Tuesday, 3 May 2016

faith shook in romance, my imagination danced

It's been lovely to have a longer weekend this week. I have long weekends at uni anyway as I finish on Thursday afternoon and I'm not in again until Monday afternoon, but it's still been different because everyone's had more time. It meant that when I got back from Leeds on Saturday afternoon there was still so much of the weekend left. I went to a birthday party at my friend's flat on Sunday night which involved a lot of dancing on sofas to Bowie and The Smiths. I spent bank holiday Monday eating breakfast food all day and watching Freaks and Geeks and Batman Begins with Ethan. 
Anyway, I've been journalling a lot recently; I've always tried to keep on top of documenting everything but this journal is the first time that it has all come together. It goes without saying that what captivates me most takes up a lot of space in my journal. Since discovering Park Hill flats in December they have been a huge fascination for me. These photos are from the first and second times I visited Park Hill- the second series in this post were taken in December by Ethan when we visited for the first time when we spent the day exploring the city and the first set of photos were taken by Antonio when he came up to Sheffield for a few days and we tried to fit in as many city highlights as possible. 
I know I've posted some of these before, but I wanted to have them all in one place.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an open air cinema screening of Romeo + Juliet at Park Hill flats. It was the perfect location for a film about doomed romance, as there is a sense of romantic tragedy at Park Hill. 
The initial vision for the construction of the brutalist flats was to transform an area previously known as "Little Chicago" (for it's high crime rate) into a perfect example of social housing, creating a tight sense of community to diminish crime. It worked at first. In the 1960s having the pub, local shops, pre-school and sport facilities all within the same complex was convenient and older residents talk about how lovely it was. However, by the 1980s, the "streets in the sky" where milk floats would drive up and down, had become a hub for gang crime. 
There are conflicting views of Park Hill. It is an ugly place; that's inarguable. It looks down over the city ominously, greeting you, as if as a reminder of Sheffield's physically unattractive industrial past, as you pull into the train station. On the other hand, you can see the I love you bridge from far away, especially when it is lit up at night. This is more like a symbol of hope and love; a message from the city to you (though the story behind it is of a love nearly as hopeless as Romeo and Juliet.) Despite its ugliness, Park Hill cannot be taken down because it is the largest listed building Europe. It was listed in the '90s for its brutalist architecture, but it is also a landmark of Sheffield; with it featuring in songs by Pulp and The Crookes and in an Arctic Monkeys music video. The red lights of The Leadmill sign can be seen from the I love you bridge and vice versa. 
The renovation of Park Hill began in 2011, a sign that the original vision for the flats has truly died. The flats are being marketed towards the wealthy and their artistic connotations are becoming gentrified. At the Romeo + Juliet screening there was a 30 minute video about the renovation before the film began. It was some of the most sickeningly in-your-face advertising I have ever seen and it jarred uncomfortably with the reasons why the event had appealed to me so much. 
The company renovating Park Hill decided to light up the graffiti on the I love you bridge as a warm message welcoming visitors to the city. The bridge reads "I love you will you marry me." The original graffiti read "Claire Middleton I love you will you marry me." The bridge has become a romantic symbol, but the erasing of the original message is kind of sad because it makes it so impersonal. Claire Middleton did not marry the man that wrote his proposal for the whole city to see and she recently died of cancer. The Crookes' "The I Love You Bridge" perfectly explains why it is still such a powerful and emotional symbol. 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and bank holiday. Next weekend I'm going to Peddler night market on Friday and I'm seeing High-Rise on Saturday. I'm going to take some photos of the night market to post here and I'll write a bit about what I think of High-Rise. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

