Monday, 27 June 2011

Starless Night

I've only just discovered the wonderful headpiece designer Tomihiro Kono, whose work is featured in this video by one of my favourite photographers, Wendy Bevan. Her work always seems like its from another time, or another world; very fairytale which is completely my cup of tea.Images below are from Tomihoro's website.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Black Diamond

2 lovers. 1 diamond. A thief. A curse. A classic film noir movie coming straight from late night Paris in the 1960s.
And you. You are the spectator, but also the actor. Only you will discover the secrets of The Black Diamond.

Stella Artois have commissioned Felix Barret of Punchdrunk-producers of the BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN (Mask of the Red Death)- to create their own immersive experience this summer. And the best bit-it's completely free, just register for tickets as soon as possible as only the first couple of thousand lucky people will be successful. I can't recommend this enough, I honestly have never experienced anything as brilliant as the Punchdrunk production,Mask of the Red Death.It's better than the theatre, better than a film-more like actually being IN a play or film yourself; or in one of those dreams where you know you're dreaming and don't want to wake up...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Opinionated Objects at Debut Contemporary-Tinsel and Twinkle need YOU!

It's with great pleasure that I dedicate another post to my two favourite artists, Tinsel Edwards and Twinkle Troughton. I've worked with Tins and Twink since the very start of my career, writing my first piece for Dazed Digital about Tinsel's work. You can see their influence in all areas of my work; from the gorgeous website they designed for me to Twinkle's masterpiece that heads up this blog and the pieces they've both made for projects like Gabberdashery.

Its been wonderful watching their styles evolve-Tins and Twink have known each other since they were 9 years old, and their art tends to have some similarities such as a pre-occupation with history and an examination of British identity.They both often turn to typography to narrate their images or include historical quotes, as with Twinkle's series of paintings featuring Queen Victoria,like the one below. Tinsel has been using found objects to paint her slogans on, like the wooden boards above and the jewellery box below.

And now, on Saturday 30th July you can witness Tinsel and Twinkle transform your own 'unwanted' object into a work of art at Debut Contemporary in exchange for a donation to the Ubuntu Education Fund. Tell Tins and Twink your hopes and dreams for the future, for our planet, for yourself and they'll translate these ideas into text on your object. The pair will be painting in the gallery window from 11am to 5pm; to arrange for your object to be painted email to guarantee a place, as otherwise it will be on a first come, first served basis. 

I'm actually away this weekend so won't be there myself, but please go along in my place if you can to support these hugely talented ladies.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Illamasqua Lash workshop


I've been working with Illamasqua for a while now as they sponsor my client Gabby Young, so I'm always hearing about how amazing their products are from Gabby and her make-up artist, but really haven't experimented with many for myself. So when they kindly donated a course for 4 at their new make-up school to the Bloggers for Japan auction I organised, I secretly hoped someone I know might place the winning bid, and that they might then choose me as one of their 3 friends to invite. And luckily thats exactly what happened, so yesterday I went with my friend Roz, who bought the course, her sister Lizzie and friend Fi to Beak street for two hours of make-up heaven.
Our class was taken by make-up artist Clare Lille who started by giving us a tutorial on Roz, showing us how to use some of the basic products, including the easiest way to create the perfect smoky eye and how to define brows.

We all got to use a new foundation which Illamasqua is launching on Thursday, inspired by cult Asian beauty balms and it really was very different from most foundations I've tried. I generally stick to tinted moisturisers as I hate the feeling of wearing foundation, but with this one it honestly didn't feel like I was wearing any. Other tricks Clare showed us were how to get liquid liner right using a brush, eyeliner cake and sealing gel-all of which I ended up buying as I was totally converted.The other thing I've wanted to master my whole life is how to do contouring so it looks like I have cheekbones without looking like I'm in a panto. Clare showed me how to use an angled brush and a sort of grey/brown shade called Hollow to create the shadow under my cheekbones(which are sadly largely hidden by fat).

