Saturday, 31 May 2008

Katie Jane Garside and birdcage clothing

Not quite what I was aiming for, but I like this accident of a photo anyway. Katie Jane Garside of Queen Adreena, playing at our club last week.

She fascinates me. She's gorgeous and repulsive all at once. Never seen onstage without a bottle of wine and a veritable garden of foliage, she looks like the most delicate thing ever born, but revels in absolute and wanton destruction, careering into her bandmates, crashing into the crowd, getting her clothes torn and her make-up smudged across her face. The first time I saw them play, she crowdsurfed from the stage of the Barfly - with a cast on her leg. She's demented but phenomenal.

[Image: James Sutton]

I like her style in small doses - all together the effect is very witchy and banshee-like, but I like the component parts separately - gossamer-fine silk and lace, vintage lingerie, shocking pink lipstick and wild, tousled hair.

Here she is, looking like a Victorian dalek, complete with modesty-preserving ankle ruffles. It's a very apt photo - a woman who sings like a crazed songbird clad in her own birdcage. This photo plagues me, I can't figure out where the skirt is from, though it's so familiar. It reminds me of the wooden, mechanised skirts of Hussein Chalayan's A/W 2000 collection . . .

. . . and Acne's caged skirt as shown in Nylon's February London issue . . .

[Image: Ruven Wijesooriya]

. . . and Comme de Garcon's odd cage dresses from Another Magazine.


Monday, 26 May 2008

The Dreamers on Film4. One of the most enchanting films I've ever seen - it is, to quote director Bertolucci's description of Eva Green, obscenely beautiful. Many people I know loathe it. They are wrong. Horribly, pitiably wrong. Eva, Louis Garrell and the admittedly rather creepy and slurry-voiced but ever watchable Michael Pitt drifting around a labyrinthine, decaying French apartment, mercilessly outdoing each other in film geekery and social/sexual deviancy, to the backdrop of the 60s student riots in Paris, with the odd Wizard of Oz/Bande a Part clip thrown in for fun and some sinister communist undertones.. what's not to adore?

The music is gorgeous [Somewhere Beyond The Sea in French, some agreeably tuneless Janis Joplin and lots of stoned 60s guitars], the cast are shockingly beautiful, and when they can be bothered to clothe themselves, the clothes are to die for. The boys lounge about in cheap-looking tweed and velvet jackets and black shirts, and Eva models a parade of Frencher-than-thou demure bell-sleeved black dresses, red berets, thread-bare paisley shirts and flippy A-line skirts. Even when she's clowning about in white dungarees, with a head of white fringing and a mop, she looks phenomenal. I'll never tire of looking at Louis Garrell, but this is the film that made me fall in love with Eva Green.



Sunday, 25 May 2008

1940s nonchalance

This is the best photo I've seen today:

I found it on Café Mode, from the Life In Occupied Paris exhibition, a show of 1940s photos by photographer André Zucca.

I must admit I like the photo quite out of context . I love the fit of the trousers and the insouciant way she wears them. It makes me want to take these trousers from Topshop Unique:

...and edit them, now that they've have mysteriously lost their original cut as shown here, and gotten several inches shorter. [Really, though, this is puzzling. I don't know what can have happened to them, I was careful how I washed them - but I can't wear them with high heels anymore, they're too short for it. The effect is baggy rather than louche, so I've gotta do something with them...]


Here comes the revolution

I'm terribly excited. For years, I have been struggling to make clothes by hand, armed with nothing more than a needle, thread, box of pins and a mirror. It's very frustrating, having to pin garments to one's own body [not quite literally, you understand] to see if they fit yet. Things that ought to take an evening take weeks.

Tomorrow, I am getting one of these:

Once it arrives, I will get a new pedal for my never-used sewing machine, an instruction book so I can work out how to thread the infernal thing, and the revolution will begin.


Saturday, 24 May 2008

Foiled again

Fie! I have mislaid [I must stress the temporary nature of this word] the charging adaptor for my camera, and so cannot show you my newest purchase. It's a damn shame. The weekend will be spent rectifying the matter. [...and finishing She, attending a friend's barbecue, sourcing unusual bulbs and finishing the dress I started a couple of months ago].

