Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Corrie Nielsen


Illustration by Joana Faria

The My Beautiful Fashion venue is once again this season at the Old Sorting Office – a cavernous venue with an eery feeling of days gone by. The ethereal atmosphere suited Corrie Nielsen‘s show perfectly. I hadn’t heard of Corrie until last season, try and her sculpted numbers with huge nods to the past really took my breath away, visit web so I was excited to see what she’d come up with this time around.


Illustration by Claire Kearns
 
The Old Sorting Office has been adorned with hundreds of large light bulbs that hang from the ceiling – everybody who came in marvelled at the installation and most of the chit-chat from the front row was lightbulb related. I went with Chief Amelia and we sat at opposite ends to avoid taking the same pictures.


A/W’s latest trend – taking dire photographs on an iPad (!) and getting in the way of people who are actually trying to take good photographs. Anybody with an iPad – don’t do it. You look like a berk, you get in everybody’s way and you know that you will only end up looking on other websites such as this one that publish photographs that don’t look like my 7 year old niece painted them with her feet. Oof!

Goodie bags included yet more hair products (I really should start growing my hair to make use of all these freebies) and a huge slab of Starbucks cake that made me feel ill just looking at it, but which I then spent the entire day longing for and regretting my decision to leave behind.



Illustrations by Joana Faria
 
Sparse music meant the show was to begin. Models appeared from behind the brutalist entrance, walking at a snail’s pace to add even more mystery to this dramatic collection. The lighting, consisting of the bulbs and some harsh studio lights at the end of the runway supplied yet more drama as each of the models was illuminated in a ghostly fashion, giving Corrie Nielsen‘s magical contours even more life.


Photograph by Matt Bramford



Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia

Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia
Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia
Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia
Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia

Corrie Nielson SS 2011 review-photo by amelia


Photography by Amelia Gregory

A move towards more commercial pieces appeared first, which was a little surprising after last season’s outing, but not disappointing in the slightest; and by no means commercial in a high-street sense. Crisp shirts and tailored trousers had a marginal hint of Nielsen, a blouson-sleeved shirt with a synched back and huge pleated trousers was one of my favourite looks.


Illustration by Claire Kearns




Photography by Matt Bramford

As the show progressed, so did Nielsen’s bravery and inimitable silhouettes. Flattering trenches wrapped tightly around the models in luxurious gold silks were Westwood-esque, and pussy bow waist ties added a touch of glamour. A lemon sorbet creation with huge puff sleeves and a tulip waistline managed to be both futuristic and neoclassical at the same time. That pretty much somes up Corrie’s appeal – marrying Edwardian hairstyling with futuristic shapes resulted in a unique and exciting collection. Loved it!


Illustration by Kirsty McGill







Photography by Matt Bramford


Corrie Nielsen takes a bow, photography by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,catwalk, ,Claire Kearns, ,Contour, ,Corrie Nielsen, ,Edwardian, ,Ethereal, ,fashion, ,Forward PR, ,Futuristic, ,ipad, ,Joana Faria, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,My Beautiful Fashion, ,Old Sorting Office, ,review, ,S/S 2012, ,Silhouette, ,Starbucks, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Presentation Review: Maria Francesca Pepe (by Helen)

Maria_Francesca_Pepe_Abby_Wright_LFW
Maria_Francesca_Pepe_Abby_Wright_LFW

MariaFrancescaPepe LFW A/W 2011. Illustration by Abby Wright.

It was extremely dark in that first room. Save for a few lamps casting red strips of a blood-like glow. Certain points were lit up on the model, information pills the shining metal spikes, dosage the dull sheen of black leather and the pointed hat. I will be honest now. I had to check that the model was in fact a mannequin. She was. But checking was interesting. The light was so low and I was terrified she would move suddenly. An intimidating mannequin.

red

Hels MFP 5

Hels MFP 1

I wasn’t sure whether the rest of the models would be mannequins too, but as we entered slightly more light filled rooms, it was obvious that these ones were real. But they were also a higher level of scary. Two looked like mermaids trapped on rocks. Occasionally shifting, they looked confident, bored and yet super vulnerable and TRAPPED. I felt myself want to look at them closer, but then one of them looked me in the eye. Which was a shock. These models, with their purposefully lank, long hair, dark eyes, glossy and pale skin, ghostlike sheer dresses, and fabulous golden accessories looked like aliens. Of course ridiculously beautiful aliens.

