Amelia’s Magazine | Nova Chiu: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Ellen Li
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Ellen Li.

The much anticipated Nova Chiu collection took the finale spot with Ones to Watch this season. We were of course very excited to see the progress of this label, which was much lauded at the LCF graduate shows last summer, and which we covered in a preview just last week. This time around Nova Chiu comprises of the design duo of Nova Chiu and designer Jeff Archer, whom she met whilst interning with Anna Sui in New York.

Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Claire Jones
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Claire Jones.

Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones_to_Watch_Nova_Chiu_by_Barb_Royal
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Barb Royal.

This was an expectedly colourful collection of clashing fabrics and colours that drew on tribal and peasant influences and cheerfully married them with the modern – witness brightly patterned leggings, dangling tassel earrings, intense strips of embroidery, triangular pleated waist peplums, furry all in one suits and zany oversized earmuffs. It certainly proved that Nova Chiu have a signature style to watch, and cemented their place as a fashion label much beloved of illustrators. We can’t wait to see what next season brings.

Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Claire Jones
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Claire Jones.

Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
NOVA CHIU AW 2012 by Nicola Ellen
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Nicola Ellen.

Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Ones to Watch Nova Chiu AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Nova_Chiu_by_Barb_Royal
Nova Chiu A/W 2012 by Barb Royal.

Don’t forget to read our preview blog post about Nova Chiu.

Categories ,A/W 2012, ,Anna Sui, ,Barb Royal, ,Claire Jones, ,Ellen Li, ,Fashion Scout, ,Jeff Archer, ,lfw, ,new york, ,Nicola Ellen, ,Nova Chiu, ,Ones To Watch

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Amelia’s Magazine | Prose Studio: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Prose A/W 2012 by Joe Waldron
Prose A/W 2012 by Joe Waldron.

As regular readers will know we’ve been fans of Prose Studio for awhile, so it was very exciting to see them showing once more at London Fashion Week this season – a decision based on the opportunity to show alongside some of the most exciting upcoming designers in fashion, a place that suits Prose well. Designer Miriam Lehle is based in Germany but after an appearance with On/Off in 2009 she returned to the UK last season to show at the main stands in Somerset House. For A/W 2012 she took to the catwalk once more with Fashion Scout.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose A/W 2012 by Natalie Lines
Prose A/W 2012 by Natalie Lines.

Each season Miriam Lehle explores a new and very different theme, but a core love of baggy, boxy shapes and unorthodox textures remains essential to each collection. This time around she focused on squared-off shapes in muted tones of midnight, ochre and chestnut, which were adorned with different types of contrasting layered fringing – a look which worked especially well on a round shouldered caplet that was worn with sumptuous harem-style burnt orange velvet trousers.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose A/W 2012 by Claire Jones
Prose A/W 2012 by Claire Jones.

The collection was teamed with sensible lace up shoes, slicked back wet-look hair, strong brows and red lips. A dash of mustard yellow brought a light lift and the exposed back on an asymmetric dress lent a sexy edge to an otherwise slightly androgynous collection.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose A/W 2012 by Sara Pateraki
Prose A/W 2012 by Sara Pateraki.

Tasselled fringing came in stiffened patent leather, which also appeared as a patchwork material for skirts and trousers. This was juxtaposed against yarn based fringing which created a softer, almost fluffy, silhouette in vertical and horizontal stripes.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio A/W 2012 by Barb Royal
Prose Studio A/W 2012 by Barb Royal.

A favourite garment was a marbled red silk dress which featured the boxy relaxed shape that Prose is known for – and interesting peaked ruffles on the shoulders that echoed the high gathered waist.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio A/W 2012 by Barb Royal
Prose Studio A/W 2012 by Barb Royal
Prose Studio A/W 2012 by Barb Royal.

The A/W 2012 collection from Prose was confident and polished: without a doubt Miriam Lehle will have converted a whole new army of fans.

Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Prose Studio AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Prose A/W 2012 by Kristina Grundberg
Prose A/W 2012 by Kristina Grundberg.

Categories ,A/W 2012, ,Barb Royal, ,catwalk, ,Claire Jones, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Joe Waldron, ,Kristina Grundberg, ,lfw, ,Miriam Lehle, ,Natalie Lines, ,Prose Studio, ,review, ,Sara Pateraki

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lako Bukia: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Lako Bukia AW 2012 by Love Amelia
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Love Amelia.

