LFW
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PPQ DOES THE MODERN DAY TIARA

For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme READ MORE...
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'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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LFW: BACKSTAGE AND BEYOND AT PAUL COSTELLOE

think we could all use a dose of soft, pretty and innocent right now. Paul Costelloe brought his unabashed femininity to the runway READ MORE...
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CARMEN DELL'OREFICE TO OPEN SINGAPORE FASHION WEEK

Carmen Dell’Orefice...if this is what being in your 80s looks like then I'm looking forward to it! The legendary model, who once declared to Vanity Fair, “If I die, it will be with my high heels on”, is set READ MORE...
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#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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MADE LONDON RETURNS TO MARYLEBONE

The Design and Craft Fair, MADE LONDON, returns to One Marylebone 24-26 October to present the very best in contemporary craft and design. Showcasing over 120 READ MORE...
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February 25, 2012

The Worst Interior Design of 1974

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"Hi, Sharon? Today I finally found shoes to match my toilet! Is your telephone leaking, too?"

Awful interior design is awesomely entertaining, mainly because we know it began as someone's vision of a beautiful and idyllic living space, and it's fun to try to get our heads around that. The 1970s - a decade I did experience nearly in its entirety - was pretty much a revolt against good taste, typified by snot-green household appliances and casino-inspired carpet and walls that my husband thinks were designed to mask 'fluid' stains. (Don't think about that one too long.)

The worst/best thing about these photos put together by omodern.com are the models. I don't know what was going on there, but this was the decade that gave us the 'Big Momma' underpants from Sears for plus size ladies, and Welcome Back, Kotter as network primetime viewing. Different things were deemed acceptable back then, such as a pervy little boy trying to get a peek under sis' skirt:

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You could projectile vomit in this bathroom and no one would know.

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"Go on Lois, bend over and pour us more drinks. Feel free to make a phone call while you're down there and take your time doing it."

 

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"Honey, I know how hard you try, but your cooking smells like horse shit."

 

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Naked and cowering over the tub, Carol found the yellow and brown bathroom fixtures multiplying at an alarming rate.

 

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A room so hideous it frightened children to death.

August 18, 2011

Exhibitionist Butterflies

TheSwelleLife_111 These butterflies are doing rudies!

If you like the idea of butterflies flying all around you, you'd love the Butterfly Convervatory in Niagara Falls. I was just there for the second time, I tried to take my daughter three years ago when we were home visiting thinking she'd love it, but she decided right after I paid for the tickets that she wanted to bypass this little pseudo-rainforest wonderland and go straight to the cafe. This year she actually came in despite an exaggerated aversion to 'mini beasts' (what they sweetly call insects in England, at least in primary school), she thinks they're either going to bite you or poop on you. But after a few minutes she was catching them on her finger and laughing from their tickles. Some like to land on you and stick there for a very long time while others are very elusive. You know of course it's usually the plainest ones that hang around and the most colourful and beautiful glide by repeatedly just to tease you before they flee to the depths of the foliage. However, one species is quite deceiving, it looks like a big brown moth when its wings are up, and then when laid down shades of vibrant blue are revealed (you can see it below in the boy's hands).

These lovelies are quite difficult to photograph but I was persistent, and perspiring - they keep it so humid in there!

So the deal with the header photo...I know, how rude. At first I saw them high up on a leaf and thought 'Wow, look how those two are positioned, and they're just staying like that!' They were among the most striking of the species represented and I couldn't believe I had time to get shots of two beautiful butterflies at the same time, in such an interesting  mirror configuration. Then one moved a bit, and all of a sudden I felt like a total perv taking pictures. Imagine, doing that right out there in front of everyone, in front of children (I was actually the only one who noticed, no one else was looking up and they totally missed the show).  But don't worry, I told on them as I was leaving. I lost my innocence that day.

And I'd just like to mention again (I said this in my first post on the conservatory three years ago and nothing has changed) that when you get dumped into the gift shop upon exiting the butterfly habitat, you see that they have all kinds of butterfly 'art' - with real dead butterflies! Is that not wrong? They even warn you not to buy butterfly products in the film they show beforehand. Now does that make any sense?

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  TheSwelleLife_144Chow time!

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When I first came in, many were landing on the floor and just sitting there. It made me so nervous they were going to get stepped on that I almost had to leave. Most were seen and people were picking them up. Many of them didn't mind at all.

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TheSwelleLife_200"My curly tongue is bigger than your curly tongue!"


