Sunday, 29 November 2009

Feeling the Blues

Hello to all you lovely people.
Another huge thanks is in order to those very nice individuals who commented on my latest drawings- it was great to hear all your opinions. Thank you.
I know I already ranted about this in the last post, but the British weather system shows no sign of letting up on the miserable rain. So outfit shoots have had to be moved inside momentarily. Which in this case is a good thing as I have been meaning to do some images with this chair ever since we got it.
I have something of a fascination with the sixties (both interior design and clothing wise) so I pretty much love this chair. Obviously its not an original, but as modern ones go it's pretty good.
I knew there had to be a whole sixties theme to this particular sequence, so it was out with the minidress and false eyelashes...
The kaleidoscopic print dress was another vintage purchase in Edinburgh over the summer. This particular piece was found in a specialist vintage charity shop in Grassmarket- my favourite kind! The crocheted cardigan used to be my mum's. I have a feeling it was probably a charity shop buy too. The shoes were spotted by me in a charity shop. I love the fact that they combine the pattern of brogues with a typical 'granny shoe' shape. The white necklace is a vintage family hand-me-down. (surprise surprise!)
My hair is also straightened here, (for a more sixties-ish look) which is pretty unusual as I'm more of a 'brush-hair-and-go' kind of person, but hey, change is good.
Talking of the sixties, I watched 'My Fair Lady' this week. I know it's not set in the sixties, but that's when it was made. I think all the costumes designed by Cecil Beaton are supremely stunning. There is one scene at Ascot where they are about 300 people in black and white outfits- extraordinary! I always love Audrey Hepburn's films.
So this got me thinking. What are your favourite classic films? Is it Audrey Hepburn? Marylin Monroe? Or maybe Grace Kelly? I would love to hear your thoughts- especially as I am trying to widen my knowledge of classic films at the moment.
It's once again Sunday night and the week ahead is looming. So I bid you all adieu and good night.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Coming in from the Cold plus Colours of Autumn designs

Hello from the rain battered Midlands. I realised yesterday that it's been a while since my last post, but I hope this makes up for it as today is a double barelled one- an outfit and some more of my sketches. First up are some photos from yesterday.
The weather has been completely miserable and wet all week here in the UK so I had to resort to doing a shoot indoors instead. Or in this case, in front of the fire. I wanted a cosy atmosphere as it was so horrible outside.
The dress is an American Apparel one (already seen on my blog in a different incarnation a long time ago) which I was given in a charity shop for free. It still had the original price tag on, and I was told I could have it for nothing as it was only fit for a halloween costume- how wrong they were! But this assumption worked out  very well for me. The cardigan is another charity shop item, and is the cosiest thing known to man (well, woman in this case.) The vintage belt was given to me by my paternal grandma which she wore in the eighties- thanks Babi!
Both the hats are vintage. One is thrifted and the other was my maternal great-grandmother's. The brown lace ups were found by my mum in a charity shop. They are sadly too small to go out for a proper long walk in but are fine when I'm just lounging around. Silk scarves and gloves seen in shots are all family items and the vintage vogue is one from my collection.

And on to the second part of this post. Autumn has now officially been washed away in a torrential flood, so I thought it would be an appropriate time to post these sketches. I was so inspired by the glorious colours and images of autumn this year that I had to somehow translate these into designs. I also took a lot of photos, but more on that another time..
These are my ten designs inspired by various aspects of autumn, be it a tree or a cosy jumper. I'd love to hear your feedback on them. (All designs are copyrighted to me)

                                                I think this one pretty much explains itself. 'Little Red Riding Hood.' What else is there to say?
This one is a cable knit grey jumper dress (with knitting needles in her bun to match.) I wanted it to look cosy and quirky.

