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.

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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.

Timewarp

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The casual stance, the attitude, the fantastic get up. It could only be New York. This photo of a young lady was taken unawares somewhere on Lower East side circa 2005. Apologies for the poor quality of the picture. I wanted to catch her before the rare specimen was swallowed up by city transit.

Disco psychedelia with a subtle hint of exotic executive.

She certainly looks like she means business. A real go go getter. I’d love to know where she was headed. Any ideas folks?

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…

Child’s play.

It 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.

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 last spring. I hope you enjoy the results. X

Eighties We Love You!

My girlfriends and I did the Time warp at the weekend. I mean both figuratively and literally.     The venue was The Reflex Club at St Paul’s London. Average age nnnnn nineteen provided you took us out of the equation . On arrival I had a sneaking but rather cloudy suspicion that I was there before circa 1993. I fared a whole lot better this time. The theme park eighties night clubbing experience ages well it seems.

It was a nostalgia spectacular. Cheese, kitsch and frankly some very poor taste did nothing to take from the overwhelming fun feeling. It brought me smack back to  a time when the future was filled with exciting promise and bra tops. Twenty years vanished once we hit the illuminated tiles which I might add were mopped with extraordinary dexterity and perplexing regularity.

All the usual suspects  were spotted and some surprisingly obscure ones too. We saw Top Gun Tom Cruise, Bianca Jagger, an army of Cyndis,  Madonna’s plus A Flock of Seagull’s  lead singer, My eyes have never seen so much neon. Clearly one store is making a killing by flogging the decade on a single trend.

It is so amusing and curious to see the next generation take on the era that formed me and my aspirations. According to this lot it was all underpants and cheap fluorescent lycra. And of course comedy shades. The mood was captured but the finer essences and nuances were somewhat missing. Chutzpah triumphed where accuracy failed and some truly hilarious results had me smiling all night. More to some people is definitely more.The rule being if in doubt remove an outer garment then furnish the deficit with more more pink and lime bangles.

Us lot having lived it opted for a somewhat more pared down approach. We preferred to use accents and little flourishes in our tribute. Affectionately nodding towards the decade with careful accessorising. Personally I think we excelled.

The evening’s hilarious shenanigans were interrupted by the bizarrely surreal dance floor announcement of Whiteny Houston’s untimely death. We did the only decent  thing and gave it socks to three of her biggest hits thus fermenting the memory forever.

Highlight of the evening had to be Annette’s spectacular rock out to Run Dmc. She thrashed to the beat, blonde hair a flaying like a regular hormone charger teenager. The excitement of It tipped me over the edge resulting in a wardrobe malfunction. Thankfully it was good and dark.