Saturday, 27 February 2010

Julie Vermeille and The House of Fairytales

In the early days of House of Fairytales, I interviewed a few of their collaborators for a piece I intended to feature ahead of one of their big events, but in the tradition of artists and artisty types, not enough of them got back to me in time. One who did though, was Julie Vermeille, whose work will be featured in the forthcoming House of Fairytales exhibition, as well as at the Craft London Exhibition of Emerging Talents. There she'll be exhibiting her new children's book 'Arthur's Seat.' (Julie has worked with the House of Fairytales at Port Eliot Festival helping kids to create their own fairytale books.)Julie's work features vintage fabric, lace and buttons to create fairytale illustrations; there's an artists talk at the Craft Central exhibition on the 18th March from 6-8pm, whilst the exhibition itself starts on the 8th.

Anyway, here's the interview we did yonks ago!

How did you get involved in House of Fairytales?

Through friendship.

Whats your favourite fairytale and why?

"The Little Red Riding hood"; the Charles Perrault version where there is no wood cutter to save grandma and the Little girl.

As a child I remember listen to this on an audio book over and over again, the part where the wolf explains why he has got big teeth, hears and mouth never quite made sense then and I was fascinated by this scary voice, like something happens on the other side...

Can you tell us about what you've been working on with HofF recently and/or any upcoming projects

I just came back from Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall with the House Of Fairy Tales.

I had a workshop there where you could make your own fairy tale story book, working on the illustrations and the book binding.

And if budget weren't an issue, what would be your dream House of Fairytales venture?

Go abroad, spread the fairy tales words. A long trip through the continent with a trailer and the whole house, picking up people on the way, sharing our skills and learning about each others fairy tales, myths and stories.

Some of my other favourite artists are also exhibiting at House of Fairytales, including Naomi Frears and Dan Hillier, who I wrote my first ever blog post about, and whose work adorns my bathroom wall!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Le Quercy

My Godmother runs the most gorgeous little gite in the south of France; (really amazing location and rates, so check it out if you fancy a holiday) and she recently took it upon herself to set up an English language magazine for expats in the area,' Le Quercy'. She asked if I could write something that might be suitable for that audience- so I wrote a piece about Vintage fashion- mentioning my friends and colleagues; Vintage Secret, Mademoiselle Robot, Fleur de Guerre, What Katie Did, and Vivien of Holloway.

Here's the piece if you can't read it properly in the scan above:

Whether we have the recession to thank, or simply the cyclical nature of fashion, Vintage is back. As we enter a new decade, the backlash against both expensive designer dresses and cheap sweat-shop labour high- street wares has only served to increase the demand for retro bargains. Saving old clothes from landfills is both eco friendly and stylish- with vintage chic being pioneered on TV shows like Mad Men and on the big screen by films like Coco- Avant Chanel, as well as on the streets of the most fashionable cities, from New York to Paris and London.

And its not just the fashion that's making a come-back. Bored of the impersonal nature of facebook friends and packed club nights, the vintage scene is bringing back afternoon tea and intimate cabaret shows. Vintage Secret is run by Naomi Thompson out of her London flat where customers can visit to try on clothes from the website over tea and cake- an experience recently recommended by British Vogue. The events page of Naomi's site lists all the latest London happenings, from masked balls, to Blitz parties, to exhibitions of Grace Kelly's clothes at the V&A.