advanced style

I remember first encountering Iris Apfel when I watched "Bill Cunningham: New York." I found it interesting that a lot of the women featured in the documentary were older. Fashion is so often associated almost exclusively with youth. It definitely seems at times that the fashion industry fetishises youth, with young models shooting to fame before they have even finished going through puberty. This of course has negative effects, as the ideal of beauty is seen as almost childlike, with women regretting the development of their bodies, the fact that they have reached their adult metabolism and rationalising the fear of ageing. Iris Apfel and the other women in "Advanced Style" show that style and age are in no way mutually exclusive. Style is, above all else, about creativity and confidence. It is about going out into the world in an outfit that no one else is wearing; one that expresses who you really are. The fashion scene in New York is one of the most diverse in the world, but in a city that moves so fast and where so many young people flock to chase their dreams, the older women who help to fuel the city's creativity are too often overlooked.
New York tends to be a hub for wealthy elderly women with collectable wardrobes. If the same phenomena exists in other cities around the world, it is not as clear as it is in New York. Iris Apfel is now 94 years-old.
If you are unfamiliar with her achievements, she has worked for Women's Wear Daily, helped with interior design for nine US Presidents, starred in "Bill Cunningham: New York", "Advanced Style" and, more recently, a documentary dedicated solely to her titled "Iris." All three documentaries are on Netflix and I recommend watching them if you haven't already. In 2005 the Metropolitan Museum of Art curated an exhibition about Iris' style and this year, incongruous as it seems for a 94 year-old, she stars in the latest Citroen commercial. Iris studied Art History at New York University and art school at the University of Wisconsin, showing how she has been artistic from a young age. It was not really until the 21st century that she became a public figure; finding fame through the wardrobe she had spent her life collecting from country's all around the world. Iris' style is hard to define or pin down, but it is most similar to designs by innovative London designers, such as Anya Hindmarch. Hindmarch's FW16 colourful fur coats would not look out of place on Iris. However, Iris' style is not limited to one city or country. Her wardrobe is based on kooky and one off finds from thrift stores and traditional artisans from all over the world. To begin to create my Iris inspired capsule wardrobe, I hunted out old jewellery and looked out for coloured fur coats. I have a bright blue fur coat at home, but I bought this forest green one from Topshop in January. It is so warm and just makes a difference from black. I'm always on the look out for more vintage fur coats though.

Wearing a jacket and shoes from Topshop, thrifted top, necklace from Accessorize, belt from New Look and trousers and socks from M&S.

Iris Apfel's style bleeds into every creative collection in some way. It is more of a philosophy or life style than a trend. Looking at London collections such as Anya Hindmarch, Central Saint Martins and Christopher Kane converted Iris' bold style onto the runway, where it appears much more formal than it would do on the street. It will be exciting to see how much bold pieces are styled once they start featuring in street style photographs.

1, 2, 3, 4: Anya Hindmarch FW16. 5, 6, 7, 8: Iris Apfel. 9, 10: Central Saint Martins FW16. 11, 12: Christopher Kane FW16. 

The most inspiring part of "Advanced Style" was that it showed that age does not always mean submission to the end of life. Instead, it can be a time to live without the inhibitions that held you back in your youth. It means experimenting with colours and jewellery; shapes and textures; unconventional tailoring and structures. I love the idea of dressing without boundaries; of collecting the craziest clothes and making them work so that they stand out whilst also looking chic. I think Iris Apfel's collection is the perfect example of how this works; focusing on quality over quantity so that each piece means something- what is the point in meaningless consumerism anyway? Does the wisdom of age remove you from that? What does age really mean? Considering the constant need for attention on social media, I am interested to see how our generation dresses as we age; whether we will stick with following trends or break away from that and forge our own style paths.

I hope you have a good week. I went to Leeds this weekend for a friend's birthday. We went for a meal at Grove Cafe that has a more extensive vegan and vegetarian menu than I've ever seen, then we went to Soul Train at Mint Warehouse. This week I've got a French deadline, as I do for the next few weeks with first year hand-ins and exams approaching. I know I said I'd try and post once a month, but that's not a set rule. I'll just post when I have the time/feel like it and get properly into posting regular, longer posts over the summer. 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

the less i know the better

Hiya! This is my outfit from a few weeks ago when I was home from uni for Easter. I've decided that it's unrealistic to try and update this blog more than a once a month at the moment, so once a month is my goal. My writing style and the content I post has evolved so much since I started this blog more than 5 years ago. The 5 year blog birthday completely passed me by unnoticed this year, which is sad because it used to mean everything to me. Growing up in a small town, this was the only way for me to communicate my interests to the world and publish content that I (probably naively) thought might help me get a job one day. Now I'm living in a city and I'm writing for publications that people actually read (albeit only students) and meeting people all the time that I have so much in common with. 

I miss the excitement that fashion blogging used to hold. I started this blog off the back of the tail end of that. 2007 to 2011 was fashion blogging's heyday. When I started there were so many success stories floating round. Tavi Gevinson, Susie Lau, Chiarra Ferragni. All these amazing women were creating really inspiring content and amassing millions of readers. Ordinary people were making fashion more democratic, sitting on the front row, having opinions previously reserved for magazine editors. I never aspired to be a full time blogger. The glossiness of magazines held too much appeal to me and part of me revered the exclusivity of fashion. However, the public perception of "bloggers" now has shifted so immensely, so that even I have to try and stop myself from shuddering at the word. We are instead accused as the culprits for declining job opportunities in the print industry, seen as people talking about things we know nothing about and, fashion bloggers are perhaps met with the most scorn of all. With the rise of the Instagram stars (this decade's answer to fashion bloggers), everyone wants to share their lives online in hope that they will be met with fame. Unlike fashion blogging, however, there is little true art or intelligence in this. Where are the Susies writing intellectual trend reports? Or the Tavis, breaking boundaries and penning witty posts?  

