Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day: Gifts and Ideas


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, unhealthyJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, discountJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, adiposity a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, recipe Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, viagra ” announces Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, recipe which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, here now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

You can read more about my abysmal love life in my Valentines blog post from 2010.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Adam Smith, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Anieszka Banks, ,Ankolie, ,Artist Andrea, ,Becca Thorne, ,Bex Glover, ,Can We Shall We, ,Diana F+, ,EC One, ,Emma Block, ,Ethical Gold, ,etsy, ,fairtrade, ,Fisheye 2, ,Flowers, ,Gemma Smith, ,gifts, ,Gold, ,hearts, ,ica, ,Je t’aime, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Jenny Robins, ,jewellery, ,Joana Faria, ,Laura Gravestock, ,Liz Lewis, ,Lou Cloud, ,Museum of Everything, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Oria, ,Peacock Heart, ,Peter Blake, ,Plastic Seconds, ,Prick your Finger, ,Quinky Art, ,rob ryan, ,Simon Critchley, ,Society 6, ,Soma Gallery, ,The School of Life, ,Valentine’s Day

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Interview: Carlotta Gherzi

Carlotta Gherzi by Emma Block
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Emma Block

Carlotta Gherzi for Sado was one of the first catwalk shows I ever attended, page and I was enchanted from the start.

Garlotta GherzI by Lako Bukia
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Lako Bukia

emma_block_A/W 2011 carlotta_gherzi_
Carlotta Gherzi A/W 2011 by Emma Block

Since she completed her BA in Fashion Design & Fashion Marketing at the American University in London, Carlotta Gherzi has been a firm fashion week favourite. Her 2011 A/W collection Frozen Flora took the audience to a world of ice queens in dresses the colour of iced lattes with thick wool capes like rain clouds.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 sheer dress
Triassic Glamour, her S/S 2012 catwalk show, similarly captured the attention and imagination of the assembled LFW audience and, after the show, I was offered the chance to head backstage and find out a little bit more about her inspirations and working process.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 By Lydia Fee 1
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Lydia Fee

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 purple dress
Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer? How did you first get into it and what advice would you give to fashion graduates today?
I always wanted to be a designer since the age of 6. My grandmother was a tailor so I grew up looking at her sewing dresses for herself and my mum. Graduates should look at and acknowledge the business side of the industry, as it’s very easy to take the wrong decisions…

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 cream dress
How do you begin a collection? Does it start with sketchbooks, notebooks, photos, scrapbooks, in your head etc?
It’s a long process, first I look at fabrics; choosing what I like, then I select a theme and I start looking at it in more detail. Than sketching, dreaming and toileing makes it come to life.

Carlotta Gherzi By Lako Bukia
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Lako Bukia

Where do you go to be inspired?
Wherever is sunny and sandy does it for me. It makes me feel happier and I’m inspired by raw nature. For S/S 2012 I was inspired by fossils, re-designing them by hand into my new print. I then decided to use the color palette from the movie avatar; bright orange, blue-purple , sabbia, black and shades of ivory. I also go back in time, metaphorically speaking, looking at films from the past. For my new collection I was inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Casablanca, looking at the 1930’s silhouette, and re-inventing it for the modern woman. This is why I called the collection Triassic Glamour.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 aqua dress
Which bit is your favourite part of the process from initial conception to catwalk?
Playing with fabric weights and sketching fast. Then if I am not sure I enjoy modifying the final garment to suit the initial drawing.

Carlotta Gherzi by Lako Bukia
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Lako Bukia

How have these different countries you lived in and different cultures you’re experienced influenced your work?
I’m inspired by women from around the world. I really like the quirkiness of London and the sometime carefree look. I admire the New York look with nothing out of place or order. I laugh at yet admire the super careful match of colours going on in Italy, the brand loving in Russia…. I think about all these women when designing my clothing.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012
Who would you most love to wear your clothes?
When designing I take my favourite characteristics in women and then I unite them all in one. I try to read the mind of many women and I try to understand what they want and what I would look for in an outfit myself.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 swimwear
Which designers do you most admire?
I love Balenciaga and Isabel Marant.

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 black dress
All photography by Emma Block.

What’s coming up next for SADO?
A possible diffusion line…

Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 By Lydia Fee 3
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Lydia Fee

Make sure you check out my review of Carlotta Gherzi‘s S/S 2012 catwalk show as well.

Categories ,1930s, ,American University, ,Balenciaga, ,Breakfast at Tiffany’s, ,Carlotta Gherzi, ,Casablanca, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Fashion Design & Fashion Marketing, ,fossils, ,Frozen Flora, ,interview, ,Isabel Marant, ,lako bukia, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lydia Fee, ,Triassic Glamour, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Presentation Review: Teatum Jones


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Faye West

On Friday afternoon I took myself up the Strand to the RSA‘s grand London venue, viagra 60mg a little past the Savoy. It’s a bloody nightmare trying to get up the Strand these days. You’re either barging tourists out of the way with your London Fashion Week tote bag or stopping to give them directions. I hate that Londoners have such a mean reputation when it comes to tourists so I always smile and say ‘yes, the Ly-SEE-um is just that way, m’love’ and save my expletives until they’re out of earshot.


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Emma Block

I was heading for a presentation by Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones – collectively Teatum Jones, who promise ‘effortless chic‘ and ‘contemporary elegance.‘ Well, they certainly served up heaps of this on Friday. I first heard about them six months ago when they were listed on the BFC’s emerging talent roster, so it was exciting to finally get the chance to check out their wares in person.

It’s so easy to get a presentation wrong. This miserable age of austerity that we’re currently living in has forced many designers to abandon the catwalk in favour of a static set-up, but you never really know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s a film screening, sometimes one model stooped and forlorn in a corner while people ‘yah, yah‘ around him or her. This was a good presentation, thankfully; an amazing one, in fact. I knew it was going to be good when a gentleman who wouldn’t look out of place on a runway thrust me a vodka martini. At last: a big ol’ drink.