This season Lako Bukia went all futuristic for Broken Mirrors in shades of silver and black, a collection that was inspired by her Georgian heritage once again, and a traditional fear of looking into shattered glass. In contrast to last season’s floaty print focused offering, this saw a return to more structured tailoring and a harder line – enhanced by the styling of Claudia Behnke, which featured severe metal top knots and an extremely strong flattened black brow. This is something we’ve seen a lot of on the catwalks this season: Desperate Scousewives, you have a lot to answer to.

Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Gemma Cotterell
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Gemma Cotterell.

Fabrics were predominantly silverised, in silk, leather or lame – the last being notoriously hard to cut well. I’m afraid that lame reminds me of my pre-pubescent attempts to create party wear, circa 1985, and it’s very hard to make it look like a luxury fabric.

Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Gaarte
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Gaarte.

There was an element of the 70s evident in the collection – wide legged glittery pants wouldn’t look out of place in the disco – whilst skater skirts teamed with sheer panelled blouses would look more at home on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. The shoes were possibly from another world entirely – unwearable in everyday life but simply stunning: slightly winged and with heels constructed out of towering pillars of jagged edged glass.

Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Claire Jones
Lako Bukia A/W 2012 by Claire Jones.

There were some beautiful and intriguing elements to the collection, in particular some tight silver trousers and a stunning knee length dress which both featured a shattering glass emblem – the textured shards had the effect of toning down some of the overt glitz, creating a silvery sense of style. Whilst hardly practical I adored the last evening dress, which featured a stunning bodice made out of actual shattered mirror.

Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
For the finale the catwalk head was showered with confetti (in silver, yup you’ve guessed it) – which went off with a loud bang. Down at the catwalk entrance we didn’t know what had happened and it certainly caused a skipping of the heart beat and a few nervous giggles around me. There’s nothing like an unexpected fright at LFW to lighten the mood.

Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Lako Bukia AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,70s, ,A/W 2012, ,Broken Mirrors, ,Claire Jones, ,Claudia Behnke, ,Desperate Scousewives, ,disco, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Futuristic, ,Gaarte, ,Gemma Cotterell, ,Georgian, ,Glitter, ,lako bukia, ,Lame, ,Love Amelia, ,review, ,Silver, ,Starship Enterprise, ,Superstition

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Amelia’s Magazine | Introducing The Rodnik Band: S/S 2012 ‘Cod Save The Sea’ Diffusion Line for ASOS

The Rodnik Band SS12 Cod Save The Sea by Helena Maratheftis

The Rodnik Band SS12 ‘Cod Save The Sea’ by Helena Maratheftis

On a fine London morning in early June – I know, hard to believe – I had the privilege of visiting the colourful studio where the witty designs by The Rodnik Band come to life to interview the man behind them, Philip Colbert. I cannot remember exactly how this brand entered my radar a couple of years ago, but I recall browsing The Rodnik Band website for the first time and feeling really excited that such fun, stimulating, cleverly filled with references – if a little inaccessible – clothes existed out there. Later, during the private view of an exhibition organised by The Stitch Project, I suddenly saw in front of me a girl wearing an exquisitely delicately sequined long gown whose main body had the shape of a fish, while chips were adorning the lower area near the floor. It was delightful. The girl was holding a banner with the slogan ‘Cod Save The Sea’.

The Rodnik Band SS12 by Miss Fay Myers

The Rodnik Band SS12 ‘Cod Save The Sea’ by Miss Fay Myers

The Rodnik Band 'Cod Save the Sea' SS12 collection

‘Cod Save The Sea’ was the theme of The Rodnik Band’s S/S 2012 collection in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Foundation and inspired by EJF’s work to end illegal ‘pirate’ fishing. The reason behind my scheduled interview was the launch of a diffusion line from this S/S 2012 Sea inspired collection for ASOS this June. This is really exciting not only because now The Rodnik Band’s refreshing designs will be available to a wider audience in a more accessible form, but also because this kind of fun, subtle activism – which I think can be very effective – will hopefully catch on.