Hels MFP 5

Hels MFP 5

Photography Helen Martin

I have to say that I was mesmerised by the back of one model. She had a golden, Egyptian styled headpiece, in the shape of eyes. The three main headpieces were forged by hand in resin and carbon steel, then varnished in opalescent acrylics and hand studded with brass and Swarovski hexagonal studs. They are designed in the style of medieval shields and helmets. The tiara for me was my favourite however, it looked regal and yet delicate and pretty. Also empowering, I imagine a useful attribute for whichever land she/you/me might be in. In contrast, although also empowering, MariaFrancescaPepe‘s shoes looked like something you could definitely cause GBH with. Not pretty, pretty – fierce! In a more sultry way than Rihanna fierce. With enormous spikes at the top, their cream colour, did little to belie their extra ridiculous height and metal danger.

Hels MFP 3

Hels MFP 3

Photography Helen Martin

Like the tiara, the majority of the presentation focused on eyes. Earrings, rings and chains…. EYES. This was a small issue for me. Ever since my brother told me the details of his eye operation at five years old, and then watching Dali’s eye slitting scene – ugh- I’m feeling sick as I write, I have been afraid of anything touching eyes. Or just weird eyes. And in truth… Dali. Cue sweeping generalisation alert: In terms of films, books, art and what I have seen; the 30s, like the 70s, seem like the scariest decades to me. Thus, when the saddest and scariest looking model of them all, looked at me right in the eye, with her incredibly, INTENSELY mesmerising own eyes, I didn’t know what to do. Transfixing model.

Hels MFP 5

Model looking at me… Photography Helen Martin

It’s not surprising that MariaFrancescaPepe has been heavily influenced by Dali’s surrealism for this collection. As I read: ‘Objects of magical meaning and of inner strength. A mask hides and reveals at the same time. Eyes are a mirror for the soul. Dali’s surrealism lesson has been learnt.’ The presentation was tribal and punky, but also ethereal and ghost-like. Almost like facing your own deep reality, that of the soul’s and our desires. The ‘ahhhhhhhhhhh’ music added to these fearful and reflective thoughts. It was as if MariaFrancescaPepe had gone through Indiana Jones’s chest of treasure, added in some Alien, X Files, lots of Dali and then Marilyn Manson on top. Sounds odd, is odd – but also very interesting. It comes as no surprise that Lady GaGa apparently ‘embodies’ MariaFrancescaPepe’s accessories.

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,Alien, ,brass, ,cuffs, ,Dali, ,Dominatrix, ,Ethereal, ,Eyes, ,Fortuna, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Helen Martin, ,jewellery, ,lfw, ,LFW A/W 2011, ,MariaFrancescaPepe, ,Mermaids, ,Pretty, ,Spikes, ,Swarovski, ,X Files

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo (by Helen)


The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, generic shop really, that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, information pills really, that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, site really, visit this that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

Rachel Freire S/S 2011, and illustrated by Krister Selin

‘I’m terrible at interviews’ I announce shortly after arriving at Rachel Freire‘s East London studio. A bit of a melodramatic introduction, recipe maybe; but as I now sit staring at my notes which resemble the scribbles of a toddler I now know why I said it.

My trouble is that I just like to listen to people. I get lost in conversation and forget to write anything down. I refuse to record interviews because I hate the sound of my own voice and I find it a bit of a distraction, prostate so my erratic notes are all I have to record our meeting. Sometimes, if I meet up with somebody and they don’t say much, I can manage it; when I meet people like Rachel Freire – gorgeous, mesmerising, opinionated, articulate – I’m left with nothing.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Abby Wright

Rachel is based at the Dace Road studios, home also to the likes of Christopher Raeburn (featured in ACOFI) and Rui Leonardes. Ex-tennants include Mark Fast and Mary Kantrantzou who’ve now moved to Shacklewell Studios, aka hipster central, but despite her successes, Rachel’s staying put. I meet her on a grey Saturday afternoon, she’s been up for most of the night, but you wouldn’t notice despite her protests.