But what to wear to a good old fashioned knees- up?Salvaging your grandmother's gladrags, sifting through the local markets and fairs, or ordering from online specialists, sometimes you need an extra helping hand putting together the perfect outfit. Parisian journalist Leatitia Wajnapel has made a career out of advising people on their style dilemmas, specialising in mixing modern looks with vintage gems. Mademoiselle Robot is the blog she now writes from the UK, alongside Mademoiselle Style where you can buy various styling packages, from an introduction to buying Vintage, to an online lunchtime consultation at your desk. I asked Laetitia about vintage shopping in her homeland;

"The vintage shopping scene in France (especially in Paris) has changed quite a lot since the not so glorious days of the smelly "friperies" of my teens in the early '90s. There are now quite a few good vintage shops in Paris, mainly selling vintage designer pieces at high prices - but that's the norm for collectors' items. Other than these you can also find a few mid-range vintage shops, but they definitely aren't as nice as the London ones; the shop assistants are snooty, the shop floors are over crowded and the clothes are always slightly overpriced. I think there is still a lot to do in Paris in terms of vintage, and Parisian sellers certainly have a lot to learn from Londoners!"

Mademoiselle Robot is one of an increasing number of style gurus showing you how to 'get the look' at home through Youtube tutorials. Its ironic that a movement about everything old-fashioned is thriving on modern technology- from Youtube videos on how to get 40s pin curls, to blogs about how to create your own millinery. Fleur de Guerre is a full time pin-up girl and the face behind the hugely successful 'Diary of a Vintage Girl' blog. Her online demonstrations on how to perfect vintage make-up and hair have gained her a dedicated following amongst the retro scene, as well as mainstream fashionistas simply wanting to add another look to their repertoire.

Despite my love of vintage fashion,I've always been faced with one serious obstacle- size. If you're larger than a size 10, chances are you'll find it hard to fit into the most beautiful vintage frocks. That everyone was tiny in the old days is a myth- but there is some truth in it. Young people were much smaller, and had very differently shaped figures to the modern woman, but people did put on weight as they got older. Sadly though, they also stopped wearing the gorgeous high fashion we associate with their respective eras, so whilst you can sometimes find larger garments, they tend to be a bit shapeless and frumpy. So when Vivien of Holloway set up a business recreating vintage styles in modern sizes, it was a runaway success, whilst Katie Halford launched What Katie Did selling vintage style lingerie, corsets and seamed stockings as modelled by the likes of Claudia Schiffer and Lara Stone.

So now even those of us whose figures are less Coco Chanel and more Bridget Jones can wear the vintage look. Next issue I'll be guiding you through the best online sites to source accessories from both vintage sources and modern designers; unique jewellery,fascinators and handbags from independent sellers.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

LFW highlights

Last LFW post I promise; just wanted to post some pics of my favourite outfits- all my other pictures have been my own, but these I've taken from the Showstudio site, which kept me up to date on all the stuff I missed/wasn't invited to/couldn't be arsed to attend.First though, did anyone manage to pick up a copy of Station magazine whilst out and about? An interview I did with The Correspondents is in there, but haven't managed to get my hands on a copy yet.
Now; back to business.Stuff I liked:

Mark Fast- not just cos of the normal size ladies, but also have a genuine love of knitwear.

Erdem; really like the vintage lacey texture and waisted silhouette, as well as muted autumnal shades.

Just too cute outfit from Mulberry, though pains me to look at that model's thighs- I just wanna feed her a big pie!

Gorgeous sexpot of a dress from Julien Macdonald

Love the theatrics of the Topshop Unique show- also have a die-hard love affair with chunky knits, even though I have come to terms with the fact that they make me look like an obese sheep.

Christopher Kane was a pleasant surprise with his fairly conventional floral embroidery; I'd not been a big fan of his futuristic stuff, but this I'm much more comfortable with.

My hands down favourite designer, however, was Mary Katrantzou- LOVE LOVE LOVE. Have an ongoing obsession with prints, both vintage and new, and these are some absolute stunners; so intricate and detailed, plus the ruffled number below has a touch of Luella about it, whose absence was very much felt at LFW.

Finally, for a real pull out all the stops, fashion at its most fascinating affair, check out the pics from Ziad Ghanem's 'Lucy in the sky with Diamonds'; photos by Chris Moore.AMAZY.

Monday, 22 February 2010

London know..

