A Kind Of Magic

Originally posted in 2012. Edited slightly for reposting.

IMG_0634IMG_0654IMG_0630It was a meeting of minds. Both female. Me the svengali in my late thirties and my muse Sara a very grown up girl of eight. Sara loves dressing up and has an innate sense of style, a delightfully mischievous sense of fun and the limitless imagination of an artist. Being eight years old for her the lines  between creativity and play don’t exist which is exactly how it should be.

For example.
I caught her before going off to school one morning and she asked me what I was going to wear for the day.

Mmm I am not sure I want to wear something really different I just don’t know what.

She thought for a moment then scrunched up her face and with some uncertainty suggested a wedding dress. She thought again. A beaming smile crossed her face. Then confidently nodding her head and flexing her eyebrows she said:

How about wearing this table?

She demonstrated carefully with her hands tilting them above her head slightly to one side before doing catwalk sashay shoulders to show how one would wear a small coffee table.

She said it partly in fun but there was also a serious intent to her unusual sartorial offering.  It was not the precise literal solution to my predicament but in existential terms she had read my mind. The effect of being in such precise harmony with another human is magic and other worldly. It has happened a few times in my life sometimes even without speaking and it is the memories of those very moments I reckon that will shine brightest when my lights are dimmed. It is a form of magic no less.

Sara is a true iconoclast. More Salvador Dali or Elsa Shiiaparelli than Gok Wang.

The conversation stuck in my mind. It was exhilarating and so much fun to be a child again.

She demonstrated her flair for all things fashion numerous times in drawings, in inventive hair twists, and exceptionally artful accessorising. I have never before and doubtful may not again meet someone with such a fun and true sense of personal style as I understand it. Playful, creative expressive, and always fun.

We simply had to do a shoot together. I took these pictures in her back garden in Tottenham back in spring 2012.  I hope you enjoy the results.

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Angel At My Table

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I am a frequenter of greasy spoon cafes. I get it from my father’s side. What their fare lacks in dietary nutrition the social and communal offerings they provide more than make up for. I especially enjoy them in off peak times as it is then that they attract peculiar outliers like myself. People who crave a sense of community and normality but  in bite size portions. Who like to be with people but a distance.

The universal appeal of the greasy spoon is an excellent backdrop for observing  life’s sublime contrasts.

I met Angel at one of my favourite joints  in Archway, London. Our meeting was brief. We talked about clothes and style but what we communicated was something greater.

 

 

 

Short Hair, Attachment Theory And Finding The Right Stylist.

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In my second year at college I had my first real boyfriend. It was a a hugely satisfying and fun-filled relationship that lasted an entire 12 months. I learned about trust and intimacy from this person. I also learned that our bond of intimacy and attraction was a fine and delicate thing and that a mere chopping of my locks could threaten the union to its foundation.

My Transport Management studies (don’t ask!) was a shoddy provider for my vast and rapidly changing interests so I turned to Vogue. Within the pages of its glossy lovlieness, circa Feb 1992 I spotted the most exquisite and edgy short hair do. The quest began for a creator worthy and capable of its execution. At last in the mirrored halls of Lunatic Fringe he appeared. A mythical beast brandishing a salon cape. The intoxicating blend of his insouciant manner, his quiet confidence and laid back professionalism put me at great ease. Inside of ten minutes he had achieved the seemingly impossible. With no muss and sadly little chat, his skillful hands had adorned me with the exact look I had requested.

It really, really suited me.

I returned to the same salon about four months later and there was no trace of him. Thus was born my overreaching some might say Freudian longing for a stylist that I could both admire and trust.

The following lunchtime I showed up in the college canteen alive with the excitement and confidence that the new cut bestowed on me. Admiring glances and smiles of approval greeted me as I passaged through to our corner in the back. I did that thing: you know the rom-com move where  someone clasps their hands over their beloved’s eyes and then reveals themselves to heightened surprise. The initial look on his face said he didn’t recognise me, then came the the blunt truth that he delivered with Hemingwayesque  succinctness

“I don’t think I fancy you any more”

It was a surprise alright.

We managed to work through it with the employment of many a tight jumper and short skirt. Evidently these made up a little for the loss of my flowing feminine tresses. We broke up 6 months later when my commitment started to flag. Time and experience proved he was not the one.

On numerous occasions since I have cut my hair short  but the awareness has remained. The path of the short haired woman is a great but occasionally daunting one.

Second Hand Rose

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I had to photograph Aimee as she possessed such an exquisite femininity and old world beauty. Here she stands in her workplace The Vintage Emporium, Brick Lane. London.

I still frequent thrift stores but did so more in the past for many reasons. The trickle down economy may be a myth in the larger sense but its a fact for the second hand shopper. I made hay while the sun was shining which I would would say peaked in 2009. Thankfully I bought enough to last me several years and much of it I sold on.