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Photos © The Swelle Life

April 04, 2011

Cupcake Monday! The April Fools Edition

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I would just like to preface this post for those only seeing it now, and say this is the worst Cupcake Monday post I have ever done. I am aware of it.

I'm a little late on this (imagine that?!) but I didn't think of looking to see what was out there for April Fools cupcakes until today. A recent post would qualify, those neat corn-on-the cob cuppies that looked pretty real would trick people, but really they'd be mostly delighted. There's not a whole lot of foolin', is there?

So in the spirit of the day, how about instead of pleasantly surprising someone, we try to make them feel stupid? (For next year of course, unless there's a May Fools Day I'm unaware of). That's what it's about, right? It's called April Fools for a reason. A bit of humiliation, but not so much that your pal's usual good nature will be compromised.

I'm bothering to post this at this time not because I really want you to make your loved ones cry; rather the idea behind the cupcake above is a neat one that is useful for kids. And a good prank for adult friends. And by good I mean really mediocre. (Speaking of kids, I came across a post for a 'fake fried egg' - it's pound cake (the toast) with vanilla yogurt and half an apricot (the egg) and a commenter complained "My son did not find this funny at all. It ruined his day. I hope you're all happy!" It's clear where he gets his sense of humour from.)

This is a mini meatloaf made to look like a cupcake, obviously. Give it to your bestie and she'll likely take a bite, make a face like Laura Dern crying, and then when she realises what it actually is and that it's normal food, finish it. Happy ending! When it comes to your child you have a choice whether you tell them what it really is before they eat it. If you enjoy seeing the fruit of your loins gurn, cringe and collapse in sobs, say nothing! And then you can leave me a nasty comment about how I've ruined your day. If you'd rather not risk destroying your child's trust in 10 seconds and make them food phobic, you can present the cupcake as what it is - a cute way to enjoy meatloaf.

The 'frosting' is coloured mashed potatoes (I have to admit that seems a bit gross to me) but who knows, it might go over. Want to try? Find the recipe at Family Fun 

March 22, 2011

Frankly Frankland

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: ACTOR TIM POTTER

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Tim Potter would be a glorious Mad Hatter. He is creative, experimental and intensely loyal to his craft, he seems to relish in a challenge, having played many diverse roles over the years. He was just as at home playing Captain Hook in Finding Neverland (starring Johnny Depp) as he was portraying Spanish genius and serial lunatic Salvador Dali at the Royal Court. He stretched his skills even further playing Blanche DuBois in a production A Streetcar named Desire.

I met Tim at the Carlisle College of Art in the 1970s, we were both in the foundation course and became friends. He was striking, intelligent and hilarious. We had to do a bit of everything, and when Theatre came around Tim and I were in the same group. As luck would have it, it was Panto season. To my humiliation and horror I was chosen to play the Princess to 200 screaming kids twice daily for a week of torture. I was overweight, not pretty, a party animal and it was the eve of Punk. I was poured into an ugly Laura Ashley smock dress, hairpiece and make up that would have horrified the worst drag Queen. Tim played a brilliant Dick Dastardly type villain that was so scary one little boy had an accident when Tim went into the audience. As I climbed reluctantly up a wobbly high scaffold tower, stuck my head out of the "window" and cried help, one kid went as far as to shout "I wouldn’t marry her if you paid me!"

JudithFrankland_TheSwelleLife It was in this Theatre that one lunchtime I found Tim playing, very loudly, a fantastic record by a band called The Sex Pistols, and before I could say "Anarchy" I was hooked and soon morphed into "Looby”, the bow-loving colourful punk, egged on to be more OTT by Tim and his childhood friend Richard Ostell. When we went home at weekends we went to Maxim's disco in Barrow where once a week they had punk night. If the bands turned up (in those years it was always if) they would play to a handful of people - Tim and friends pogo-ing madly and Richard and I posing.

When Foundation finished Tim and I headed South - Tim to the Central School of Speech and Drama me to Ravensboune which fortunately was near Bromley, the town that the infamous" Bromley Contingent" which included Siouxsie, Steve Severin, Billy idol and Philip Salon, had put on the punk map. We had great nights up in the West End and at Croydon Greyhound. One afternoon, Tim and a friend popped a note through actor John Hurt’s door (he lived opposite) inviting him for coffee, and to their amazement he came and was just great. What a gent, what an actor! He was filming the Elephant Man at the time and told them David Lynch had shown the cast Eraserhead on set.

