Saturday 14 January 2012

Sat 14th Jan: David Bowie and Mick Ronson, UK, 1973 by Mick Rock Q&A on AnOther

This week I became the top hit on AnOther LOVES for the David Bowie and Mick Ronson portrait by Mick Rock that I posted from Culture Label. Lucia Davies interviewed me about my fascination with the legendary Bowie which you can view in an edited version over at the article with the print.......... or read the full Q&A here............. with some photos of my vinyl collection and the postcards I have pinned up next to turntable..........

1. What made you choose this image of David Bowie and Mick Ronson UK 1973 by Mick Rock?

I like to "LOVE" things that are current and as its Bowie's big birthday week, this was perfect. I was also excited that a gallery were actually selling these prints so it would be a good product to share on AnOther LOVES for other Bowie fiends like me.

2. How do you pronounce Bowie: Bo-ee bow-ee?

I'm of the Bo-ee ilk. But I also occasionally like to warble my voice in a Mick Jagger way .... D-havid Booooweee

3. Are you a big fan of both their music?

I'm only familiar with their combined music ......... and yes I'm a huge fan. I collect vinyl and I have systematically tried to amass as much Bowie as possible. My favourite sleeve is "Pin Ups" with the misty images of him and Twiggy which sits on top of my turntable. I saw Bowie perform at Glastonbury in 1997 and Ive been hooked ever since.

What kind of music are you into?

Too many different genres to mention, but the critical crux is that it makes me want to move - I love to dance. I dj occasionally and its a real mish mash of 60's Nothern Soul, 70's disco, ska and hip hop to 80's electronica and 90's r'n'b............... the criteria is being a dance floor filler!

5. Both men are considered style icons of their time – do you have any favourite looks or particular style elements of theirs?

Its all about the collaboration with Kansai Yamamoto - of which this monochrome stripey jacket is one such classic! Incredible! My favourite costume is the black and gold jumpsuit with the ginormous disc shape pantaloons. The alien absurdity of the Ziggy Stardust chapter was perfection to me - I'm a sucker for a man in makeup and that was a definitive avant-garde invention!

6. Like Bowie, you are also renowned for your distinct and vibrant style choices – what is the most garish thing you own?

I think the whole of my wardrobe is garish - I'm not afraid of colour or pattern which usually constitutes as crazy! I wore a gold lurex all-in-one as my bridesmaid "dress" for my sister's wedding with spiky hair which was pretty Bowie! The loudest look I own is probably neon yellow with a tulle pom pom AsFOUR bag which makes me look like a construction worker from Bladerunner!

7. What are your views on the infamous mullet that Bowie sported through much of his career?

Only he can make a mullet sexy. I don't know what the equation of parts is, but no-one else has pulled it off in my opinion. I'm actually partial to his rockabilly quiff with short back and sides from the Absolute Beginners era .............. phwoar!

8. The photographer who shot them, Mick Rock, has photographed some of the finest and most provocative images in rock’n’roll history, what other music photographers do you like?

When I was a teenager I got lost in the hyper-real fantasy world of David Lachapelle executed with those impressive complex and intricate sets. On the flip side however I love gritty, real, spontaneous gems like Maripol's Polaroids of Grace Jones and a very young Madonna etc. .........
For current times, Tara Darby takes a brilliant portrait. She captures the essence of a band or artist in that fleeting moment they have sheduled to shoot. It always reveals a very natural and relaxed side to the subject's character without any inflicted style - she respects and exposes someone's innate charm at the same time.
Last but not least, Jason Evans is a legend - who works outside the box and comes up with a discerning, fresh angle which is occasionally abstract and always beautiful.

9. They are captured on a train whilst enjoying their train meal. What has been your favourite train ride? When and where to?

One Summer I travelled to the Venice Bienalle and then Locarno film festival with my best friend which was unexpectedly beautiful with the yellow fields of corn! But I think my favourite train rides are in Holland or some in France where the graffiti is on another level to the UK - its serious! The colour and craftsmenship is hardcore and honed!

10. What do you where when you are travelling?

I have a massive quilted hexagon garment from my degree collection which doubles up as a cocoon like a sleeping bag. I just pull it over my head and hide inside!

11. What was the last track, CD or record you bought?

I struck gold in Oxfam recently finding a whole bounty of Mark Moore type London dance records from the early 90's. The best for my bedroom dancing antics is " "Breathing is E-Zee" by Ezee Posse / Jeremy Healy with vocals from Tara Newley (daughter of Joan Collins and singer Anthony Newley). The credit to the artwork is a still from a Katherine Hamnett film by Ellen Von Unwerth?! Great track and great cover!

12. What is your favourite online shop?

I don't shop online because I spend too much time looking at a screen as it is. I prefer to come across stuff as I travel around, when I can feel it, smell it, try it out. However Amazon is a weakness as its criminally quick and easy. On recommendation from Tom Ryling, I just bought "City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and 1970s" by Edmund White about life in new york in the 1960's/70's ........ can't wait to read that!