The RSA‘s venue is quite something. Its Georgian interior couldn’t have been a better match for this stunning collection of exquisite clothes. The room where the presentation was held had huge ceilings, enormous fireplaces and period features; the pastel colours of the walls appearing as if they had been painted especially for the occasion. A mock sort of sitting room-like set had been constructed in the centre, and people filed around this voyeuristic set-up in practical silence. A soundtrack of the Flamingos’ I Only Have Eyes For You (the second time I’d heard that song that day – TREND ALERT) and Patsy Cline’s Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray almost made me weep – saved from tears only by the feeling of excitement that this design duo had got it so right.

Illustrator/contributor extraordinaire Emma Block and her live fashion illustrations

I should probably stop banging on about the bloody room and talk about the clothes, right? Well, they were equally flawless. A handful of models, positioned on a central island, moved slowly around various pieces of furniture in flowing frocks with huge trains. Each frock featured discreet digital prints in gorgeous muted pastel colours, and the models were styled with a hint of 1920s/30s glamour – full red lips, tight curls. They didn’t smile much (that would have ruined it) but as they playfully crept around the set, an imposing chandelier hanging above, it actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Result!


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Faye West

These dresses were expertly cut and the craftsmanship was faultless – that’s another good thing about a presentation, it sorts the men from the boys (I mean, it exposes poorly made garments). Layers of fabric had been fused together in a slightly oddball fashion but this provided a perfect marriage of classic and contemporary. In their own words, there’s ‘structure and fluidity‘. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is why I copied it.

A row of static mannequins along the window edge displayed the rest of the collection – more dreamy yet subtle colours mixed with vivid yellows. These pieces showed Teatum Jones‘ commercial flair, but the winners were the show pieces, best viewed with a martini through a fake window.


All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,1920s, ,1930s, ,Catherine Teatum, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Faye West, ,London Fashion Week, ,Martinis, ,Matt Bramford, ,pastels, ,Patsy Cline, ,Presentation, ,review, ,Rob Jones, ,rsa, ,S/S 2012, ,Savoy, ,Strand, ,Teatum Jones, ,The Flamingos, ,Trace PR, ,Trace Publicity, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Presentation Review: Teatum Jones


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Faye West

On Friday afternoon I took myself up the Strand to the RSA‘s grand London venue, viagra 60mg a little past the Savoy. It’s a bloody nightmare trying to get up the Strand these days. You’re either barging tourists out of the way with your London Fashion Week tote bag or stopping to give them directions. I hate that Londoners have such a mean reputation when it comes to tourists so I always smile and say ‘yes, the Ly-SEE-um is just that way, m’love’ and save my expletives until they’re out of earshot.


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Emma Block

I was heading for a presentation by Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones – collectively Teatum Jones, who promise ‘effortless chic‘ and ‘contemporary elegance.‘ Well, they certainly served up heaps of this on Friday. I first heard about them six months ago when they were listed on the BFC’s emerging talent roster, so it was exciting to finally get the chance to check out their wares in person.

It’s so easy to get a presentation wrong. This miserable age of austerity that we’re currently living in has forced many designers to abandon the catwalk in favour of a static set-up, but you never really know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s a film screening, sometimes one model stooped and forlorn in a corner while people ‘yah, yah‘ around him or her. This was a good presentation, thankfully; an amazing one, in fact. I knew it was going to be good when a gentleman who wouldn’t look out of place on a runway thrust me a vodka martini. At last: a big ol’ drink.

The RSA‘s venue is quite something. Its Georgian interior couldn’t have been a better match for this stunning collection of exquisite clothes. The room where the presentation was held had huge ceilings, enormous fireplaces and period features; the pastel colours of the walls appearing as if they had been painted especially for the occasion. A mock sort of sitting room-like set had been constructed in the centre, and people filed around this voyeuristic set-up in practical silence. A soundtrack of the Flamingos’ I Only Have Eyes For You (the second time I’d heard that song that day – TREND ALERT) and Patsy Cline’s Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray almost made me weep – saved from tears only by the feeling of excitement that this design duo had got it so right.

Illustrator/contributor extraordinaire Emma Block and her live fashion illustrations

I should probably stop banging on about the bloody room and talk about the clothes, right? Well, they were equally flawless. A handful of models, positioned on a central island, moved slowly around various pieces of furniture in flowing frocks with huge trains. Each frock featured discreet digital prints in gorgeous muted pastel colours, and the models were styled with a hint of 1920s/30s glamour – full red lips, tight curls. They didn’t smile much (that would have ruined it) but as they playfully crept around the set, an imposing chandelier hanging above, it actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Result!


Teatum Jones S/S 2012 by Faye West

These dresses were expertly cut and the craftsmanship was faultless – that’s another good thing about a presentation, it sorts the men from the boys (I mean, it exposes poorly made garments). Layers of fabric had been fused together in a slightly oddball fashion but this provided a perfect marriage of classic and contemporary. In their own words, there’s ‘structure and fluidity‘. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is why I copied it.

A row of static mannequins along the window edge displayed the rest of the collection – more dreamy yet subtle colours mixed with vivid yellows. These pieces showed Teatum Jones‘ commercial flair, but the winners were the show pieces, best viewed with a martini through a fake window.


All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,1920s, ,1930s, ,Catherine Teatum, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Faye West, ,London Fashion Week, ,Martinis, ,Matt Bramford, ,pastels, ,Patsy Cline, ,Presentation, ,review, ,Rob Jones, ,rsa, ,S/S 2012, ,Savoy, ,Strand, ,Teatum Jones, ,The Flamingos, ,Trace PR, ,Trace Publicity, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | ROKIT Recycled

First, medications case what interested you about Womenswear and subsequently the Womenswear MA at Central Saint Martins?

