Saturday, 4 April 2009

Weekend of Lovliness Series #3

Ok... So this one's the last in the series from last weekend. Sob! ;-D

As promised, this post is the detail shots I rather liked... Mainly focussing on accessories: the scarf, the brooch, the tights and the bag... 

- My lovely little clutch, hanging from a railing in one of Chelsea's private gardens, while I tied my shoelace... How SHINY!!! :-D

- I didn't watch the boat race... I was too busy gorging on barbeque ;-D 

- Loving the scarf against those tights... T-B took this one as I was getting back up from tying that pesky shoelace the ten millionth time. I like the contrast... *Note to self: need new laces!* 

- Oh, it's just so stressful, lazing around in the sun!

- My amazing Rodchenko and Popova exhibition brooch - the hammer actually moves due to the cog! How kwl is that?!?! :-D

Sigh. So now that's over... I don't think there'll be any more T-B photoshoots til he gets back to Cam on the 12th. Not too long, honest! 

I'll try to fill in the blanks with some self timer photos, but it depends on how deep into this hole of dissertation gloom I get. I may end up in my horrendous Jack Wills trackies (not my idea, but they are darn comfy) and uber-old, uber-darned and holey cashmere mens sweaters that are comfy as hell but not exactly stylish ;0) This isn't a joke... I may crack... In case you hadn't noticed the levels of stress my dissertation is causing...

- My diary from this week... nothing else in it...

- The state of my desk...

- The offensive / offending document ;-D

Haha. Oh well. I should have quite a chunk done by the end of the weekend, but I think, if I didn't have this blog, and you guys keeping me cheery, I'd be much more of a basket case. And that's saying something!!!

Until tomoro lovelies,

To keep T-B happy ;-D - images in this post are either Copyright Alex Tatton-Brown (1-5) or my own (6-8). Seriously though, 8, and all text therein, is DEFINITELY copyright me. Mainly because I don't particularly want to end up getting in trouble with the uni proctor of examinations... Sigh.

Another Sale!

This time Creatures of Comfort, who stock LD Tuttle, Peter Jensen, Acne, Alexander Wang, Opening Ceremony and Vena Cava to name a very few, are giving you 15% off with the code "Springing" entered at the checkout... Only til Sunday tho!

My *fantasy* pick would be this Bernard Willhelm dress:

And the *remotely* attainable pick would be this burgundy Society for Rational jumpsuit:

It's a US store, but they do ship Internationally... I love this spate of discount codes I'm getting! 

I'm not going to be getting anything from here this time, but only because I've been on a buying binge the past few days, and I think my bank account might actually be bleeding - or at least covered in crappy fake blood, which stains clothes, and generally isn't pretty! Hehe. Jokes. Mostly ;-D

Night all!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Musical Theatricalities!!!

Has anyone heard of the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet?

We did it as the Lent term musical in my first year, and it was SUCH FUN! "Shakespeare's long lost rock-and-roll masterpiece" pretty much says it all... (Look it up on itunes and you'll see what I mean! ;-D)

Basically, it's pretty much the biggest show of the year, and I'd applied to be costume assistant... It was my SIXTH show that term and I was exhausted and got really ill in the middle of term and hadn't noticed that the actual costume designer had done nothing...

So, with A WEEK to go, he pulled out, citing wanting to run for CUSU (our student's union) as reasons he couldn't do it... Basically elections were at the same time. LAMEST EXCUSE EVER!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was suddenly costume designer for a show that went up in a week, with no costumes made and 22 people waiting to be able to practice in them...

Let's just say, it was one of the most stressful, but exhilerating weeks of my life... We basically redesigned the whole costume concept, and I roped in an absolute horde of people - mostly techies, more used to hanging lanterns, carpentry and programming sound desks than to sewing machines, mountains of pink fabric and miles of ribbon - to help with endless sewing, sticking badges onto shirts, and glitter-glue-ing late into the night! 

And it ended up beautiful! We got rave reviews and I made a tonne of new friends in the process... Silver linings eh!

This is the show where one of the boys' pants split mid-show and gaffa tape was the only option... My favourite costumes were definitely the neon pink dress we made for the lead, out of UV spangly material, from scratch... Oh, and the cute little shirt-shifts we made for the girl pilots... They had ribbon hems and were just So Darling!

