Sunday, 31 January 2010

A negative view (Plus debate)

Another week passed, another diy project! This is the latest of my recycled endeavours which I ended up finishing just after lunch, in time for promptly shooting.
And no, I haven't had a haircut, just a lot of pins holding it in place under the hat!

About a month ago we spent an afternoon sorting through lots of old photos from my childhood, when we finished sorting them there was a big pile of negatives left on the carpet. My mum was about to throw them out when I grabbed them off her and said I would use them for 'something creative.' I then fortuituously found a dress I didn't wear, and after a bit of thought started to pin the negatives on. Now this bit was quite tricky, and pretty tedious so it took several consecutive weekends to get the layers finished. The collar is just more negatives pinned in half and attached to the neckline. The whole idea I wanted to achieve was twenties 'flapper' look. Vintage inspiriation using modern recycled materials.
I put it with a woollen knitted hat that was my great-grandma's and some thirties shoes (nearest time period I could get!) that were also hers. The long necklace is my mum's, and the little grey top underneath is thrifted.

But thinking about negatives led me to thinking about negative views which tied in rather handily with an idea I'd already had for a debate. Recently I've been getting the feel that it seems to be much easier to criticise something rather than praise it. Look on any chat board or in any critic's guide and the ratio of positive reviews to negative seems to be rather skewed.
I know that I am not a completely innocent party. I will criticise what I consider to be dubious fashion choices or music that I don't like, but I don't feel the need to express these views to the rest of the world. To me it seems sad that there are whole magazines and websites devoted to criticising 'celebs' and their choices in life, or actors/ directors/politicians/ designers/ artist/ authors. The list is endless. Is that a healthy thing to do, always pick fault with others? There is a difference between constructive criticism- which is galvanising for making change and learning, and simply revelling in the put down/ sarcasm, snide remark to bring down another individual. I am in no way suggesting that we should only ever say 'nice' things, but I am sometimes disheartened by the media's incessant need to relish in the belittling of others.
It seems a strange thing to me, especially as I have recieved so much positive feedback and some truly wonderful comments in the blogging sphere. Or perhaps the kind of blogging world I'm engaged in is very different- seeking to celebrate rather than denigrate. Of course I understand that people all have their own views and opinions. But there is a difference between expressing a personal opinion and and actively seeking to put down others. I try to live by the mantra "Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself." And I guess I won't always manage that, but it seems like a good starting point.
What is your view on this? Do you think that people are have a tendency to be overly critical or are they just voicing their own opinions? I would love to hear your reply to this question.

And now for some positive news! My blog was recently placed on the 'Fashion Bites' section of the website FashionAir. I am so thrilled, and really flattered that they chose my blog. You can see the photo link here-  (although if you click on the image it does just bring you straight back to this blog!)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Red Shoes

It is nearly the end of another week, and I have been waiting for a free moment to post these photos.

I went to an event called the Clothes Show back at the beginning of December, which has hundreds of clothes stalls and a fashion catwalk show. I trawled through loads of items before finding this coat. I first saw it in white for a higher price, before extracting this from a massive rail of clothes- I think it was the interesting text/ story print coupled with my love of literature that made me go for it. It is a piece from a sample sale- making it quite unique! I love the interesting shape of the coat, and the details such as the patterned buttons and a ladybird print lining. It was the only thing I bought there, and worth every penny.
Now one of the main features of the coat is the columns of writing. It talks of childhood memories, and a pair of special Red Shoes. So I had to wait to actually get a pair before shooting it! These vintage ones came up on Ebay, but I wasn't initially sure about them from the picture,so I didn't bid on them. However, three weeks later and they turned up in a package on our doorstep! They had been relisted, so mum bought them anyway. And guess who they fitted perfectly? A big thank you to mum! The only trouble is, I'm not allowed to stomp around the house in them as the heels are steel tipped- denting our floors would not make me popular.
The red gloves are thrifted, and the little black dress underneath is from my fruitful Bristol charity shop-athon I had at the end of the christmas holidays.
The photos were taken while on a nearby walk in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and it was the perfect day.

