Ophelia

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ophelia

I cannot rest, I cannot rest

In straight and shiny wood,

My woven hands upon my breast–

The dead are all so good!

Ophelia by John Everett Millais

Ophelia by John Everett Millais

The earth is cool across their eyes;

They lie there quietly.

But I am neither old nor wise;

They do not welcome me.

Ophelia

Where never I walked alone before,

I wander in the weeds;

And people scream and bar the door,

And rattle at their beads.

ophelia

We cannot rest, we never rest

Within a narrow bed

Who still must love the living best–

Who hate the pompous dead!

Alexandre Cabanel Ophelia Painting

Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel

ophelia\

Words from The White Lady by Dorothy Parker

Barbies Don’t Grow on Trees

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Inspired by the Prix Pictet photography competitions’ theme of consumption this year I set about creating an installation of my own. The Barbie doll is the perfect metaphor for the consumerist society we live in, not only is it synonymous with our pursuit of physical and material perfection but it signifies consumption on so many levels. One Barbie doll is sold every three seconds somewhere in the world and over 1 Billion dolls have been produced and sold worldwide since 1959. Making the Barbie doll an emblem of global capitalism with its disciples being the biggest guilt free mass consumers of all – children. Children use and dispose of goods on a massive scale with complete ignorance of the consequences. The toy of the moment is quickly replaced by the new flavour of the month and simply disregarded in favour of the next. This conspicuous consumption cycle is becoming more and more rapid and the plastic just keeps piling up. A Barbie doll is made out of ABS plastic and the head is made from soft PVC plastic and therefore doesn’t biodegrade. So all of these billions of Barbies already sold are still here and yet more still being produced daily. I want to illustrate issues of environmental sustainability through this installation and as I continue to photograph the tree through the seasons one can reflect on the changeability of nature and the permanence of plastic. barbie barbie barbie barbie barbie barbiebarbie barbie   As I set about on my quest to fill the tree with Barbies, I had no idea how easy it would be to amass these dolls. It took me only 2 weeks of scouring car boot sales to collect 72 unloved and unwanted dolls. Now looking back, going to a car boot sale was actually ironic as they are an unintentional sustainability practice, which recycles and extends the life cycle of products. Prix Pictet is at the V&A until the 14th June

My Rebellion Against Normcore

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New York trend forecasting agency K-Hole coined the term ‘normcore’ last year but I think they must’ve been in a k-hole at the time or rather wish they were in one now. The term is supposed to signify a ‘move away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity that opts into sameness’ but it has become exactly what it is supposed to be rejecting, especially within fashion where people are deliberately dressing #normcore!! That is not the point. Surely having items that are a sort of normcore uniform (beanie hat, straight leg Mum jeans and trainers) is actually going against what the initial idea of normcore was, which was for people to just be themselves without trying too hard to be cool.

Normcore is stupid and needs to be stopped in its tracks before it spirals out of control and we accidentally put the old woman from down the street in the ‘style hunter’ pages of Grazia because she is wearing the same black roll-neck and jeans that she has worn every winter since the 80s. This whole idea has probably forced Anna Della Russo’s frown to break through her Botox!

Normcore has lost its intended meaning, it’s not a thing, a fashion movement or even a trend…it’s nothing! Since when has anyone actually gone to the effort of looking as if they have made no effort? It seems pretty pointless to me to actually consciously decide to look, ergh…can’t even bring myself to say the word… normal. Why would anyone want to be normal?!

Its a bit like sitting on the fence, its just not very confortable. Or actually could this be what its all about? Comfort? Comfort clothing! A rejection of the imposed fashion trends and the innate desire to be cool and make a statement that has exhausted us for so long now, that we just yearn to just pull on a pair of jeans and an unbranded t-shirt because we don’t care anymore.

But surely all of us do this anyway? Either you’ve dressed up to go out and make a fashion statement or you’ve just popped out to get a pint of milk. You cannot tell me that my corner shop look is actually a normcore fashion statement.

Normcore shouldn’t be a fashion trend and it shouldn’t be photographed as a street style revolution because as far as I know it’s always been around. Have we really run out of new trends to discuss that we are looking to make boringness a thing?

Ok rant over. Now please join me in my rebellion against normcore.

By following my 7 glitter-coated fashion rules…

Rule Number 1: Too Much is Not Enough

Rule #1

Hat by Twinks Burnett*, Clutch: Mawi, Dress: Vintage, Platforms: Topshop

Rule Number 2: When in Doubt Add Another Accessory

Rule #2

Dress: Topshop Unique, Clutch: Mawi, Sequin bag: Reiss, Handbag: Prada, Shoes: Dolce and Gabbana, Headband: Topshop, Earrings: made by Me!