The most fun thing to make was the hat for the robot (bottom right and left above). It was a colander we'd bought from Tesco, spray-painted silver, with millions of little LED lights all over the place. It was fantastic, and I will be forever indebted to my best mate, Will, for sorting all those fiddly little blinking lights, when he was supposed to be orchestrating the building of the entire set (as he was Technical Director, so supposed to be in charge of everything Else!)... Hooray for girlie charm eh! ;-D

And, of course, the necessary costume wench pic... Look at me in my boys shirt and red lippie! Odd angle, and rather ill, but Too Cool For School anyway eh ;-D - can't believe this was 2 years ago! Gawd I feel so OLD!

Hope you like the pictures! 

Photos are either my own, or copyright Charles Arrowsmith and Damian Robertson. Poster copyright Esh Alladi. Thanks on this post have to be extended to WW, SM, PN, JD, H, PMD, HO, EA, HS, AB, SP, RL, The B, Spangly G, R, HG, The WHOLE S.O.D. and many many more...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Heads Up! 20% off Melissa for Westwood!

Anyone who's been eyeing MELISSA shoes recently, Vivienne Westwood's shopping site  is offering 20% off on her collaborations with Melissa!!! Just type in MEL20 at checkout to see a chunk disappear off your bill!
I bought some purple Mary Janes... Can't wait to get them! I think these run slightly small - I'm usually a 39/39.5 but I take a 40 in Melissa shoes usually... 

Oh, and has 20% off JUST TOMORROW with the code UNAMIS

HAVE FUN!!!  Xxxc

Weekend of Loveliness Series - #2

As I said a couple of days ago, I'm splitting the photos from Saturday into 3... This post is basically a bit of a love letter to London, so please stay with me on this one as I post some of my favourite places.

Every day in Cambridge, I miss London a little bit more. Don't get me wrong, this place is beautiful, but after three years of being surrounded by academia, and it permeating Everything you say and do, and being ground down by the constant deadlines and made ill by the lack of real routine but essays, I miss home like hell. I miss the variety; the constantly changing landscape; the feeling of being in a place where you can go anywhere and do anything at any time; the fact that it's so eclectic and eccentric and whatever you do, you're accepted for being the person you want to be, rarely judged, left to get on with your life; the joy of the fast pace and the discovery of something new... It's not the place for everyone, but it's the place for me.

I love things like this... This house is basically just one room thick. I think it's to accomodate the railway line, but it's slim sillhouette fascinates me. It's like one of those dollhouses that only had one room so you could display everything framed by pretty windows. I love it when old buildings are renovated and they leave up the facade but completely knock down the building behind... We get that a lot, especially in the City - like this building that is opposite my mother's office near the Royal Courts of Justice:
Don't let the grey put you off... This was taken ages ago, on my phone,  on a rather foggy day in central London - rather industrial, isn't it ;-D

This is one of the candy coloured houses from where we did Saturday's photoshoot... Walking down here always makes me feel like I've been transported to a little mediterranean fishing village, and each of the houses is a different vibrant pastel shade. It's pretty much directly of the King's Road, and if you get a chance to wander down here, it'll put a smile on your face! :-D 

This is the old Michelin (tyre company) building, that's now a Conran restaurant, Bibendum. I love this place as on the side it has tiles depicting classic cars from the early 20th century... An absolute gem of a building, made all the sweeter by the stained glass and the flower stall out front...
Just one street up from the photo two back... These painted shutters remind me of parts of Italy where the past seems omnipresent but corrupted. (In a good way - at least here - I think...) I can see colonialism + 90s Brighton + 80s Miami combining in one house's facade ;-D Got to love the attempts at Palm tree growing too. I think this road is opposite the KR starbucks (- the 2nd one you pass, if you're walking from Sloane Square tube).
I LOVE the windows of Joseph on Brompton Cross at the moment... This window display is on the opposite side of the road from Chanel, and I have to admit, it distracted me from my usual bag drooling ;-D How kwl is this!?!? Especially with the sky reflection too... The display is basically a cityscape on the heads of the mannequins. Freaky but uber-immense too! Especially considering the gorgeousness of the clothes too. I didn't get a chance to inspect the clothes as we had to move on to photoshoot-ness / getting the car, but I hope it's still there when I'm next around!