The main point of the course, however, was to create our own, bespoke false eyelashes. We were given a basic set of falsies and then let loose on a whole array of embellishments, from origami style paper bits, to mini pompoms, pearls, diamante studs, feathers, netting; you name it, we could customise it and stick it on the lashes. Now I've seen how easy it is to do this once, I will be doing it myself all the time. A pair of basic false eyelashes is fairly inexpensive, as are all the bits you need to stick on them and the only equipment you need is some glue and a pair of tweezers. The lashes then last for up to 20 wears if you take care of them. Lizzie is in a band (The Lorelles) so is used to wearing quite dramatic eyelashes, as you can tell from her huge feathery lashes which she chose to wear under her eyes.

I painted mine with a purple iridescent pigment then added some purple netting extensions and pastel green and pink gems along the top.

We had such a blast; being let loose on all the Illamasqua products with the help of an expert like Clare to show you how everything should be done, was a dream come true. Its really made me determined to spend more time on my make-up and not see it as a chore, as when you have the right equipment and products, its really very quick and simple to achieve great looks. You can see all the courses available here. If you missed your chance to help raise money for Japan in my auction, you can still contribute by buying Gabby Young and Friends' song for Japan or at this Illustrators' event next weekend. Many thanks to Roz for buying the course, to Illamasqua for donating it and to Clare for being such a patient teacher, despite us being fairly unruly, demanding coffee, and running over our finish time by about 20 minutes!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fathers' Day Gift Guide

Rare Books from Treadwells Bookshop like this copy of The Complete Herbalist: or, People their Own Physicians, £45

Music Sheet covers from Lord Whitney's collection, on Supermarket Sarah, £8.25 

'Who sings what' by Rose Stallard at The Print Club London £100 signed, limited edition of 30

P&Correctional Facility from Present and Correct £9

Jaques Petanque/Boules from Pedlar's £69.50

Hope these recommendations were useful. If you have oodles of money, you may also appreciate this lovely list of suggestions from Vintage Seekers.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Charm School at West Lexham

A couple of posts ago I mentioned some of the festivals I was looking forward to this summer, explaining that my favourites are those that keep it small and intimate rather than the giants like Glastonbury. The problem with a huge festival like Glasto is that it doesn't feel all that much like a holiday.Its so vast that you have to either be really organised and punctual if you're going to manage to meet up with friends, or you're constantly on your phone, battling for reception and queuing up to recharge your battery.This year Orange have even brought out these special wellies which use the heat from your feet to recharge your phone!Evidently no-one from the development team have ever been to Glastonbury on a muddy year, as anyone putting something like a phone below knee level may as well just chuck it in a portaloo!

My point is that when I go away for a break I like to relax-stop tweeting, stop checking my emails and preferably turn off my phone altogether.Because let's face it, if you have your phone with you, even if its meant to be just for finding your friends, the temptation to check your inbox is always huge, and then when you do spot a work-related email, it can ruin your weekend.

Last year I co-curated a pop-up called The Parlour with Dana Gornitzki, editor of Mien Magazine, a site dedicated to old fashioned culture, style and the way we live now. The Parlour was a phone and laptop free zone where we encouraged activities like parlour games and letter writing, all served with a helping of cream tea and conversation. We loved how people visited to actually spend time chatting to each other in person, playing a game of scrabble or just reading the Sunday papers in each others' company.
Dana has now developed the idea further with a Charm School getaway- a weekend away from the stress of urban life, dedicated to more old fashioned pursuits that will make you a happier person and more importantly, a more charming person to be around.

 Hosted at the beautiful West Lexham estate, this is exactly the sort of vacation I'm craving- a river runs through the grounds for messing about in boats and we'll even be given some gardening and topiary tips.Other pursuits will include letter writing, deportment sessions and general etiquette coaching from hostess Dana and her special guests.

My mum and my grandfather on holiday at the beach. Simple outdoors fun!