London Fashion Week. Yadda yadda yadda.And before you suggest it, yes, this attitude IS probably a lot to do with the fact that I haven't been invited to any of the really cool shows/got any of the goodie bags/become BFF with any hot celebs/designers.I openly admit that all these elements factor into what I can only describe as the 'meh' attitude I have towards LFW this year. The thing about following the fashion and celebrity clan is that most of the time its like watching a pretty rubbish soap, but then once or twice a year, you know they're going to haul out a real stonker of an episode; so everyone tunes in. And sometimes that's really successful, but other times you realise that actually you haven't been watching the soap for a while now and you're not sure who everyone is and really you can't see why you ever watched it in the first place cos its all a bit rubbish. Then people start talking about how you just don't get it cos you're not a proper fan and having been paying attention, so then you feel all left out and like maybe it IS just because you don't know what you're talking about and that maybe shoulder pads ARE actually cool again and Eastenders is actually an accurate portrayal of society today.Whatever. Fact is, I stopped following the fickle flow of fashion a while ago now and as a result LFW just seems like a bit of a joke.I suppose it doesn't help that the fashion I really care about and work with most of the time is vintage or vintage inspired, which doesn't feature big time in the global fashion week franchise. Anyway, I'll talk you through the couple of things I've been to and try to sound, you know, like I know what I'm talking about and give a toss etc.
Thanks to the editor of Deen magazine I got to go to the Maria Grachvogel show on Friday- and don't get me wrong, I'm UBER grateful that I had the chance to see something.Cos like the whole tuning in just to glimpse a bit of that special episode shindig, you really have to go to a bit of LFW just to check you're not missing out. It was all quite classic and nice and meh, some tie-dye sort of prints etc. Yasmin le Bon was there, she looked about 20. And Erin oConnor. Best fashion try-hard spotted here; girl wearing Jesus style crown of twigs/thorns. excellent effort.
On Saturday I was beginning to feel a bit deathy, snot head starting to set in, so only went to Belle Sauvage at On/Off. Cool prints here, and some leathery stuff, all a bit Xena Warrior princess meets 5th Element. Weird big hair made them look like Ridley Scott's Alien also weirdy Super Slow Zombie walk which did at least mean we waited around for an hour to see models walking up and down for 10 minutes rather than waiting around for an hours to see models walking up and down for 5 minutes.RESULT.They also had some good plaits in the hair which I tried to get a decent picture of, and I'm always a fan of big eyeliner, even if it is a bit death-stare here.

On Saturday I did also get to go and see Lee Klabin's amazing showroom. She counts Dita von Teese and Sarah Jessica Parker ( who wore the feathered corset pictured) amongst fans, and has sort of reinvented the corset so that it flatters your boobs rather than squishing them flat.See; any fashion I do get excited about is based on pretty old-fashioned principles! Gabby Young has worn lots of Lee's pieces in music videos, and for performances and the like; you can read more from Gabby in her LFW diary on Run-Riot.
Yesterday I came down with a really gawd-awful cold which is great, cos now I have an excuse (thats not 'I wasn't invited') not to go to anymore LFW stuff.

The Launch of Miss Kiki Salon Presents

I've already blogged about this on the MKSP blog here, so won't be long, just wanted to post a couple of pics, one of Gabby Young looking gorgeous as ever, and one of my mum and sister and me all at the launch- so nice for them to get to see something I've worked on for once. There was a funny moment where my mum told me off for being on the phone tweeting.I pointed out that this was my JOB, but she clearly does not buy that at all.

Anyway, good time had by all, Gabby's singing utterly amazing as always; book tickets to her next gig now here, and follow her LFW diary here. Also the amazing MKSP scarves are finally available to buy online; only 50 of each scarf were made, so get in there sharpish if you want one; I have Pandora which is the one Gabs is wearing in the pic above.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Hush Sample Sale

Need I say more???See you there.