The Rodnik Band SS12 ASOS diffusion line looks 1+2
The Rodnik Band SS12 ASOS diffusion by Helena Maratheftis

The Rodnik Band S/S12 ‘Cod Save The Sea’ diffusion line for ASOS by Helena Maratheftis

The Rodnik Band studio 2012 Phil Colbert painting the book dress for Hay Festival photo by Maria Papadimitriou.jpg

The Rodnik Band studio 2012 Giulia wearing the 'Fashion is Activism' book dress by Phil Colbert photo by Maria Papadimitriou.jpg

During my visit I was lucky to witness the making – fittings and alterations were made in between questions – of a dress in the shape of a book which Philip Colbert was making for his appearance the next day at the Hay Festival, where he would be talking along with Safia Minney, founder of People Tree about fashion activism. Of course, visiting a studio also means that one gets to see all those behind the scenes bits, drawings and processes which I find fascinating. I particularly enjoyed seeing some drawings of funny imaginary scenarios featuring designs from the ‘Cod Save The Sea’ collection, which Philip explained he does when creating the mood for the collections, but which otherwise remain unseen.

The Rodnik Band studio 2012 'Cod Save the Sea' boat scenario sketch by Phil Colbert photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Having watched a few videos by The Rodnik Band before the interview I already had the impression that Philip Colbert was a very charming and vivacious person. Indeed this was the case and I am very grateful to him that he chatted to me in such a friendly, relaxed manner about his work, what excites him and the spirit of his brand – even if he seemed to have quite a bit of work to do… read my interview with Philip Colbert here.

The Rodnik Band studio 2012 'Cod Save the Sea' sailor sketch by Phil Colbert photo by Maria Papadimitriou

All photography by Maria Papadimitriou.

Categories ,activism, ,Alison Jackson, ,ASOS, ,Claire Jones, ,Claire Jones Art, ,Cod Save The Sea, ,Diffusion Line, ,Duchamp, ,Duchamp’s Fountain, ,EJF, ,Environmental Justice Foundation, ,fashion, ,Fay Myers, ,Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Mondrian, ,Nicola O’prey, ,People Tree, ,Performance Art, ,Philip Colbert, ,Piet Mondrian, ,Pirate Fishing, ,S/S 2012, ,Safia Minney, ,Sea, ,The Rodnik Band, ,video, ,Yves Saint Laurent

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Amelia’s Magazine | I am on Maternity Leave: Burlesque Baby Bump Photography by Tigz Rice and Pregnancy Illustrations

TigzRiceStudios Amelia Gregory
Is that really a baby in there? Or is it just a giant beach ball? It’s hard to believe I am this big, for real.
Photography by Tigz Rice Studios.

Well, the time is nigh…. my due date is approaching with inexorable rapidity, and this baby is definitely going to arrive sometime soon. As a result you may have noticed a drop off in blogs on this website as my nesting instinct inevitably kicks in – the last few months have seen a flurry of activity in a house that up until now has been a workplace. For years back issues of Amelia’s Magazine, promotional CDs, look books and other paraphernalia have dominated my home space… but now what used to house my interns has finally become what could be baby’s room (still full of boxes and clothes mind you), and my kitchen is no longer of the cheap student variety but rather a clean white affair from IKEA. The plumbing is no longer exploding in a dramatic fashion everywhere, fuses are mostly fixed, the wooden floors have been filled and sanded, I have become obsessed with painting all the walls totally white and the dust is vaguely under control.

Amelia-by-Sally-Jane-Thompson
Amelia by Sally Jane Thompson from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia burlesque bump by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia’s burlesque bump by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Of course, I run my own business and have no capacity to employ someone to take it over for me… so maternity leave is but a dim and distant fantasy. However, this blog is my attempt to tell the world what’s happening and why I might be gone for a little while I adjust to becoming a mother. Right now I have no idea how it will affect my ability to maintain this website but the plan is to take a bit of time off and then dive back in again once I have the energy to do so. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist the lure for long…

Amelia's Bump by Gemma Cotterell
Amelia’s Bump by Gemma Cotterell from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia Gregory by Love Amelia, from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia Gregory by Love Amelia, from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Mindful that my body will only stay in this exciting beach ball-like state for a short while longer, and inspired by my friend’s pregnancy photos, I decided to get some *bump shots* done before I return to normality, and this was how I found myself at Tigz Rice’s studio in Bromley one morning two weeks ago. Tigz Rice is best known as a burlesque and boudoir pin-up portrait specialist, but I thought she might like to have a go at something different. In the process we decided to muck around with some of her burlesque props – the results being some fun shots with ostrich feathers (and nipple tassels, though I am afraid those aren’t going to see the light of day on here) I found it much more relaxing to pose with these props, and strangely enough one of her burlesque regulars commissioned her to do some *burlesque bump* shots the very same week that I visited her, so there’s definitely an idea in the air. Tigz might just have an interesting side career on her hands… so if you fancy something special to commemorate pregnancy why not get in touch with her?

