New Wave

5770735325_8a2e63b878_b5770735021_41342d471f_bI 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!

Originally posted in 2011. Slight Revamp.

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0703IMG_0755IMG_0701

Amphibious Dressing, The Hot New Trend for Summer 2012.

Exciting Evolutionary Advances in Summer Dressing.

I wrote this back in 2012 and think it is more than worthy of a post here. 5706765962_b9a4ccbb79_b

A new species of fashion elite has emerged from the swampy summer wilderness. Fluctuating conditions in the atmosphere have seen an evolutionary development causing experts and enthusiasts to flap wildly in their hothouses grasping frantically at headlines and theories to explain the development.
Rare sightings of the female fabulousia (bold and brave fashionistas renowned for their remarkable adaptability and striking appearance) have been reported sporting a hybrid of water and land apparel. Swimsuits have moved away from the shores and rooftop pools and have been cropping up in all kinds of unlikely environments. It seems the comfort and flexibility of a one piece bathing costume is now being celebrated on dry land in a manner experts never anticipated. A Spandex-clad torso provides the wearer with a form-fitting base enabling her to navigate the sartorial summer terrain with stealth and confidence. The swimsuit’s team playing amphibious attributes solves all manner of dressing dilemmas while providing a flattering bodycon silhouette that is advantageous in almost any situation.
Specialists are labeling the trend as Amphab.Teeming the bathing suit with non-beachwear has resulted in a contemporary aesthetic that is relaxed and athletic. I am in love with the contrasting textures of this ultra modern look. The return of the one-piece bathing suit is already big news this summer and it fits in beautifully with the seventies aesthetic.

The multi tasking nature of this look means it works equally well at night or during the day.  Rolled up blazer sleeves, high-waisted slacks and water friendly jelly sandals will ensure you don’t slip up in daylight!  Nocturnal fans can add a slinky tuxedo jacket, some gold bangles and wedge heels.

Oh So Disco

Oh So Disco

If ever there was a time and place in history worth revisiting  it’s got to be  New York city circa mid to late seventies. Studio 54 to be precise.  Home to 700 plus exclusive partygoers  who every night celebrated glamour, decadence and excess. Never before or since has night clubbing looked so good.

Bianca Jagger dancing at Studio 54

Disco anthems sang of shallow partying that went on for days and resumed without question the following evening. How fabulous it must have been for those involved,  dressing up like their lives depended on it and then parading and sharing the splendour in nights of  high-spirited heady fun.

The disco scene’s energising and seductive marriage  of  New York’s art, music and fashion worlds resulted in an iconic  aesthetic of ice cool glamour epitomised in the portraits of photographer Ron Galella.

Dance and fashion fused with the celebrity and art worlds under the refracted lights of glass globes. The door policy is legendary. Beauty, success and celebrity would not always guarantee you entry but it definitely upped your chances. The global and lasting  impact of the club lay in its carefully calculated mix of revellers. An amazon of  ’70s supermodels including all American golden girl Lauren Hutton, Texan Jerry Hall and ill fated beauty Gia, shook their booty alongside  rock icons and artists.  The occasional unknown and oddballs  added intrigue.

Studio 54 was built on nothing if not self belief.  Promoter Steve Rubell and club goers alike embraced the American ideals of thinking big and making a splash. Flamboyance was in vogue, resulting in moments of celluloid history such as  Bianca Jagger riding  into the famous nightclub astride a white horse.  Budgets and self promotion were unhindered allowing for some colossal ego expansion.

Bianca Jagger making an entrance on a white horse

The bold and the beautiful spun and shimmied in show stopping Halston’ and  Ozzie Clark creations.  Halston created minimal designs in luxurious modern fabrics. Cut was everything.  Exquisite draped jersey halter dresses and pant suits allowed the wearers freedom of movement and freedom of expression. Love beads  and flower power were out and affluence and prestige were in.  Think lustre, think legs and think long, long nights.  It was a Bacchanalian era where looking good and feeling good where all that mattered and at the former they succeeded without question.  The international  lifestyle of the club’s jet setting elite was reflected in exotic fashion accents  like Afghan jackets, turbans and the kaftan. The minimalism and simplicity of the form fitting gowns were also offset by bold accessories and outrageous behaviour.

Halston, Bianca, Grace Jones and Andy Warhol at Studio 54

“In every corner you’d see somebody you read about in a paper or a friend or Beautiful People or mad people. Major, major stars. All the social people. You had a blend of society that had never happened before. It was like a movie.” Halston said of the era.

‘The Studio’ as it became known has been richly  documented in several films. Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale donned bored expressions and glitter eye shadow for the  sardonic period piece Last Days of Disco.  54, directed by Mark Christopher, covered the lives of the scene’s  key figures. Controversial auteur Spike Lee  gave us his take in Summer of Sam, a strange film that set a serial killer plot line against the backdrop of disco hungry hedonists.

Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale in the Last Days of Disco (1998)

Designers and high street stores are all plundering the seventies this summer and disco’s glamourous influence  is there too, seducing us  back onto the dance floors  in billowing voluminous  flowing maxi dresses,  white tuxedo jackets, funky jumpsuits  and ultra high strappy sandals.  Today, with  the climate of  austerity measures and economic uncertainty, a philosophy of dressing to the nines, dancing  till you drop, eschewing all and anything mundane and the inevitable understanding: same thing, same time tomorrow, seems worth considering.

The Great and The Good

My street style collection is growing bigger, brighter,wilder and bolder. Most of my unusual suspects were snapped in London and Dublin. I have finally broadened my lens to include the male of the species and also managed to catch my very first celebrity! Can you spot him/her?

My first tentative subjects were photographed on Georges St in Dublin back in 2009. This was before I had any knowledge of heavy hitters The SartorialistStyle BubbleThe Style Scout all of whom I now greatly admire. It was around the same time I  had a fledgling impulse to start my blog.

Back then I set my subjects against a very serviceable shop grill backdrop and hastily fumbled with my beloved and sadly departed Canon ixus while trying not to delay too long the flow of pedestrians.  Nowadays I take a more varied approach. It depends on so many factors but the main one is recording a look that  inspires me. I’d like to thank all who were willing and also those who I caught unawares for wearing it so so well.

Next Stop Venice…

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