I have recieved quite a few more blog awards recently, so a big thank you to the Trendy Fashionista and Sofie Marie for those. If there was anyone else who did too then please tell me as I am keen to acknowledge you.
I have been spending the week doing some designs based on the Red Shoes (the film) and learning a five hundred word french essay! So it's been nice to have some relaxing time to do a post- I really enjoy doing them.
Oh, and recently I gained my five hundreth follower... Thank you so very much to all of you who have taken the time to look at my blog, or comment on it. It realy means a lot to me, and I can't believe I only started it in June!

On a final note, isn't this picture that Cecile of did for me just wonderful? I really love her attention for detail and the way she captured my face- so a huge thank you to her, she is clearly very talented as the rest of her blog shows.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Paper Doll

A few months ago, I made this newspaper dress after being inspired by a Vogue shoot full of clothes created from every day items (see the images at the bottom.) Even better, it was shot by Tim Walker and was full of some truly stunning pieces. A bolero made from yellow washing up gloves? A Rei Kawakubo-esque duvet dress? A tea towel bodice? All now living, breathing items! (Figuratively!)

So one rainy sunday afternoon I carried armfuls of newspapers upstairs, before rifling through the box full of plastic bags. The whole thing is actually attached to a simple black dress underneath, as I wanted to be able to put it on. Each sheet of newspaper was pinned onto the dress, before being generally scrunched and shaped to create the bell shape, before being sewn onto the neighbouring piece. Once I had finished this, which took a while, I hemmed the whole skirt using more coloured wool. The top part is made up of a white plastic shopping bag that I draped and moulded to fit into a bodice, before embellishing a with striped plastic bow(the remnants of which was used on the belt- complete with a house number attached to it!)

So it sat on my mannequin for ages gathering dust, waiting to have an outing. And yesterday it did! I was so relieved when I found that it fitted.. I paired it with two other pieces I made. The bracelet is made up of a metal watch strap, with a tiny reel of negatives (the type of ones you put in a viewfinder to look at indivually) and an interesting piece of embellishment. The necklace is made up of an old disposable camera tied with two grey shoelaces. I also added some thrifted sixties shoes and long socks.

For the shoot I wanted it to be a kind of mix between Coppelia and Truly Scrumptious as the clockwork doll in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They were taken in a nearby field, and we couldn't believe how amazing the light was! I did have a rather interesting experience as I was walking up the road in this ensemble...

We stopped to let a car go past, and the three passengers all swiveled their heads like a lid being unscrewed from a jar to stare at me. The car went a little further up the road before turning round. As it went past again, their heads all turned back... the other way. Well at least I probably gave them a very bad crick in the neck! Well I suppose it isn't every day that you see a teenager walking around a rural village in a dress made up of things usually found sitting around the living room!

It was so fun making this piece, recycyled fashion is always something I've been interested in. A few years ago me and some family friends did a whole fashion show full of customised and made clothes. Although some of the outfits would probably embarass me now, the finale of newspaper and plastic dresses are still some of my favourite to date.

A big thank you to my dad for taking these photos!

Now here are some photos of the shoot that inspired me-

I seriously want that jacket made from pick and mix paper bags!

A big thanks to everyone who cmmented on my photography post, it was lovely to have your views...

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Queen of all she surveys

About two weeks ago, my gorgeous friend Emma agreed to be photographed and styled by me. (Sometimes impromptu phonecalls the night before can be very productive!)
I decided that all the clothes I put Emma in had to compliment her amazing hair,and after flicking through an old Tatler shoot (full of models in a lush green forest), I suddenly had an idea. "Queen of all she surveys." Countryside royalty, ruler of the forest and field. And what better to dress her in than the rich colours of green and gold?
Emma was a great model, so willing to do some pretty crazy things- as the last photo illustrates! It was really cold, but she still obligingly posed in sleeveless dresses with nearly bare legs. So a very big thanks to you Emma!
I love to style other people, it is such fun! And it's also nice to work out what will suit others, compared to oneself.

The first outfit is comprised of a black bodycon dress that used to be my mum's, a mens big green shirt (one of my dads old ones) and my great-granny's shoes. (We think they are thirties.) The necklaces are various vintage ones, from relatives, markets or thrifted. The belt is from a charity shop. The little gold shrug top used to sit in my dressing up box, before being relocated to my wardrobe!

