Sunday, 29 May 2011

MiroSlav Tichy

On Thursday I went on a fashion walk run by Fox and Squirrel - I'll be writing a post all about it this week- but in the meantime I wanted to share with you some photographs by an artist I discovered at one of the stops on our tour. The LN-CC sells clothes, music and books, and it was one of these books that caught my eye. It was a celebration of the works of Miroslav Tichy who from the 1960s to 1985 took thousands of surreptitious pictures of women in his hometown of Kyjov in the Czech Republic. He generally used homemade cameras made from cardboard tubes, tin cans and other materials. 

Most of his subjects were unaware they are being photographed- which gives his work a kind of creepy, voyeuristic quality. I love the soft, out of focus effect which, though from a completely different era, conjures up the aesthetic of great photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Big Picture

I've recently had the privilege of contributing to a fabulous new publication, Slink; a fashion and lifestyle bible for women size 14+.The magazine was founded by stylist and journalist  Rivkie Baum, who wanted to provide a magazine celebrating curvier women- this isn't about curvy vs skinny though, its just about being happy with how you look.The fact is that most of us are closer to a size 14 than to the sizes we see on the catwalk and on the pages of most glossies. 

I recently attended a talk by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk who celebrate not only plus size models, but  all different shapes, sizes, colours and ages that wouldn't normally make it onto the catwalk or pages of the mainstream fashion industry. Model Erin O'Connor spoke about how her career made her appreciate her own unique look, but that she still comes across challenges, being too tall to fit into designers' sample sizes for example. Other models shot by Rankin to promote the AWBTC message include more mature models, those who are too short to walk on runways, plus size models and ethnic minorities.My new favourite model is Naomi Shimada,pictured above and in the centre below in white. Naomi says of AWBTC:

Fashion is screaming out for something like this. I was a straight model once but just didn’t want to play the game any more. I saw what it was doing to other models. Women pick up those images and think they are real. Now I’ve crossed over into ‘plus size,’ and I’m part of something much more real and interesting. All Walks is such a great idea because we need to celebrate a much more diverse range of beauty.’

I'm similarly impressed by Adele speaking out about her weight.Whilst I don't agree with everything she says (particularly not her recent tax rant!)I feel strongly that Adele is making a very important point about women in the public eye being celebrated only for how they look these days. She has oodles of talent, why should she look like a model too?I actually think that she always looks stunning, but the fact that her weight has been made such an issue in the press is a sad sign of our current obsession.Its not like she's unhealthily overweight-she's an average sized girl.

Its hard to strike a balance in the big weight debate- I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge that there are women out there, both in the limelight and out of it, who are naturally thin, and I'm in no way saying that they look anything less than amazing.Similarly there are women who work very hard at staying slim, and I have total respect for them-if thats what makes you feel happy and good about yourself then great. I hate nothing more people implying that those who are skinny are less feminine or beautiful than curvy women. It's all really part of a much bigger picture;what we look like shouldn't be such a big deal.It's nothing like as bad for men, though our quest for physical perfection is starting to infiltrate their world with anti-ageing products and plastic surgery for men on the rise.Which is a real shame, because I always fall for men based on their character rather than their looks- talent, intelligence, kindness, even flaws; all these will have me head over heels long before a set of abs or a chiselled jaw. And I think that we're massively insulting men in general to assume that they're completely different from us and so fickle that they're only interested in what women look like. So who are the real culprits?Isn't it other women who we dress for?So when will we stop putting this ridiculous pressure for perfection on each other?I really hope that by the time I'm Helen Mirren's age, whether I look as cracking as her or not, we'll be living in a time where women are valued for their talents and personalities as much as for their appearances.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tiny Dreams

My friend Wirrow is giving away this piece of artwork to whoever writes the best tiny story about dreams; 20-30 words. It will then be uploaded to the HitRecord site, which I've blogged about before here.
I find dreams really fascinating, particularly since developing narcolepsy which comes with lots of weird side effects like lucid dreaming.I read somewhere that supposedly people find nothing more interesting than their own dreams, and nothing more boring than hearing about other people's!
My tiny story goes;
Sometimes I dream so hard that when I wake up, I need a little nap to recover.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Fine Frenzy

I've been spending my Sunday exploring the back catalogue of fantastic singer Alison Sudol, otherwise known as A Fine Frenzy. I love her album Bomb in a Birdcage and the music videos are just magic.Here are two of my favourites; enjoy!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

One Vintage

Earlier this week I went to the launch of D&Me, a great new Chelsea boutique stocking some lovely labels, as well as its own in-house vintage brand, One Vintage.Sound familiar?You may have spotted some of the One gems on Net a Porter, though they never stay on the site for very long, as each is a completely unique, reworked vintage piece; sometimes very close to their original condition, other times transformed with additions of carefully sourced fabrics and embellishments.