You can book your tickets here . Details here of how you can win two nights in a cosy nook at West Lexham and two people attend the Charm School for one course fee.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I like big pants

Fellow stylist, vintage enthusiast and friend of mine Frankie Murray recently styled this video for a lovely lingerie brand called Ayten Gasson. I've seen some of the pieces in person and they really are beautifully made, and have much more room for boobs and bums than most equivalent 'slip of a thing' pieces. There are some real bargains to be had in the sale section of the site, this longline bra being my favourite, reduced from £64 to £19.20.
Have a little watch of this behind the scenes video of the latest Ayten Gasson shoot. Look out for the beautiful hats and fascinators by Gabberdashery contributor Hatastic, and also for the really huge white pants in one of the window shots. Desperate for them.The bigger the better is generally my motto, and pants are no exception.
I'm actually really excited as I hope to be working with Frankie on a shoot in August, so watch this space.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

1920s bride.

photo from The Telegraph site, Rex Features

I don't usually write posts about celebs, but I really love Lily Allen's 1920s bridal headpiece.Not fussed about the dress, but really love this style of veil, where the face is framed by flowers or the hair-its a bit princess Leia. Very romantic. You can find similar pieces on  Etsy by the likes of RetroVintageWedding.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


I've been to a lot of festivals over the years, from iconic gatherings like Glastonbury to the 2nd year of Secret Garden Party, which still only hosted about 3,000 people and was one of the best weekends I've ever had. Sadly Secret Garden has now become a victim of its own success, growing out of the niche, 'house party in a lovely garden' feel that it enjoyed the first few years. Last year I queued for over 5 hours just to get in as they were so slow with the security checks on the door.Not impressed.But the organisers do still have brilliant ideas and great taste when it comes to bands and activities to feature, so I'm very excited about their latest offering, a new festival in Oxfordshire called Wilderness.Headline acts include Gogol Bordello, Laura Marling and Anthony and the Johnsons, there's brainy stuff from the Idler academy and Intelligence Squared, whilst The Last Tuesday Society will be bringing along their Masked Ball extravaganza.

Silas Wynd, the man behind The Last Tuesday Society is also opening his doors to the public for a couple of summer soirees, aka Wyndstock. The June Midsummer Night's Ball is already sold out, but there are still tickets for the August Country House Party; see the house below.For real.Tickets are £60 including dinner, dancing, camping, breakfast. Dress code: flowery dresses, linen suits, taffeta and lace,panama hats and spats.Think Bright Young Things/The Great Gatsby/Brideshead Revisited.

Another great festival not far from London is Standon Calling. Its a lovely size; you won't get lost or end up unable to find your mates, and everyone gets involved in the fantastic themes. Last year Gabby Young and I ran a Gabberdashery shop in the little village they built-you can see pictures here. There's even a real swimming pool!Some great acts in the line-up this year including Hercules and Love Affair, Revere, The Moulettes and Dan le Sac. This year its all about Gods and Monsters..

Gabby Young&other animals at Standon Calling 2010 photo by Holly Langford

If you don't even want to leave London, then don't worry, Field Day is the city's answer to countryside festival fun. Highlights include , CocknBullKid, Warpaint and Willy Mason.

So you've got your festival tickets, now for the wardrobe.One of our original Gabberdashery contributors is Rosa Bloom, who spends half the year travelling around India and the far east collecting wonderful new materials to turn into her summer festival collection.She then tours around all the best boutique festivals in her Rosamobile selling sequinned leggings,tulle bustles, striped playsuits and frilly silk knickers as well as handmade jewellery and feather headpieces.She's holding an exclusive preview on Monday 13th June in Kilburn, details below. 

