Saturday, 18 October 2008

Sunday Herald Shoot One

The editor of the lifestyle section of The Sunday Herald, Eva Arrighi, is on maternity leave so her assistant, Carrie McAdam was on trial as to whether she could take over temporarily. These were the four days I was working with her in which she nervously and with a great deal of uncertainty pulled off a very successful shoot.

On the Friday we collected clothes from Glasgow and Edinburgh. On the Monday and Tuesday we had the two shoots and on Wednesday we returned clothes. Shoot one was at Govanhill swimming baths; an abandoned and decrepit maze of rooms with empty pools spotted with mould and asbestos. It was here we did a shoot with what Carrie had in mind to be 'lady of the manor'. Girly colours, but prim and properly put together. Our model, Nicola, from Superior has the perfect face with doll features and carried with look with stunning grace. I went on to the Superior Model Management website to put up a photograph of her, but they only have scans of pictures from The Sunday Herald despite the fact Nicola has the pictures on disk. It is not a particularly impressive portfolio at all which is a shame when she is such an excellent model. The make-up was done by Ainslie Currie, who circles around almost any fashion related event, shoot or anything that requires make-up in Glasgow. She also did the hair which was fantastic. I cannot wait for the shoot to come out so I can see it in the paper.

My favourite shot was a waist up shoot in a room with grey flaking wallpaper. The model wore a red velvet vintage bubble dress with three bow detailed straps across the back. We piled her neck with pearls and put a grey bow in her hair handmade by William Chamber's Millinery

The photographer, Kirsty Anderson took some fantastic photographs. She really managed to capture some brilliant looks and it was interesting having to work on location, in a run down abandoned place with no electricity and having to managed with what we had.

The whole day was so different from my experience with Kelly at The Herald which was rushed and fast paced; fitting in three shoots into a day. It had a lot to do with Carrie's nervousness and her conscious effort to make it go as perfectly as possible. And fortunately for her and all of us it did.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


I can't believe I have not even touched my computer since my last blog. That was five whole days ago! And the last blog was not even particularly informative: I just wanted to show off my pink patent Doc Martins!!

Since my last blog I have been working a lot, attending The 'little' Big Freak and, on Friday, starting my first of four days working with The Sunday Herald as assistant stylist. Still unpaid, but I am as yet building up my experience so we will see...

I have felt completely swamped with my ever growing to-do list. I was going to write a preview for 'The Big Freak'; an alternative and fresh take on a gig/club night in the form of a one night festival event. I still intend to do it, but it was going to originally be written before I attended the 'little' promotion at The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh on Friday night, but it will now be written as a review/ preview. Although must be written in the next couple of days. I have also been writing to various people of importance to remind them I am still here and brilliant and looking for something to do and researching new people to write to and work with. But, all of this has lacked any real structure. My work is sporadic. For a few days I will be thrown into it, writing constantly and ending the day feeling incredibly productive. Then I will spend a (longer) period doing nothing and finding it harder and harder to pick up my laptop again. But, now I am feeling productive again and I will strive to keep it that way more often than not. One of the things I lack in order to do this is structure. I need to organise my ever changing daily timetable. I need discipline.

OK, so I might be trying to change myself overnight, but everyone has to start somewhere. One way, and a very enjoyable way at that, is to give myself a breath of fresh, crisp air in my clothes. I want to feel professional and on top of the game; so surely this season's new power dressing is for me? Why yes it is. But not crazy 80s with shoulder pads and acid bright suits. For me I like the more Glamorous suits. Think film noir. Think Marliene Dietrich. Think 'Lesmoking'.

I know the 80s is the particular decade that is being reflected on, and I must confess certain aspects of the trend are growing on me. I did try on a pair of harem pants yesterday.

I can see why they are causing such discussion, and have been for a long time, as they are not the most flattering trend. But I think they are such an interesting and unique shape and the idea of these structural, jutting silhouetted ladies is so appealing and, for me, quite sexy. Plus, the majority's disdain only makes me more determined to be able to pull something like that off. I'm not too competitive am I?