Whenever I wear this dress I feel the need to make it more grungy somehow. I usually wear it with my Docs. It sort of reminds me of the babydoll dresses that Courtney Love used to wear. In these photos I'm wearing sunglasses from Stone Fox, necklace from Primark, dress, coat and shoes from Topshop and tights from M&S. I recently watched The True Cost on Netflix. I generally try to shop ethically and lots of my clothes come from charity shops and vintage shops, but I could definitely do better. Fast fashion is often the easier and cheaper option, but I really hate supporting an industry that's so damaging, both to the people it exploits and the environment.

Yesterday I went to Humpit, a hummus and pita bar that has just opened in Sheffield. I practically live of hummus and pita, but here it was something else. I've done a write up on it for The Tab Sheffield that should be posted soon.

Fashion itself has remained inspiring and exciting and I document my favourite aspects of it on twitter. Here are some of the things that have been inspiring me recently:

1. Taxi Driver (1976), 2. Marc Jacobs Spring 2011, 3. Louis Vuitton Spring 2016, 4. Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2012, 5. Jane Birkin, 6. Formation, Beyonce, 7. Kate Moss for British Vogue May 2016, 8. Alexa Chung for Dazed May 2016, 9. Cruel Ways, Drowners, 10. Edie Campbell for Vogue Paris May 2016

Since the last time I posted I've seen Wolf Alice, which was incredible. I've wanted to see them for such a long time and I'm so glad they played "Silk." Last summer I listened to that on repeat for weeks. I remember waiting for the tube in London with Eleanor and telling her how I loved it so much I just wanted to inject the lyrics into my veins.

Over Easter I went to Vogue:100 which was beautiful and inspiring. My favourite room was the video room where they showed outakes from shoots shot on film from the 1930s to the present day. I went there at the start then came back once I had seen everything else. I don't know why it entranced me so much, but it did. Perhaps because it made some of the most iconic photographs come to life. It felt so intimate. It reminded me of my love for fashion history. Anna Wintour says to always look forward, but, walking round this retrospective exhibition I couldn't help but feel that looking back is often more cathartic. Whether that is looking back at more glamorous times, more radical times or more innocent times.

I also saw The Woman in Black in London, watched The Jungle Book in IMAX 3D, saw Twin Peaks and Misty Miller, went to the Peak District, went to an erasure poetry workshop, saw Romeo + Juliet at an open air cinema and saw a play about Joy Division. I've been journalling a lot recently and my journal is fuller than any I've kept before. I will probably finish it next month and then I'll do a post of some of the pages. 

I visited the Peak District for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Despite living only a short bus journey away now it's the first time I've been. We went the weather was briefly really lovely. Below are some photos from the day, taken by Ethan.

Although since then the weather has been less springlike and more snowy, below is a playlist I made for when the weather does eventually get a bit warmer again.

Have a good week! x

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

erdem fall 2016

Erdem was one of my favourite Autumn/Winter 2016 collections. Its 1930s Hollywood vibes were glamorous with a modern twist.

"I thought of what they were trying to be, heading toward the lights and stardom."

So Erdem Moralioglu said of his Fall 2016 collection which saw a recreation of the decadent glamour that defined stardom in the 1930s and 40s with models sashaying down the runway in chiffon, in velvet, in lace. Inspired by classic film stars such as Bette Davis, the show oozed classic beauty. However, there was also a sense of modernity to the collection. It was not simply another recreation of an era so brimming with style inspiration. Though classical glamour prevailed, there was a sense of freedom in the clothes. Many looks were diaphanous and classy Marlene Dietrich-esque trouser suits also made an appearance. In many ways this collection is more suited to the modern woman than other Fall 2016 collections that have revived the corset. The makeup was minimalist, with red lipstick adding a pop of playfulness. 

The look was simultaneously chic, frivolous and flashy; a mix that worked well through ankle sweeping hems, frills and sequins. Erdem's sophisticated style slipped perfectly into the theme of 1930s/40s Hollywood. It's hard to believe that this is the first time that the designer has created a collection directly inspired by the era. The clothes themselves were alluring, beautiful and intricate. Despite the obvious harking back to another era, the collection avoids costume. Erdem has an understanding of womanhood, adding sensitivity to what could otherwise be a trope-like inspiration. It celebrates the past but there is a sense that women wearing this collection are looking towards the future. This is a more delicate kind of power dressing; powerful through its eye-catching femininity and abundance of glitter.

I'm going to try to keep this blog updated more regularly over Easter. Recently I've been drowning under course reading and continuing to write for The Tab as their Fashion Editor. Have a fab week!