A desire to design clothing for myself I guess is what first drew me to Womenswear. I also love the drama and the show of Womenswear that you don’t necessarily get with Menswear. I studied the BA Womenswear at CSM and subsequently went on to do this at MA.

What Projects are currently in the pipeline?

I have just finished working on and promoting my Weekday collection and am now planning a move to New York, where I have an exciting new project to work on.

you’re currently working with Weekday… the collection looks fantastic, how’s that collaboration going?

The collaboration has actually finished now and the designs (mostly t-shirts) are available to buy in the Weekday stores which are located in Sweden, Germany and Denmark. The collaboration was a wonderful project for me to work on and I am so pleased that my designs are now available to a wider audience.

What is your aesthetic and how did it develop?

I guess that you could say its minimalist/purist with a fun twist. An element of fun has always been essential in my design work, I don’t think that fashion should take itself too seriously! The minimalist/purist element is something that I worked on throughout the MA, as I already said I wanted my collection to be fun but I also wanted it to be taken seriously and be wearable and the minimal aesthetic seemed to offer up the perfect balance.

what is the Colin Barnes Illustration Award (congratulations!) and how do you become eligible?

The Colin Barnes Illustration Award is something that I was awarded whilst studying on the BA. It is an award that is given to St Martin’s students studying on the BA Fashion design course for their illustration. I was so surprised to receive it as I had always struggled with illustration until Howard Tangye made me realise that the way I draw doesn’t have to be the same way that everyone else draws! I owe him a lot for that!

What role does illustration play in your design process?

It played a huge role in my MA collection as we worked tirelessly to make sure that the actual clothes were as close to my original drawings as possible, the weird proportions, placement of the print and particularly the width and angle of the shoulder. I am happy to say that what went down the catwalk was exactly the same as my drawings!

You’ve mentioned in other interviews an interest in basic shapes – do these motifs often appear in your illustrations?

It does subconsciously I think, my drawings are often quite angular and square like! And going back to what I said about my aesthetic I am a big fan of pure, minimalist and clean things and what is more pure that a basic circle, square or triangle.

Do you draw outside of fashion design?

Not really as all my ladies (and they are always ladies) of course have to have great outfits on so I end up designing without even realising it. I don’t really have much time to do it anymore either which is a shame.


Who would you say informs your work, do you have a customer in mind during the design process?

I never have a specific customer. I collect images and build up a mood in that way. I am influenced by all sorts of things from all different sources. I see it as a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

Could you describe your design process?

Backwards and Forwards, up and down, moments of genius and moments of disaster. Each collection is different and so forms its own process. I don’t have any hard and fast rules.

How did your MA collection develop – from where did you inspiration come from?

I am a bit of a collector, especially when it comes to images and so the collection draws inspiration from many different reference points. The face, eyelashes etc. came from the work of François and Jean Robert, the hands were from some drawings that I found by Saul Steinberg and the shapes were from some of Jean Paul Goude’s work with Grace Jones particularly her ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ video. As I already mentioned, once I had the designs they weren’t changed at all and the development was all in making sure the clothes were just like the drawings.


Do you ever use re-cycled or up-cycled fabric in your designs?

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t in my MA, however I did explore using existing items of clothing etc a lot in my BA and it is definitely something that I would like to re visit in the future.


What fabrics do you enjoy working with?

I love wool jersey; in fact my whole collection was made out of it. I really like jersey as a whole, mainly because it allows you to do things without darts and seams, which allows the design to appear even more minimalist and clean.

Who are Francois and Jean Robert and what is the book Reggi – Secolo’?

Francois and Jean Robert are Graphic designers/photographers who did the most fantastic book called Face to Face in which they photographed inanimate objects that appear to have or make different faces. It really is worth a look, for the concept but also for the clean beautiful look of the book itself.

As for Reggi-Secolo, this is a little crazy book of totally insane and genius bra’s, it really is quite amazing.

What do you think of twitter and the ever developing blogging network as a method of self promotion? Do you use either medium?

I think that Twitter and blogging are great if you know how to make the most of them and do them well, unfortunately I don’t and so I will leave it to the experts.

Could you describe your interest in ‘bad taste’ in our current cycle of fast fashion, and endless borrowing from the past or more accurately returning to what were considered ‘fashion mistakes’ and re-inventing them do you think what was consider bad taste is now considered ‘good’ taste. Where is the line for you?

Good and bad taste for me is just a fascinating thing to play with. It is so easy to get it wrong and so hard to get it right and it can be the minutest detail that makes all the difference. I really couldn’t say where my line is, I think it varies depending on the object/image/garment etc that you are considering.

Will you be showing at London Fashion Week this Autumn?

I am afraid not, as much as I would love to I feel that I still need to get a bit more experience before I have my own label and so I am going to work in New York for a while starting in June.

Who are your favourite designers and why?

I have long been a Martin Margiela fan; he was one of the first designers that really sparked my interest in fashion. I also love Yves Saint Laurent when Yves Saint Laurent was at the helm and Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel and of course Moschino when Franco Moschino was there. I also love Hermes for the fantastic quality and unwavering levels of good taste!

What was your experience of work experience, what do you recommend about the experience and what did you take away from it?

Work experience for me was essential and it was also the time that I really developed into a designer. It makes it all more real, you realise that these things that you are designing do actually end up being worn! I would fully recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it.

First, seek what interested you about Womenswear and subsequently the Womenswear MA at Central Saint Martins?

A desire to design clothing for myself I guess is what first drew me to Womenswear. I also love the drama and the show of Womenswear that you don’t necessarily get with Menswear. I studied the BA Womenswear at CSM and subsequently went on to do this at MA.

What Projects are currently in the pipeline?

I have just finished working on and promoting my Weekday collection and am now planning a move to New York, where I have an exciting new project to work on.

you’re currently working with Weekday… the collection looks fantastic, how’s that collaboration going?

