Heart Attack

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I spotted this creature of rare beauty in a grimy East End bar. A rose among the thorns. Natural, unspoilt, busy and un-affected  A pretty flamingo so serious as she stands one-legged by the bar.

A thoughtful type with oodles of style.

 

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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. 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.

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.

The Thrill of Thrift.

Thrift shops include flea markets, charity shops, second-hand or vintage outlets. Thrift shopping is something I have a real talent for, it can not be denied! A woman said to me recently

you won’t be lucky to find something as nice as that in a hurry

referring to my snazzy sneakers. I guess not everyone is lucky in that way so I did not share the words of the voice in my head that said I find beautiful things for next to nothing all the time.

To get things rolling I shall start with a possible all-time favourite and aforementioned marvel; my ghetto fabulous, endorphin stimulating, pan-generational Cameo pants. Since unearthing these extraordinary leggings in a basket at the hugely popular Dublin Flea Market some two years ago I have received an endless channel of compliments, comments and enquiries all of a most positive nature. Last Thursday for example they were appreciated by two members of the fairer sex: one a pensioner the other a two-year-old.5706765756_39cf5eef6a_b

These could be the love of my life or at least a major affair and I can envision the day when I’ll recall them wistfully to myself. Either that or they go the distance and I am prancing about a la Westwood in them at seventy.

It is rare for me to get such mileage out of a piece of clothing and there are likely be many more words on the subject because as Michael Jackson quite rightly pointed out back in 1980, love needs expression.

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.