Rule Number 3: Always be Weather Appropriate 

rule #3

For when it rains…Jelly Shoes: Sophia Webster, Mac: Maxmara, Umbrella: Iva

rule #3

And for when the sun comes out…Hat: Malene Birger, Swimsuit: Vintage M&S, Hi-Tops: Manoush

 

Rule Number 4: Colour Block Rocks

rule #4

Top: Topshop, Trousers: Sportmax, Sunglasses: Joke Shop

Rule Number 5: Be Occasion Themed 

So when you are going to play tennis, make sure everyone knows you are going to play tennis.

rule #5

Top: Topshop, Skirt: River Island, Trainers: Nike

And when you are going to a funeral, make sure everyone knows you are going to a funeral!

rule #5

Hat: Joan Biggs, Dress: Asos, Shoes: Bally

Rule Number 6: Always Buy Easy to Match Accessories

rule #6

Dress and Matching Backpack: HORACE, Sandals: Shakuhachi

Rule Number 7: A Hat Fixes Everything!

rule #7

Hat by Twinks Burnett*, Dress: Roberto Cavalli, Trainers: Nike

Ka-Pow!!

*Check out the amazing Twinks Burnett at www.twinksburnett.com

 

Assault on the Senses

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The rich tapestry of colours adorning every surface, the pungent/smoky aromas filling the streets, and the eerie call to prayer that reverberates through the air over the murmur of motorcycles, leaves one utterly enchanted.

There is mystique in the air making one feel transported to another world; a world of rich Sultans, Soothsayers and Snake Charmers, where women glide through narrow streets to Malhun melodies and the hullabaloo of the sellers in the souks.  And with the sumptuous smell of spices diffusing through the hazy atmosphere, Marrakech hypnotises one and all. marrakech marrakech marrakech

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marrakech Dress: Vintage Maxmara, Necklace: Roberto Cavalli, Clutch: Chloe, Sandals: Louis Vuitton, Sunglasses: Louis Vuitton

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marrakech

Dress: Vintage, Clutch: Chloe, Sandals: Louis Vuitton

 

Perfectly Pleated

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Pleats are having a renaissance but they’ve never really been that far away. Season after season they make an appearance of some sort, except this season they have gone from cameo to leading lady before you can say knife…pleat. The catwalks were full of pleated styles with my favourites being shown at Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Givenchy and Antipodium.

S/S 14 Catwalks

Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Givenchy, Antipodium

 

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Illustration of Givenchy Pleated Dress

As I stepped back into my vintage Jaeger pleated skirt for the first time since I was a teenager, I suddenly felt an air of lady-like sophistication swoon over me. So elegant and feminine in fact, that I thought I could get away with teaming it with converse, sports socks and a sweatshirt. Not just any old sweatshirt though, my new prized possession ‘Filles à Papa’ sex on the beach motif sweatshirt of course! pleats pleats

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Sweatshirt: Filles à Papa, Skirt: Vintage Jaeger, Converse trainers, Nike socks

Proenza Schouler’s catwalk was awash with metallic-foil-printed silk pleated skirts, which brought a freshness and sharp modernity to the traditional pleat. When I saw these skirts in real life I was even more bedazzled by them, they are a work of art, so beautiful in fact that they may have to be hung on the wall rather than being hidden in the wardrobe.

pleat pleats pleats

pleats

Top: Zara, Skirt: Proenza Schouler, Sandals: Christian Louboutin, Sunglasses: Shakuhachi

I am always attracted to clothes that have a movement of their own as we walk, they add an air of importance and sex appeal but in a subtle way. The pleated skirt is so feminine and romantic when it catches the breeze, and flutters with such a rhythmical ease that I imagine hearing a xylophone accompaniment.  So off I go to float and twirl through the streets of London exuding the power of the pleated skirt.

 

Mono-brow Now

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Frida Kahlo is as far as I know the only person who has successfully championed the mono-brow, but I think things should change. It’s a fierce, futuristic look that I stumbled upon by chance when I got a little carried away with my eyebrow pencil one evening. I mean this is 2014 for heavens sake…aren’t we all supposed to be zipping about in space-pods and have robotic maids?!  So come on let’s experiment a little and start new trends instead of always looking to the past for reference. Join my crusade to make mono-brows the next big thing!! And if this catches on then I’m going to dye my hair blue too.