'Sea Circus' Sequin Playsuit in Green (also available in Turquoise and Pink) Available from June.
Size S (8-10) / Size M (12-14) / Size L (16-18)

You can still get some festival gems from our Gabberdashery wall for Supermarket Sarah, and of course Sarah's own festival themed wall.
You can catch Gabby performing at Larmer Tree Festival, alongside wonderful acts like Imelda May and Caitlin Rose.Its a wonderfully intimate festival with only 4,000 people and lots of amazing new talent in the gorgeous setting of the Wiltshire/Dorset border.See you there!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

WilliamVintage for Browns

Supermodel Jacquetta Wheeler wearing 1959 Dior Couture from WilliamVintage

As an avid vintage wearer, it's been very interesting to see the gradual rise of vintage fashion in the mainstream. Whilst it could initially be mistaken for another passing trend, accredited to the influence of TV shows like Mad Men, it's now beginning to be acknowledged as an integral part of any women's wardrobe, and a red carpet staple. 
Finally the glamour and timeless style of vintage is starting to be associated with glossy editorials and black tie events again rather than charity shops and old ladies. William Banks-Blaney, founder of WilliamVintage, recently dressed Gillian Anderson for the BAFTAS, and here is Jacquetta Wheeler wearing one of his 1950s Dior pieces in 'Playing Fashion Russia'. 
And as vintage takes its rightful place alongside the best contemporary designers at red carpet awards shows, so it also does in store at iconic British shop Browns, where WilliamVintage will be stocked from Friday 10th June.
William says,

"I have always been inspired by Browns' exacting sense of fashion and editing so I am thrilled that WilliamVintage has been invited within their stores. WilliamVintage in Browns will be vintage clothing at its best - relevant, timeless, inherently modern and in many cases, the early works of the great fashion icons of the 20th century."

William's stock includes vintage Balenciaga, Balmain, Cardin, Courreges, Ossie Clark, Desses, Dior, Lanvin, Madame Gres and many others. If only I had an event to go that was worthy of one of these frocks!A girl can dream.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Thrill of the Thrift

Part of the joy of buying vintage at markets and charity shops is discovering pieces that someone else has no use for, but that you are delighted with.The joy is doubled when you manage to negotiate a sweet deal.So I was delighted to discover Thrift-ola, an online shop full of treasures collected by Leona from her travels. She even has a 'Make me an offer Monday' scheme for newsletter subscribers, whereby you can haggle like you would at a car boot sale! E-mail with the product name & the price you'd like to pay for the item you've had your eye on, then if Leona accepts the offer she'll change the price on the website and you have the chance to snap it up for a bargain price.Current gems on the site include this 1950s typewriter, and two kitchen treasures I have my eye on; a Blackbird Pie funnel and an embroidered tablecloth.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Summer Loving

Last summer I wrote a blog post about some of my summer wardrobe style icons, from Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty, to Frida Kahlo, to Alabama in True Romance. Here's another selection of favourites.

Marion in Raiders of the lost Ark.What a film.Why don't they don't make them like that anymore?The beautiful white taffeta dress she ruins in the desert is one of my all time favourites; the polka dot ruffles, the plunging back and rosette bustle?That Nazi-loving archaeologist had great taste in frocks. I flinch everytime I watch the bit where Indiana tears the bottom off.I'd have kicked him in the face and gone back to the dude who bought her the dress.The silk slip she wears towards the end is a stunner too.

Next up two of the best blondes, Brigitte and Marilyn.

And now for the best bit-I've discovered an amazing Etsy store that will recreate these Marilyn dresses to your exact measurements. Even the bikini below.Genius. Get your own Monroe wardrobe from Dainty Rascal.

And if you want to work the floral print trend this summer, go for one of these beautiful 1950s style dresses from Natasha Bailie; this is the Betty for Mad Men fans!Natasha also sells original vintage dresses here.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Art of Sleep

Want Audrey's tassle ear plugs and sleep silk mask?Follow my new Tumblr, The Art of Sleep!You'll find useful links to products like these, as well as paintings, photographs, quotes and more celebrating everything dreamy.I was diagnosed with narcolepsy when I was 14, so this is the one field in which I am a total expert.
Whilst we're on the subject, you can also read my interview with author Essie Fox on her Victorian Gothic novel, 'The Somnambulist' for Mien Magazine.

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