One of the last times I saw Tim in person was at a soiree celebrating his birthday held by his friend Rupert Everett at his flat in Chelsea. Tim was sitting in a rocking chair dressed as Miss Haversham, full of great expectations. (HA couldn’t resist!) That was the last memory I had of him until recently when we got back in touch, so very Tim. I spent many years living out of the country and so we had lots to catch up on. He told me that around 1979 he was a member of Acme Acting, explaining that the troupe would take the play to people’s homes. I was so interested and asked him if he would write a piece about his experiences way back then. He did and sent me some fabulous, startling pictures of himself in some of the productions he has been in. Enjoy!

JudithFrankland_TimPotter Judith (as 'Looby') with Tim Potter (far left) and Richard Ostell, 1977

Judith's sign off - 2

Over to Tim Potter...

TimPotter_FindingNeverland Tim Potter as Captain Hook in Finding Neverland, 2004

ACME ACTING performed plays in people’s homes. That is, we used the whole of the house, and the audience followed us room to room. The doorbell rang, and that was the start of the show. In Psycho, Norman Bates would enter, showing his guest, Marion Crane, around "The Bates Motel", i.e., your flat. Speaking dialogue from the movie, he'd fix her a snack of milk and cookies from your fridge, and chat to her over the kitchen table, with you watching, sometimes inches from the actors’ faces. When Marion took her shower (Marion was me, in black 1950s corset and knickers - well, I lacked the required female "bits"), I remember one householder, in a panic, begging us to stop. She got really freaked out. We didn't stop. How could you stop in the middle of a murder? In fact, we generally had the upper hand in the house, running up and down stairs, rifling through drawers and "personal things", using cutlery, serving up meals. The main shows, Psycho and Streetcar Named Desire, were played as realistically as possible (despite the inherent absurdity), so audiences ideally would be moved as well as amused. It was helped by being acted in real rooms and hallways, and peoples' homes took on a new dimension as backdrops to the drama. Your washing machine might go into a spin cycle, noisily interrupting one of Blanche and Stanley's scenes in Streetcar. Your pet dog might get very friendly with Norman Bates’ leg. Would you ever sleep soundly in your bed again, after witnessing Stanley rape Blanche there? (to the sound of jungle drums.) Would you ever step into that shower again? We left fake blood on the bathroom tiles, and people with a whole host of cracked memories.

ACME ACTING were Jim, Tim and Louis, recent graduates of the hated (to us anyway) Central School of Speech and Drama, a very conservative place. We needed to rebel against that authority (they'd expelled our friend Rupert Everett, so what the hell did they know?) and the youthful mood of the times was punkish, experimental, in a way perhaps unknown today. Our theatre company reflected that. It was a surprise hit, having a life of its own, and we performed to a lot of thrilled audiences - although it could go wrong, and I'm thinking of one Psycho to a solitary lady and dog in a council flat, where the performance was greeted only with a depressed silence. Ah, well...

For Tim Potter's full acting credits go to IMDb. Tim now lives in Brighton and is writing a children's book - perhaps a copy will find its way to the child of the child Tim scared all those years back? Alas that we will never know but in true dramatic style let’s assume it will!

  TimPotter_iDMagazine  Tim Potter and ACME ACTING in i-D magazine

AcmeActingTim, Jim and Louis of ACME ACTING

TimPotter_ApocalypseNowApocalypse Now

TimPotter_Psycho Psycho

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ACME ACTING photos courtesy Tim Potter; photo of Judith Frankland by Denise Grayson

January 10, 2011

Cupcake Monday! 'Those are cakes?' Part 1

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In two recent Cupcake Mondays I said I was going to show more cakes from Sweet Disposition, they are truly spectacular and some are just mind-bogglingly impressive. Take this Steampunk birthday cake - the intricate detail, the shading, the open latch! What? How??!! Tate, I know you're only four but I hope you appreciate what this lady did for you and you didn't slobber all over it when you blew out those homemade candle things on the side there.

To put any doubts to rest as to whether this really was cake, she posted this:

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I know, no one wants to see it this way. It's like when C-3P0 gets taken apart in Star Wars. Very unsettling. Do you see the three layer fudge cake in there? That just might be worth the carnage.

Here's another crazy good cake:

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Vroom! Into my mouth!

She created this Aston Martin car cake for a VIP client of the Hilton Adelaide. His wife requested a replica of her husband's car for a surprise party. Bets that he stared at it and didn't know what it was? Not many (straight) guys would be aware that you can make cakes like this. But your boyfriend watches Cake Boss with you every week, you say? That's nice, but probably not typical.

