Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloweenie

I don't usually like to do posts like this, but I'm really pleased with how my halloween costumes turned out. I know I shouldn't be so impressed with myself, what with actually being able to sew and all... but I am! I got my sewing machine fixed, so I was all excited and agreed to make 4 halloween costumes. I don't subscribe to this being scary on halloween lark. I don't think there's enough selection of scary things to be. I take an american/mean girls approach and just dress up as what I want. This year I was a Pocahontas mostly because I wanted a feather headband, which I think is a great accessory.




I made my friend Hannah a bat, because she wanted something sparkly, that involved wearing disco pants.

And I did the bf a Dr Horrible costume, which no one else got what it was, which disappointed him. I was pretty pleased with the lab coat, especially as I had to draft my own pattern and I don't really do much menswear. (a lack of bust darts threw me...)



But everyone knows the best thing about halloween is... ITS NEARLY CHRISTMAS!


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Think Pink

So I've just had a week off work, I thought I'd do a lot more posts, but I didn't. I thought I'd do a more full stop, but honestly I got caught up making halloween costumes. And then showed up to a  club after a party where no one was dressed up. I have been exploring London's charity shops a bit more, so they'll be a post on that too. I also went to see the little black jacket exhibition at the saatchi gallery (unimpressed) and Tim Walker at Somerset House (loved it).

Now the clocks have gone back it's probably going to be even harder to get outfit photos, but I managed to get these just before the sun went down. I'm still really loving wearing bright pink with my orange hair, I know this hat is a bit last year but I really like it. I stole it from my sister, who says it used to belong to her friend. My jumper is vintage and my skirt is from Topshop via the charity shop.






Monday, 22 October 2012

Tim Walker



I am a huge Tim Walker fan. His style of dreamy, fantastical, fun photography is something that really appeals to me. During my degree, 'Pictures' was always my favourite starting point for initial ideas and inspiration. Although I was really disappointed when I missed out on tickets to his upcoming talk at Somerset house, to accompany his new exhibition 'Story Teller', I remembered that I had already been to a lecture he gave whist at uni. The lecture was for photography students with a big sign on the door saying fashion students would not be allowed in because of a "lack of space". However, any fashion student will tell you how they are constantly reminded that being pushy gets you places and that the art of the blag is a most important skill, so on the back row were about 1/3 of my fashion class. Honestly I think the talk was wasted on some people. Whist I sat furiously scribbling notes and thinking that I must go back through my issues of vogue to search out the images discussed, one boy in front of me merely wrote the date and the words 'Tim Walker' at the top of his otherwise blank page! At one point what couture was had to be explained. 


When I looked through his website at all his images (I really recommend doing this) I found so many images that I never realised were his but are in my boxes of photocopies. I suspect that 1/3 of my inspiration came from his images.





Here is what I took away from that talk. 

Tim Walker spoke about trying to create a fantasy that doesn't exist and that fashion isn't real, it's a complete pretence. I can imagine you'd feel that way if you saw behind the gloss and glamour of fashion, like meeting someone you admired and them being crushingly dull. He said that fashion photography was the dream side of photography, that it could be a fantasy.





He talked about how the shoots aren't completely storyboarded or planned and explained that there is a lot of figuring it out on the day involved. He spoke of a "fudged effort" and that it can be hard to plan as you're following the mood of something in you head - which I could really relate to. There is also the element of just spotting the right moment for a photo, such as when the model was just waiting about or a piece of the set has fallen, that photography was instinctive. He said he didn't always work this way, he used to be more scripted taking polaroids (which can be seen in his book Pictures) to choose what best depicts what he wanted.


There are usually around 20 people on set for the shoots; Tim Walker himself and his assistant, the set designer and three or four people helping them, the stylist and stylist's assistant, hair and their assistant and makeup and their assistant as well as the model (a fair few assistants then!).

The size and spectacle of the shoot relies heavily on the budget set; Italian Vogue -which has some super Tim Walker stories in it - has a smaller budget than British Vogue and it is Tim Walker who proposes the ideas to the magazines.




For this photo the stylist didn't want the rabbit head and the wings and he really had to fight to have them included.



