Rosiepop has moved and now lives at www.rosiepop.com
Rosiepop has moved and now lives at www.rosiepop.com
I was wearing these leather shorts today. I've had them half as long as I've been alive...
In the back pocket there is still a pink flyer for the Leeds Love Parade circa 2000. That day I wore my hair in braids (thanks Isla), a pink and red glitter t-shirt, bad frosted pink lippy (ironically, hopefully) and not-that-suitable-for-a-field black platform boots. In my mind was Michael who I was wondering how to approach to tell him I thought he was rather lovely. We didn't bump into each other in the end (I tried - to be fair, there were lots of people).
Less than two years later we got married.
Ten years later my daughter was putting pink flowers in the other back pocket of said shorts as I lay on the lawn today...who'd've thunk it?
*Writing on the number 25 bus*
On a golden sunnyish sort of day I walk my children to school.
We rumple some leaves and pass the kids waiting for the bright green school bus (which should have been scrapped ten years ago).
I get home with pastries, the mums arrive for parenting class, I love Kate's t-shirt (she found it at the back of the wardrobe - ran out of clothes) and drink espresso.
Royal Mail brings vintage tattoos, a book (yay) and a delivery of props for tomorrow's shoot (longbow, sword etc).
I have to leave early for work, get on the bus and feel like an art student reading my new book because it is brown and hardback and cool.
Me reading Luella's Guide to English Style on the bus. Tasty bus seat colour as you can see. Phwoar.
When I heard earlier in the year Luella Bartley was producing a book about English style, it just seemed like the most obvious idea. I can't think of many people who would be better placed to take up the task. In terms of fashion experience, Luella has managed them all, having spent time as an editor, designer and journalist. She's lived with musicians, is mates with Katie Grand and has a fondness for all things Brit - from Princess Anne to Grunge. She's done country and city living (London/Cornwall/born in Stratford). Oh, and she has an MBE and three kids. Not bad for not yet forty.
Perhaps Miss E, the timeless English girl who dances through the genres and decades of style is Luella herself? And every other quirky bolshy bird who's not bothered yet very bothered about her daily garb.
The nuances of pink - i.e. punk pink, man pink, posh pink...
I would at this point like to tell you (a BIT smugly which is even annoying me and I'm the smug one) - that a couple of weeks I procured these:
Luella Spring/Summer 2008 RTW. Photo from style.com
Pink boots by Jonathan Kelsey for Luella. These were only made for the show.
Other epic-ness from this particular show included: cocktail dresses, teeny flower prints, those crazy bat glasses, giant sequin flowers, librarian glasses (early incarnation of) and yellow and black bat print.
Topshop have stocked for a while and still sell bat print knickers that are very jolly:
Luella apparently names all of her collections and clothes. I hope that also applied to the footwear. I wonder what these pink boots are called...? Do you think she'll tell me if I ask?
Did I mention the old battered hardback bookness of it all? All delightfully offset by a bright pink elastic bookmark which made me grin when I opened the parcel.
It's no secret amongst friends that when tired/in need of comfort/excitement/fashioned out, my default go to in any shop is anything hairy or shaggy. It is with great comfort and joy then (a bit under the weather), that I came accross Georgie Amanda Solomon of Lasskaa, who not only makes clomp/hair tastic shoes and Balenciaga-y hooves with perspex harnesses, shaggy vests and coats, but this:
"I channel my dreams or my mood of the minute.
Visually recreate what I feel inside.
Feathers and ropes oh my! Chains and chiffon oh my!
An eclectic mix of ethereal dreams, moods and emotions.
Click your ruby shoes three times. You’re home.
Of course, dreaming wouldn’t happen without a heart – and so the heart of my creations is a self-created charity fund raising money for the beautiful families and youth across Bali – all able to smile despite being hungry, despite being without basic amenities.
When you purchase anything from Lasskaa, a portion will go towards these beautiful people of a place I call my second home.
Let light and love come from within. I will help you adorn the rest."
Georgeous, gorgeous Georgie!