Amelia maternity_by_Ada Jusic
Amelia: maternity by Ada Jusic from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Here I share one of the fully clothed shots that she took, and the rest I asked illustrators to interpret since lovely as they are for my personal record I am not really ready to bare nearly all in photographic form on the internet. Plus… illustrators can work wonders with things like fat thighs. I think you’ll agree that an illustrated image to remind you of pregnancy is a fine idea, and if you find yourself in the baby way maybe you’ll consider contacting one of these talented ladies to do the honours – they’re all happy to receive commissions! Just head to their respective websites to get in touch.

Amelias Baby by Claire Jones for Beautiful Moment Art
Amelia’s Baby by Claire Jones for Beautiful Moment Art from a photo by Tigz Rice. The flowers are Lotus, Myrtle and Daisies, which all symbolise birth, innocence, purity and new life.

Amelia Gregory_Amelias Magazine by Nicola Ellen
Amelia by Nicola Ellen from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Finally, there will still be the occasional blog going up until I give birth, and then I’m sure I could be persuaded to share some baby pics… but this won’t ever become a place where I share all about raising baby. So don’t panic! I hope you will bear with me whilst I adjust to this new phase of my life, and enjoy the huge back catalogue of nearly 4000 blogs that reside on this website in the meantime. Why not explore?

Categories ,Ada Jusic, ,Beautiful Moment Art, ,Bump Photography, ,Burlesque, ,Burlesque Baby Bump, ,Claire Jones, ,Gemma Cotterell, ,Ikea, ,illustration, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Love Amelia, ,Maternity Leave, ,photography, ,Pregnancy, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Tigz Rice, ,Tigz Rice Studios

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Amelia’s Magazine | I am on Maternity Leave: Burlesque Baby Bump Photography by Tigz Rice and Pregnancy Illustrations

TigzRiceStudios Amelia Gregory
Is that really a baby in there? Or is it just a giant beach ball? It’s hard to believe I am this big, for real.
Photography by Tigz Rice Studios.

Well, the time is nigh…. my due date is approaching with inexorable rapidity, and this baby is definitely going to arrive sometime soon. As a result you may have noticed a drop off in blogs on this website as my nesting instinct inevitably kicks in – the last few months have seen a flurry of activity in a house that up until now has been a workplace. For years back issues of Amelia’s Magazine, promotional CDs, look books and other paraphernalia have dominated my home space… but now what used to house my interns has finally become what could be baby’s room (still full of boxes and clothes mind you), and my kitchen is no longer of the cheap student variety but rather a clean white affair from IKEA. The plumbing is no longer exploding in a dramatic fashion everywhere, fuses are mostly fixed, the wooden floors have been filled and sanded, I have become obsessed with painting all the walls totally white and the dust is vaguely under control.

Amelia-by-Sally-Jane-Thompson
Amelia by Sally Jane Thompson from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia burlesque bump by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia’s burlesque bump by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Of course, I run my own business and have no capacity to employ someone to take it over for me… so maternity leave is but a dim and distant fantasy. However, this blog is my attempt to tell the world what’s happening and why I might be gone for a little while I adjust to becoming a mother. Right now I have no idea how it will affect my ability to maintain this website but the plan is to take a bit of time off and then dive back in again once I have the energy to do so. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist the lure for long…

Amelia's Bump by Gemma Cotterell
Amelia’s Bump by Gemma Cotterell from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia Gregory by Love Amelia, from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia Gregory by Love Amelia, from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Mindful that my body will only stay in this exciting beach ball-like state for a short while longer, and inspired by my friend’s pregnancy photos, I decided to get some *bump shots* done before I return to normality, and this was how I found myself at Tigz Rice‘s studio in Bromley one morning two weeks ago. Tigz Rice is best known as a burlesque and boudoir pin-up portrait specialist, but I thought she might like to have a go at something different. In the process we decided to muck around with some of her burlesque props – the results being some fun shots with ostrich feathers (and nipple tassels, though I am afraid those aren’t going to see the light of day on here) I found it much more relaxing to pose with these props, and strangely enough one of her burlesque regulars commissioned her to do some *burlesque bump* shots the very same week that I visited her, so there’s definitely an idea in the air. Tigz might just have an interesting side career on her hands… so if you fancy something special to commemorate pregnancy why not get in touch with her?