This shoot was based on willow patterned china. He talked about how sometimes (such as in this photo) you are creating a stage to perform on and you have to work with the set. This shoot took 2 days.



He talked a lot about the Roald Dahl shoot for Vogue, which is one of my favourites. For this shoot he took the stories and characters that he liked and developed visual ideas. He liked that Roald Dahl didn't like TV so he thought it would be funny to have a giant TV. The TV itself is made from cardboard and polystyrene. To him fashion is just a piece of entertainment and he like the idea of telling a story that amused him.


At the time I got the impression that the photographer was fed up with the big fantasy set pieces in Vogue. I remembered this when I saw a shoot in Vogue that I was certain was the brain child of Tim Walker but in fact was not... I thought that they'd have to find someone else who'd do the big elaborate sets.



He said he'd been doing the set pieces for 10 years and that he was becoming more interested in simpler portraits, like these ones for Vogue, which I have always found memorable. The McQueen photo became iconic after his death and he spoke about photographing him. Tim Walker said that he had always thought of McQueen as a 'rebel pirate' and wanted to capture that. He had made for McQueen a cross bones bow tie and wanted him to have a skull on his head. McQueen hated the idea and instead wanted to just sit with the skull as he had liked it. 




He said he only had one hour with each person and he had to carefully consider how to capture them and their personalities. Vivienne Westwood arrived in an outfit that he felt couldn't portray Westwood as punk because it set a soft mood for the photo. Sometimes he doesn't want to direct the person, he doesn't want to shatter anything, just create an honest photo.



Speaking about how he had been taking photos of people he'd found on the street and friends of friends, he described as just people he found interesting with plain simple backgrounds. He said he didn't want to be pigeonholed and that taking portraits was very refreshing.


He spoke about how he had been taking photos of people he'd found on the street and friend of friends, just people he found interesting with plain simple backgrounds. He said he didn't want to be pigeonholed and that taking portraits was very refreshing. I have noticed him doing more portraiture work in the magazines. He also said that photographing someone at the table makes the portrait easier. I did notice that a lot of his portraits are done sat at a table.


Remarking that a portait is only as good as the person in front of you, whereas a set piece is more about the effort and the model, he shot in colour for the first time on his first shoot for Vogue. One thing that Walker is known for is that his photos are real. Those cats are really pastel colours, it's not been photoshopped in. He said that he doesn't use photoshop because he likes to stick to what he knows but is beginning to embrace the technology a little more now. He also said that having something real infront of you can create a better reaction, a better photograph. He loves his set photography and described it as 'photographing your imagination'.

All images are from Tim Walker's Website. 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Shopping for Sensible Shoes

I've been looking for some shoes that last longer than a few weeks and looking to spend a bit more money on a better quality flat shoes. I talk more about it in this post so I shalln't repeat myself. These are a few that I've got my eye on. I've looked in places I wouldn't normally look for shoes like John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Clarks. I think that look for shoes from somewhere that is known for quality or specialises in shoes is a better place to find quality, than a fashion brand that also does shoes. I personally find that Topshop has particularly poor quality shoes with such thin soles! I find it so annoying because some of the styles are really nice.



1. Dune Bow Front Ballerina Pump - £55 - These shoes are made from suade and I'm looking for a pair of shoes that are leather or suade. I like the oversized bow.

2. Dune Glitter Bow Trim Ballerina - £12 (reduced from £40) - Getting shoes in the sale is going to be a way to get better quality shoes for a low price. These ones arn't going to last very long because they are glittery, but they are very pretty.

3. Dr Martens Polina shoe - £63 (reduced from £90) - Dr Martens are the first brand I thought of when I thought of shoes that would last. I used to always have Dr Martens boots for school shoes, if they can withstand a child running around, they'll manage my clumping about. I'll always remember my patent boots with rainbow stitching, but I wanted a pair that weren't too clumpy looking. I love these.

4. Dune Patent Pointed Toe Lace Up Brogue - £40 (reduced from £80) - I'd rather have a pair of ballet flats as they are quicker to slip on in the morning (after I've over-slept again and spent the last 10 minutes shouting 'Where is my other shoe? Who has hidden my other shoe?') but they do keep my feet warmer in cold weather, which I really ought to consider since I get chilblains. 

