I’m currently loving the current MAC‘Strength’ campaign, featuring fitness model and female body-builder, Jelena Abbou. I’m a long-term fan of MAC make-up and they’re known for employing eye-catching concepts and styling for their photo-shoots, but it’s really refreshing to see a mainstream advertisement that celebrates some diversity in female beauty. Other than rather tokenistic (and often insulting) ‘real women have curves’ shots, a particular standard of young, waifish (and usually white) beauty is very much the published norm. Though being fit and exercising has never exactly been unfashionable, often it seems to be marketed only as a means to losing weight and becoming a particular shape. See this rather depressing article about a New York-based trainer who helps agency models get down to sample size with a very particular exercise regime “Push-ups are out — developing the chest is bad news — as are squats and lunges, which make the derrière too round to fit into the clothes”. When muscular women have featured in ad campaigns and editorials, they’re often portrayed as something of a freak-show attraction, or in a rather masculine manner. It’s nice so see that this campaign celebrates Abbou as a feminine woman as well as an athlete, whose body is a testament to her power and dedication. Strength indeed.
I end up spending a lot of time trawling the internet, stumbling upon various oddities.
I thought I’d share these wonderful rings made by design studio Patrick Laing. Aimed as wedding or eternity pieces, the rings are made from moulds of the couple’s fingers, so the inside of the ring has the fingerprint impression wrapped around it. You can buy a casting set or go in to the studio, then the rings are crafted from a range of precious metals. I love that these rings really will be as unique as a fingerprint, and the idea that you’d be holding your partner’s hand in wearing it. It has an unusual sort or romance to it.
This week, whilst reading about Courtney Love’s new fashion line, I discovered rainbow-haired lady Chloe Norgaard. The Norwegian model has attracted attention for her crazy-coloured hair. Her hair looks incredibly good given the amount of bleach it must have seen and I love her grungey 90s style and smile. It’s not a look everyone could pull off, but she does it very well and it makes me feel rather envious.
At the age of 20 I decided I was bored of my hair, which I’d never really dyed, and decided I’d like to go blonde. I bought some bleach, hoping for a white-blonde Gwen Stefani-style look. Bleaching your own hair isn’t something I’d really recommend, especially if your hair is quite dark and you have little experience of hair-dressing. What I ended up with was a strange colour-gradient that ranged from white through canary-yellow to orange. The only person who thought it looked good was my colour-blind flatmate (and that wasn’t particularly comforting).
So it looked awful. As a bit of a rescue mission I bought a pack and red dye and coloured it over. My hair was the colour of pillarboxes and double-decker buses and I felt something like a superhero. It was fantastic.
It came with a lot of up-keep. I dyed my hands red. I dyed bits of my forehead red. My bathroom looked like a death-scene from an amateur slasher-flick. All my towels, pillowcases and shirt collars got a red tint to them. It faded almost immediately and from using different dyes I ended up with a strange tequila-sunrise effect with orangey-red and pinky-red patches. I switched to an amazing Special Effects dye called ‘Infra-Red’ that claimed to give my hair a UV glow, and I re-did it about every 5 weeks. I couldn’t wear red. Or pink. Or green, or a lot of things, I was continually clashing.
Every time I resolve to post more, I find myself falling into a hole of work and life-stress and blogging plans seem to fall by the wayside… So it’s Sunday it’s cold and if you’re feeling a bit worn out, here’s something beautiful and inspiring.
Elizaveta Porodina is a 24 year old Russian photographer, currently based in Munich. She shoots fine art fashion with a surreal technicolour quality to it that’s both bold and dream-like. The photos have amazing styling, often including over-sized and dramatic outfits. There’s something delicate and graceful about her images, where models are often be-decked with flowing fabric, sheer layers and roses. It’s incredibly beautiful and creative, the kind of thing I could look at all day.
Apparently she’s also a clinical psychologist. I wonder how she manages to fit her photography around that? (I am envious and intrigued may email her to ask!). Though looking at these images, I wonder if she feels inspired by ideas about fantasy and unconscious desires?