Amelia maternity_by_Ada Jusic
Amelia: maternity by Ada Jusic from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Amelia by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice
Amelia by Janneke de Jong from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Here I share one of the fully clothed shots that she took, and the rest I asked illustrators to interpret since lovely as they are for my personal record I am not really ready to bare nearly all in photographic form on the internet. Plus… illustrators can work wonders with things like fat thighs. I think you’ll agree that an illustrated image to remind you of pregnancy is a fine idea, and if you find yourself in the baby way maybe you’ll consider contacting one of these talented ladies to do the honours – they’re all happy to receive commissions! Just head to their respective websites to get in touch.

Amelias Baby by Claire Jones for Beautiful Moment Art
Amelia’s Baby by Claire Jones for Beautiful Moment Art from a photo by Tigz Rice. The flowers are Lotus, Myrtle and Daisies, which all symbolise birth, innocence, purity and new life.

Amelia Gregory_Amelias Magazine by Nicola Ellen
Amelia by Nicola Ellen from a photo by Tigz Rice.

Finally, there will still be the occasional blog going up until I give birth, and then I’m sure I could be persuaded to share some baby pics… but this won’t ever become a place where I share all about raising baby. So don’t panic! I hope you will bear with me whilst I adjust to this new phase of my life, and enjoy the huge back catalogue of nearly 4000 blogs that reside on this website in the meantime. Why not explore?

Categories ,Ada Jusic, ,Beautiful Moment Art, ,Bump Photography, ,Burlesque, ,Burlesque Baby Bump, ,Claire Jones, ,Gemma Cotterell, ,Ikea, ,illustration, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Love Amelia, ,Maternity Leave, ,photography, ,Pregnancy, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Tigz Rice, ,Tigz Rice Studios

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Rapunzel and Sedayne on the release of new album Songs From The Barley Temple

rapunzel_sedanye_by_ada_jusic
Rapunzel and Sedanye by Ada Jusic.

It’s no secret that I am partial to a bit of old time folk music: it’s the sound of many a campfire singalong, viagra buy a narrative tradition of music that is participatory rather than merely made for an audience to consume. And I love to discover new folk that dwells on old time tunes but with new arrangements, new harmonies and new stories to tell. I fell for Rapunzel and Sedayne as soon as I heard them on Soundcloud, a gorgeous duo clammering away on a variety of exotic instruments to create subtly haunting tunes that sound as relevant and wonderful today as their influences.

Can you tell us a bit about your life up to now? It sounds most intriguing. For example how did you come to fall in love with folk music, and what other things have you done before this album?
Rapunzel: I’ve always loved singing since I was a child – influenced by my dad who is a great harmony singer himself, but not musically trained so he made sure my sister and I got music lessons early on. I started piano at six, but far from being a child prodigy I hated it and really only started understanding music in my late teens when I stopped trying to read it and started listening to what I was playing. There is an annual folk festival in my home town and I remember seeing the likes of Fred Jordan, Jim Eldon, Peter Bellamy and June Tabor who all had an influence on me as I was growing up. In my late teens and twenties I did the singer-songwriter thing with my guitar, but in recent years and by working with Sean I have got back in touch with the old folk songs.

Rapunzel and Sedayne cover
Sedayne: Folk was part of the zeitgeist of my childhood. Everything from Dr Who and Catweazle to Strawbs, Gentle Giant and the Third Ear Band and a shelf load of books on folksong and folklore most of which are now entirely discredited but still mean a lot to me. It was integral to the landscapes in which I grew up – ballads and legends and bagpipes – all of which informed my own approach and most crucially in the areas I explore with Rachel. We’ve done a number of projects over the years from experimental music with Martin Archer to neo-folk tracks on various compilation albums such as Infernal Proteus and three volumes of John Barleycorn Reborn. We’ve just done a song on the subject of Werewolves for a project in Sweden – it is an exquisite facsimile of a 19th century study of Werewolves in Swedish folklore with a disk of specially composed songs. Think Porcupine meets Being Human


 
Fairytale Folk by Claire Jones
Fairytale Folk by Claire Jones.

