Weddington Way New Year's Eve Bridesmaid Look

Friday, 19 December 2014

New Year's Eve Bridesmaid Look

I was recently contacted by Weddington Way, an online bridal boutique based in San Fransisco. They asked me to create a bridesmaid look for a New Year's Eve wedding using one of their dresses. 

I chose their Ava Black Tie Front dress and decided to go with a black and gold theme, very apt for a New Year's Eve! I styled the dress with these beautiful ASOS heels and kept it 'classically bridesmaid' with the Finds + Daizy Shely feather jacket but added quirkier accessories like the Kate Spade clutch to keep it modern. I would style the outfit with a smoky gold eye and nude lips with gold glitter nails for the perfect New Year's Eve bridesmaid look! 

Find Weddington Way's latest collection of bridesmaid dresses here!

Object of Desire

Friday, 12 December 2014

This week at uni we were given a brief entitled 'Object of Desire', which required us to create a transformative image that show how ‘desire’ is an integral part of fashion imagery. 

I went with the concept of materialistic desire, a notion often used in fashion imagery, and decided that jewellery was the most obvious way of displaying this - materialism in its most luxurious form. I wanted to display the pieces of jewellery in an obscure and almost surrealist way, so I used my sister as a model and placed the jewellery into her hair. 

then edited the image using Photoshop, changing the colours and saturation of the image to give it an almost soft and rosy 'filter effect' to connote femininity, but also to draw attention to the highlights and shadows on the pieces of jewellery. 

Within our seminar we had to present our work back to our group, explaining the concept and process behind our image and then had to vote for which images made the best use of; concept, colour, post-production and composition. I was extremely thrilled to find out my image won within the category of best concept! 

Posh People: Inside Tatler

Saturday, 29 November 2014

This week I managed to catch the first episode of the BBC documentary 'Posh People: Inside Tatler', which takes a look behind the doors of the world's oldest magazine which documents and dictates the social calendar of Britain's elite. 

Within the first episode we were introduced to Tatler's editor, Kate Reardon, as well as numerous other members of the Tatler family. The episode saw the team put together the June 2012 issue, which allowed a fly-on-the-wall look at photo shoots with individuals such as Lord Glasgow and his 13th century castle in Scotland, as well style editor Sophie Goodwin taking a trip to Poundland (yes, really) and the creation a Kate Middleton dress-up doll for the issue with the agonising decision of what underwear to put her in - they eventually went for a modest Marks & Spencer silk teddy incase you were wondering. 

It is revealed that editor Reardon gives each member of staff a copy of 'Debrett's Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners' on their first day. Upon first watching the documentary, you have the compelling urge to hate these people as the high brow they create and the worlds they live in are extremely unavailable to most people like me and you, but I still found it oddly fascinating.

Tatler relies on the coverage of high society parties, essentially providing a who's who of the Sloane elite - a reason why it has never particularly interested me as a magazine to read as I only own one issue of Tatler within my vast collection of fashion magazines. However, what I did find particularly amusing is the fact that Tatler are aware of just how posh they are and actually mock this within their content such as the 'Town/Country matrix', which asked readers, "Are you new town or new country? Old town or old country?" The magazine recognises its niche position and readership, creating a magazine with content that will appeal to them and surely thats what all good magazines should do? 

However, whilst watching the documentary, I couldn't help but to think that the individuals that work at Tatler are there purely based on who they are, what school they went to and where they were brought up, rather than their talent or creative ability. It is noted in the documentary that Reardon was made fashion director at Tatler aged just 21, the youngest ever. The way she spoke about it all felt a little blasé, as though it was handed to her on a plate and, combined with the failings of newest contributing editor Matthew Bell to successfully obtain any content for the magazine, I couldn't help but to get the impression that being posh will get you a job at Tatler. 

Overall, the documentary was certainly a compelling watch and I would definitely recommend it to any avid fashion magazine lover - I shall definitely be watching the rest of the episodes within the series. 

Cinema Verité by Ellen Von Unwerth

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I absolutely adore this photo shoot by Ellen Von Unwerth for the 1995 October issue of US Vogue, which features Kate Moss, entitled 'Cinema Verité'. Unwerth takes a seemingly uninteresting coat story and turns it into something extremely cinematic and beautiful, drawing heavily on the style of Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle De Jour'. As Unwerth is on the list of photographers to use for our Visual Critque brief, I have been inspired to use one of these images from the photo shoot for this. 

Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

This week I watched the documentary, 'Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's' - a look into Manhattan's most exclusive and glamorous department store, Bergdorf Goodman, and the ultimate fashion fantasy and aspiration for designers. 

I was expecting to be greeted with a rich history about the store and the Bergdorf family, a fundamental aspect of the company, but this was merely skimmed over via an animation which, combined with the documentary's constant music, projected more of a infomercial feel, scattered with superficial 'insights' from designers and celebrities. This was disappointing as the documentary had potential but, rather than providing the audience with more of an insightful look into the legendary department store, simply felt like a promotion stunt for the department store, disguised as a documentary. 

'Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's' was undoubtedly humorous, mainly due to the inclusion of interviews with such designers and celebrities but it felt as though this was relied on a little too heavily, making the documentary feel far too comedic and less than informative - a balance which should have been reconsidered. 

However, what the documentary does deal with well is, unsurprisingly, the universal appeal and allure of fashion and retail, demonstrating how each and every person from anywhere around the world is hypnotised by the beauty of Bergdorf's and the lifestyle is has to offer. It shows how Bergdorf's and fashion is very much a collective experience 

What was also interesting were the glimpses we see of the preparation and build up to the 2011 Christmas window display, as Bergdorf's is notorious for its outlandish and extravagant displays. Here we see the admirable craftsmanship of those who work behind the scenes to create such fantastical props and structures, as well as the hard work and meticulousness of David Hoey and his team to source just the right pieces of antiquity to be featured in the windows. 

The inclusion of Bergdorf's staff is what perhaps saved the documentary which paints admirable portraits of key players such as buyer Linda Fargo and personal shopper Betty Halbreich. It was fascinating to see what both individuals require of them and what a standard day consists of. 

Overall I felt the documentary fell short of any true insight, resulting in a disappointing watch rather than something exciting and informative, of which I was expecting after having viewed the trailer.  

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

Last week I watched the documentary 'The Eye Has To Travel' - a fascinating insight into the life and work of the ex-fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar, Diana Vreeland. The documentary can be described as a visual autobiography, which documents every aspect of Vreeland's extraordinary life and career, drawing heavily on audio tapes of Vreeland, recorded by journalist George Plimpton, which  provides an intimate portrait and fitting tribute to the most influential women of the 20th century. 

The documentary explores Vreeland's early life and childhood in Paris during the Belle Époque, as well as her incredible magazine career, lasting from the late 1930s, all the way to the early 70s. This in itself allows the documentary to story major landmarks within the history of fashion, showing the influence Vreeland had in shaping and redefining the industry, challenging its preconceptions and never afraid to try something different, something which she encouraged her Harper's Bazaar readers to do also and ask themselves, "Why don't you...". 

Even at the end of her magazine career, Vreeland still managed to make a huge impact on the world of fashion in her stint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she became consultant to the Costume Institute. Vreeland immediately shook up the Museums once sleepy Costume Institute, creating an experience that the audience would remember, choosing to present clothing's history in an innovative and interactive way.

What makes 'The Eye Has To Travel' entertaining is the fact that Vreeland herself is entertaining - she's bold, audacious, eccentric but still incredibly charming. It's clear to see why her legacy still lives on today and the documentary celebrates this legacy and her incredible achievements as a pioneer of fashion. 

Colour Story Mood Board Composition

As part of our ongoing project to create a mood board for our own individual colour story, we began experimenting with different layouts and compositions with the images we had collected so far. We were required to create quick, practise mood boards based on four compositional styles; grid, freeform, minimum and maximum. Using the images I had found for my 'Blush and Nude' colour story, I created the following mood boards;





After experimenting with different compositional styles, I concluded that either grid or maximum would be post successful in reflecting my colour story as a grid structure emphasises the understated nature of the colours and a maximum layout reflects the literal close relationship of the colours, all very similar in tone, creating a skin-like look and feel. 

The V&A 'Horst: Photographer of Style' Exhibition

Thursday, 20 November 2014

On Monday, our course travelled to London to visit the V&A museum to see the 'Horst: Photographer of Style' exhibition - a retrospective look at the work and career of the iconic fashion photographer, Horst P. Horst, renowned for creating images that transcend both fashion and time. Unfortunately photography was prohibited within the exhibition, but here are some images I managed to locate online.
The exhibition is split into sections, each showcasing Horst's myriad of diverse work ranging from; 'Haute Couture', 'Surrealism', 'Stage and Screen', 'Travel', 'Patterns from Nature', 'The Studio',  'Fashion in Colour, 'Living in Style', 'Nudes' and 'Platinum'. The 3D design of the entrance of the exhibition references Horst's notorious skill of playing with both light and dark, creating striking shadows. 
Horst is perhaps known best for his photography of haute couture and first joined Vogue in 1931. Horst became a forerunner of fashion photography as Vogue began to shift away from its previous illustrative fashion content, with Horst producing innovative and elegant fashion images, showcasing haute couture pieces of the day.  
The end of the 'Haute Couture' section features mannequins dressed in original pieces that Horst would have photographed such as dresses from Mainbocher, Lanvin and Vionnet. 
The Surrealist art movement transformed fashion and indefinitely had an influence on Horst's work. His photographs from this time were both mysterious and whimsical with a strong focus on the female body. During this time he produced one of his most famous and celebrated image, 'Mainbocher Corset'. 
The exhibition also showcases some of Horst's lesser known work, which focus more on nature, lifestyle and his worldly travels. 
My favourite part of the exhibition was 'Fashion in Colour', which showed how the advent of colour photography enabled a fresh approach as Horst went on to create more than 90 Vogue covers. The extensive collection of covers for British, American and French Vogue, photographed by Horst, are showcased within the exhibition, impressively spanning the length of the room; providing a retrospective look at the transformation of the magazine over the years.  
If you get the chance to, I would definitely recommend a trip to the V&A to catch the exhibition as it provided an extensive and fascinating collection of archival works from the world's leading fashion photographers of the 20th century. 