I bought a lot of beautiful things as I had sense it would not last and I was right. Nowadays charity shops are filled for the most part with rows upon rows of de-tagged Penny’s and New Look fodder. I still come across the occasional gem and I keep my hunting instincts sharp by only making a purchase when my need is great.

How To Bury A Wardrobe Treasure?

(Originally posted in 2011. With some editing.)

It is with great sadness and lingering denial that I write this post. I want to push past the denial into acceptance which is why I have chosen to write this post sensing it might help that awkward and difficult transition. “Harvey” as he has been named will not be with me this winter. Harvey is my beloved silver fox fur jacket which I purchased on a glorious April afternoon in Blackrock Market, Dublin back  in 2005. I had toyed with getting a fur for some time so on finding an exquisite 1960’s model in a fetching fashionable short length I unquestionably had to give it a try. The price was a no brainer. For a meagre €20 I’d pulled a lasting and treasured love.

It is with great sadness and lingering denial that I write this post. I want to push past the denial into acceptance which is why I have chosen to write this post sensing it might help that awkward and difficult transition. “Harvey” as he has been named will not be with me this winter. Harvey is my beloved silver fox fur jacket which I purchased on a glorious April afternoon in Blackrock Market, Dublin back  in 2005. I had toyed with getting a fur for some time so on finding an exquisite 1960’s model in a fetching fashionable short length I unquestionably had to give it a try. The price was a no brainer. For a meagre €20 I’d pulled a lasting and treasured love.

I thought it might be a tad audacious so gingerly we appeared out together Harvey and I. It was a chilly winter in Dublin so we became rather attached to each other quite quickly. A chorus of approval greeted us on our every outing and any qualms I had were quelled by how marvelously glamourous it felt not to mention the exquisite warmth and comfort that it provided. I was rocking the Tundra look that first winter.

I liked the sense of excess that it provided. The luxury of a bygone era. I remember once throwing it over some casual ensemble with a pair of flip-flops, a good asking

“Who do you think you are, Jennifer Anniston?”

It brought out the exhibitionist in me which is one of the reasons I enjoy clothing so much. Minimalism with precision details was never my thing. I like a statement piece or two or three and my fur coat always made me feel like a million Euro. That was the beauty of him. Harvey went with everything.

More than anything though it felt like me.

Sadly I was very hard on the poor thing. Tough love I guess you’d call it. Some people are hard on shoes or handbags but I am hard on fur coats. I have had him repaired at least a couple of times and with great apprehension. He is now best fit to keep the bed warm on the coldest of nights. The sleeves are worn through and the collar is well frazzled and so the hunt( pardon the pun) is on for a replacement but as I feel take may take a while I have this beautiful french knit to fill the gap.


Harvey 2005-2011

Short Hair, Attachment Theory And Finding The Right Stylist.

4371470246_5fbbaf2e4f_b

In my second year at college I had my first real boyfriend. It was a a hugely satisfying and fun-filled relationship that lasted an entire 12 months. I learned about trust and intimacy from this person. I also learned that our bond of intimacy and attraction was a fine and delicate thing and that a mere chopping of my locks could threaten the union to its foundation.

My Transport Management studies (don’t ask!) was a shoddy provider for my vast and rapidly changing interests so I turned to Vogue. Within the pages of its glossy lovlieness, circa Feb 1992 I spotted the most exquisite and edgy short hair do. The quest began for a creator worthy and capable of its execution. There in the mirrored halls of Lunatic Fringe he appeared. A mythical beast brandishing a salon cape. The intoxicating blend of his insouciant manner, his quiet confidence and laid back professionalism put me at great ease. Inside of ten minutes he had achieved the seemingly impossible. With no muss and sadly little chat, his skillful hands had adorned me with the exact look I had requested.

It really, really suited me.

I returned to the same salon about four months later and there was no trace of him. Thus was born my overreaching some might say Freudian longing for a stylist that I could both admire and trust.

The following lunchtime I showed up in the college canteen alive with the excitement and confidence that the new cut bestowed on me. Admiring glances and smiles of approval greeted me as I passaged through to our corner in the back. I did that thing: you know the rom-com move where  someone clasps their hands over their beloved’s eyes and then reveals themselves to heightened surprise. The initial look on his face said he didn’t recognise me, then came the the blunt truth that he delivered with Hemingwayesque  succinctness

“I don’t think I fancy you any more”

It was a surprise alright.

We managed to work through it with the employment of many a tight jumper and short skirt. Evidently these made up a little for the loss of my flowing feminine tresses. We broke up 6 months later when my commitment started to flag. Time and experience proved he was not the one.

On numerous occasions since I have cut my hair short  but the awareness has remained. The path of the short haired woman is a great but occasionally daunting one.