Sedayne, I understand that you are a specialist in ancient and traditional instruments, and on this album you play kemence, violin, crwth, flute and kaossilator. I don’t know what three of those are, can you tell us more about them and the sounds they make?
Sedayne: At the high end is the kemence from Turkey – also known as the Black Sea Fiddle. It’s small, extremely versatile and ideal for the music we do. At the bottom end is the crwth – a medieval bowed-lyre that was made for me in 1983 by Tim Hobrough (long before the current crwth revival I might add) so it’s a big part of my musical life and thinking. In the middle is the violin – which is an extension of both in a way, though people say I play the violin like a crwth and the crwth like a violin. I was playing crwth and kemence long before I got into the violin, which Rachel insisted upon when she got into the banjo some years ago. The banjo and violin make good bedfellows. The Kaossilator is a looping phrase synthesizer from Korg that replaces the tyranny of the keyboard with a X-Y pad because it’s primarily designed for DJs! it’s also the size of a decent slice of toast. Along with an electric Shruti box, we use it for loops, drones and washes. 

rapunzel and sedayne by sarah-jayne
Rapunzel and Sedayne by Sarah-Jayne Morris.

You’re a couple – did the music or the romance come first and how does it inform the way that you work? 
Rapunzel:  We were friends for several years before we became a couple. We met at the Durham City Folk Club which at that time was at The Colpitts. It was a golden age for that club in terms of harmony singing and it’s true that Sean and I were communicating through singing together long before we had a conversation. 
Sedayne: Rachel’s musicality had always impressed me & she always did amazing things. It’s odd but the only time we really row together is when we’re working on music. Maybe that’s why we do it? It’s a natural catharsis that always gives rise to something because Rachel is invariably right anyway. We always record live – in real time, no multitracking, which is part of that energy too.
 
Barley Temple - 30-1-11 - Rapunzel
You have quite an old fashioned folk sound. What are your influences and how do you think you differ from those influences or include elements of them?
Rapunzel: Melodically and vocally my influences probably come from the artists I’ve listened to most: Jane Siberry, Judee Sill, Laura Nyro, Tori Amos, David Bowie. But the old songs are lyrically so much more straightforward, telling a story, reporting an event, simple but effective imagery, no hidden meanings, and that is what I love about them. 

Barley Temple - 30-1-11 - Sedayne
Sedayne: The songs are the main influence. I keep saying that we’re not trying to breathe new life into them so much as draw new life from them. It’s a cultural communion as much as it is about doing something in our way, or being deliberately idiosyncratic, though people say we are, but we’re not conscious of that. It’s an old thing as you say, but so is language, baking bread and sex. Most of time we’re listening to pop or classical or early music or jazz or tuning into Tim Westwood but when it comes to doing our own thing it tends towards something pretty archaic to most ears – even folk ears, because we’re less interested in revival conventions than we are more ancient and traditional forms. It’s folk art basically; rugged, earthy and hand-crafted.

Rapunzel & Sedanyne, Tales from The Barley Temple, by Celine Elliott
Rapunzel & Sedanyne, Tales from The Barley Temple, by Celine Elliott.

How important is the folk scene in Lancashire to your process? And are there any folk clubs or meet ups or festivals that you recommend a visitor should go to?
Rapunzel: Strangely enough I didn’t start performing until I left Lancashire, having neither the confidence nor the encouragement. But settling back home, and particularly singing and playing with the Preston Club has helped to make this album what it is.
Sedayne: The Preston Club is the Holy of Holies for us as far as the local Folk Scene goes. It’s very small though. Not select, just awkward as far as audiences or visitors go. I think of it more of a master-class where we can bask in the genius of musicians like Hugh O’Donnell, Tom Walsh, Neil Brook and Dave Peters although what we do is very different to what they do. We do things at the Fylde Folk Festival either just as ourselves or working on projects with other artists, like Ross Campbell and local song-writer Ron Baxter who has an approach we quite like. We’ve only been in Lancashire for four years though – so I don’t think we identify that much with the local scene which I get the impression hasn’t changed in fifty years, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing just Rachel and I are both essentially nomads with itchy feet. We’ve lived in Worth Abbey, Brancepeth Castle, Durham City, the Deerness Valley, Lytham Saint Annes, Lancaster… I’m amazed and disturbed that you can live in a place for over four years and still be regarded – and resented – as a newcomer. After four years I’m thinking – where next?