Until then, have a photo of Liv Tyler, making an oversized jumper look far better than anyone has any right to.



Thursday, 22 May 2008

A busy week

So not much posting for me. But to keep you amused while I toil, here are two blogs I have recently encountered and been wholly charmed by.

Yekaterinburg on Livejournal

She also has a similar blog here - but there seem to be more posts on her livejournal. She posts about her own clothes, and shows photos from bygone eras and ever-interesting literary and historical excerpts. I love her aesthetic.

The Cherry Blossom Girl

Maybe some of you already know this one. I'm captivated by it. French stylist wears Chloe shoes and bowler hats with aplomb, and writes her entries in French and English, so I can improve my française while I indulge my eyes. I love every single thing the lady wears.


Thursday, 15 May 2008

Summer solutions

.......I haven't found any yet.

I'm trying out clothes to get me through the summer, through festivals and city heat. I will not resort to smock dresses and shapeless tops. I'm not flapping about in flipflops or wearing the smallest thing I can find simply to combat the incoming heat. I've worn my used-to-be-skinny grey jeans every day for the past week, with sailor vests and unbuttoned men's shirts tucked in at the back, or loose black cut-off jersey tops, or semi-halterneck mesh-cutaway vests. I'm bored. BORED. I want some elegance this summer.

Some ideas:

I got this grey silk dress at the weekend in Appletree. Very comfortable and airy, and I like the shape and the satin roses. I need to find ways to wear it in the daytime, but it'll be nice at night, with black tights and low-heeled second-hand ankle boots or with high black suede platform heels.

These shorts were once a pair of black trousers I bought five years ago. Hell am I paying for new shorts when I can modify things I know already fit me. I'm not sure about the length yet - I've rolled them into cuffs and pinned them, but not sewn them into place yet. Constructive opinions welcome. I probably wouldn't wear them with this top, either... I'd likely keep it monochrome with a loose top tucked in, or a satin 30s-style cap-sleeved top. They will solve lots of problems with tops I have that need tucking into higher-waisted shorts and skirts than I currently possess. Shoes... not sure yet.

Tried this shirt-dress on in Appletree when I bought the above silk dress. The sleeves and collar were too big but a bit of rolling fixed that. I like it but I'm not sure if I like it enough to buy it. I'd rather buy a large men's shirt from M&S, sans flowers, and attempt the same shape with it than spend £60 on this [though I don't know how I'd do the rolled collar, which in hindsight I really like]. Still, it is an idea. Nice with gladiator sandals, or white tennis shoes.

None of these options seem quite sharp enough yet though, and being pale [and I'm not doing anything about that] the easy-breezey nautical looks that work on tanned girls won't look right on me; I think I need to play up the contrast, rather than try to look classically 'summery'. I'm just not a summery-looking lady.

I want to look relaxed and comfortable..

...but more chic than everyone else. Is that wrong?


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Quote of the day

"I think a lot of girls look really over-styled."

Peaches Geldof



The awful truth

Pooh-pooh to these preposterous notions of high heels being bad for your health.

I knew it was a bad idea to buy these sandals. Yesterday I broke my little toe. It's twice its size, purple, and hurts like a Johnny Cash song. Now I walk funny.

Women! Keep your feet encased in improbable, towering patent-leather fortresses. It's just safer.


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Steam and sequins for Larry Levan

Today I was sent the photos from Sunday's shoot.

It was fun looking so completely different... we had to walk back and forth from the location to the flat where I got changed, along Hackney Road. At first I felt more self-conscious about that than anything else - close proximity to a chap with a camera justifies any look, but just walking along a high street on a Sunday morning in 5-inch wooden heels and pink hair, totally out of context, I felt a bit awkward... until I realised even if I saw anyone I knew, they wouldn't recognise me anyway. It was funny seeing people lurking surreptitiously behind the photographer, taking their own photos. There were lots of little kids at the farm who didn't know what on earth to make of my get-up.