”Whoever says January is a dead month is LYING!’ Rachel exclaims as she makes the tea. I do find that I get on better with people who drink lots of tea. I just don’t trust people who don’t like it. I know, as she gives them a stir, that we’re going to get along. We sit at a big oak desk in the centre of the studio, Rachel lights a cigarette and we begin our conversation. I ask Rachel how it’s going, and she seems pretty positive. She has an army of interns and creates ‘a sense of family’ in her studio, which is adorned with all sorts of interesting antiquities like skulls and baseball paraphernalia. A sign above the door, Rachel’s mantra, reads ‘IF IN DOUBT, SPRAYPAINT IT GOLD,’ a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Naomi Law

Rachel brands herself as a ‘costumier’ who happened to fall into fashion, which explains her unique and innovative approach to dressing. ‘I’ll never lose track of my costumier routes,’ she tells me, ‘I’m pretty anti-fashion. It dictates what we wear and how we feel, and I’ve never subscribed to that.’ Her models ‘need to have an arse’ and she’s conscious of the responsibility a fashion designer must adopt, whether that be ethical or environmental. ‘I am the cheapest person!’ Rachel admits, ‘but I will never shop in Primark. I look at the clothes and think ‘somebody suffered for this’. I want customers to hold things knowing somebody’s crafted it – that something is special.’


S/S 2011, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Rachel won’t compromise. She’s staying true to herself and won’t put her name on anything that she hasn’t rigourously vetted and knows exactly where everything has come from. Rachel is as much an ethical designer as any of the Estethica designers – if not more so. She values the work of other people and believes that you ‘have to be ethical in so many different ways’. How you treat your interns, where you source your fabrics, how you communicate with suppliers – all these things, Rachel believes, are necessary for good business, not just opting for ethical fabrics.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Bex Glover

Rachel’s previous collections provide sculptural, architectural pieces with innovative techniques (read all about her glow-in-the-dark S/S 2011 collection here) and it seems A/W 2011 will be even more exciting. As we chat about the boy Rachel’s texting and get mixed up with whose tea is whose (easy mistake – Rachel’s recently got a new mug but the Queen of Fucking Everything option she’s given me still has sentimental value) we’re surrounded by leather nipples. REAL nipples.

Rachel and her team of merry men (and women) have been hard at work in the previous weeks to marry them together to make roses. They’re absolutely beautiful to touch and look at but there’s something rather unsettling about them. ‘That’s my aesthetic!’ Rachel declares.

A sneak peek at some of the fabrics, techniques and colours Rachel’s preparing to show this week:


A/W 2010, illustrated by Joana Faria

Rachel’s also working with Ecco, who are developing processes for leather manufacturing for couture houses. Rachel has devoted a lot of her time visiting the Netherlands tannery working alongside them in their quest to transform how we produce and approach leather goods. ‘I’m obsessed with materials!’ Rachel tells me. ‘It’s much nicer to make a jacket out of something that you’ve had an input in from the start.’ She shows me a new process she’s working on (damned if I can remember the name) which gives leather an ethereal ripple-like pattern that looks as if it’s been photoshopped. I’m speechless, and we both sit caressing it for a while until I can think of something to say.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

So what’s up next for Rachel? Well, A/W 2011 looks set to be her bravest collection yet, and I had a sneak peek at some of the fabrics, textures, techniques and cuts she’s working on. On a grander scale, she ‘loves to teach’ and wants to establish a system where the efforts of designers to instil good practises and skills into their army of interns is recognised. She describes mainstay teaching as ‘box ticking’ and, as someone whose never done what she was told to do, feels there’s more to give in a studio-based environment than anything in the classroom. I hear ya, love.

Rachel’s excited about the future. She plans to dazzle once a year at the A/W 2011 shows while maintaining commissions with an ever-expanding roster of clients and other projects during the rest of the year. She also wants to live on a boat and explore costume design in cinema. She references Jean Paul Gaultier‘s work on flicks like The Fifth Element and is excited by the prospect of applying her unique aesthetic to film. It all comes down to financing. ‘Money dictates and creates a standard,’ Rachel tells me. ‘The system to support new designers is very small, but I won’t compromise my values. I’m here to stay.’

I should bloody hope so.