Rapunzel rach
How did you choose the old songs that you covered? have they been much loved for years or were they specially sourced for the album?
Rapunzel: The Max Hunter archive – an online resource from Missouri State University – is particularly important. I love the songs of Ollie Gilbert that feature on there. Silver Dagger and Diver Boy are from her singing.
Sedayne: We spend a lot of time browsing old field recordings and archives. I always think it’s best that you let the songs choose you, that way they’re easier to learn, they don’t resist you. A lot of those songs we’ve been singing since we met, like Poor Old Horse which I got off Jim Eldon twenty years ago or more. That’s the thing I really remember Rachel singing on before we talked to each other. Her harmony was the most amazingly different thing in an otherwise normal Folk club chorus, so over the years we’ve kept evolving that feel in terms of how our voices work together. I don’t think anyone can own a song, but you have your own way of doing it which is what a song is – it becomes a vehicle to help you find your own voice, which is what you hear from the old singers anyway – a gladsome diversity of an infinity of approaches. Contrary to a lot of Folk thinking, there’s no right or wrong here, and what happens happens. We also improvise a lot, so things change, and always for the better. I must stress that, because we’re doing songs now that I used to do years ago but they’ve never sounded better than they do now even though to some people the old ones will always be best, which is absurd. New fruit is always best I find…

Repunzel and Sedayne by Jennifer Crouch
Repunzel and Sedayne by Jennifer Crouch.

In Porcupine in October Sycamore there are all sorts of incidental sounds including ducks and a dog barking to the beat – what informed your choice to include these kind of sounds?
Rapunzel: What sounds like a dog is more likely a goose. The version with wildfowl is on the Soundcloud rather than the album version.
Sedayne: The field recordings are of diverse wild-fowl from Blackpool Zoo – where the Porcupines live who inspired us to make that song, which is an old-fashioned sounding song about the sorts of non-native elements we embrace as our cultural whole. I was born a multi-cultural UK – I’m a product of that, and I cherish it very dearly. In the local Folk Scene you routinely hear songs in which it is lamented that that the local fish & chip shop is now a Chinese takeaway. I despair at times, I really do. The best thing someone said about Porcupine was that they thought it was a Rudyard Kipling poem set to music by Peter Bellamy. Maybe they were confusing Porcupines with Armadillos?   

Rapunzel and Sedayne interior
In real life you are known as Rachel McCarron and Sean Breadin. Where do your pseudonyms Rapunzel and Sedayne come from?
Sedayne: Rapunzel got her name from a song she sang when we first met. No one knew her name at the time and in the song she sings Call Me Rapunzel, so we did, and the name stuck, even with people who knew her anyway. Sedayne comes from Brian Sedane which is a very old anagram of my given name. I don’t know how or when it acquired the Y or at which point I lost the Brian. There’s no mystical thing here, it’s just random. The best anagram of Sean Breadin is Insane Beard.
Rapunzel: I think Rapunzel was the second song I wrote, when I was 19. Still sing it occasionally.
Sedayne: You can hear Rapunzel on Rachel’s myspace page, along with Sarah Sometimes, another song about naming. People always call Rachel ‘Sarah’; it’s one of these weird things that’s happened all her life, so she wrote a song about her imaginary alter-ego. You can also hear my folk:funk remix ‘Sarah Sometimes’ which reveals some of our other sensitivities. Someone even called her Sarah on the phone the other day! Maybe we’ll do Rapunzel on the next album as people have expressed bafflement over the name, or think it’s in some way contrived (in Folk? Heaven forefend!) but Rapunzel & Sedayne is what we call ourselves because that’s what people call us anyway, and no-one could pronounce Venereum Arvum, which is the name we use for our darker projects, without making it sound like a social disease. We did our last album Pentacle of Pips of Venereum Arvum (download it on bandcamp) and are releasing Fire and Hemlock as Venereum Arvum (on vinyl) in the new year. The name means Field of Pleasure – an erotic metaphor from Sir Richard Burton‘s translations of The Sportive Epigrams of Priapus from ancient Rome.

Rapunzel and Sedayne by Rebecca Oliver
Rapunzel and Sedayne by Rebecca Oliver.