British town and street layouts are like none other I've encountered... Everything's just so squished. Siena is the only other place I've been where things are such a beautiful mishmash of old and new, but in London I guess it's all just a bit more grey. And I'm biased anyway ;-D

All the above photos are from the Chelsea area, but I promise that's not my only hangout... I'm also a big South Bank girl - find me in the summer, stretched out in the park by Gabriel's Wharf; eating the butternut squash and goats cheese salad in Riviera restaurant; hidden in the dark watching an old movie at the BFI or rummaging through the book market outside. And there are many more places besides, from the South Bank to Westminster, Euston-wards, Marylebone, Notting Hill, Carnaby Street and many more. We just didn't take photos of them this weekend!

Right. Back to dissertation gloom...


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Theatricalities Past...

Since I'm attempting to string out the boat-race pictures for as long as possible, today's post is a wander down memory lane to my days as a costume wench at Cambridge's ADC theatre...

This performance of Mozart and Salieri (February 2007) was my first foray into costume design, after initially doing lighting as it's what I'd done at school, and really set in stone my love for creating a character and for working in theatre in general... 

The production was brilliant, selling out a lateshow slot (absolutely impossible to do!) and the people made my entry into the horrendously cliquey world of cam-theatre extremely easy. 

Theatre is no longer a part of my life in a meaningful sense, as to be involved, you basically have to sacrifice degree / college life / friends / sleep / health - if you're me... It's actually in the CUADC constitution that if you get more than a 2.2 then you're not doing enough theatre! Totally true. Hehe. But I don't regret a single second of it. 

There were many other productions I was involved with, and each one makes me feel proud to have been involved and to have produced such professional quality work. It's a real team effort and Cam does produce some outstanding actors and directors and technical people, but I don't regret leaving it behind. I still have great friends from doing it, learnt loads of skills I'd never have had another opportunity to develop, and still occasionally work on the theatre box office. But not doing shows has given me and my health a bit of breathing room.

Heart-to-heart aside, this production was hella-fun. Despite breaking up with my long-term boyfriend the weekend before the show went up, it remains in my mind as one of the most positive experiences Cambridge has offered me (as well as providing a great rebound boy lol). And there have been many. (Not rebound boys ;-D honest!)

It is probably the darkest show I costumed, but its small scale and period costume coupled with freaky scary make up really made it fun... I'd been briefed with descriptions of Japanese theatre - particularly Kabuki, Kyogen (there were masks involved...) and Bunraku

The director had also expressed a wish for the types of coats for Mozart and Salieri to wear and the general colour schemes. For make up, I had Edward-Scissorhands meets child-playing-with-facepaint on Halloween with a bit of climbing vines, mould and rot thrown in... Haha.

And working with actors does make you open your mind to the ridiculous in life a little more...

And sitting in dressing rooms gossiping for hours with some of my closest friends, playing with green face paint isn't exactly the biggest chore in the world!

Ah... Here comes the "costume wench" photo! Don't I look so nervous! Ah to be a first year again. Sigh. Got to love all the costume repairs I did for that show, though it wasn't as bad as the show I'm going to show you next time when I had to fix the entire inseams of one of the boys' trousers with gaffa tape for the whole second half of the opening night as he'd been dancing so enthusiastically!

***Please excuse the crappy quality of the photos - the originals are on my removable hard drive which is currently at home, so these were copied off facebook, with resultant reduced number of pixels. I did my best!!!

I hope you enjoyed that little foray into my theatrical past... I'll show you some more shows and chatter about theatricalities in general in upcoming posts!


Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Weekend of London Lovliness Series - #1

As I said... This weekend, at the boat race, we did a photoshoot.

Although I said the photos would be in limbo, T-B has come through for me, and since there are a few different aspects that I want to show off, I'm going to break down the shoot-posts into three 5-picture parts... # 1 is the photo shoot itself, # 2 is inspiring images of the surrounding area and # 3 is detail shots.

I'm going to do them interspersed with posts about my former life as a costume wench at the ADC theatre in Cambridge, so bear with me this week! Hopefully there'll be plenty for you to enjoy feasting your eyes on, and I'll try to find interesting things to say about it all ;-D


Step 1) Ignore boat race. Hug instead.

Step 2) Go home and dance in the streets

Step 3) Admire motorbikes.

Step 4) Have fun with reflections

Step 5) Strike a pose. In. Vogue. (Well, almost...)

It was a great day, and thanks to all involved in that. Not only was the exhibit in the morning one of the best museum trips I've ever had, but my friends at the boat race were on top form, and taking T-B to my childhood-home bit of London - Chelsea. 