The collaboration has actually finished now and the designs (mostly t-shirts) are available to buy in the Weekday stores which are located in Sweden, Germany and Denmark. The collaboration was a wonderful project for me to work on and I am so pleased that my designs are now available to a wider audience.

What is your aesthetic and how did it develop?

I guess that you could say its minimalist/purist with a fun twist. An element of fun has always been essential in my design work, I don’t think that fashion should take itself too seriously! The minimalist/purist element is something that I worked on throughout the MA, as I already said I wanted my collection to be fun but I also wanted it to be taken seriously and be wearable and the minimal aesthetic seemed to offer up the perfect balance.

what is the Colin Barnes Illustration Award (congratulations!) and how do you become eligible?

The Colin Barnes Illustration Award is something that I was awarded whilst studying on the BA. It is an award that is given to St Martin’s students studying on the BA Fashion design course for their illustration. I was so surprised to receive it as I had always struggled with illustration until Howard Tangye made me realise that the way I draw doesn’t have to be the same way that everyone else draws! I owe him a lot for that!

What role does illustration play in your design process?

It played a huge role in my MA collection as we worked tirelessly to make sure that the actual clothes were as close to my original drawings as possible, the weird proportions, placement of the print and particularly the width and angle of the shoulder. I am happy to say that what went down the catwalk was exactly the same as my drawings!

You’ve mentioned in other interviews an interest in basic shapes – do these motifs often appear in your illustrations?

It does subconsciously I think, my drawings are often quite angular and square like! And going back to what I said about my aesthetic I am a big fan of pure, minimalist and clean things and what is more pure that a basic circle, square or triangle.

Do you draw outside of fashion design?

Not really as all my ladies (and they are always ladies) of course have to have great outfits on so I end up designing without even realising it. I don’t really have much time to do it anymore either which is a shame.


Who would you say informs your work, do you have a customer in mind during the design process?

I never have a specific customer. I collect images and build up a mood in that way. I am influenced by all sorts of things from all different sources. I see it as a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

Could you describe your design process?

Backwards and Forwards, up and down, moments of genius and moments of disaster. Each collection is different and so forms its own process. I don’t have any hard and fast rules.
How did your MA collection develop – from where did you inspiration come from?

I am a bit of a collector, especially when it comes to images and so the collection draws inspiration from many different reference points. The face, eyelashes etc. came from the work of François and Jean Robert, the hands were from some drawings that I found by Saul Steinberg and the shapes were from some of Jean Paul Goude’s work with Grace Jones particularly her ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ video. As I already mentioned, once I had the designs they weren’t changed at all and the development was all in making sure the clothes were just like the drawings.


Do you ever use re-cycled or up-cycled fabric in your designs?

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t in my MA, however I did explore using existing items of clothing etc a lot in my BA and it is definitely something that I would like to re visit in the future.

What fabrics do you enjoy working with?

I love wool jersey; in fact my whole collection was made out of it. I really like jersey as a whole, mainly because it allows you to do things without darts and seams, which allows the design to appear even more minimalist and clean.

Who are Francois and Jean Robert and what is the book Reggi – Secolo’?

Francois and Jean Robert are Graphic designers/photographers who did the most fantastic book called Face to Face in which they photographed inanimate objects that appear to have or make different faces. It really is worth a look, for the concept but also for the clean beautiful look of the book itself.

As for Reggi-Secolo, this is a little crazy book of totally insane and genius bra’s, it really is quite amazing.

What do you think of twitter and the ever developing blogging network as a method of self promotion? Do you use either medium?

I think that Twitter and blogging are great if you know how to make the most of them and do them well, unfortunately I don’t and so I will leave it to the experts.

Could you describe your interest in ‘bad taste’ in our current cycle of fast fashion, and endless borrowing from the past or more accurately returning to what were considered ‘fashion mistakes’ and re-inventing them do you think what was consider bad taste is now considered ‘good’ taste. Where is the line for you?

Good and bad taste for me is just a fascinating thing to play with. It is so easy to get it wrong and so hard to get it right and it can be the minutest detail that makes all the difference. I really couldn’t say where my line is, I think it varies depending on the object/image/garment etc that you are considering.

Will you be showing at London Fashion Week this Autumn?

I am afraid not, as much as I would love to I feel that I still need to get a bit more experience before I have my own label and so I am going to work in New York for a while starting in June.

Who are your favourite designers and why?

I have long been a Martin Margiela fan; he was one of the first designers that really sparked my interest in fashion. I also love Yves Saint Laurent when Yves Saint Laurent was at the helm and Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel and of course Moschino when Franco Moschino was there. I also love Hermes for the fantastic quality and unwavering levels of good taste!

What was your experience of work experience, what do you recommend about the experience and what did you take away from it?

Work experience for me was essential and it was also the time that I really developed into a designer. It makes it all more real, you realise that these things that you are designing do actually end up being worn! I would fully recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it.

First, online what interested you about Womenswear and subsequently the Womenswear MA at Central Saint Martins?

A desire to design clothing for myself I guess is what first drew me to Womenswear. I also love the drama and the show of Womenswear that you don’t necessarily get with Menswear. I studied the BA Womenswear at CSM and subsequently went on to do this at MA.

What Projects are currently in the pipeline?

I have just finished working on and promoting my Weekday collection and am now planning a move to New York, viagra approved where I have an exciting new project to work on.

you’re currently working with Weekday… the collection looks fantastic, how’s that collaboration going?

The collaboration has actually finished now and the designs (mostly t-shirts) are available to buy in the Weekday stores which are located in Sweden, Germany and Denmark. The collaboration was a wonderful project for me to work on and I am so pleased that my designs are now available to a wider audience.

What is your aesthetic and how did it develop?