The thought behind this was a bundle of twigs tied together with twine. You could call it 'The Twiggy'!
Just generally a warm comfortable dress to wear, paying attention to the detail- such as the pockets with visible stitching and the orange socks peeping out of the boots.
You can't have inspiration from autumn without thinking about fire. I think its sometime just as interesting to concentrate on the back of the dress as the front. I couldn't resist finishing this off with a chimney top hat complete with complimentary smoke! Whimsical is my word du jour here.
Autumn leaves- another one that pretty much doesn't need explanation. This is acually based on and idea I had for a dress when I was about 11, you could call this the updated version.
Berry red corset over a crumpled silk grey dress. Layering of a slightly different style!
One of the reasons I love living in the countryside is all the greenery (or orangery and red-y depending on the time of year obviously.) Trees are so beautiful all year round. Again I wanted to concentrate on the back.
The skirt was inspired by the rust and decay that comes naturally with autumn- the season of change. The cream layered top is a thermal vest over a red silk shirt- underwear as outerwear. And the hat is brown faux fur.
I started and gave up on this design about 3 times. I had the idea of a 'skeleton leaf coat' in my head but that was about it. In the end I had this idea when I looked up to see my vintage tailcoat hanging on my wardrobe door. This skeleton leaf translucent coat is part bed jacket, evening coat and tail coat. The headress was an idea taken from a plant I saw walking home after school one day last week.

I would have posted these yesterday but it's been another really busy weekend and my house has been in complete and utter chaos! Our landing is about to be redecorated which means that about 1000 books (quite literally) have had to be removed from various shelves and are now sitting around in precariously balanced wobbly piles on the floor and sundry windowsills. An example is shown above.

One last thing to say is a massive thank you- I now have over 200 followers! This really means so much to me, thanks to every single one of you.
Ooops, this is definitely the longest post I've ever done. Congratulations to anyone who's waded through the waffle to the end.
Goodnight and sweet dreams.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Monochrome Shadow Puppet

This is the final part of the photos from the shoot collaboration with the fantastic Flo. (As some of you may have remembered from previous posts, her blog is - do have a look. I love flo's photography, and I expect to see her go far with it.)
These were actually the first images of the day to be taken, and our whole idea was to focus on the lighting and use of shadows against a plain background.
I brought along some peacock feathers as props. They were all shed by several peacocks who live (and make a lot of noise) in a nearby arboretum, and were then collected by us, rather like finding treasure.
The white lace bodice was my great-grandma's. There is a black lace one to match, but unfortunately that one is much too big for me. I love the shape of this piece- my great-grandma made it when she was young. It was then worn by my mum when she was in her twenties, then appropriated by me. (Gosh! Never heard that story before! Me? Borrowing things from my mum? How unusual..)
The black skinny jeans were flo's, and so were the gold sparkly braces. The black lace up shoes (my new favourites) were found by my mum in…ooh. Guess? No,could it be - a charity shop? So thanks mum! Both the necklaces and the bow tie (customising the top in the first photo) and the vintage trilby are also all mine.
This is definitely a bit different to my usual style, but worked really well for these photos.
Now I want to give a massive thank you to all the interesting people who commented on my 'size debate' post. I always love hearing so many different views too. I've noticed that the debate posts seem to be pretty popular, so what would your view be on maybe a more regular debate?

I am currently feeling pretty ill, although a lot of it is probably my own fault- I had an incredibly busy weekend that finished with me writing an analysis of a breathtaking play I saw called 'The Idiot Colony', so I was up until very late on sunday night. Other activities included a textiles workshop with an amazing duo whose company is called 'Pretty Rubbish'- they specialise in recycled and vintage textiles. See their inspiring designs at I customised a t-shirt that I'll showcase on here at some point...

I'm now off to go and feel sorry for myself, don't forget to give me your opinion on your ideas about regular debates.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