The second outfit is probably one of my favourites (and so are the shots!) The green dress is one my mum bought off ebay a few months ago, and I've been really looking forward to showcasing it. The cloak is one of two that used to be owned by my maternal grandma. (See the post with me in the other cape for the full story on how my grandmother would wear it with bare feet in winter!)  The leather belt is thrifted, and so are the ankle boots. You can tell that Emma is a ballet dancer in these shots, as her natural grace is apparent! I especially love the one taken of her lying on tree, I wanted a kind of Titania-esque image.

The third outfit, well, let me begin with those boots! Emma has size three feet, I have size seven and a half! So you can imagine styling her in my shoes was a bit of a problem. Luckily, I have kept these amazing seventies boots ever since I grew out of them, as a kind of ornament in the corner of my shoe display. I'd never be able to part with them. But guess who fitted into the leather beauties perfectly? And they do look fabulous on her. The shift dress is a vintage piece, I think of Indian origin, purchased from a vintage shop by my mum in the nineties. You may recognize the location from my leather coat post. It is a spot about 5 minutes walk from where I live, and seems to be stunning in every season.

We trekked to some fir trees for the fourth outfit. (Also seen in the Narnia post- yes, quite a few of these locations have been reused!) The green shift dress is from Beyond Retro in London, but is now nearly too small for me. It was quite short so I added a white underskirt from my dressing up box. The cardigan is one of my favourites, from a charity shop. The silk scarf was inherited, and it is those gorgeous boots again! On a whim, I asked if she would mind lying down on some snow covered branches, expecting a refusal. But she immediately did, and I snapped her as soon as I could so she could get up again. Unfortunately it is smaller than the others as otherwise blogger cuts off part of the image. I really like how her hair contrasts with the boots in the last few shots, because of that last burst of dying light.

I thoroughly enjoyed the shoot, as I relish any chance to jump behind the camera! I would love to hear your feedback.
All images copyrighted to me.

I've really appreciated all the thoughtful comments recently, they have been wonderful! So thanks for that, and have a great week.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Diamonds are Forever

I finished my final exam today. So it's back to the good old internet, and goodbye revision for now!
Over the weekend we went away, but I spent most of the time revising- only pausing for a quick shoot (voila!) and a walk on the beach.
Now I know this is a pretty stark monochrome palette, especially for me. I don't usually like such plain backgrounds in photos. I'm inspired by more of a Tim Walker-esque aesthetic. I feel that photography is made up of two parts- the person and their surroundings. I suppose living in the countryside does help! But this seems to work under the circumstances.
On the day we left for the weekend, I had had a bit of a bad day at school,when I came home to find this big jumper lying on my bed. (Along with an amazing authentic riding jacket.) My lovely mum had found it in a local charity shop that day. That was it. I practically set up camp inside it for the whole weekend while looking at simultaneous equations and wavelengths... I love the fact that I can basically slob around in it, while still feeling moderately sophisticated, but then can properly dress up with appropriate accessories. Actually, I felt rather Mary Quant-ish wearing something this short, I'm much more of a long skirts girl.
At the moment, it seems the only things that keep me warm enough are  big woollen jumpers. (Often paired with a floral skirt and vintage hat a la 'Edge Of Love').
In these pictures I am wearing a vintage sixties necklace- another gem found among treasures under my bed during clearing out! The ring used to be my great-grandmothers and the shoes are thrifted.

Now I think that may be it. Woah, already?! I have a feeling a few of my brain cells were probably burned up during exams this week, so hopefully I will have fully recovered them by the next post!
Do not adjust your sets folks, full colour will be resumed in the next post- enough of this blackand white lark!

This is one of the photos I took on the beach (after wrestling the camera off Dad). It's my brother, playing in the distance. Quite a few people have asked about camera we use. It is a Canon 5D that me and my dad share.We got it a few months ago, and I love it to bits! The quality is amazing, and I am always trying to organise fashion shoots with my friends so I can take a chance to be behind the camera...
Photograph copyrighted to me.

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