Thursday, 27 January 2011

Easily eccentric (Part 1)

Continuing with the theme of British Eccentricity, here is my latest behind the camera shoot with my gorgeous friend Caitlin. This was a very on-the-spur-of-the-moment collaboration. Last friday, in our Science lesson, I remarked that I was having photography withdrawal symptoms. She said she might be free to model that weekend, and lo and behold  a plan was drawn up - I had just a day to decide on the theme and six outfits! In the end, I turned up at Caitlin's house with a suitcase, hatbox and carpet bag all stuffed with clothes.
We are both big fans of the actress Helena Bonham-Carter, who I think typifies a sense of English eccentricity - slightly dishevelled, with an aristocratic edge and a (probably very large, family inherited cedarwood) wardrobe now filled with Vivienne Westwood. This shoot was very insired by Bonham Carter's style - both personal, and in her films - meaning lace, tailoring and black galore!
I'm sure many of you saw the pictures of Helena Bonham-Carter at the Golden Globes. If not, take a look at Citizen Rosebud 's beautifully written post about 'red carpet' style analysis (my favourite detail of the evening were Helena's mismatching shoes. I wanted to try and recreate this with Caitlin, but unfortunately didn't have the resources!)

The King's Speech has been nominated for so many awards, and rightly so in my opinion! I saw it last week, and enjoyed it hugely.
The idea of eccentricity fascinates and inspires me. And I don't think the term only applies to elderly women who own hundreds of cats! From Helena B-C to Amanda Harlech, Vivienne Westwood or Isabella Blow, these are women who are (or were) memorable for impeccable, and unpredictable style. I was browsing the web, and found this wonderful quote from a book written in 1866, called English Eccentrics and Eccentricities (by John Timbs):
"Into such headlong excesses our Eccentrics rarely stray; and one of our objects in sketching their ways, is to show that with oddity of character may co-exist much goodness of heart; and your strange fellow, though, according to the lexicographer, he be outlandish, odd, and eccentric, may possess claims to our notice which the man who is ever studying the fitness of things would not so readily present."

Who is your favourite/ most memorable eccentric individual? British or otherwise - real or fictional! I would love to build up some kind of database of percieved eccentricity!

The first outfit is made up of a Jaeger silk shirt from ebay, a vintage lace dress (I had to pin it at the back, as it doesn't have any fastenings) given to me by a lovely local stall holder, a black belt and a vintage white patent belt.

The second ensemble is comprised of a black Oxfam thrifted lace dress, a charity shopped hat, my favourite Jaeger grey jumper, vintage gloves (used to belong to my great-grandma) and white leather heels. The majority of the vintage brooches (and the necklace) are family owned - however, the lovely Pearl gave me the jewel encrusted duck brooch. Thank you once again for your kindness Pearl! And by the way, do take a look at the utterly extraordinary Vivienne Westwood jacket Pearl is currently showcasing on her blog!

For the third, I put my charity shopped lace skirt with a vintage Radley button up (with lace detail) that used to belong to my mum. The gloves belonged to my maternal great-grandma, and the necklace was family owned.
Oh, and one additional note. Something struck me when reading this excellent article by Style Bubble (a thoroughly modern eccentric who I admire greatly) about Christopher Kane's latest collection. The collection has been dubbed 'Princess Margaret on Acid' but - and correct me if I'm wrong - wasn't that nearly identical to the title of Luella's ss09 show (Princess Anne on acid)? I'm sure I can't have been the first to notice this... What do you think? Inadvertent plagiarism, great minds think alike, or a deliberate homage to Luella - who incidently has just written a book on British style and eccentricity! Or perhaps it is now a phrase about various-members-of-the-monarchy-on-intoxicants, that has entered the fashion lexicon?


Dodo said...

Pictures turned out really nice!! Love it!

Kate said...

Gorgeous outfits, I love the brooches, they add a really vintage feel. Gorgeous lace dress!
I adored the Kings SPeech, it made me laugh and cry and that's what I look for in a good film.

Anonymous said...

Those blue gloves are so vivid I love them! Excellent post Roz, I wrote my own on HBC's red carpet dress and The King's Speech a few days ago

I agree that it was brilliantly done - but with such an excellent cast it was always going to be! Should be interesting to see how the Oscars turn out! I adore Helena Bonham Carter - her acting, her eccentricity, her wardrobe(!) and the fact that she doesn't care what the press say about her - she will wear what she wants. That is such an admirable quality - not to conform to the way the media want you to be.

Alexandra Thérèse xx

Pearl Westwood said...

The second photo is absolutely wonderful!! I do love both Helena BC and VW,I thought Helena looked the best dressed by far, the only one brave enough to show some personality!

My Heart Blogged said...