5. Kurt Geiger Patent Ballet Flats - £35 (reduced from £70)

6. Clarks Carousel Ballet Flats - £29.99 - These are very simple classic ballet flats, the kind I go through hundreds of pairs of because they go with everything. I hope if I go to Clarks to buy these, they'll let me stand on the machine that measures your feet for school shoes.

7. Dune Ballerina Bow Pump - £55 - These shoes are made of leather sand have a pretty classic look.

8. Marks and Spencer Black Ballet Flats - £19.50 - These are the cheapest pair of shoes on my list but they are leather and people do bang on abouts M&S's quality so I think I'll be alright.

9. Collection WEEKEND by John Lewis Pixies Sequin Ballerina Pumps - £30 - Another pair that won't last forever but would be perfect for winter. I love sparkly shoes in winter.

10. Bertie Black T-Bars - £65 - I'm a bit less keen on T-Bars because they aren't as easy to slip on in a hurry.

11. Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis Pony Ballerina Pumps - £110 - I've never had a pair of pony skin shoes so I don't know if the hairs get messed up easily or not. You're obviously paying extra for Alice Temperley name, but maybe I could pick a pair up in the sales.

12. Kurt Geiger Patent Bow Pumps - £85 - These shoes are made from leather and Kurt Geiger party shoes are always lovely. But some of the shoes on the Kurk Geiger are synthetic and they still want £80+ for them. I am checking that the shoes I buy are leather.

13. Bertie Stitched Bow T-Bar - £65 - These leather T-bars have such a cute stitched bow. I don't usually go for brown shoes, but I really like these.

Maybe I should just go and learn to make my own shoes.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pink and Orange


As you can see I've dyed my hair orange. It's a bit of a change from the pink to blonde routine I've been in. Orange is also one of the few colours I've never dyed my hair (the other is green).  I wasn't planning on dying my hair at all, I just went to Superdrug to get some bleach to sort out my roots, but Live colour was on special offer two for £5.99. The boxes of dye are usually £5.49 each, so it's a pretty good offer. The orange was on the front of the display so I thought 'why not?'. I also got some of the bright red too, so I think I'll go red next.


 I'm really happy with the colour, but the dyes washes out more quickly than my usual dye Stargazer. I love wearing colours that accentuate the colour and this vintage bright pink dress really does that. The only bad part is that I have to really consider what colours I wear and I can't wear any of my mint green clothes.





Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Spiked Jacket


I've had this Chanel look-a-like jacket (and a matching skirt) for quite a while. I bought it in Primark years back, and it's surprisingly not fallen apart. It actually gets mistaken for vintage quite a bit, especially when I wear it as a suit. It's also what I was wearing the day I was mistaken for Paloma Faith at LFW (seriously, I don't even look like her), sat front row in her seat, had to be asked to move by a very embarrassed PR girl because the real Paloma had turned up and I stole her goody bag. Which was rubbish anyway. So it has a good story too.

So I was in two minds about whether to put a bunch of spike studs into the shoulders and collar. Would I regret this? Should I go buy/make another boucle jacket to spike up? In the end I reasoned that there would be plenty of other boucle jackets, with a story to tell in my life, this one is only Primark rubbish. And besides, the point of buying my own spike studs was to cheaply update my wardrobe. It's only just occurred to me that it's perfect for the "matchy-matchy" trend as I call it.

I used screw on spike stud from ebay in two different sizes. The studs were pretty easy to put in, but more difficult than on the jumper. I had to snip the lining a bit but mostly I could just push the screw on part through the weave of the boucle.

I think it worked out pretty well, what do you think? Do ever worry about messing things up by 'DIYing' them?


Saturday, 13 October 2012

DIY; Dip Dyed Jumper


I'm really pleased with myself for figuring out how to dip dye a jumper in a neat graduated way so I thought I'd share with you. I've been wanted a grey dip dyed jumper for a little while now but I couldn't find one that was quite what I wanted so I bought a jumper to dip dye myself. I also bought a packet of Dylon hand dye in Antique Grey. Dylon dyes only dye natural fibres (cotton, silk, linen etc.) so i had a job finding a jumper that was cheap enough that I didn't mind if I accidentally messed up and ruined it. Primark was pretty much ruled out because I couldn't find a single jumper that wasn't synthetic. I have seen a dye called I-dye Poly, which dyes synthetics, but I've never used it and it seems expensive.