We moved to a more suburban area when I was school age, but due to friends and family, most of my formative memories are here... It's where I am most comfortable. Our flat was above a quite famous pub on the even more famous King's Road - where Vivienne Westwood had her SEX shop...

In a Susie-Bubble-esque shops-googlemaps-venture, on a smaller, much more personal scale, I created my London Life-Map (1 - Chelsea). Hopefully I'll do some more soon, but here's for starters... 
View Larger Map 
- when you click to a larger map, you need to go up and to the left slightly if you can't see any of the pins or the KR - for some reason it sometimes decentres... -

Going back in the midst of stressy dissertation time was a breath of fresh air.

Anyway... on the day I was wearing Adidas patent basketball shoes - bought in Paris with my mum on a girlie holiday last year, the Topshop tights, the purple leather skirt from Rokit, blue GAP tee, GAP shell pink cardigan, scarf from charity shop in Rochester, Toy Watch, purple leather flower cuff from ARK, Rodchenko and Popova exhibition brooch (detail forthcoming in #3), Dolce and Gabbana red patent clutch bag, Paul Costelloe coat...

Oh, and my AIDS day ribbon that I refuse to take off. I'm Cambridge's student's union executive Sexual Health and HIV Awareness officer, so wearing it is part of my job description as well as being for a cause I really believe in. It's so so important... Have a look at CAMFED - a campaign to educate girls in rural Africa and help them gain economic independence after leaving school in a bid to end their poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS. It's a really amazing cause!

Until next time chicas!


Monday, 30 March 2009

Theatrical musings and Russian 1920s art...

So I used to be a costume wench (designer) for theatre productions... I spent most of first and second year dressing other people for the stage before I buried myself in work and came back into the collegiate fold.

But that doesn't stop me having a bit of a thing for theatrical aspects of clothing and a bit of a crush on costume and set designing artists...

So anyway, yesterday I went home to London again, this time for the Oxford Cambridge boat race - we lost... BOOOOOOO! - and to go to the Tate Modern for the Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism exhibition... 

The boat race was lovely - it was sunny, everyone was happy (until we lost) and all in all, it was great seeing my friends... T-B and I Did do a photo shoot, but that will emerge later in the week as those photos are currently in computer-limbo until he's back from a visit to his girl in Bath. 

So... The exhibition was also AMAZING. I must admit to being a huge fan of a lot of modern art - I spend a lot of my free time at the Tate Modern, and this is no exception. I love their use of line and colour. We were in quite a silly mood and spent quite a lot of the exhibition trying to decide what images they could be behind the abstract-ness...

The collage is mainly Rodchenko and his graphic design work, while the paintings are some of Popova's GORGEOUS stuff. I love her use of colour and shade. It's so subtle and expressive!

Both Rodchenko and Popova, under the early years post-Russian Revolution produced first studio easel work FAR ahead of its time and then moved from conventional artistry to posters, textiles, graphics, architecture, furniture and mass media - designing for a worker's club (we played a game of chess on one of the boards Rodchenko designed) and the poster for "Battleship Potemkin" for example... The colours and shapes are so striking and I ended up dreaming about it all last night. A simple but beautiful exhibition which I really felt opened my eyes, both from a more traditional painting POV and a graphic / textile design one.

They also designed clothes and costumes for theatre and Rodchenko designed stage sets, which were amazing...

Aren't these kwl? They're dress and textile designs by Popova... I just love the patterns and the muted but strong colours... They had a scarf in the hammer and sickle design. I didn't get it but now wishing I had. I might nip back in if I'm in London again while the exhibition's on... Naughty eh ;-D
And this is my favourite costume by Rodchenko... I'm a sucker for a)burgundy and b) uniform. Hehe.

In the shop, I fell in love with something else... A book on Russian and Soviet theatre which is not only really interesting about theatre under oppression but also contains some AMAZING photos of sets and costumes...

the Classicising figure in the bottom left is Just To Die For, especially considering it's pre-Revolution and yet looks like it could be put on stage tomorrow!

None of the images in these two collages are from Rodchenko and Popova, but from the book "Russian and Soviet Theatre" byRudnitsky
I wish I had time to snuggle up with this book, but it will have to wait a while... Until then, it is sitting on my shelf, unread, but filled with possibilities. I am really feeling some of the make up techniques and the harsh lines.