I really like Helena Bonham-Carter's style I feel like she gets so much flack for being who she is. I think fashion isn't about trying every trend, and being in style. I think truly fashionable people wear what they love, and use their clothing as an extension of themselves. The last photo you shot looks like it was torn right out of a magazine.
My Heart Blogged

E is for Eleanor said...

Oh Helena, I see her at least once a week wondering down my road and she always absolutely stunning. The no-make-up, threw-whatever-on type of beautiful.

Caitlin is stunning! x

the Citizen Rosebud said...

The English are so proud of their Eccentrics, rivaling only Texans in the pride of the quirky and larger than life individuals. Personally, there's not a soul on my heroes list that doesn't qualify as an eccentric: Iris Apfel, Lil' Edie (from Grey Gardens), Dame Westwood, the fashion journalist Lynn Yeager comes to mind as well. I've been an ardent fan of HBC since she was a babe, not only admiring her sheer talent and beauty but that madcap style of hers.

Your photos are wonderful. My personal fave, capturing the essence of English Eccentrics is the third one, but all the pics are lush and seem like you've scanned them from a magazine rather than took them yourself.

Looking forward to your next part 2!

Ashlyn said...

I love the pins, this inspires me to begin a collection! As far as a favorite eccentric goes, I really don't have a clue! I find it hard to peg down certain people as inspirations. And I think the "on acid" incident is due to the phrase becoming more common. It is a bit odd to see it so similar, though.

AvaPilar said...

Hmm. My favorite eccentrics. I absolutely adore Kate Bush. From her unbelievable dancing to her extraordinary fashion sense I think she fits your description quite well. I will have to get back to you with more though...

sacramento said...

Fantastic photos. I love the 5th one from the top: dreamy and fab.

Anna G said...

I love crazy, eccentric HBC. She seems so genuine. Also her accent is so sexy. I love these photos. The only thing missing is a cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

gorgeous! caitlan has all the aesthetic makings of an eccentric, whether real or just channeling one. i love the turquoise gloves, a nice fun touch to a neutral outfit.

helena bonham-carter is quite a character, isn't she? i like her.

my favorite british eccentric would have to be my friend helen. red hair, vibrant personality to match, colorful outfits- she is over-the-top in every way. hurricane helen, we call her! (i've featured her on my blog a few times...)


Penny Dreadful said...

My favourite eccentric English person (apart from HBC) would probably be Barbara Cartland. Or Pam Hogg. Or Kate Bush. This country just ahs too many to choose from x

Celine said...

Wow, your friend has such a great face and that moss covered tree is the perfect model lounging spot!

Fashionistable said...

You are a great team. Wonderful to hear and see you shooting again. Another cool theme - HBC and English eccentrics. Loving the shots. Xxxxx

Alice In Fashionland said...

I adore Helena Bonham Carter. Cannot wait to see 'The King's Speech'.

It's a great shoot, I particularly like the last outfit.

Rand T said...

this is realllly lovely!

Rand T said...

this is realllly lovely!

Cloud of Secrets said...

What a beautiful girl, and creative, eclectic, romantic outfits! I like the contrast of sharp black and white against the natural mossy greens.

The very first eccentric British character who sprang into my head was Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey. I mean, he was deeply intelligent and tasteful, but full of quotations, and a detective lord, and mentally quirky after his war experiences. And he chose a most unique woman as his mate.

Melissa K said...

Just found your blog and I love it! The styling you've done is just fabulous.
I love the quote about the eccentrics also and it makes such a good point. I look forward to reading your blog in the future. - Melissa

Bea said...

gorgeous photoshoot as usual. do you enjoy being in front of or behind the camera more?
my favourite eccentric would have to be kate bush-I think she's just mad in a totally brilliant and original way! and Luella's book was one of my favourite books of last year, totally inspiring, her passion for british style and eccentricity came through so strongly, it was so lovely to read!
Bea x

Natalie Suarez said...

she has the most beautiful pout! great photography! :)

Raez said...

absolutely charming! i think your shoot here definitely has the english eccentric style pinned down! i love your source of inspiration as well--helena bonham character is one of my fave british actors:)

xx raez

Lady M said...

Love the vintage lace dress - it is simply divine!
and those white leather heels are delicious.
Another fabulously put together look. You are a great stylist and I love the way you explore the themes behind them

marthaaaa_ said...

In my latest post I tagged you with the Versatile Blogger Award, take a look here:

(: xox

veronika, tick tock vintage. said...

beautiful! i definitely get the helena vibe.

Polka Princess said...

OMG!! The shots are so amazing! Lovely styling........& Caitlin is so pretty! :)

ShopeDelano said...

Gorgeous. The styling of these photos are impeccable! And i agree with the commment above above me, definitley get the helena vibe! Love the lace gloves as well :)


La Parisienne said...

Beautiful pic! So romantic!!

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Susannah said...

I can't wait for Part II. Love the English eccentrics theme!

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