This isn't really a tutorial, more a description of what I did so you can do similar/get ideas for your own dyeing. I used; a pack of dylon hand dye, salt, a bucket and string.



I dyed my jumper in the shower so I could clean up the mess easily. All dyeing is a bit hit and miss and I have had things not work or not come out as expected, but I've also had a lot of things turn out nicely. First of all I put the jumper on it's hanger, then I made it so that the jumper was hanging up in my bucket, just touching the bottom. To do this I made a contraption using the hoover pipe, string and the top of the shower. The bf thought I was crazy but it did work.

Then I ignored all instructions on the packet of dye and made up a very concentrated mixture of dye using about half the dye powder (I didn't want as darker grey as the packet did, but Dylon don't have a very wide selection of colours), 500g of salt and only a little bit of boiling water, to go part way up the jumper.




Then every hour I added more water, meaning the dye was more dilute (and therefore a paler colour) but also going higher up the jumper. When the water/dye level was as high as I wanted, I took the jumper out of the bucket and let it drip off.

At this point the dye packet recommends you rince the dye off in cold water. I didn't want the white part of my jumper to go grey so I sprayed the jumper with the shower whist it was on the hanger.

Then I just popped in the washing machine on a cool wash, with things I didn't mind getting dye on.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Houndstooth

So as I mentioned in this post I bought a houndstooth pencil skirt. But when I bought it I never realised how versatile it would be! I've found myself wearing it over and over with different tops for different looks.


This duck top is from Primark. I already have the black and white one, but I just had to get the orange one too. It's harder to style but I really like it with the houndstooth skirt for a sort of 70s look.


I just love the pleated sleeves on this blouse and I like this officey sort of look. I think I look like Lindsay Bluth (complete with blonde ponytail and quiff) in this outfit. A funny style icon, but there you go.


I think this might be my favourite look. It's so prim and proper, I call it my princess look. I think peplums look their most flattering when they are teamed with a pencil skirt.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wishlist


2. Monki Scallop Bag - I've wanted this since I saw it on wishwishwish
3. Pop Couture Colour Panel Blouse - I think I'm a bit obsessed with blouses at the moments.
4. Oasap Blouse - This reminds me of a 50's waitress blouse.
6. Nasty Gal Boots - I love these boots so much.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Flat Shoes; The Cost

Despite my love of a beautiful pair of heels, I spend almost everyday in my flats. Usually a pair of ballet flats, which are a total wardrobe staple for me or more recently brogues. I have been looking to strike the perfect balance between cost and quality on ballet flats for quite a while now, when I read this on Pretty Much Penniless about the same thing. I started to think about my attitude towards shoes. Why is it that I'm willing to spend £70+ on a pair of spectacular high heels that I will only wear occasionally and will remain pretty much pristine but begrudge paying more than £20 for a pair of shoes that I will wear everyday?

I usually justify the heels with their added snazz (I don't buy boring heels....), "of course they're expensive, they're knitted/covered in glitter/like half a metre off the ground..." whereas my everyday shoes aren't very exciting (plain and black mostly).

Maybe I don't like spending a lot on the mundane. I don't like forking out for a pair of shoes, like a plain black pair, when I know I can get a similar pair for a fraction of the price elsewhere. Whereas when was the last time you saw shoes that could easily be mistaken for Irregular Choice in Primark or New Look? I also think that since my everyday shoes won't last forever (whereas I have party shoes that are 5 years old and still looking good, mostly due to the fact they've been worn 3 times in the last year) I don't see the point in investment. I have had £50 ballet flats from Office and they didn't last either. But did they last longer than a £10 pair from New Look? I honestly don't know. I don't think it helps that I tend to wear the same shoes day in, day out for a week or two then switch. Perhaps ballet flats just aren't a durable style of shoe.

I have decided to document my new shoes and record how long they last to decide once and for all. Where do the best quality for the best price ballet flats come from?

How do you feel about cheap shoes? Do you prefer to make an investment?
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