En route to Newcastle. I travel with a heavy, precious (ish) load. I'm feeling rather protective of my case of apparel. It CANNOT get lost - hence I'm practically sitting on it. I think I would do if if wasn't for the fact I might be in the way a bit. Put it this way-if I loose the case or it spontaneously combusts, the models will be naked (apart from shoes and possibly underwear). Before I got married I had the classic 'walking down the aisle with no clothes on' dream. And today I have been daydreaming in houndstooth again...anyway, it'll be fine. Everything'sgoingtobefine. The cases: my husband will tell you that I do do functionality and quality-that my hardwear should be precise (preferably German engineered),the shape space saving, the materials bulletproof (again-probably German). But for me, a certain amount of irony, aesthetics or dare I say it: prettiness wins overall. M is very understanding with me generally, but he did suggest that for comfort and ease I should take a black rucksack (a freebie about ten years ago) over the Liberty print mini suitcase, which to be fair is quite badly made. But it's a great foil for my McQueen for Samsonite black ribcage suitcase (a bargain because of a dicky handle) American Apparel PVC holdall (clearly will rip at the mere sniff of a kitten heel) leather trousers and black Ann DM boots. Yes, I can see the ridiculous impracticality, but what's not to love. Plus-this glorious ramble is taking my mind off the slight doubt in my ability I am feeling, and attempting to post using Typepad's app is doubly distracting due to the face it is screamingly non user-friendly (silent screaming since I'm in the quiet carriage). My carefully chosen outfits (begged, blagged-everything but stolen) are appropriately encased in the McQueen ribcage. The design is as such because ribs protect the vital organs. What is more vital than a deadstock original fifties bullet bra, I ask you?
It has been nearly five years, two children, approximately ten thousand nappies....
Thanks to a new schedule of full time school/part time nursery I am beginning to regain a sense of Life Other Than Small Children. And I appear to have picked up some managerial skills on the way, which was a little more lacking in Life Before I'd Ever Held a Baby (no - not kidding, the midwife thought my husband was joking).
As of now, I am once again available for hire. Hurrah.
My first gig of the season falls in the middle of fashion week (will certainly take advantage of topshop.com's live streaming of their sponsored shows methinks). Quite a styling challenge. I didn't quite realise the full extent of kit I have to cart to Newcastle/Dundee in order to dress eight lovelies. Bullet bra pads? Oh, and none of the clothes are allowed to crease because they will be sat down on for two hours before their unveiling. HAHAHAHAHAHA (manic laugh). Will fill you in on the finer details on Monday, when I am there. Very excited I have to say.
For now, here's a page from my ideas folder:
*ADDITION* The digital schedule is now live on londonfashionweek.co.uk. Armchair fashion films and live streaming - oh yay.
London last February. I am bumbling around somewhere in the bowels of Somerset House. I am in search of food and caffeine.
Sometimes, when I am tired I'm no good with polite chitchat and get straight to the point:
"I keep walking past here and meaning to talk to you. This collection is lovely."
"Oh? Why on earth would you be passing here?" (It was quite out of the way, the Estethica space.)
(Pause. And I can't lie either.) "On the way to the tea shop".
I then proceeded to ask Beate questions about stitches, look books, knitting and was she one of the designers.....? I think I kept asking this and not registering the answer. I obviously look confused.
The nice lady took pity on me.
"Would you like a macaroon?"
"Yes please. Are you one of the designers?"
"I keep the sheep."
She really does. Here are the sheep. Here are the remote Yorkshire hills.
Now macaroon fuelled, I could ask some more *sensible* questions (the asterisks represent jazz hands), like, "What? These are your sheep? You live there? Do you name them? What? You feed them and everything?"
The sheep on the left has a naughty streak apparently. I want a knitted dress made from this one - I like the idea of wool with attitude.
I should probably talk about the clothes? I'm getting there. It's just that the sheep on a wintry northern hill thing really brings the label alive. A cliche perhaps, but suddenly the dresses were being blown by a bleak wind, the wearers huddled in stone cottages, wool gauntlet-ed arms with hands cradling hot tea.....all very timeless and a reminder that even the British countryside has a wildness about it....a passion in me is rekindled...Celtic music is wafting through my imagination.
(By the way, I am writing this on the hottest day of the year so far on a camping chair, taking money from patrons visiting my in-law's open garden for the National Gardens Scheme. And while we're on the subject, yesterday I was writing in a swimming pool changing room...)
Sorry. Rambling. I asked Beate:
"Do you work seasonally?"
"Yes we do. We've developed a new stitch":
"As you can see it creates a papery ruching effect in sections. We've applied this to several garments."
I note some vibrant colours amongst the natural hues. "What inspired those?"
"There was a bright snowy day when I was driving up to feed my sheep. I saw some flame chestnut horses standing against a bright blue sky and almost black drystone walls. All in raking sunlight".
"What inspired the latest collection?"
"Layers like filo pastry, cosiness, roses and sheep poo."
Beate is mocking me with the last one (I think).