Thursday 12 January 2012


The latest episode in the TEST Presents series takes part this Thurs (19th Jan) with a screening of Vera Chytilova's 'Daisies', introduced by Fashion in Film Festival curator and director Marketa Uhlirova. The monthly film club asks a different creative from the industry to host a night by selecting a film that has inspired them and which they would like to share. Previous special guests have included Richard Nicoll, Julie Verhoeven, Penny Martin and myself when I talked thru the impact of "The Cockettes" on my life outlook.
Here is a clip of this month's movie to give a taster of what to expect if you aren't already familiar with the 1960's experimental avant-garde Czech classic piece of cinema. I was introduced to it by Letih Clark when she asked me to do the set design for a shoot with Amanda De Cadenet for an early issue of Lula. Back in the days of when I was operating as a props designer this was one of my first official commissions which I was very thankful to Leith for! I gathered together lots of foliage from the flower market, located strange exotic green fruits, made pastel colour cupcakes and borrowed a beautiful antique phone from my uncle. I photocopied my Granddad's 1960's photography books and wallpapered a space in the amazing location of the George Tavern. It was a fun day running ahead of each set up, installing the next one.......... spontaneously thinking on my feet and experimenting with what I had. Above you can see the final spread featuring Nathalie Press dressed in the Miu Miu silk looks of the time. "Daises" was a brilliant reference to spark ideas to re-create for Lula's house style and I really recommend you take this opportunity to see it on a large screen as I don't think the chance will come up again as it is an obscure entity..............

Thursday 19th January, Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green, Screening starts at 7.30PM, Tickets and more info here.

Natalie Press 'Spellbound' in Lula Issue 3, Images by Susie Bubble at The Fashion Spot.
Photos: Amanda de Cadenet, Fashion Editor Leith Clark

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Thurs 13th Jan: "L'Eclipse" Liza Manili by Elisha Smith Leverock

Liza Manili - L'├ęclipse. from Rokkit on Vimeo.

Allow me to introduce you to Liza Manili - a new name in French music having come to fruition from a background working as a model, actor and comedienne. Elisha has tapped these skills for Liza's latest pop promo "L'Eclipse", devising a scenario where she has a split personality acting out both characters. The lyrics describe a feeling of being eclipsed by the sun which Elisha has visually translated as the disorientating state when you awake in first light.......... lapsing in and out of the dream world to reality. Liza switches from her the taunting prankster alter-ego, accessorized in Mawi jewels to her true self in a cute Richard Nicoll baby doll dress styled by Katy Lassen.

You may recognise some of the chorus girl moves from the Heliocentric Electric fashion film I made with Elisha, having teamed up with the same choreographer Chloe Bergeret. The overiding inspiration for the clip's mood is both Busby Berkeley 1940's Ziegfeld Follie dance troops and David Lynch heroines. The surreal moments of Liza disappearing into her bed were executed by art directors Dan Mclagan and Samuel Walters who rigged up crash matts and body double accordingly! I love that this video has given Elisha the chance to show a real narrative side to her cinematography, with scope to write a story-telling focused treatment ........... now I want to see her make a short film, more than I ever have before. Therefore, this was a perfect pairing for Elisha to have an actress and vocalist in one to play out her most ambitious music video to date.........

Check out Elisha's new agency Rokkit who also have Tim Brown on thier books.......

Monday 9 January 2012

Mon 9th Jan: Sonic Sinuate Supertemporal Sequestador revisited s/s 2012

Style Cupid has just published a piece about my collection shot at Ella Dror's press day ........ which is lovely to see after the initial rush of focus that follows fashion week. The photos are a really nice macro quality too, so you can see the the paint effects, textures, PIN London badges and crustacea shoes by Rosy Nicholas. The new collection is currently in construction, so put 20th Feb in your diary to request tickets for my next LFW show and chapter in colour ................

Mon 9th Jan: Slava Snow Show

Thanks to Craig Lawrence for taking us to see his friend's circus snow show at The Royal Festival Hall where snow confetti and cobwebs blew out into the audience ........... culminating in a cascade of GIANT multi colour bouncy balls............ ending in a session of "soft play" for everyone to get involved pushing them around the air of the auditorium............ here is Orla Savage also having a go on a clown cut out...................

Sunday 8 January 2012

Sunday 8th Jan: "Collective Life" Sunday Times Style, Jessica Brinton

Jessica Brinton from the Sunday Times Style contacted me about a piece she was writing called "Liquid Living" and how its possible to ride the wave of the recession by sharing skills. I'm obsessed with bringing all my friends together in a creative hippy commune kind of way so I was an ideal candidate to interview. Here are snaps of the accompanying shoot at my studio to go with the article and the page from today's paper........... featuring my close collaborators Teo Connor, Ella Dror, Alex Cunningham and Rosy Nicholas. Here is an edited version of the article which was put together from a conversation I had with Jessie talking thru my views:

"I've always liked the idea of communal living. When I moved into my studio, I tried to get lots of other people to move in, too. I work all the time, so it doubles up as my social life.
Most of my work ends up being traded. If people want something Ive made, I don't charge by the hour, I ask them to return the favour. For example, one of my friends in this picture, Teo, is a graphic designer and she does my lookbook for free. In return, Ill make her something special, like a headpiece for a wedding. Or I'll help her with the W Project, a charity she cofounded to promote women in the creative industries. I did a film-screening night and I did a workshop for Hackney schoolgirls with another of my friends, CocknBullKid. Also in this picture is Rosy, who came to assist me just to be involved in what I was doing. We became friends and now I get her involved in any jobs I have coming in. I was at college with Alex, and she was my first stylist. And finally there's Ella Dror. She has her own PR agency and only works with the people she believes in. If everything did go very wrong, I doubt that our working life would change much . We'd still all work together.
I prefer collaborating. If you need stuff done, you get it done together. Competitiveness is being insecure, isn't it? You're wasting time looking at everyone else. Im very free with information. I keep a broad network, and people are always contacting me to find out what's good for this or that, and Im happy to help them. That's why I started my blog. I feature people so that others can see thier pieces and get in touch to work together. The surprise is that this is now my main source of income.
Funnily enough, in the village where I grew up, everyone's moved back. My dad now employs my uncle, my brother and his girlfriend. My nan lives with my mum and dadd, and my sister lives next door, so she can just drop off the kids. I like that process of give and take.

(Snaps of photographer Michael Leckie, makeup artist Caroline Sims and my PR Ashley Smith)