It feels like a very odd, severe look for me, but that was what the stylist, make-up artist and photographer were going for, and they were happy with the results... as for me, I had a triffic day.

I wish I could have kept this dress....

More photos beyond the cut.

[Images: Kurtay
Styling: Kasey Noziskova
Make-up: Laurey Simmons]


Monday, 12 May 2008

Life's too short for me to spend it deleting unprovoked and spiteful personal comments on here from 'anonymous' individuals, so no more anonymous commenting. Sorry.


'And everyone is gonna dress like me...'

The modelling yesterday was great fun. No photos yet, but the photographer and stylist are happy for me to show a few so when they're ready, I'll post a couple. Readers, you'll laugh your heads off. I spent the day under the blazing sun in a farmyard in Hackney, trussed in skyscrapingly high silver wedge heels, chin-length pale pink hair complete with fringe and angry-looking dark lipstick, holding this Matthew Williamson dress together [it was precarious in the extreme] while conversing with a goose named Gregory and holding a hen aloft. [It was very well-behaved and cheerful, and didn't flap at all.]

As Sunday afternoons go, it was surreal but delightful.


Friday, 9 May 2008

How to get past clipboard nazis - a tale of daring and folly

On Sunday I am doing a shoot with S/S 08 Matthew Williamson clothes. Exciting! I'm standing in for an absent model. Should be fun, my first shoot of this kind.

In less fashion-related news, rounding the corner of Soho Square tonight en route to the Everisto Club, every Londoner's favourite dive since Tattys closed, I saw two not entirely sober men trying to get into a heaving nightclub . . . by climbing into the window round the side of the building, in full view of the square. Very very funny. One was carrying out sloppy look-out/encouragement duties while the other struggled somewhat intemperately with the ground floor sash window [this gave one a view right onto the dancefloor of the club, which is actually some kind of religious organisation/homeless shelter] and tried to climb in but with scant luck. Naturally I got out my camera.

Sadly I was too slow to capture the full glory of his ungainly half-in-half-out state before he admitted defeat, arse in the air 'n' all, but perhaps you can imagine it instead.

The bouncers, a few feet away round the corner, were oblivious to the crime happening under their noses. These days you really can't get the staff.


Monday, 5 May 2008

Summer dressing

I detest flip-flops. What an unimaginative and thoroughly uncomfortable breed of footwear they are. Almost no-one can look dignified in them, and how they stay on one's feet I'll never know. Even the sound they make is abhorrent. I saw a man on the tube in them this week, with loose shorts and a dark, very heavy wool jumper - what an odd combination. Insult was added to injury when, sitting two seats away from me, he took his flipflops off and curled his bare [and not so fragrant] feet up on the seat next to me, and fiddled with them for the duration of the journey. I was not impressed.

Still, I have now come dangerously close to owning something resembling the hated item myself. For a few weeks now I've been on the prowl for some patent red gladiator sandals - no variation on this would do. It's rare I buy something purely to match one item in my wardrobe, but this was a necessity.

They were £20 from Aldo, which is about as reasonable as I think I am likely to find without venturing into Primark. I'd have preferred something more heavily styled, and in nicer, more tomatoey patent than this, but whaddayagonnado? After wearing them around the house a bit, I think better of them than I did initially. And they strap around the ankles, so are very much not flipflops. My integrity is saved.

I shall wear them thusly:

I bought this grey silk ankle-length Jigsaw dress secondhand at least two years ago, and have never worn it, lacking the right footwear. It will make its debut at my friend's housewarming barbecue in three weeks. Like the footwear, the bias-cut floaty dress is not my usual style - I have resolved to be sharp this summer, not boho-pretty-pretty - but it is lovely enough that I'll make an exception. The red patent sandals will keep it safely out of hippy territory, along with a narrow, chic belt and my old silver pistol necklace.


Orient Excess

There's some beautiful photography in the June issue of UK Vogue. Not a particularly engaging issue this time round, but I enjoyed the fashion spreads [the Patrick Demarchelier one is also very much worth a mention - Foto-Decadent has scans here - Jessica Stam looks phenomenal.

