worn as a coat) cinched in with my favourite vintage belt from my grandma. The scarf is worn as.. dun dun daaaah... a scarf!

The second ensemble, with the penguin print as headscarf, is made up of a vintage jumper I bought from a stall at the Big Chill, vintage sunglasses that belonged to my grandma and faux pearls from a vintage fair.

The third look I styled with a blue University gown I also bought at the Big Chill (I love how it looks like a very voluminous cape! Not to be worn by the faint hearted..), a dusky pink charity shopped silk skirt, silk knickerbocker 'shorts' inherited from my great-grandma, a thrifted belt and my 'photographer shoes' from that very wonderful place, A Charity Shop. I plaited the scarf into my hair - something I want to experiment with again.

The fourth was put with a vintage suede t-shirt that used to belong to my paternal grandma. The way I did my hair used the same method as in 'Dressed up for Den Making'  - I find it quite surprising that all the techniques magazines give for beehives/ high buns are very time intensive and laborious. My way takes me six or seven minutes, tops!

The fifth and final outfit sees the scarf tied around a vintage hat I inherited from my great grandma, with additions of a charity shopped blue wool jumper, vintage leather gloves and faux pearls.

Some photos were taken by my mum, and others by my dad at different points in the day. Can you guess who took which?

I've just been looking through the latest posts on Jill's blog, and wishing I could have made it to 'Fashion Night Out' yesterday! It looked like such a great event.. I hope that everyone who did go along enjoyed it. I'd love to hear some views on what it was like.

I'm just about to go and watch 'Exit through the Giftshop' (the Banksy film) and this got me thinking. I've seen some fantastic films over the summer including:
- Bright Star
- A Single Man
- Nowhere Boy
 and rediscovered the wonderful childhood classic 'The Railway Children' which I used to adore when I was little!
Next on the list of films I want to/ must see is 'An Education'. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A frame of mind


Here we have my latest behind-the-camera efforts showing my good friend Ellen (who I have known since I was three!) It was a completely spontaneous set of photos - no planning or forethought here! She had come round for a sociable catch up, and after poring over my Tim Walker book together, I had a real urge to do some photography. And lo-and-behold, I had just the willing model to use!
The only trouble was, I had no immediate idea what kind of photos or mood I wanted to create, or what I wanted to dress her in. Panic ensued, with me making her try on lots of different items while looking furtively at the light levels outside (it was already quite late in the afternoon) while also watching the clothes pile up on the floor. In the end inspiration struck after noticing an old frame propped up outside my room. Slowly the story started to materialise in my head...
Ellen would play the part of a traveller (inspired by 'As I walked out one Midsummer morning'), walking through the countryside with her only luggage being an antique frame. So that was the concept sorted - now for the outfit.
I remembered a number of underskirts stuffed away in our dressing up box and dug them out to layer on Ellen. I think she ended up wearing about seven in total... Plus a netting skirt. The top 'dress' was made from the biggest skirt, cinched by a belt my grandma wore in the seventies. This 'dress' (underskirt) was given to my mum by a Great-Aunt when she was a teenager. I feel it has more than a touch of Miss Havisham about it.
Then it was on with as many vintage necklaces as possible - sources ranging from charity shops to hand-me-downs from relatives.
We did her hair by backcombing it, pinning the ends underneath and using a lot of hairspray! (And I mean a lot.. Enough to ensnare any small bug that had the misfortune to land on her hair.) The silk scarf is from my collection inherited from my great-grandma.

So after all the frantic fuss getting ready, there was a wonderful calm in actually taking these pictures of my lovely, photogenic friend. It's funny how sometimes taking photos of someone makes you notice things in a different way - such as how blue her eyes are! She graciously agreed to do all shots barefoot - not very comfortable on a tarmac road, no matter how rural! As the light died away we ran about from location to location, trying to capture the feeling of a perfect day.

The first image here was made later by some judicious copying and pasting in Paint, but I've posted the original at the end too - I was trying to frame the road, which I thought fitted the storyline. I'm now hoping to use some of these photos for my latest art project at school.