I guess that you could say its minimalist/purist with a fun twist. An element of fun has always been essential in my design work, I don’t think that fashion should take itself too seriously! The minimalist/purist element is something that I worked on throughout the MA, as I already said I wanted my collection to be fun but I also wanted it to be taken seriously and be wearable and the minimal aesthetic seemed to offer up the perfect balance.

what is the Colin Barnes Illustration Award (congratulations!) and how do you become eligible?

The Colin Barnes Illustration Award is something that I was awarded whilst studying on the BA. It is an award that is given to St Martin’s students studying on the BA Fashion design course for their illustration. I was so surprised to receive it as I had always struggled with illustration until Howard Tangye made me realise that the way I draw doesn’t have to be the same way that everyone else draws! I owe him a lot for that!

What role does illustration play in your design process?

It played a huge role in my MA collection as we worked tirelessly to make sure that the actual clothes were as close to my original drawings as possible, the weird proportions, placement of the print and particularly the width and angle of the shoulder. I am happy to say that what went down the catwalk was exactly the same as my drawings!

You’ve mentioned in other interviews an interest in basic shapes – do these motifs often appear in your illustrations?

It does subconsciously I think, my drawings are often quite angular and square like! And going back to what I said about my aesthetic I am a big fan of pure, minimalist and clean things and what is more pure that a basic circle, square or triangle.

Do you draw outside of fashion design?

Not really as all my ladies (and they are always ladies) of course have to have great outfits on so I end up designing without even realising it. I don’t really have much time to do it anymore either which is a shame.


Who would you say informs your work, do you have a customer in mind during the design process?

I never have a specific customer. I collect images and build up a mood in that way. I am influenced by all sorts of things from all different sources. I see it as a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

Could you describe your design process?

Backwards and Forwards, up and down, moments of genius and moments of disaster. Each collection is different and so forms its own process. I don’t have any hard and fast rules.

How did your MA collection develop – from where did you inspiration come from?

I am a bit of a collector, especially when it comes to images and so the collection draws inspiration from many different reference points. The face, eyelashes etc. came from the work of François and Jean Robert, the hands were from some drawings that I found by Saul Steinberg and the shapes were from some of Jean Paul Goude’s work with Grace Jones particularly her ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ video. As I already mentioned, once I had the designs they weren’t changed at all and the development was all in making sure the clothes were just like the drawings.


Do you ever use re-cycled or up-cycled fabric in your designs?

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t in my MA, however I did explore using existing items of clothing etc a lot in my BA and it is definitely something that I would like to re visit in the future.


What fabrics do you enjoy working with?

I love wool jersey; in fact my whole collection was made out of it. I really like jersey as a whole, mainly because it allows you to do things without darts and seams, which allows the design to appear even more minimalist and clean.

Who are Francois and Jean Robert and what is the book Reggi – Secolo’?

Francois and Jean Robert are Graphic designers/photographers who did the most fantastic book called Face to Face in which they photographed inanimate objects that appear to have or make different faces. It really is worth a look, for the concept but also for the clean beautiful look of the book itself.

As for Reggi-Secolo, this is a little crazy book of totally insane and genius bra’s, it really is quite amazing.

What do you think of twitter and the ever developing blogging network as a method of self promotion? Do you use either medium?

I think that Twitter and blogging are great if you know how to make the most of them and do them well, unfortunately I don’t and so I will leave it to the experts.

Could you describe your interest in ‘bad taste’ in our current cycle of fast fashion, and endless borrowing from the past or more accurately returning to what were considered ‘fashion mistakes’ and re-inventing them do you think what was consider bad taste is now considered ‘good’ taste. Where is the line for you?

Good and bad taste for me is just a fascinating thing to play with. It is so easy to get it wrong and so hard to get it right and it can be the minutest detail that makes all the difference. I really couldn’t say where my line is, I think it varies depending on the object/image/garment etc that you are considering.

Will you be showing at London Fashion Week this Autumn?

I am afraid not, as much as I would love to I feel that I still need to get a bit more experience before I have my own label and so I am going to work in New York for a while starting in June.

Who are your favourite designers and why?

I have long been a Martin Margiela fan; he was one of the first designers that really sparked my interest in fashion. I also love Yves Saint Laurent when Yves Saint Laurent was at the helm and Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel and of course Moschino when Franco Moschino was there. I also love Hermes for the fantastic quality and unwavering levels of good taste!

What was your experience of work experience, what do you recommend about the experience and what did you take away from it?

Work experience for me was essential and it was also the time that I really developed into a designer. It makes it all more real, you realise that these things that you are designing do actually end up being worn! I would fully recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it.


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

ROKIT – the originators of vintage fashion boutiques (and my favourite vintage store) have done it again. Not so long ago they had me reminiscing of my time mincing around Hollywood, information pills with their Bailey Hats of Hollywood collaboration that bought silver screen glamour to any look.

This time around, side effects ROKIT have excelled themselves with ROKIT Recycled.

ROKIT Recycled, hospital previously known as ROKIT Originals, is the brand’s mission to upturn fast and throwaway fashion. Let’s face it – the statistics are shocking and in a world of #2 t-shirts and £4 dresses, things aren’t changing very rapidly.

It is estimated by National Recycle Week that if every fashionista purchased one item of recycled clothing each year (each YEAR for God’s sake) it would save 371 millions gallons of waterand 4571 million days of electricity. That’s pretty incredible.


Illustration by Dan Heffer

With this in mind, ROKIT are taking ethical to the next level – ROKIT Recycled is an initiative to use every single piece of material available, with zero waste (the ethos they’ve stuck by since their humble beginnings in 1986).

With a new design team on board to conjure up new and exciting pieces, this new range is a real winner. From bags to belts and purses to hot-pants, unwanted materials are salvaged and turned into key pieces for any wardrobe this Summer and through to the Autumn. Each creation is individually handmade and therefore unique, all depending on what materials are available at the time. You might bag yourself a patchwork purse featuring vintage calfskin and suede, or a pair of denim dungarees made entirely of jean refuse.