From seeing the trend around so much, whether being praised or tagged with the inevitable 'MC Hammer' insult, it has forced me to at least debate about what side I fall on. On Friday we were collecting outfits for the two shoots we will do on Monday and Tuesday; one of the themes being structural attire. At this point I was forced to see the items from a different angle. Not just, 'would I wear this?', but now 'how would this look on camera?', 'does it capture the trend?' etc. For example, I picked up a Balenciaga box jacket which I thought was truly hideous, yet it encapsulated the power dressing style perfectly as it formed this large square shape, kept in place by the foam material of the jacket. It made me realised how difficult and important it is to distant my tastes from fashion styling. Obviously I need an eye for it and the knowledge and ability to put together a shoot, but I need to remember that although I might not wear it, it may still be the trend and not much can change that.

However, after all the harem pants praise, I did not end up buying a pair. Instead I made a trip to All Saints which I never go to usually, but it absolutely satisfied my craving for amazing shapes.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Cold Rain in My Window

Well the weather certainly is not getting any better. It is absolutely freezing in the city of Glasgow at the moment; so much so that I have five ice blocks on the end of each foot where my toes should be. My house is full of damp; the walls in my bedroom are turning into mouldy cheese. And, in true Glasgow style, the rain has been making a regular appearance.

The change in the weather had only further shown how awful the flat I live in is. What with no heating or hot water for the first week, leaking radiators for the first 2 and a half weeks, no washing machine for 3 weeks and now a green creature living happily in the house we have handed in our notice, still without washing machine.

With all of this unwanted hassle and the ever growing cold outside I turn to my new DMs to put a smile on my face.

Bright pink patent leather: practical and cheery.

Now I'm going to go out there and splash around in some puddles!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Cocktails and Tea Sets

The other night I was through in Edinburgh to see one of my friends. We decided, much against her wishes, to go and see 'The Duchess'. I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. My friend hates Keira Knightley as she has an annoying face. This is true, she has the smug pouty expression she often pulls which is unbearable. Joe Wright, her director in 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Atonemenent' seemed to manage to control this and play down the pout which is perhaps why her acting was so acclaimed in those films.

Despite the pouty madam I really enjoyed the film. I did think Knightley played the part well and Ralph Fiennes was absolutely excellent; giving what could have been a two dimensional character real depth. My friend even admitted she had a tear in her eye at one particularly sad part of the movie.

Afterwards we decided to go for a drink to catch up and have a general chit chat. But, we weren't going to go to any old pub. Oh no. We had to go somewhere fitting for 'The Duchess'. So I took her to 'The Roseleaf' which is down by the shore in Leith. The Roseleaf is decorated with antique nicknack's. The friendly staff provide table service for food and if it is quiet. The toilet cubicles have little chalk boards and a china dish with 'rings and things' inscribed on it holds different coloured pieces of chalk to dissuade from any permanent graffiti and to inspire the artist within to draw a little doodle. We went there for the cocktails which are reasonably priced between £4 and £4.80. If two or more cocktails are ordered they serve it in a china teapot with odd china cups and saucers. Very pretty and oh so quirky. We had great fun taking photographs of us drinking tea.

For this night I decided to 'suit it up' but with a night out twist. I went for a white cream vintage style blouse from Zara, a pair of high waisted black shorts I purchased on eBay, black tights and black lace up brogue heels from New Look. Very on trend now, the new thing apparently, although I'm pretty sure they were 'the new shoe' when I got them last year.

It was a fantastic evening. First we had the 'Ginger Jerry', then 'Pear Necessities' and then finished off with 'Bourberry'. They were all amazing, left us feeling light headed and with the thought that we could probably pick any one and it would taste delicious. That and we were drinking them out of china cups!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Ballet Outfit

Contrasting with today's earlier blog I thought I should post up the outfit I wore to the Scottish Ballet the other night to add a lighter, more fanciful note.

Style your soul

Perhaps it is partly jealousy that I am not yet high enough or quick enough in the fashion ranks to attend the various fashion weeks, because I will not deny that I would probably really enjoy it, but I do see catwalk fashion as a bit of a waste of time and money. This is partly leading on from my sarcastic comment on Vivienne Westwood’s s/s 09 show; designing clothes with a message while being part of an industry whose morals are questionable. Perhaps she made on impact on people? I am not sure. As you know, I wasn’t there.