Florence top in lilac haze
Florence dress, undyed
Manifold halter dress in lilac haze
Manifold fluted tie skirt dress, undyed
The wool and mohair are from British farms and their own sheep. The yarn is spun and the knitting is knitted locally.
Also, you can go and visit the studio shop in Tormorden in the Pennines, which sounds amazing, frankly. If I make it up there I'll post some good photos.
June is the best month ever when it decides to be a proper summer. All fresh greens with blue sky, and the roses are just coming out...I get the gardening bug (and tennis too). Suddenly I want to wear straw hats and embrace a different kind of irony - that of mad dogs and Englishwomen - out in the midday sun pruning and tending to my vegetables, possibly swathed in liberty print. Miss Dior Cherie - I salute you in your new advert. Let's drink fizzy elderflower and gin and run through the rose garden wearing pretty prom dresses and pink lipstick...
Regardless of weather (which obviously they can't predict), the magazines like to show us pictures of lithe young things in flowery dresses and boots, frollicking through meadows or wading through streams. This is rubbish when it's twelve degrees and raining. If it's 25 degrees and balmy, then everyone in Britland goes a little bit, sartorially and otherwise. (This is also how linen trousers happen, I think.)
Fabulous images of whimsey created by The Telegraph Magazine fashion people, last Saturday.
The family and I have been refreshing our weary selves at the in-laws this week. There is much freneticness happening due to the gardening opening on Saturday as a part of the National Gardens Scheme - outdoor vacuuming, manicuring, polishing of leaves - that kind of thing.
I'm not biased or anything, but I think this is one of the most natural, sensitively tended and thoughtful gardens I have spent time in. And witty too. A proper English Country Garden. They used to grow willow trees to make cricket bats here. Batty.
If you happen to be killing time on the way to Stansted Airport tomorrow, look on the NGS website for St Helens, and come and enjoy the leafiness. Free garden-appropriate gift for the first person to rock up with: "Whole Lotta Rosie" written in lipstick down their arm. And please come in full floral regalia.
See you there!
(If you don't care for gardens I hear there is good cake.)
So - to floral fashions, which are in abundance in the shops. I could recommend a few, but seriously, you could go to any reputable online shop and type in "floral" and hey presto - floriferous. Find ten you like, buy the lot then wear them all at once. Perhaps wear a daisy chain, plait your hair around your head - a scoosh of some Rose Absolute and a pair of incongruous boots. Only incongruous isn't very any more is it? And the word is becoming rather too congruous, so just hop and skip along in some pretty flats (or wellies if you are planning on wading in babbling brooks).
QUICK QUIZ - CURTAINS OR LEGGINGS?
Both the pictures below have curtains on one side and leggings on the other. But can you tell them apart?
The winner, picked at random on Midsummer's Eve, (I'll shut my eyes and stick a pin in your name like Dad did for the Grand National every year) will get a mystery flowery present of my choice...
(In no particular order) - curtains: In-Law's, hallway, probably very old. Leggings: Primark.
Curtains: In-law's, hallway, so wrong they are right. Child's leggings: New Look.
With a backlog of style diary shots....from fashion week waaaay back in February. It was an interesting experience....added to the whole fashion week vibe...Nothing like being judged by your appearance alone, so obviously the best time to dress like a loon and be photographed by Italian Vogue. Gah. Eeek.
Day one - got very rained on. The cardigan took on the weight of a small child and the smell of wet dog. The leather trousers went baggy at the knees and bum.
Day two - spent ten minutes talking to a lady from Mexican Vogue about how to unshrink leather trousers. She took a photo of the baggy knees anyhoo. Rock up to ON/OFF venue in head to toe white and see through Emma Cook mac. Venue (unbeknown to me) is all white and perspex, so pounced on by photographers. No one manages to get a good photo even though they are making me walk across the room over and over. Kathryn is laughing. Feel like an arse. Also fail to recognise an apparently very famous photographer.
Day three - nearly died on escalator tripping over artfully ripped asymmetric skirt. Needed an extra hand to hold skirt up. OK until I had to navigate through gates at tube stations. Did get told I looked like an angel though.
Day four - cold. Dressed like poofy pirate.
Day five - started with Peter Jensen death threat thigh length 'kamik' boots. Nearly died walking across wet cobbles. Changed into cheap eBayed HK flats.
Day six - ran out of clothes. Cold. Couldn't wear yellow lace ensemble due to unwearability of Peter Jensen boots on cobbles. Comfort over limb breakage every time.
2 - Same as above with Emma Cook see thru mac.
3 - Uniqlo Heattech top, homemade maxi skirt (with artful death rips), Simone Shailes cardigan, peach Miss L Fire boots.