To the lighthouse

I've been waiting for a while to showcase one of my new family treasures. This skirt was given to me by my mum's 2nd cousin (have no idea what relation that is to me), Susan. She bought it in 1965 when she was in her late teens. So imagine how happy I was when she asked if I might like to have it.
Lets start with the actual construction. Being incredibly interested in fashion design and the making of clothes, I find this particular article fascinating. Each panel of fabric has been cut in a flaring curve, on the bias, before being separately sewn together, to create the volume of the skirt. It also has a 24" waist- I could only just squeeze in!
The first photos were taken on a structure right by the sea, and I can tell you that scrambling over slippery rocks in high heels isn't the safest thing I've ever done! I know that the metal structure isn't strictly a light house, but I just really liked the title.
The red jacket is a Betty Jackson one found in a charity shop, brand new.  I love her designs. And sorry to use that cliched phrase but they're very "quintessentially British" in style. This jacket is perfect as it not only looks great with anything, but also keeps me warm- something rather unusual as my dad would be happy to point out when I insist on freezing rather than wearing a raincoat.
The boots in the first shoot were my mum's. They are one of a few pairs that I turned my nose up at a couple of years ago and then rediscovered eargerly recently!
The last two photos were taken by the very fabulous flo. These photos were also inspired by 'The Kosh', a physical theatre show that we saw in Edinburgh over the summer holidays- very theatrical!
Worn with a black strap top and lace-up heels.

Now I promised a debate- And here it is. I recently read an article in The Guardian Weekend (which I love) about bigger models. It annoyed me so much that I drafted a response to send to them, which unfortunately I never did. So I thought I'd post it here instead...

It was with interest that I started to read the article entitled 'Why big models are big fashion news.' But unfortunately that interest turned to disappointment as I got to the line "For anyone sick of seeing dangerously underweight adolescents dominate the style landscape (and who isn't?)"

I was hoping that the guardian might take an open minded stance in this 'size debate', but the writer simply proved the common misconception about slender people. I am 5"8 and 7.5 stone, and only 14. I've been naturally slender all my life, for the simple reason that I have a fast metabolism.
But I am sick of people informing me that I'm underweight, without even bothering to find out anything about me. I read this particular article over breakfast, while eating a bacon sandwich and fried egg. Does that sound anorexic to you?
It seems that it's fine to criticise and belittle naturally slender people, but imagine what would happen if it was someone of a size 16 was called that dreaded word- 'fat'? Of course that would be an unfair horrible comment to make, so why does the writer of this article think it's fine to accuse people such as me of having an eating disorder? Or maybe that isn't judged as insulting to some?
I understand that there are many people who do have serious problems with weight and food, but they need help- not just thoughtless criticism. By putting everyone under the same umbrella, steroetypical views are just reinforced.
I thought that it was truly great that models of all sizes were being used, but why does the fashion industry have to have this one 'perfect body shape'? I personally think that if everyone was just happy with their own healthy size, and stopped trying to make everyone fit in with one ideal then this whole situation would be resolved.
The plus size models at the Mark Fast show was an inspired idea, but my problem was that that the clothes chosen didn't actually flatter them. You should dress for your own body shape, whatever it is. I know that I'm never going to be curvy, but I accept it and get on with life because there are much more important things to think about.
I'm only ever reminded of my body shape when I read something like that. I feel judged by it.
I think it;s tme to start celebrating and flattering all sizes!

Whats your opinion in this ongoing debate? I'd love to hear your views.

Edit: I realise that some of the photos haven't shown up properly here, I'll deal with them tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Preaching Vintage Fashion (my first shoot behind the camera)

When my friend Zoe suggested that she'd like to do some posing so that I could take full control of the other side of the camera, it seemed like a great idea. Even better, she agreed to let me style her completely with some of the contents of my wardrobe. Zoe would freely admit that vintage style is not something she would think about choosing herself- but doesn't it suit her?
The whole inspiration for the day was 1940's Hollywood glamour. The dresses, the hats, the make-up. Allthough funnily enough, only one of these dresses is genuine vintage. The grey sleeveless one worn with the two hats came from Beyond Retro. The blue beaded one is second hand Next, the black lace one is from a charity shop and the blue one is thrifted Topshop. But they're all second hand and do have a real vintage look.
The grey top with lace underneath the blue dress was one customised by me, and the tailcoat is a vintage family one. Shoes throughout are some Mary-Janes that unfortunately no longer fit me, so were given to Zoe at the end of the shoot! All hats, necklaces, watches and rings are various vintage pieces either found in charity shops, market stalls or are from various relatives.
I think that Zoe looks really gorgeous, and am quite proud myself with my first foray into being the person doing the photography- a role that I definitely want to explore a lot more!

Running out of time now, sunday night homework and all that jazz. So I will defer my latest 'debate' until the next post. Hope you enjoy the photos.

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