But, my negative view of the catwalk is nothing new. I have always seen it as, sort of, completely pointless. I cannot relate to the outrageous and unwearable clothes which take up the majority of what is seen, and I only get the filtered through versions in blogs and magazines; still mostly hideous designs which will never be seen after this one walk down the runway. I have never followed fashion on purpose, although I would be lying if I said I didn’t follow it at all. I shop in stores which follow trends; therefore I am shopping on trend. I recognise when certain styles becomes fashionable; military, goth, shoe boots etc and I occasionally buy into it. If I like it. But I style myself on what influences me, and so do a lot of people. Most people. Depending on what music I am listening to for example. Over the summer I started listening to rockabilly and from that my style drew upon the 50s. Now I have gone even more retro and I’m listening to the greats, the classics and this is all reflected in the way I dress. And it isn’t just music. If a certain film comes out then people will be influenced by how the character’s dress. The tea dress, wellies, chunky knit cardigan and trilby hat worn on the back of the head was immensely trendy following the release of ‘The Edge of Love’ starring Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. In fact, Keira Knightley often seems to be a fashion icon in the film roles she plays; pirate, that green dress in ‘Atonement’ and now she even plays a fashion icon in ‘The Duchess’ while at the same time inspiring Balenciaga to design dramatic jewellery. But this is my point exactly! The designers are using the same inspiration as we are witnessing. They are not some sort of higher being, far more intelligent and wonderful than us mere mortals. They see ‘The Duchess’ and think, “wow there’s a lot of fantastic extravagant costumes and jewellery in this I’m going to use it in my designs” then they design something over the top that nobody will wear, then the exclusive set watch it, pick out what they can sell to the bottom line (that’s us by the way) and filter it through to more acceptable attire for us. So, can’t we just do it ourselves?

I was reading Jess Cartner-Morley’s (the fashion editor of The Guardian) article in Marie Claire’s October issue titled ‘What the hell is catwalk fashion all about?’ which inspired me to finally write my opinion of this in my blog. Morley’s article recognises the ridiculousness of catwalk fashion, but supports catwalk designers as necessary influences for our high street gear. However, she also makes the point that they are not, of course, freakishly all coming up with the same ideas, but they are influenced by what is going on around them. Around us. All of us equally. So, does that not only further back up my point? I am sure a lot of people, the people that go to these shows and worship these designers, will disagree with me. People who see these designers as wondrous, inspirational figures, whose creations can sometimes be ‘ground breaking’. All I see is something that bears no relation to my life.

For me, fashion and style is influenced by how I live my life and by what is happening around me. Not what someone else is telling me to wear, which I knew anyway because their ideas are coming from the same place as mine. I know that come spring we’ll have floral, autumn will be warm and winter will be black. Shoe boots are ‘back’ now when I’m sure they were back last autumn as well. Certain trends are predictable with the seasons; others develop around us, without any need for couture to tell us so.

I am not condemning catwalk as it is such a huge part of the fashion industry. Industry being the key word. I just dislike putting the meaning of fashion behind a business, when the best and most exciting style icons came from breaking the rules and doing things differently. Using their own minds. Not to make money or to make something with lots of money that will never be worn or seen again. Something pointless in other words.

Just be creative. Be an individual. Style yourself! Go for it!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

are you really going out like that?

As soon as I saw Anna Selezneva sporting this hairstyle at the Yves Saint Laurent a/w 08 show I remember thinking 'wow that model has crazy hair', but thinking it must be a one off because, well, she can't see anything surely?

Since then I have seen her and her annoying hair an black lipstick affair poke up in several magazines. Perhaps it is an array of magazines drawing upon the same show or time frame to give an example for their article, but the fact is I have seen it enough to irritate me. And some more.

Does nobody else find this hairstyle ridiculously stupid? It gives me the desire the turn into her mother and ask her what every teenager with an emo haircut must find annoying: "But how can you see?" "Doesn't your fringe get in the way?" and worst of all, "You'll look back in 20 years at that haircut and regret it."

But is annoying! And I still don't know how she can see out if it!!!