Illustration by Emma Block

These products give new form to old structure, re-envisaging covetable pieces from vintage goods. We’ve got a few images of a teeny tiny selection of what’s on offer, but the beauty of the initiative is that you just don’t know what you might pick up. So pop down to your local ROKIT as soon as is physically possible and check out what they’ve got in store!

Categories ,Belts, ,Dan Heffer, ,Dungarees, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Handbags, ,Hollywood, ,Matt Bramford, ,Natasha Thompson, ,National Recycle Week, ,Purses, ,recycled, ,Rokit, ,vintage

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Amelia’s Magazine | ROKIT Recycled


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

ROKIT – the originators of vintage fashion boutiques (and my favourite vintage store) have done it again. Not so long ago they had me reminiscing of my time mincing around Hollywood, with their Bailey Hats of Hollywood collaboration that bought silver screen glamour to any look.

This time around, ROKIT have excelled themselves with ROKIT Recycled.

ROKIT Recycled, previously known as ROKIT Originals, is the brand’s mission to upturn fast and throwaway fashion. Let’s face it – the statistics are shocking and in a world of #2 t-shirts and £4 dresses, things aren’t changing very rapidly.

It is estimated by National Recycle Week that if every fashionista purchased one item of recycled clothing each year (each YEAR for God’s sake) it would save 371 millions gallons of waterand 4571 million days of electricity. That’s pretty incredible.


Illustration by Dan Heffer

With this in mind, ROKIT are taking ethical to the next level – ROKIT Recycled is an initiative to use every single piece of material available, with zero waste (the ethos they’ve stuck by since their humble beginnings in 1986).

With a new design team on board to conjure up new and exciting pieces, this new range is a real winner. From bags to belts and purses to hot-pants, unwanted materials are salvaged and turned into key pieces for any wardrobe this Summer and through to the Autumn. Each creation is individually handmade and therefore unique, all depending on what materials are available at the time. You might bag yourself a patchwork purse featuring vintage calfskin and suede, or a pair of denim dungarees made entirely of jean refuse.


Illustration by Emma Block

These products give new form to old structure, re-envisaging covetable pieces from vintage goods. We’ve got a few images of a teeny tiny selection of what’s on offer, but the beauty of the initiative is that you just don’t know what you might pick up. So pop down to your local ROKIT as soon as is physically possible and check out what they’ve got in store!

Categories ,Belts, ,Dan Heffer, ,Dungarees, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Handbags, ,Hollywood, ,Matt Bramford, ,Natasha Thompson, ,National Recycle Week, ,Purses, ,recycled, ,Rokit, ,vintage

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Esthetica Review


Illustration by Annejkh Carson
Partimi Dress by Joana Faria
Partimi by Joana Faria.

I probably shouldn’t do this because I actually don’t believe the ghettoisation of ethical designers is a particularly good thing, more about but for ease of storytelling in the grand scheme of things it makes sense to cover the interesting stuff I came across at Esthetica altogether. This is by no means all the stuff I loved, purchase but I’ll be covering others in my upcoming book Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (with an ethical bent) so for now I’ll just stick to a few that may not have been covered on this blog before….

Martina Spetlova
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion were promoting the work of Martina Spetlova, prescription another MA graduate of Central Saint Martins who has a first degree in chemistry and has set up a fair trade embroidery network between women in Pakistan and designers in the UK. She creates clothes made of interchangeable panels and her recent collection features some interesting garments sponsored by waste from the YKK zip company. She is currently building relationships with mills to use more end of line products that are well suited to the small runs of high end designers, but I do wonder what happens once all that waste has been scooped up.

Somerset House SS2011 Martina Spetlova
Somerset House SS2011 Martina Spetlova
Somerset House SS2011 Martina Spetlova
Octavi Navarro - Martina Spetlova
Martina Spetlova by Octavi Navarro.

Little Glass Clementine
I was really pleased to see my friend Clemmie from Little Glass Clementine exhibiting at Esthetica for the first time. We’ve covered Clemmie before, both for her work drawing attention to the imperilled island of Tuvalu and for her beautifully made jewellery.

LFW SS2011 Little Glass Clementine

I feel quite proud that her necklaces, constructed from found objects and lovingly sourced vintage items, are now finding a much wider audience. Read an interview with her here.

LFW SS2011 Little Glass Clementine
LFW SS2011 Little Glass Clementine
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Sägen
Over in the Scandinavian corner I was most intrigued to discover the finely detailed work of Sägen, also showing at Esthetica for the first time. This is upcycling at it’s best – taking shards of old porcelain and reinvigorating them for a new life as a piece of delightful one off jewellery.

Somerset House SS2011 Sagen

Choose from twee rose patterns or more modern classic Scandinavian leaf designs, all set in nickel free silver. One massive downside: the website does not seem to cater to the English speaking customer, so one can only hope some UK based buyers have bought into the range.

sagen-katie-harnett
Sägen by Katie Harnett.

Nina Dolcetti
I tried on a pair of Nina Dolcetti bouncy platform shoes at Esthetica, and instantly fell in love… perhaps I could even ride a bike in a pair of these?? Inexplicably the head designer is not called Nina Dolcetti. Elisalex de Castro Peake is a Cordwainers graduate who launched her first upcycled shoe in September 2008 and the brand name Nina Dolcetti – meaning Little Sweets – comes from a combination of her nickname and her grandmother’s maiden name.

Somerset House SS2011 nina dolcetti
Somerset House SS2011 nina dolcetti
Somerset House SS2011 nina dolcetti

All shoes are made in a small factory run factory in East London from off cuts and pre-consumer waste, and she utilises only vegetable tanned leather and sustainably sourced cork and wood. So want a pair to bounce around in, but they’re a leetle bit pricey for me. Well worth it if you earn a decent wage though: I urge you to check them out.

