Acting like Children.

Yesterday I spent the most marvelous afternoon working my butt off in the best possible way. My cousin Aisling graciously agreed to help me shoot photos of my brand new exclusive collection of vintage ladies clothing. No bribes were necessary as Aisling is a like minded woman.

She too loves nothing better than a good old fashioned game of dress up. Her other favourite activity is taking pictures of people dressing up. I really hit the buddy jackpot with this one.

As I waited for her to call to my apartment I did  a rain dissuading dance and then pulled my tiny studio asunder in the quest for props, accessories and outfits for our creative enterprise. She was similarly  inspired and brought with her all manner of fashion enhancing items in her kit bag.

Despite the unwieldy amount of stuff to lug and the intimidating workload I had set out for us we managed get through nearly all the looks by 5pm. The dance must have worked as we were blessed with glorious sunshine for most of the day.

We worked out a nifty system that involved us alternating the roles of model and photographer and then both of us changing our outfits behind the garden fence.

All the while I kept thinking of how great it felt to be 5 years old again. Surprisingly I kept hearing my mother’s voice saying don’t forget you will have to put all of it back when you are finished which I guess shows some evidence that I have matured a little.

It was just like those long passed rainy days indoors. Times when our Mom would encourage us to pull the whole house to pieces in the name of fun, freedom and self expression. She would put on the record player to help us create a  mood. Rummaging is in my blood and has served me well. The delightfully satisfying activity of pulling strange and wonderful  garments out from an ungodly mound and then trying them on is quite simply to me what makes life worth living. Prancing about in them for the day behind a camera with an eager accomplice makes it all the better.

I hope you enjoy the early results of what I hope and feel will be a lasting collaboration.

For information on any of the items please contact me on the Highgate Vintage Facebook page.

New Wave

I first did it back in 1987. It was a big deal then and strangely an even bigger deal in 2011.

Back then everyone was at it. Mum’s, daughters, rockers and to my eternal horror footballers. This time round the demographic has shrunk leaving grannies mainly and the odd maverick/oddball like myself. Yes indeed I am talking about perms people.

The longing for curly hair hit me some weeks ago. I pictured myself as a first series Carrie, all bouncy wild unruly curls that shake when she turns her head.  It returned and returned until I found myself seated in a fancy salon with sweaty palms and a head bound and trussed  in rollers, reeking of that strong-smelling lotion.

I mentioned to several friends that I was thinking of having it done beforehand. It certainly generated a buzz of some sort; a mix of vicarious anxiety  and excitement. Needless to say it generated  hours of reminiscing.

My appointment was scheduled for noon on a Thursday in a salon a safe distance from my neighbourhood. I felt invigoration as I took the tube into town. This gave way to giddiness, empowerment, mild panic and then ultimately shock when the legend was revealed beneath the towel. With grim desperation I made a crack about Kevin Keegan to a passing trainee. My reflection laughed half heartedly.

Many deep breaths later and after much loving attention by my stylist Anna my curls were dry and I was all set to venture forth with my new coiffure into the sodden London streets.

I couldn’t resist a quick dart into the ladies to consider the quiet reality of what I now looked like. No sign of Carrie yet. I pulled my hood down and as graciously as I could I thanked the staff and shuffled down the street into a unassuming sandwich shop.

I felt what I imagine many post op cosmetic surgery patients might feel like after a moderate adjustment. My reflection startled me for at least twenty-four hours but having matured a bit since my teenage years I did not resort to hanging towels over the mirrors.

I forced myself into a very glamorous ensemble, added  lashings of eye shadow and propelled  myself out the door mid afternoon the following day. A cheeky fascinator provided extra ballast in my hour of need.

I braved the Archway road with my head held high. By the time I reached the shops I had received at least one masculine indication of approval. The Archway road seems to bring it out in them, but on this occasion it was welcomed.

Over the past week I have grown to like it lots. It goes ever so well with my inner eighties child and adds freshness and fun to my outfits. It allows for play and experimentation which is always fun.

The time has come Ladies. Unshackle yourselves from the straightening irons and embrace the curl!