Monday, 15 February 2010

More Library larks.

I seem to be constantly writing about gigs at The British Library at the moment. Tomorrow night at 6.30 there'll be a celebration of Omar Khayyam's meditations on life,death and happiness. You can discover too the translator of the Rubaiyat, Edward FitzGerald, who made the poem his own and created one of the masterpieces of English verse.

The evening will feature readings in Farsi by Lobat Vala and Narguess Farzad (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) accompanied by live Persian classical music performed by Vida Edalat and the Saba Ensemble; a recitation of Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat by Emily Bruni and Michael Maloney; introductions to Omar Khayyam himself by Francois de Blois (SOAS) and to Edward FitzGerald by Tony Briggs, editor of the most recent edition of the poem.

I have a bit of a fetish for old books, especially beautifully illustrated texts. My grandmother has given me her copy of the Rubaiyat, its from 1938, the original publication thats on show at the museum at the moment.It even has its limited edition number handwritten in the back- definitely one of the few things I'd grab if my house were burning down. The line engravings are by John Buckland Wright, as you can see from the above image, they are wonderfully exotic and sensual. When my grandmother gave me the book, she was utterly appalled to hear that I had no idea what the Rubaiyat was- apparently it was something her generation were made to learn off by heart and recite.Since then I've become a bit obsessed with the poem; I love anything from ancient Middle Eastern cultures.
So I've been collecting other versions of the poem; the one above is from a book I bought off Etsy for $12! It was published in 1952, and the illustrations are by Edmund Dulac, one of my absolute favourite golden age illustrators.The scan hasn't come out that well; I think because the plates are so shiny; here is a slightly better image I got from le web:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentines Day

When my grandfather died and my granny had to move out of their old home, we had to go through the boxes and boxes of old photographs she'd been hoarding. Not only do they chronicle a marriage that lasted over 60 years, they're also a wonderful insight into the fashion from the 30s onwards. There are literally hundreds I have to scan in, but here are just a few that I have managed to upload already.I also have some of the beautiful invitations and stationery from their wedding day which I'll also have to share with you at some point.So here you go, Peter Hutton Fox and Beryl Florence Fox.With some of their many dogs and their first child (above)

With my two uncles, my mum (bottom left) and aunt.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

In anticipation of the Tim Burton Alice extravaganza, I've been gathering all my favourite Wonderland images together for a post, so when I got a press release from The British Library last night, I knew the time had come to blog about it. Home to the original Alice in Wonderland manuscript, the British Library is teaming up with Disney to bring us 'Curiouser and Curiouser: The Genius of Alice In Wonderland' celebrating Alice in words, conversation and film. Michael Sheen(White Rabbit) Matt Lucas (Tweedledum and Tweedledee) and Christopher Lee (TheJabberwock) who all star in the forthcoming Tim Burton version will be participating in the event on Wednesday 24th February, 18.30 at the British Library. Writer Will Self will be discussing the Alice stories, as well as legendary producer Richard Zanuck and co-producer Joe Roth of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, and there'll also be a screening of the earliest film version from 1903,recently restored by the BFI and shown with a live piano accompaniment.Tickets here, get them now as I think this will sell out FAST.

Probably my favourite version of Alice- equally creepy and enchanting; you'll never forget the taxidermied white rabbit coming to life and feeding himself sawdust;as trippy as Lewis would have wanted.

Kate Beckinsale in Alice through the looking glass, a 1998 itv film.

Gwen Stefani

Reese Witherspoon

For a great list of all fairytale inspired shoots, check out this site.

Beyonce as Alice for Disney

Shoot for Vogue Italia

The most amazing underwater photoshoot.

The infamous Vogue photoshoot by Annie Leibowitz, styled by the legendary Grace Coddington. So many celebs in all the shots; all stunning.

more shoots here:

Everything Alice:

Alice things to buy:

Alice fashion;
Alice Temperly 'Alice range'
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