LFW-Nina Dolcetti by Chris Morris
Nina Dolcetti by Chris Morris.

Partimi and Joanna Cave
I love Partimi‘s clean simple designs. Designer Eleanor Dorrien-Smith named her label after the architectural term parti, meaning the conceptual starting point for a project, and she makes beautiful wearable dresses adorned with simple graphic prints.

emma_block_partimi
Partimi by Emma Block.

This season she paid homage to costumes from Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes that her mother had collected at auction. I particularly loved her collaboration with ethical jewellery designer Joanna Cave, and am lusting after a pair of graphic cut out dangly earrings.

LFW SS2011 Partimi
Partimi Long dress by Joana Faria
Partimi earing by Joana Faria
Partimi by Joana Faria.

Oria
This jewellery range is the baby of creative duo Tania Kowalski and Synnove Saelthun, who have worked in the jewellery industry for a combined 25 years. Increasingly concerned wih the social and environmental impact of mining they created Oria in 2007 with an intention to make the supply chain transparent.

Somerset House SS2011 Oria

They source from fair-trade companies, all materials are traceable to point of origin and then the jewellery is made in their London studio. I love the delicate dangly cutout earrings featuring bees and birds.

Oria by Faye West
Oria by Faye West.

Michelle Lowe-Holder
I knew Michelle Lowe-Holder as a clothing designer, but after a break from the industry she’s decided to make a come back as an accessory designer. This was prompted by the realisation that she was always most interested in the details so she decided to be more sustainable and make use of the oodles of waste fabric from old collections – that she still has lying around in her studio – to create some stunning accessories: giant arm, neck and leg pieces are stacked to create dramatic silhouettes.

LFW SS2011 Michelle Lowe-Holder
LFW SS2011 Michelle Lowe-Holder
Michelle Lowe by Michelle Urvall Nyrén
Michelle Lowe-Holder by Michelle Urvall Nyrén.

From Somewhere
From Somewhere has been upcycling waste luxury materials since 1997, and as a bastion of sustainable fashion it was to designer Orsola de Castro that the BFC came when they wanted to set up Esthetica in 2006.

LFW SS2011 Orsola From Somewhere
Orsola de Castro.

This season she has been working with offcuts from Speedo to create a lovely limited edition capsule collection.

speedo_by Alia Gargum
Speedo From Somewhere collaboration by Alia Gargum.

Made
Having just returned from a Fashion Business Club get together with the unexpectedly lucid Laura Bailey I thought I would also mention Made, a jewellery brand “by the people for the people” that is reasonably well known thanks to some high profile branding and wide distribution. They are big on their “designer” collaborations, though not designers I’ve ever heard of: since when was Laura Bailey a jewellery designer anyway? Boy do I want her job. I’m not a massive fan of a lot of their stuff (looks wise), but they do undeniably good things by providing trade for impoverished communities in Africa.

made by natsuki otani
Made by Natsuki Otani.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ,Cordwainers, ,Ecofashion, ,Elisalex de Castro Peake, ,Emma Block, ,esthetica, ,ethical design, ,Fashion Business Club, ,Faye West, ,From Somewhere, ,jewellery, ,Joanna Cave, ,Katie Harnett, ,Laura Bailey, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,MADE, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Michelle Lowe-Holder, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,Nina Dolcetti, ,Octavi Navarro, ,Oria, ,Orsola De Castro, ,Partimi, ,recycling, ,Sägen Butik, ,scandinavia, ,shoes, ,Speedo, ,sustainability, ,Synnove Saelthun, ,Tania Kowalski, ,Tuvalu, ,Upcycling, ,YKK

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Behind the Scenes: Elisa Palomino

Elisa Palomino - SS 12 LFW by Amber Cassidy

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Amber Cassidy

If you’ve read my Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 preview interview with the designer, viagra sale you’ll know I’m already in love with her designs. The designer had invited me to pop backstage before the show to view her spring/summer collection up close and as I’d not experienced before, prostate the behind the scenes affairs of a fashion show, my curiosity was most definitely piqued!

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Zooming past the infinite queue at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, I am escorted backstage by the lovely people of Blow PR, to the organised chaos of the catwalk performance in construction. I’m told Elisa is preoccupied right now, but if I return after the show, I may speak to her then. In the meantime, I decide to hover for a while, take in the scene and take some pictures.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS 12 LFW by Joana Faria

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Joana Faria

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

With about twenty odd statuesque and fat free women towering over me, I’m feeling a little like a munchkin, but they look as nervous as I’m feeling, so I smile in support and swoon over their exaggerated 1920s style make-up and exquisite head-pieces. One minute they’re having their make-up applied and the next they’ve changed into one of Elisa’s opulent garments; everything is moving dizzyingly fast and the anticipation is transparent.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

I spy Elisa, attired in her signature pink and adorning a pretty floral head-piece – she flits from one model to another, making sure all is as it should be. I realise I may be getting in the way as the phrase “excuse me” is directed at me for the umpteenth time and so I withdraw from the orderly pandemonium and retreat to the beautiful amphitheatre to await the performance.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW by Hannah Hope

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Hannah Hope

Read my review of the Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 catwalk show.