It's a chocolate mudcake with a few non edible bits - the side windows and the skewers holding the tyres in. Not only does this guy have a better car than us, he's got a better cake, too. That's really not fair.

While 'Hilton VIP' gets a cool car cake, poor Gary gets some kind of message about his bathroom habits, in edible form. Eeewww. Just don't sit down, Gary.

From the funny folks at Kandy Cakes.

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And we'll be seeing a lot more next week from Kandy Cakes because I've just discovered how incredible they are, too!

Here's a skateboard cake made for 7 year-old Ethan and when they delivered it the kids asked if they could ride it - they had no idea it was cake. See?!!!

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I have to go eat cake now so tune in next week for more, including a bong cake! (I was baking it for a friend, mum!)

October 31, 2010

Boo! Happy Halloween!

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Enjoy your sweets but don't do as I did and go nuts on pre-Halloween jumbo Haribos - I'm still dealing with the self-loathing and the feeling that I've got a 1kg wad of gelatin in my stomach. 

Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up? I'm not but figure having to do a full-on Bride of Frankenstein costume with wig, makeup and custom-made dress (thanks Judith!) for Baby Swelle's FOUR parties is adequate commitment to promoting the Halloween spirit!

If anyone has any miracle scar treatments for children please share - that cut on her face ain't makeup.

October 25, 2010

Cupcake Monday: Autumn in a Cupcake

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Pinecone and Maple Leaf cupcakes from Saucemania's Flickr

 

I guess I was feeling nostalgic for Cupcake Monday. It's been a few months since I retired it after a year of weekly eye candy in a wrapper and today I just felt the urge to do it again. I had no idea how popular Cupcake Monday actually was until I received a flood of emails from readers (politely) expressing their disappointment that it was over. So for you, I will have more regular cupcake posts starting with this one, dedicated to autumn. A walk on a crisp, sunny autumn day surrounded by flame and cherry tinted maple leaves is one of life's greatest pleasures. (Except when you slip on  wet leaves and fall on your ass and walk away oblivious that some of them are stuck to it.)

 

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Guaranteed sugar fix: Maple syrup cupcakes with fondant maple leaves from Gillyflower Jewellery

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Too bad no credit was given where I found these chocolate tree cupcakes - they're so neat!

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Laser cut leaf cupcake wrappers from Fancy Flours

August 29, 2010

Regretsy: Making Fun For Good

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If Rodarte's second mistake was to collaborate with MAC on a makeup collection named after the notorious Mexican city of Juarez, their first was to create a pair of webby yarn tights that inspired these knock-offs.

Regretsy. Heard of it? Probably. But if not, you know those movies or novels where there's a horrific torture scene and you wonder of the writer, 'How could anyone conceive of such a depraved and hideous act? What is wrong with you?' Well, imagine that person took that idea and instead of writing it down, they looked around their house (or dump, compost heap or graveyard) and made it into an equally disturbing object. And tried to sell it on Etsy or some other kind of DIY online marketplace. Regretsy's April Winchell, AKA Helen Killer, finds these WTF? offenders, along with an endless selection of just simply bad ideas, or nasty executions of these ideas (see above) and brings them to us daily, in hilarious blog form. What makes it so funny is Killer's astute and creative responses to the items, as seen above (that's the kind of creativity we want, folks!), including the contributions of her readers - a winning bid for an Etsy Alchemy project to paint Lady Gaga devouring a unicorn while paparrazi snap shots has to be the ultimate.

Now, I love Etsy. The great thing about them is they provide anyone and everyone the means to sell their handmade creations. The bad thing about them is they provide anyone and everyone the means to sell their handmade creations. Sometimes democracy backfires. Stalin is grinning smuggly somewhere. See:

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Yes, after I included Stalin in my post I searched his name on Etsy and not to my surprise, I found a short list of Stalin-related things, such as this matryoshka doll set of Russian leaders. (Does anyone know what that first one says? That splotchy head couldn't belong to anyone but Gorbachev - I loved that guy! - but that sure is a funny spelling of his name. And Stalin's. I'm obviously missing something here. And FYI: if you search Google images for pictures of Mikhail Gorbachev you'll find Ashton Kutcher in a camel coat.)