4 - Miss Sixty pinstripe flares (church jumble sale - 20p), ruffled shirt - husband's - has it's own story actually:
We went to a 'P' party. I was a parrot, the then boyf was a pirate (with red pvc trousers) and his best mate was dressed as Peter Pan (in green tights). Peter Pan and his pirate sidekick took it upon themselves (as concerned medical students) to phone an ambulance for a semi conscious vomity partygoer. The ambulance crew were sniggering at their legs as they presented their patient (with medical student authority in their voices).
...pink leather waistcoat with very fake gold chains. Really bad actually. Dr Martens again.
5. Quilted orange circle skirt, crochet gloves, velvet eighties puff sleeve jacket. I got the jacket at a car boot sale. The woman handed it to me with an air of ceremony: "This jacket has seen some good times. Enjoy wearing it. I can see you will...." Hm. Righto.
6. Everything left from the previous week that was cleanish, warm and not too creased.
The last few weeks has seen a series of pretty devastating events. In time some of it will mend, but it's been devastating nonetheless. In the heat of it all I found myself in the Norfolk Broads over the weekend. This was a trip that had been planned for ages, but it's timing was impeccable.
I went to see Swan Lake in Bradford last month. I've wanted to see it forever, and like a lot of people, saw the end of Billy Elliot where the grown up 'Billy' performs as principle dancer in Swan Lake and his father and brother in are the audience. It's pretty emotive.
This is taken from Matthew Bourne's adaptation of Swan Lake where the traditional female dancers, who play the swans are all replaced by men. When you see this on stage, it makes more sense. If you find yourself in close proximity of swans shortly afterward, it makes even more sense. They demand a healthy respect. Swans are very elegant yet ferocious looking birds. Even the tame ones leave you in no doubt of their potential for harming you.
A quick note on the swan costumes which were designed by Lez Brotherston and materialised by costumier Phil Reynolds: absolutely stunning in their simplicity and perfect with the black "V" makeup on the dancers' foreheads.
Brotherston drew the ‘rag’ feathers on the legs and the high waistband. He and Reynolds then experimented with the best way to achieve the effects. Nylon and synthetic fabrics stuck out and never softened. Then silk chiffon was tried and on washing, the ‘feathers’ collapsed into ‘dreadlocks’, which gave the right impression.
The high waistband was a constructional problem. Without support, it would fold over, but spirals and conventional stiffening simply bent over and stayed bent. Reynolds came up with the solution of using bits of lino, which is soft and pliable and does not hold shape like conventional stiffening.
Back to swans: they are also quite mysterious. It's not surprising they have been represented so much in art and symbolism. Swans have been associated with many things across centuries and cultures. There are themes which are consistent throughout: compassion, freedom, beauty, grace, serenity, fidelity, enduring love, suffering great loss with grace, harmony, calm, a symbol of music, purity, innocence, intuition, transformation, seduction, male and female, light, the soul, monogomy and holiness.
Whilst trying not to get my hand
bitten, I took these pictures of the swans who were hanging out in the
river next to where we were staying. I kind of longed to be them for a while
- fly away and escape the complications and restrictions of being human. Life gets very weary sometimes. I guess this is one of the things Matthew Bourne had in mind with Swan Lake, although he has remained quite tight lipped with regards to an interpretation of his adaptation, rather allowing the audience to decide for themselves.
This seems like a strange yet right time to mention the late Alexander McQueen. This is the penultimate look from his A/W '09 collection (followed by a black feathered creature - a crow or maybe a black swan?). The whole show was a fashion retrospective from his own archives and also tongue-in-cheek references toward some of our more obvious "defining fashion moments", such as the 50's Dior New Look silhouette and tweedy Chanel suits. There were harlequin prints (harlequins - a mute, pantomime character...?) And look at the swan. Is she free and in flight or is that a feathered straitjacket? Is she sad or serene? Pure or seductive? Her ankles are in bondage, but there are the keys.
Like a good poet or song writer, McQueen was able to put layer upon layer of meaning within the depths of his costumes. I guess in amongst the freedom and wildness of being a creative, there is also a frustration with 'the system' - whichever one you find yourself in, and a strange kind of solitude.
We idolise the artistic genius and look upon their unreachable royalty with wonder, but (and I know a few artistic mavericks) they are also very fragile and complicated, and are up and down like waves. We need to support them too, somehow.
(Also, coincidentally, Google informs me that today is the 170th birthday of Pyotr Ilyic Tchaikovsky, who composed Swan Lake in 1875-1876.)