All photography by Akeela Bhattay

Categories ,1920s, ,1930s, ,A Fairy Dance, ,Akeela Bhattay, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Angel Amor, ,Appliqué, ,Article, ,backstage, ,behind the scenes, ,bird cage, ,BLOW online, ,Blow PR, ,Bobbin, ,catwalk show, ,Christian Dior, ,Diane Von Furstenberg, ,Elisa Palomino, ,embroidery, ,Emma Block, ,Flapper, ,gabby young, ,Gabby Young and Other Animals, ,Gilly Rochester, ,hair pieces, ,Hannah Hope, ,head dress, ,Hummingbirds, ,interview, ,Japanese art, ,Joana Faria, ,John Galliano, ,Lan Nguyen, ,Lillies, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madrid, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Pre-Raphaelites, ,qa, ,queues, ,review, ,Roaring Twenties, ,Roberto Cavalli, ,S/S 2012, ,Spiga 2, ,The Body Shop, ,Tony & Guy, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Victorian Fairy Painting Movement, ,vintage, ,Yamato-e

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Behind the Scenes: Elisa Palomino

Elisa Palomino - SS 12 LFW by Amber Cassidy

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Amber Cassidy

If you’ve read my Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 preview interview with the designer, you’ll know I’m already in love with her designs. The designer had invited me to pop backstage before the show to view her spring/summer collection up close and as I’d not experienced before, the behind the scenes affairs of a fashion show, my curiosity was most definitely piqued!

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Zooming past the infinite queue at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, I am escorted backstage by the lovely people of Blow PR, to the organised chaos of the catwalk performance in construction. I’m told Elisa is preoccupied right now, but if I return after the show, I may speak to her then. In the meantime, I decide to hover for a while, take in the scene and take some pictures.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS 12 LFW by Joana Faria

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Joana Faria

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

With about twenty odd statuesque and fat free women towering over me, I’m feeling a little like a munchkin, but they look as nervous as I’m feeling, so I smile in support and swoon over their exaggerated 1920s style make-up and exquisite head-pieces. One minute they’re having their make-up applied and the next they’ve changed into one of Elisa’s opulent garments; everything is moving dizzyingly fast and the anticipation is transparent.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW Backstage by Akeela Bhattay

I spy Elisa, attired in her signature pink and adorning a pretty floral head-piece – she flits from one model to another, making sure all is as it should be. I realise I may be getting in the way as the phrase “excuse me” is directed at me for the umpteenth time and so I withdraw from the orderly pandemonium and retreat to the beautiful amphitheatre to await the performance.

Elisa Palomino SS12 LFW by Hannah Hope

Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 by Hannah Hope

Read my review of the Elisa Palomino S/S 2012 catwalk show.

All photography by Akeela Bhattay

Categories ,1920s, ,1930s, ,A Fairy Dance, ,Akeela Bhattay, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Angel Amor, ,Appliqué, ,Article, ,backstage, ,behind the scenes, ,bird cage, ,BLOW online, ,Blow PR, ,Bobbin, ,catwalk show, ,Christian Dior, ,Diane Von Furstenberg, ,Elisa Palomino, ,embroidery, ,Emma Block, ,Flapper, ,gabby young, ,Gabby Young and Other Animals, ,Gilly Rochester, ,hair pieces, ,Hannah Hope, ,head dress, ,Hummingbirds, ,interview, ,Japanese art, ,Joana Faria, ,John Galliano, ,Lan Nguyen, ,Lillies, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madrid, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Pre-Raphaelites, ,qa, ,queues, ,review, ,Roaring Twenties, ,Roberto Cavalli, ,S/S 2012, ,Spiga 2, ,The Body Shop, ,Tony & Guy, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Victorian Fairy Painting Movement, ,vintage, ,Yamato-e

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Carlotta Gherzi for Sado

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 by Faye West
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Faye West

Upon arriving at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue, generic I was informed by a harassed-looking security guard that the show was running an hour late. Fortunately, the lovely (and rather pink-haired) Emma of Greene and Sheppard PR came out to meet me and introduced me to some seasoned fashionistas, who were now attending their ninth show of the day. After a lot of waiting and waving of our gold-starred tickets, we got seated on the front row of Carlotta Gherzi’s S/S 2012 show Triassic Glamour where I discovered a black cotton goodie bag that contained a sparkly set of Body Shop make-up.

emma_block_gherzi
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Emma Block

This was well and truly a Spring/Summer collection – the first thing out on the runway was a cut-out, one-piece swim suit the perfect greeny-blue colour of an outdoor swimming pool on a balmy day.

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 first dress
Carlotta Gherzi SS12 by Faye West 2
Carlotta Gherzi S/S 2012 by Faye West

Once again, Carlotta’s beautiful and innovative prints underpinned the entire collection. This time they were inspired by the fossil room of the British Museum, and printed on silk jersey, crepe de chine, silk chiffon and lycra and embellished with Swarovski crystals. The models had the feel of just having emerged from a beautiful exotic jungle.

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 black dress

Her models’ make-up was natural and their hair relaxed, as they floated down the runway in sheer printed kaftans and killer heels. 13 cm high heels designed by Carlotta Gherzi herself were encrusted with gems matching the clothes. The next pieces were as functional as they were pretty; metallic jackets, striped leggings and light-as-air summer dresses. The organic form of the prints working perfectly with the movement of fabric and model.

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 floaty dresses

The next few outfits broke with the black, white, neutral and periwinkle blue we’d seen so far, and as they boldly clashed in shades of tangerine and that particularly vibrant shade of purple that some people mistake for blue.

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 purple and orange

The pieces combined structural, body-con elements, with free flowing drapes of sheer fabric, and asymmetry was a reoccurring theme. As different as Carlotta Gherzi‘s pieces were, they were all uniquely flattering to the female form.

Carlotta Gherzi SS12 black orange and purpleCarlotta Gherzi SS12 final dress

The printed chiffon layers of a full-length gown wafted down the catwalk and, with that, the show was over. Afterwards Carlotta Gherzi was kind of enough to answer a few of my questions, and I will be revealing the answers shortly.

Carlotta Gherzi last dress close up

Categories ,Body Shop, ,British Museum, ,Carlotta Gherzi, ,Carlotta Gherzi for SADO, ,Catwalk review, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Faye West, ,Greene and Sheppard PR, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,review, ,S/S 2012, ,spring summer collection, ,Swarovski, ,The Body Shop, ,Triassic Glamour, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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