The point of this post was to highlight something that we don't usually get alongside our fun-makers: good-hearted compensation. Regretsy gives back to those who provide the unintentional humour, or horror. Well, maybe not to the person who thought a fascinator made with the real skull of a cat was a desirable item to add to one's accessory drawer (though the seller may feel proud that it's been filed deep in my subconcious, awaiting a guest appearance in one of my upcoming nightmares. Oh geez, I just heard a cat meowing outside. That nightmare is happening tonight).

All profits from Regretsy's merchandise go toward helping charities - over $10,000 so far and counting - and directly to Etsy sellers in need, such as Veronica of Ronnie’s Tender Heart (her Etsy shop is here) who is battling leukemia for the third time at age 22. Her friends have set up a shop to sell bracelets to help fund her medical bills not covered by insurance. She is currently in ICU fighting pneumonia.

Regretsy is running two auctions of bags that include fun and goofy Etsy merchandise as well as Regretsy, the book. Get the full details here.

April Winchell: I have added you to my list of smart and funny chicks that make me blow snot.

June 02, 2010

The Dream State Fashion of Salvador Dalí

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Mae West lips sofa, Salvador Dalí, 1937
 

 

I wrote this article last week for Models and Moguls and I'm quite surprised it's taken me this long to do so. I was a full-on freak for Surrealism when I discovered it in high school, the idea of this collective of European adults doing things that seemed juvenile but were actually challenging conventional notions of what is art, what is good taste, what is reality, how long and stiff can one guy's moustache get before it pokes another's eye out, validated me as the 16 year-old who fit in but never felt like it. There was something more to things than meets the eye, I knew and they knew it. But no around me seemed to care about that and they wondered why I did. The synaesthesia must have played a major role in this but at the end of the day we all need to connect with something. I don't know exactly why strange juxtapositions are so intriguing, maybe some of us want to live in a perpetual dream state, but if university dorm room walls are any indication, people love a melting clock. 

The following article is a superficial rundown of Salvador Dalí's contribution to fashion. Dalí is a favourite of mine (though the teenage thrill is now gone), as he is a favourite of many for his incredible technical ability with painting and his intriguing dreamscapes. And undoubtedly he is loved for his larger-than-life personality and his other ventures - artistic and commercial pursuits for which the scope became increasingly broad, as hilariously illustrated by his appearance on What's My Line? in the 1950s:

 

The Eye of Time brooch, Salvador DaliThe most notorious, prolific and ultimately commercial of the Surrealists – that revolutionary group of artists, poets and provocateurs that grew out of Dadaism in 1920s Paris – was undoubtedly Salvador Dalí. The Spanish Catalan best known for his masterly technical skill as a painter and perversely sexualized subjects had his hand in just about anything he could put his name on, due in part to the push from his wife Gala who was keen to collect a paycheck and not so bothered by the virtue of integrity. However, the signed blank lithographs and commercials for Alka Seltzer aside, most of Dalí’s forays into ventures outside of his main discipline were inspired, original, and hugely influential.

Case in point: anything we see with lips these days could be considered a direct reference to Dali’s iconic Mae West Lips Sofa from 1937 and his Ruby Lips brooch, created in 1949, also based on the sexy actress’ famous bouche. British designer Lulu Guinness is one who owes him her trademark padded lips clutch.

Dali-Lips The wildly eccentric artist brought his most famous, Freudian-inspired and dreamlike motifs to life as three dimensional objects through sculpture, furniture, jewellery and fashion. Dali loved fashion and displayed his flamboyant style in his dress and the way he wore his moustache – long, black, waxed straight out to the sides and curled at the ends. He was friends with two of fashion’s most legendary designers, Paris-based rivals Coco Chanel, who inspired him to design clothes, and the avant-garde Elsa Schiaparelli. It was even rumoured that Chanel had an affair with the young Dali, in the days when his facial hair was still neat and understated (one couldn’t imagine the fuss-free designer dealing with the impractical thing that moustache was to become).

The Italian Schiaparelli was hugely influenced by Dada and Surrealism and incorporated the bizarre juxtapositions that were characteristic of these movements into her designs. One can see why Chanel referred to her as ‘that Italian artist who makes clothes’, though this was likely not meant to be a complement from the outspoken and fiercely competitive designer. Dali’s influence has been identified in Schiaparelli designs such as the lamb-cutlet hat and a 1936 day suit with pockets simulating a chest of drawers, based on his painting The Anthropomorphic Chest of Drawers, which was later referenced in a dress he created with Christian Dior in 1950.


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Skeleton dress. Elsa Schiaparelli collaboration with Salvador Dalí, 1938.