The One Vintage showroom is upstairs, where Marcelle Symons and her team of seamstresses craft the collection. I was in absolute vintage heaven- all my favourite styles were hidden away in this Aladdin's cave of delights; delicate lace,antique corsets, victorian jackets,wedding dresses, feather boas and diamante showgirl headpieces.I could have spent hours there. Here are pictures of some of my favourite finds, though these photos really don't do the pieces justice.Do go along and explore- its like the most luxurious dressing up box you could imagine!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Shoot by Felicity Lynch photos by James Hooker

If evidence was needed that my biological clock is ticking away, I guess this post is it. I turned 27 yesterday and am broodier than ever. So here it is, a post about babies, or rather Babiekins Magazine and this wonderful shoot thats in issue Five. Honestly its enough to make you want a little person just to dress them up in all the amazing outfits. The collar the little girl is wearing in these pics is by the super talented Amy Phipps who runs a number of craft classes, teaching everything from embroidery to crochet at Just Sew in Brighton.

So many of my friends are creating wonderful fashion pieces of their own, its really inspiring me to get designing. Natasha Bailie has made a beautiful vintage-inspired dress in gorgeous floral prints and Lena Weber has designed a range of retro blouses; this  1930s one is my favourite and there's 20% off at the moment!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Birthday Wishlist

One of the best bits about having a blog is that its an excellent way to leave *subtle* hints about things that you'd like to receive for birthdays/Christmases and so forth. So as my birthday is on Monday, here is my wishlist of little things I'd love to receive. Family, friends; feel free to go nuts.

Pretty much anything from Luna and Curious , Secret Arcade or The Shop Floor Project.

Anything by Ali Miller, this bowl is from Culture Label but you can buy her stuff from Drink, Shop Do at the moment too.I'd be chuffed with a bag of penny sweets from there as well actually...
On an even greedier note, I'd really like tickets to Wilderness Festival, a new gathering organised by the people behind Secret Garden Party. Headline acts include  Anthony and the Johnsons, Gogol Bordello and Laura Marling.
More than anything though, I'd just like to receive some birthday cards.Facebook and twitter messages are all well and good, but nothing beats a lovely, real-life card.

Creative Walls by Geraldine James

Images from From Creative Walls by Geraldine James published by CICO Books, photography by Andrew Wood

The lovely folk at Cico books have sent me one of their latest publications; Creative Walls by Selfridges Home Buying Manager Geraldine James. The book is full of beautiful images of walls turned into works of art, clever storage devices or photographic moodboards. 

For someone like me who keeps everything; from old postcards to my grandmother's photographs, organising and displaying it can be a challenge. My jewellery box is currently overflowing so I may try this framed display in the image above, as I always feel its a real waste for my necklaces to be hidden away in a box.

I'm afraid the images above of a wall decorated with Vogue covers has prompted me to tell a very sad wall story of my own.
When I went away to boarding school aged 16, I started decorating the walls of whatever room I was sleeping in with my favourite images from magazines. They always had to be black and white, and ranged from Ralph Lauren Romance adverts, to iconic photoshoots and spreads. Over the years I had enough torn out sheets to cover a good couple of walls- including pages from Italian Vogue on my gap year and other foreign publications.I moved them into whatever new room I was living in, through university and then to Brixton where I was living with some girlfriends.When I finally moved in with my boyfriend, I  knew I wouldn't get away with plastering half his flat with fashion, so took my collection to my parent's new, rented house where I had a room. Last year, they moved out of that house and into their new home, and it was only when I went to visit them there for the first time that I said to my mum, 'you did bring my wall of pictures from the old house, didn't you?'She had NOT. They'd been chucked. 8 years worth of collecting thrown away.It's not like I can't find most of the images I had online and print them off or whatever, its the fact that those scraps of paper had travelled with me through all of my adult life, cheering me up at boarding school, gracing the walls of my university halls, making me feel at home when abroad. So that is my tragic tale of wall woe; I realise only other sentimental hoarders will feel my pain, so sorry to bore those of you sensible enough to have all your images safely framed. I'm now in the process of getting all the artwork I own properly mounted so I can display it safely- one of the benefits of doing PR for some artists means I've managed to build up a lovely little collection of signed, limited edition prints and the like.

The book wouldn't be complete without a mention of the Queen of Walls,  Supermarket Sarah who Gabby Young and I created a wall for last year. Sarah's had pop-up walls in Selfridges and her latest effort is dedicated to one of my favourite magazines, Australian publication Frankie-check it out here. It really does encourage you to do something different with your wall space-however small your flat or house, you've got to have some!
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