Monobrow

 

MonobrowMonobrowMonobrowMonobrowMonobrowPhotography by Ben Sage www.bensage.blogspot.co.uk

 

Just Listening to the Wind Blow

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giambattista valli giambattista valli

giambattista valli giambattista valli giambattista valli

giambattista valli giambattista valli giambattista valli giambattista valli giambattista valli giambattista valliTulle Occasion Gown: Giambattista Valli Couture from www.matchesfashion.com , Shoes: Prada 

Photographer: Ben Sage www.bensage.blogspot.co.uk

Fur real…or not?

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When I stepped out of my apartment this weekend in this fun new outfit I wasn’t quite sure what article would accompany my photos. That was until I was forced to use the side entrance of Harvey Nichols for fear of being attacked by the anti-fur protesters that had hijacked the main entrance.  Although it may have appeared that poor Sulley from “Monsters Inc” had been skinned alive to adorn me in my spectacular snood it was in fact a poor fox that given up its fur for my fashion fulfilment. So this got me thinking about the issue of fur in fashion and how I haven’t really thought about it or the ethical issues surrounding it for quite sometime.

There was a time in England when people wouldn’t dare to go out dressed in fur without fear of being splattered with paint or shamed by looks of disapproval, but now it would seem that fur has become more acceptable and increasingly popular.  The A/W 2013 catwalks had nearly 70% of collections featuring fur and at Fendi all looks featured fur. This is a far cry from what was happening 16 years ago in 1994, when fur was neither morally nor aesthetically fashionable. At the time some of the most prominent figures in the fashion industry were involved in the campaign “I Would Rather go Naked than Wear Fur”…something I still believe in, not because I’m opposed to wearing fur but because I’m secretly a nudist!

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Whilst it would appear that public opinion regarding fur has changed, so have many of the cruel practices that the fur industry was long associated with. The fur industry is now committed to the humane and responsible treatment of animals and is very highly regulated at local, national and international levels.  Animals are killed humanely. There is no conclusive evidence that animals are skinned alive as part of the fur industry (despite the PETA videos). Instead, animals are killed via carbon monoxide in a low stress environment. All parts of the animal are then used, often as pet food or other animal feed so no part of the animal is wasted. Wild animals, which are trapped, are also highly regulated, with strict seasonal rules in place and it is also worth pointing out that no endangered animals are ever hunted.

And some people take the view that fur is better for the planet as it is biodegradable and a sustainable resource that is more environmentally sound than faux fur alternatives, most of which are made from petrochemicals which are a non-renewable resource that cannot breakdown in a landfill.

But don't trees have feelings too?

But don’t trees have feelings too?

However given all these positives it cannot be denied that in some places, namely China, barbaric slaughtering systems do still exist. Researching this article has opened my eyes to some really horrific practices that occur in order to provide us with fur, and I have found it very difficult to watch most of PETA’s videos. However, one video, even though it still made for harrowing viewing, presented a more logical viewpoint – this one below by Tim Gunn (Project Runway)…be warned it contains some pretty graphic images.

But I feel this video is important to watch as it gets people thinking about how animal products are sourced, and not just fur; leather and even wool are not ethically virtuous either. The meat industry is also guilty of horribly mistreating animals and for a long time now I have refused to buy cheap supermarket battery chicken in favour of free range instead. But am I a hypocrite if I admit to enjoying the odd Big Mac from time to time?

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So considering all points I have been left in somewhat of a moral muddle as to my view on fur. But I have come to the conclusion that unless you are a fully-fledged vegan who doesn’t consume any animal products then you have no right to brand someone who wears fur an animal killer. What is important is that we as consumers must be less ignorant when buying fur, and all animal products for that matter and recognise the products’ true origins.

Fox-Fur Snood: Hockley, Jumper: ALC, Trousers: Sandro, Jacket: Saint Laurent, Handbag: Burberry, Necklace: Escada, Sunglasses: Shakuhachi

Also please note : All furs at Hockley are ethically farmed following strict governmental guidelines. All of the garments feature a swing tag which will explain to the customer where and how the fur was farmed and sourced, so that they can be confident that no animals suffered in the making of their garment.

Cinderella Lost

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On Christmas night last Cinderella went to the most marvellous ball. After nibbling away at some mushroom canapé, she found herself high as a kite, and hence began her decline and fall.

She began to dance…and danced all night and still she begged for more. She twirled and span as her mind led her away. Until eventually she fell out of the ball and rolled onto the floor …Haha she couldn’t have liked it more! She forsook her shoes and commenced to roam in delusional disarray… cinderellacinderella1cinderella2 cinderella5cinderella8cinderella9cinderella7Vintage ballgown courtesy of my mother.