Collaborations between Schiaparelli and Dali produced four iconic pieces that were clearly influenced by the artist:

Lobster Dress, 1937. This simple white silk evening dress with a crimson waistband featured a large lobster painted by Dali onto the skirt. The lobster is one of Dali’s best known motifs which he began incorporating into works from 1934, most notably New York Dream-Man Finds Lobster in Place of Phone, 1935,  and the mixed-media Lobster Telephone, 1936. His design for Schiaparelli was interpreted into a fabric print by the leading silk designer Sache. It was famously worn by Wallis Simpson in series of photographs by Cecil Beaton before her marriage to Edward VIII.

Schiaparelli_-_Tear_Dress_1 Tears Dress, 1938. A slender pale blue evening gown printed with a Dali design of trompe l’oeil rips and tears was worn with a thigh-length veil with real tears carefully cut out and lined in pink and magenta. The print was intended to give the illusion of torn animal flesh, the tears printed to represent fur on the reverse of the fabric and suggest that the dress was made of animal pelts turned inside out. Figures in ripped, skin-tight clothing suggesting flayed flesh appeared in three of Dali’s 1936 paintings. This puts to rest any notion that the ‘ripped' trend is a relatively recent innovation.

Skeleton Dress, 1938. Designed for the Circus Collection, this stark black crepe dress used trapunto quilting to create padded ribs, spine and leg bones. Many designers today have referenced this dress in their designs.

Shoe Hat, 1937. In 1933, Dali was photographed by his wife Gala with one of her slippers balanced on his head. In 1937 he sketched designs for a shoe hat for Schiaparelli which she featured in her Fall-Winter 1937-38 collection. The hat, shaped like a woman’s high heeled shoe, had the heel standing straight up and the toe tilted over the wearer’s forehead. This hat was worn by Gala, Schiaparelli herself, and by the Franco-American editor of the French Harpers Bazaar, heiress Daisy Fellowes, who was one of Schiaparelli’s best clients.

Dali also designed the Aphrodisiac Jacket of 1936 and several pieces of jewellery for women. In 1981 he drew upon his painting Apparition of the Face of the Aphrodite of Knidos in a Landscape to create bottles for the perfume Salvador Dali Homme et Femme. Dali had evolved (for lack of a better word) from artist to one of the most intriguing and influential brands of the 20th century, and the reverberations of his work will likely continue indefinitely – if our endless fascination with melting clocks is any indication.

May 05, 2010

Joan Jett Shaped my Wardrobe Choices (well, once)

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A recent post by Wendy Brandes that mentioned The Runaways got me all nostalgic about my pre-teen obsession with Joan Jett. (Well, obsession is a little strong. I thought she was really, really cool. It's not like I was going through her garbage or anything.) When I first saw the album cover for I Love Rock-n-Roll in the mall record shop I thought 'Whew, now that is a look.' I do believe she was the inspiration behind my choice to wear a hot pink blazer (or buy it in the first place) to my first concert which I'd really rather not reveal! It was, however, the first time I had ever seen a guy walking around with an Adidas bag announcing in a repetitive drone "Acid and hash. Acid and hash. Acid and hash." My dad was with us and I half expected him to say 'Alright then, night's over!' and drive us back over the border to home in Canada (we were at Rich Stadium in Buffalo. It was a metal band and I'm leaving the hints at that.) But I think he was pretty sure we would get through the night without becoming addicts and being turned out. Luckily, he was right.

Back to  Joan Jett! So, Wendy got me watching videos and I'd completely forgotten about her song Do You Want to Touch Me which I loved even more than I Love Rock-n-Roll, if that were possible. (Before I scraped enough pennies together so I could buy the album, me and my brother sat by our little radio/cassette player, waiting to hear I Love Rock-n-Roll on the radio so we could record it. I said 'Johnny, we may have to wait a long time to hear it, but we'll get it.' He nodded slowly, with big eyes. And it was the next song! The radio gods had mercy on us, we would have waited all day.) As for Do You Want to Touch Me, well, either I never saw that video or it made no impression on me because when I watched it it was all new to me. And hilarious. There's a scene in the end where the guys in her band, the lesser exalted Blackhearts, are standing on a fake beach singing the chorus and there's a guy walking by with a metal detector. So 80s. And Joan Jett flashes us repeatedly in a very skimpy bikini. I had no idea what those words meant then. I didn't want to know. "Touch me there?" Where? In the garden? On the elbow? Germany? 

I'm really curious how these songs will sound to someone too young to have heard them the first time around. I still like 'em.

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