However I think they shot themselves in their bejewelled feet in the way they arranged the Orient Excess story.

[Images: Javier Vallhonrat for Vogue UK]

Two enticing double page spreads, then a two page article by Syrian writer Rana Kabbani about the decline of the Ottoman empire, as experienced by her grandmother. The writing is evocative, fierce and deeply saddening, and makes no bones about the author's contempt for the sensationalism of the western view of the harem, and the popular view of women's place in this much romanticised world. She goes to great pains to separate her [and her family's] first-hand experiences of it from the salacious image many people retain, and describes it as a place where women of the time could convene, converse, work, entertain, rest, learn from each other and be themselves, 'relieved of the intrusive presence of their men'.

[Image: Javier Vallhonrat for Vogue UK]

Following this intelligent, thought-provoking article with 6 pages of a semi-orgasmic white model, surrounded by diaphonous silks, her hair clinging sweatily to her face and throat as she arches backwards on piles of cushions, rather suggests that the photo editor, the features editor and the person who put the page order together did not have a conversation. The images are superb in every way but they're let down by the context they're placed in. If Vogue had run these images before the article, letting them stand for themselves in their beauty and then having the article offer a social and historical counterpoint, I think it would have been more successful; as it is, I wouldn't be surprised if the author felt rather insulted.

Nevertheless, it's still a beautiful feature, and one I'll keep and look at again.

I also really love the Tim Walker feature [he of this much-adored photograph]; I want to tear out all the photos and spread them across my walls like one of his scrapbooks. I'll definitely be going to his show at the Design Museum.


Friday, 2 May 2008

Vogue Nippon

I love these images from the May issue of Vogue Nippon. On one level they make me think of Vermeer paintings - the colour and the poise are incredibly painterly, each colour seems to have been painstakingly mixed and crafted, not snapped [and, I guess, photoshopped].

[Images: Yasunari Kikuma for Vogue Nippon, scanned by Linka-Lebedeva in Livejournal/Foto_Decadent]

[Image: Johannes Vermeer]

They also make me think of Nancy Cunard - they have something distinctly late '20s / early '30s about them, and the hair fashioned into a turban-like headdress is something I think she would have wholeheartedly approved of; the photos seem to tap quite strongly into early twentieth century society's well-meant [if rather patronising/insulting - circle as appropriate] fascination with what they deemed the exotic.

[Image: Curtis Moffat]


Thursday, 1 May 2008

After the fact

I get a little annoyed with stating-the-obvious reportage. Frequently I read something that proclaims the entrance of this trend or that style - not six months after it first broke, but actual years, by which point it's pretty much taken hold anyway. The guys over at the recently launched report this week that big brows are back. "Eyebrows are huge again this season", they say, citing the catwalks and the popularity of brow bars across the cityscape.

Without wishing to pick holes, this one is rather stating the obvious. The fashion press have been hailing the bigger brow and urging women to grow beyond the super-thin arch for several years now, and the photographed ladies of the world have been sporting them with aplomb. See below - the admittedly dubious Sienna Miller, last summer, and Lindsay Ellington at Chanel in 2005, with what look like stick-ons. One's opinion on either of these particular examples is another issue entirely, but the point is, there is nothing new about this look.

And then there's the ever wonderful Eva Green, with her beautiful and very definitely there brows:

It's pretty rare now that I see women with overplucked brows; I think to most stylish women, the pencil thin brow is anathema. Me, I'm cursed with near non-existent brows, always have been. The little beasts just won't grow. So for years now I've been shaping them to look a little fuller and darker, and I don't think I'm particularly ahead of the curve as far as the heady world of eyebrow trends go.

It happens with many a catwalk style too - Grecian/Roman draping and the corresponding gladiator style footwear has been around for ages and ages, but admittedly this year it does seem to have a stronger presence. If fashion writers wish to express the growing success or endurance of a particular mode, or to lend their support to it, I support them fully, but I wish people would stop reporting the established as the new. It doesn't have to be super-super new for us to read about it, surely - it just has to be interesting and appealing, or have a new angle.

[Images: Beauty, and the Sydney Morning Herald]