"Fashion is an expression of the times. Elegance is something else again." 

Horst, 1984

In Vogue: The Editor's Eye

At university this week we were shown the documentary 'In Vogue: The Editor's Eye' - an in-depth and illuminating look at US Vogue's most influential and iconic fashion editors; Babs SimpsonGrace CoddingtonTonne GoodmanPhyllis PosnickJade HobsonCarlyne CerfPolly Mellen and Camilla Nickerson. These women, past and present, are often the unsung heroes of the Vogue department but are fundamental in producing and directing some of the fashion world's most iconic and progressive images - an element of the documentary truly interesting in itself. 

The documentary showed fascinating archive footage of how Vogue and its content transformed with each decade, shape by the culture and goings on of the day, and how each editor incorporated their own personality into their work. What I also found intriguing was comments from industry professionals and celebrities regarding their experiences with particular editors during photoshoots such as Marc Jacobs, Sarah-Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman, painting a revealing portrait of each editor's work ethic, creative flair and artistic vision. 

As Vogue celebrated its 120th anniversary, I truly admired the film's conclusion which showed Vogue's fashion editors join together to be photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz for the anniversary issue of the magazine, which was a celebration of these women and their lifetime's work - certainly a 'feel-good' way to end the documentary. 

Overall, 'In Vogue: The Editor's Eye' is a definite must-watch for any fashion addict or those eager to learn more about the history of Vogue and the individuals behind it. 

Brand Handwriting

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

In our lecture last week we looked at 'brand handwriting' - how brands use colour, pattern, monogram, font, and product to distinguish and define themselves, essentially 'copywriting' or 'owning' these elements allowing them to promote their desired image and values. We were given the examples of; 

 Elsa Schiaparelli's shocking pink, 

 Tiffany's distinct blue box adorned with a white ribbon, 

 Hermès and orange and brown, 

Liberty's purple ditsy print.

I began thinking of other brands which also 'own' certain colours and prints; 
Miu Miu's blush pink, 

Chloé's beige,

Christian Louboutin's red.

Hero & Zero Brief

A few weeks ago we were given a brief entitled 'Hero & Zero' which would enable us to analyse brands and visual communication in greater depth. Each group was allocated a different market sector and ours was designer menswear. We had to pick a 'hero' and a 'zero' brand for this market sector. A hero brand is one that is the best in its sector, which really understands its consumer, creates compelling communication, is innovative and engaging and has a bright future. Whereas a zero brand is one that is not working. It’s not clear what it stands for, its communication is mediocre at best, it has no clear message and is failing to connect with its target market.

After some initial research, we chose Paul Smith as our hero brand and Emporio Armani as our zero.  We began by comparing the brands as analysing them in isolation to each other would provide no justification for naming one a 'hero' brand and one a 'zero'. Whilst both brands are arguably the complete antithesis of each other in brand style and values, what both have in common is a single man at the forefront of their eponymous brand and a strong focus on tailoring and attention to detail. This enabled us to look at both brands and discover how and why one brand is more successful in this aspect than the other. 
I also created mood boards for each of the brand as a visual summary, giving examples of colour palettes used, brand font, fabric and pattern choices, product examples, inspiration sources and examples of communication channels; 

Within our presentation we explored the brand positioning, values consumer profiles, communication channels for both Paul Smith and Emporio Armani and explained why Paul Smith's strategy and marketing position was more successful than Armani's. The main conclusions drawn upon in our presentation were that; although both have a single man as the face of the brand, the conglomerate nature of Emporio Armani is less attractive than the almost independent nature of Paul Smith which allows the brand to have more of a connection with their consumers. Paul Smith has a clear understanding of his ‘niche’ position within the menswear market, maintaining a consistent style, in comparison to Emporio Armani which simply feels like an unnecessary extension of the Armani brand in order to make money as it is unclear what the brand stands for. Perhaps Paul Smith’s most endearing character – which is completely juxtaposed to Armani-  is that it takes design, style and quality seriously, but not itself.

Overall I was pleased with the presentation but to improve upon, some adjustments that could have been made would be; make the presentation more visual - add more images and visual examples so the presentation is slightly less text heavy. Make more concise points but expand on these when speaking. Allude to the mood boards more, making them part of the presentation. Undertake primary research rather than just focusing on secondary and finally, explicitally differentiate between secondary sources and our own opinions within the presentation.