So, what did everyone dress up as for Halloween? I’m actually celebrating it next weekend, so I think I still have a bit of mileage for thinking about costume ideas (and buying all the spooky tat I can get my hands on).
I’ve dressed up as a robot before. It mostly involved cardboard and a lot of tin-foil. However the look can be done much better, going for more of a bionic look, half-human half-robot, or something of a futuristic cyborg. Or saving that, just taking a bit of inspiration from Barbarella to create a shiny silver space-age outfit. Here are a few of my picks for tough and shiny things.
I had no idea who this woman was (apparently she is a Russian singer), but this terminator-style arm piece kicks so much ass. Designed by Leonid Gurevich and created by avant garde jewellers Gilding Primal Instinct, it’s made out of replica guns.
Girl Armour specialise in these one-off, amazing breastplate outfits. I’ve never seen anything quite like them, they’re crafted to such fine detail. They look pretty sturdy too, don’t imagine they’re all that comfortable to wear.
The Lascivious SS13 collection features this great metallic two-piece that seems a bit too special to hide under clothing.
It’s less than a month until the dress-up event of the year (Purim excluded), it’s the Goth Xmas, it’s Halloween! And I have already begun scheming about outfits Some of the best/funniest costumes I see each year are based on recent cultural references (who’s going as one of the Avengers, Effie Trinket or Christian Grey this time?) or an extremely poor taste zombie version of a recently dead celebrity. Or this could be a chance to, Mean Girls-style, wear your most revealing costume under the guise of fancy-dress (teenage sex-worker seems to be a popular choice year on year). What are you planning on wearing? (What do you mean you’d not thought about it yet?!)
Personally, I think I’ll be going for something a bit more elegant. At the moment I’m drawing on my love of things anatomical and considering going for something with a skeletal-theme (though not day-of-the-dead sugar skulls, they’ve been done rather to…death).
I’ve completely fallen in love with this embroidered body-suit from Marchesa. The detail is beautiful and I like how the sheer fabric shows off the body, whilst juxtaposing the bones on the outside, a gilded exo-skeleton. I’d like to wear this under a low cut dress, so the golden ribs would show across the chest (or wear it on it’s own to a rather wilder party!). Kirsten Stewart wore a dress from this collection to the Snow White and the Huntsman premier.
Other beautiful examples of the skeleton in fashion are this amazing leather harness from Zana Bayne (this too would look good over or under something more floaty and feminine. NSFW image here. I’m particularly taken with the detachable arms (complete with ulna and radius) and finger-harnesses.
I recently went to see some of the Paralympics and was stunned by some of the skill and ability of the athletes. It really made me think about the strength and determination involved to rise to such a high level of ability in a world designed for the ‘able-bodied’. Indeed, seeing some of these individuals compete, it seemed strange to really think of them as ‘disabled’, they’re highly talented and possess abilities greater than the majority of the population.
London really raised the profile of disabled athletes and the closing ceremony was a spectacular example of this. One of the stars of the show was Viktoria Modesta, a singer and model who also happens to have had a below-the-knee amputation on one of her legs. Far from hiding it, Viktoria’s prosthesis is part of her unique look and she has various limbs for different occasions (and to accommodate the wide variety of platform heels she wears!). Looking through some of her photos, I spotted some more unusual artificial limbs. Viktoria has often worn pieces created by The Alternative Limb Project, who make imaginative and striking prosthetics that are also very wearable.
TALP director Sophie de Oliveira barata began her career by studying to create special effects prosthetics for film and tv and worked sculpting silicon limbs in a leading proesthetic centre before she set up her own studio. She collaborates with artists of various different mediums to create both ultra-realistic limbs and more fantastical and surreal pieces, tailored to the needs and imaginations of her clients.
These amazing limbs remind me of the carved wooden legs Alexander McQueen made for the athlete and double-leg amputee Aimee Mullens. They’re fascinating, beautiful and exclusive – pieces of art that can only be worn by a select few. My ordinary legs seem awfully boring in comparison! Work like this seems to speak about how difference can be interesting and exceptional, in the many ways in which it presents.