Talking of school, I went back today. It's strange suddenly being thrown back into an everyday routine. However, as I've mentioned before, it might mean a more steady blogging rate! And I really do want to take the time now to reply to all your lovely comments - I feel so bad if I don't reply to people who've been kind enough to write their views or thoughts on my posts. So once I'm back in the swing of everyday order, I will try harder!

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Birds


This is something of a round up post of all things Big Chill and Bird related.  I went to the Big Chill music festival at the beginning of the holidays (where has the time gone?), and as well as enjoying lots of great music (Massive Attack, Paloma Faith and Newton Faulkner being particular highlights) I also discovered what can only be described as charity shop heaven. Racks and racks of cable knit jumpers, school blazers, 'dressing up' clothes (aka wedding dresses, sequinned jumpers and University gowns - one of which I bought: it looks like a rather fetching Navy cape) plus a huge box full of hats to rummage through.
Here I'm featuring three of the £3 hats I managed to find at the wonderful Oxfam stall. Nestled among old policemen's helmets and lurid wigs lurked a number of wide-brimmed vintage beauties.
I wanted to accessorize this trio with some other treasures I brought back from the Big Chill. Firstly, two fabric birds made at the Selvedge stall. I'd already seen various issues of this predominantly textiles, design and photography based magazine, after being recommended it by several people. It is GREAT and a very inspiring read, so if you can get your hands on a copy - do!
 It was lovely to meet the people who put together the magazine, while simultaneously using assorted fabrics (including Cath Kidston - they'd all been donated for the stall) to make multicoloured birds. One had the option of hanging them in a tree, but we wanted to take ours home, and subsequently turned them into accessories!

The first one, worn as embellishment on a brown hat and with a skeleton leaf necklace from my paternal grandma was given a suitably flamboyant turquoise ribbon ruff!

The second - suspended as an overlarge pendant here - was complemented with the fantastic wide brimmed camel hat (as all the magazines would say - "very on trend, colour-wise daahling"!) and an amber ring inherited from my maternal grandma.

The third and final has a different bird accessory - in the form of a Tatty Devine ring I bought, after joining in with their colour-your-own acrylic pendant template activity (handily placed in the same tent as Selvedge). It was a hard call between this ring, or some swallow earrings they had on sale. Scrap that, I wanted everything there! The acrylic shapes just called out to be touched and admired and have a real sense of fun... Here I wore the ring perched on my little finger, with a grey hat. At the stall, we agreed the best way to wear it was as though the tiny bird had just alighted!

The photos were taken during a family day out, where we ate a picnic in the drizzle (surely a very British thing to do?) before meandering through a picturesque valley. I decided to wear a loose interpretation - loose being the operative word - of a 'walking outfit'. This was made up of my absolute favourite Jaeger grey jumper and 'thifted' cream culottes. They're vintage Marks & Spencer - look out for the St Michaels lable when in charity shops, it pops up frequently. Over this I had a suede waistcoat that is now in its third generation hand-me-down. (Having gone from grandma, to mum, to me.)
Both my mum and Dad took turns with the camera, with the setting being a massive felled tree covered in moss and rambling blackberries.

The title is taken from the Hitcock movie of the same name. I have to admit I've never seen it it, not being one for horror movies! However, I loved his direction of Dial M for Murder - set almost entirely in one claustrophobic room and yet incredibly gripping. And with added style in the form of Grace Kelly!

Back to school on Tuesday! It seems this holiday has been of the blink and you'll miss it variety. Although we haven't been abroad, our family has managed to make its way around large swathes of Britain in the past six weeks, leaving not as much time as I'd hoped for blogging and replying. And I'm off again today - a final mini visit to friends in Bristol. Hopefully this will give me the chance for an urban shoot or two, and some back to school shopping! I'm hoping to get some black brogues for school, and can't wait to start wearing cable knit tights again. Autumn has most definitely reared its auburn head.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my leather shearling coat, I've been wearing it nonstop since that post! Hopefully once term has started and I have more of a routine, I'm going to be setting up an interesting blog project, so watch this space!