Your music is described as ‘haunting’ and I’ve certainly had it on repeat since I first received it. How do you hope that it will be enjoyed and what do you hope its effect might be on people?
Sedayne: The songs are haunting in themselves and the music we make comes from the songs. Some people see that as being weird and esoteric but we’re really just a husband and wife Folk ‘n’ Fun duo even though we like the spookier Gothic side of things which is there in spades in the old ballads and songs of ceremony. We love MR James and Diana Wynne Jones and Phil Rickman and HP Lovecraft but it’s essential to keep things in perspective regarding what they actually are, or what their actual function might be. People hearing us doing The Gower Wassail (for example) might think it’s a very occult or pagan song, but when you go to the source (the great Phil Tanner – check him out!) you’ll find it’s nothing of the sort. These things run pretty deep though and people relate to them on all sorts of levels, which is fine by us.

§Rapunzel and Sedayne Songs from the Barley Temple cover art
Will you be touring this album at all and what next in general for Rapunzel and Sedayne?
Rapunzel: We’re always finding and developing new old songs, and some new new ones, so we’re already trying to reduce the longlist for the next album.
Sedayne: We’ve been featuring a lot of those songs in our repertoire for a while now – as Rachel says we’re always evolving new songs and revisiting old ones, so our shows are always a mix of whatever it is we’re up to at any given time. We’ve got some gigs coming up in November & December which will feature a mix of things from the Barley Temple album as well certain inevitable Seasonal Material you’ll find on the Soundcloud site nearer the time. We’re playing at the Kit & Cutter club in London on 3rd December, the Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club on the 19th of November, and The Chase Folk Club in Staffordshire on the 2nd of December.  We’re also doing a session for Radio Shropshire on 23rd of October for Genevieve Tudor‘s folk programme… We have this thing of Singing the Calendar Round, but I like the fact that Songs from the Barley Temple has been called ‘The ideal October album‘ (by Stewart Lee in the Sunday Times no less) because one thing about the old songs is that they bring you home in a way – home to the hearth, the orchard, as the days get shorter and year darkens. These things are no longer literal – they’re part of a mythic idyll and that’s a very ancient which we still feel today, even if I do find notions of the viscera of pagan sacrificial victims living on in Christmas Tree decorations a little far-fetched, it still gives you a notion of continuity and of home, and belonging, which (getting back to the previous question) is maybe something we like to share with our audiences and listeners, but I bet (and hope) no one feels it in exactly the same way.

Songs From The Barley Temple is out now on Folk Police Recordings. You can hear more of Rapunzel and Sedayne on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Categories ,Ada Jusic, ,Black Sea Fiddle, ,Brancepeth Castle, ,Call Me Rapunzel, ,Catweazle, ,Celine Elliott, ,Claire Jones, ,Crwth, ,Dave Peters, ,David Bowie, ,Deerness Valley, ,Diana Wynne Jones, ,Diver Boy, ,Dr Who, ,Durham City, ,Durham City Folk Club, ,Field of Pleasure, ,folk, ,Folk Police Recordings, ,Fred Jordan, ,Fylde Folk Festival, ,Genevieve Tudor, ,Gentle Giant, ,HP Lovecraft, ,Hugh O’Donnell, ,Infernal Proteus, ,Insane Beard, ,Jane Siberry, ,Jennifer Crouch, ,Jim Eldon, ,John Barleycorn Reborn, ,Judee Sill, ,June Tabor, ,Kaossilator, ,Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club, ,Kit & Cutter club, ,Korg, ,Lancashire, ,Lancaster, ,Laura Nyro, ,Lytham Saint Annes, ,Martin Archer, ,Max Hunter, ,MR James, ,Neil Brook, ,Ollie Gilbert, ,Pentacle of Pips of Venereum Arvum, ,Peter Bellamy, ,Phil Rickman, ,Phil Tanner, ,Poor Old Horse, ,Porcupine, ,Preston Club, ,Radio Shropshire, ,Rapunzel and Sedayne, ,Rebecca Oliver, ,Rome, ,Ron Baxter, ,Ross Campbell, ,Rudyard Kipling, ,Sarah Jayne Morris, ,Sarah Sometimes, ,Shruti box, ,Silver Dagger, ,Singing the Calendar Round, ,Sir Richard Burton, ,Songs From The Barley Temple, ,SoundCloud, ,Stewart Lee, ,Strawbs, ,Sunday Times, ,The Chase Folk Club, ,The Colpitts, ,The Gower Wassail, ,The Sportive Epigrams of Priapus, ,Third Ear Band, ,Tim Hobrough, ,Tom Walsh, ,Tori Amos, ,Venereum Arvum, ,Werewolves, ,Worth Abbey

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