Rachel’s original draqing for her collaboration with Neurotica:

All photography by Matt Bramford
Karina Yarv
Jena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, visit Illustration by Karina Yarv

I was ushered in through the door by a geezer of a Londoner chap, straight through to a high heeled officious lady. Then again to the very highest heels clinking their way to the front row to show me my seat. The FRONT ROW. This was pleasing to say the least. And there were bags on my seat. Bags filled with goodies. Splendid. The lady next to me was bouncing her baby on her knee, as said baby was knawing on a pain au chocolat. “Nice earmuffs” I said to the tiny fashionista, pointing towards the penguin earmuffs on her head. “To protect her from the sound. It can get very loud. But she does love it here. Loves the shows.” How much do I want a chilled out, cute baby like her? Also, cool mother! I know mothers who wouldn’t take their child to Tescos for fear of its screaming the flourescently lit shed down. I looked around properly, and saw straight backed women before me. Unsmiling, with notepads on their laps and twitter at their fingertips. No one was without a smart phone. Comfortingly others were holding cameras possibly at the same level as mine, not everyone had the enormous lensed beasts. This made me feel infinitely better about my black device with sand trapped in the lens from every holiday in the last three years and glitter from an explosion at a festival last year. It makes me slightly sad to see it sprinkle on my lap when I take the lens cap off. Nostalgic particles… To the left, I felt like I was getting an immense tan however from the mad, bright white, highly lit, flashing, mini bulb, sensation. It was just INTENSE; magic eye, transfixing, blinding… The lady next to me shielded the left hand side of her face for a bit. We briefly discussed the perils of giant screens of mini light bulbs. SUCH a drag. Then it all went dark and we were treated to intro music as the anticipation was allowed to be built. Dum, dum, dum….dum… dum. EXCITED. Most of the opposite front row remained attached to the twit or without expression.

Jena Theo Matilde SazioJena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The darkness remained for a while, and I felt my heart start to beat harder. You know when as a child (/adult), at a theme park, you have just queued to get onto a ride that begins in the dark? You’re kind of scared but excited, not really sure how it will turn out? Yes, that. That was what it felt like. I was half expecting for the floor to drop and to experience a heart in my mouth sensation, as gravity stole my nerves. Child next door was heckling, all ready for the experience to begin. She’s not worried her mother assures me, as a seasoned show-goer why would she be? Well, indeed. This does not compare to my 80s Sussex upbringing. I spent being three and four devoted to my pink bomber jacket and all in one waterproof jumpsuit number. Was it the 80s? Was it me? Is there any hope? I apoligise, enough pondering! The show began.

Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_006 Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_007Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_008Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_004Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_003
Photography by Matt Bramford

I was pleased to see that what was being presented was completely wearable. Definitely in London. Perhaps less so in Bristol – it was slightly ‘too’ urban for the West Country. However, if I had a choice (and el cash), some of those pieces would be getting worn in Falfael King and that secret bar we’ve been meaning to go to for a while… at least supper club. Or – ah see, I kind of want to move to London again. Don’t get the wrong impression of Briz, I beg you. Anyway digressing again- the show was very charcoal, black and cream orientated. The models all had black stripes across their eyes and otherwise bare faces. This made them look like mysterious, moody superheros. I liked it, as it really set of the simple coloured, pieces; the models all expressionless (course), their masks and the movement of the light or dark pieces worked together perfectly. It felt like we were on the sea, with norwegian heroines. Swishing slowly about, their heels never falter, their gaze exact, the path has been set and the grey skies are dappled with stars, as the storm takes hold. These strong warriors will take us with their capes flowing behind them, their hair dancing in the wind.

Jena.Theo Valkyrie by Matilde Sazio
Jena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

My favourite piece was one with an almost bustling at the back, flowing down to the ground, in one swipe. The front was a mini, the back was the drama, the fantasy. I would love to wear this one standing at the front of a ship. Not a ferry, a ship. The collection; Valkyrie, refers to a band of celestial female figures who decide to die in the field of battle. So 300, in a sense, but with women. Strong, ethereal women.

Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_002Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_001 Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_005
Photography by Matt Bramford

Jena.Theo have managged to combine the mythology with the urban reality. Fantasy has been embraced, with opulence in mind, the designs are sumptuous, yet strong. Fit for women going into battle with the ice of Scandinavia and the luxuriousness of a cashmere bustle behind them. And why not mix up the hemlines, paint black across our eyes and march like amazonian creations girls. We are women. Watch us gracefully, cooly and quietly move, like we believe we are mighty. We are. For designs that were indeed simple, they were deserving of their sparkling lights.

Categories ,bristol, ,Ethereal, ,fashion, ,Front Row, ,Helen Martin, ,hero, ,Jena.theo, ,Karina Yarv, ,Lights, ,london, ,London Fashion Week A/W 2011, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Matt Bramford, ,Norway, ,scandinavia, ,Ship, ,twitter, ,urban, ,Valkyrie

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo (by Helen)


The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, generic shop really, that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, information pills really, that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

The bearded lady by Genie Espinosa

It’s a bunch of freaks, site really, visit this that are lining the walls of ‘The Social’ venue right now. The big mustaches, the hairy backs, the bushy nipples (eugh) and some folks with no discernable flaw but are still just … weird. Artist Jason Butler has drawn them all quite small, so you have to lean in to take in the details. Get in there for a good gawk, and back off again half wishing you hadn’t seen that, half keen to see more.


Jason Butler


Circus troupe by Avril Kelly

‘They take on a life of their own,’ says Jason Butler, the man responsible for these oddities. The Jersey-based artist has drawn 300 of them over seven years, but over time, he says, it has become less about the characters and more about the audience: ‘People have very different reactions. Some people think they are funny, and some can’t bear to be in the same room as them. So now it’s more about the viewers, and how we see them’


Jason Butler


Fortuneteller by Antonia Parker

On show alongside Butler’s art is poetry by Will Burnsx – rich with imagery and storytelling tradition. ‘The images suggested characters to me,’ says Burns, who enjoyed the digression from his usual nature themes. ‘These little vignettes came partially from having grown up in the country, hearing snippets of lives seemingly connected to these images.’

“She thought she had forgotten
his greased-back, curly hair,
the filthy greatcoat and the prematurely rotten
teeth. He said he owned the bear,

and joked that her bark
was not as bad as his bite.”
(The Barker by Will Burns)


Twins by Avril Kelly

The Butler and Burns collaboration was dreamt up by their mutual friend and the show’s curator, Nina Hervé. ‘I don’t think they are that freaky,’ she says, before conceding, ‘Well I suppose some of them are. But the thing with sideshows is they were often con-artists, or had small deformities they extenuated in order to get cash.’ We get talking about modern day versions of sideshows, such as tabloid magazines and those people making fools of themselves on X Factor and how people love watching it. ‘It’s curiosity I guess,’ says Nina.


Sideshow by Mina Bach

So while it’s probably a good thing we don’t have sideshows anymore, the hunger to study the freaky, exotic, or sexually divergent, is still there. Maybe we like seeing the grotesque because it takes us out of ourselves for a moment, or it could be we just like feeling shudders down our backs. Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the strangeness, strong or subtle, there is something almost beautiful.


Jason Butler


Tattooed woman by Antonia Parker

Sideshow Stories will be at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD until 15th March; see the website for upcoming events. Sideshow Stories is part of storytelling festival Yarn Fest, which runs 19-23 February at various locations in East London. For more information see our listing.

Rachel Freire S/S 2011, and illustrated by Krister Selin

‘I’m terrible at interviews’ I announce shortly after arriving at Rachel Freire‘s East London studio. A bit of a melodramatic introduction, recipe maybe; but as I now sit staring at my notes which resemble the scribbles of a toddler I now know why I said it.

My trouble is that I just like to listen to people. I get lost in conversation and forget to write anything down. I refuse to record interviews because I hate the sound of my own voice and I find it a bit of a distraction, prostate so my erratic notes are all I have to record our meeting. Sometimes, if I meet up with somebody and they don’t say much, I can manage it; when I meet people like Rachel Freire – gorgeous, mesmerising, opinionated, articulate – I’m left with nothing.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Abby Wright

Rachel is based at the Dace Road studios, home also to the likes of Christopher Raeburn (featured in ACOFI) and Rui Leonardes. Ex-tennants include Mark Fast and Mary Kantrantzou who’ve now moved to Shacklewell Studios, aka hipster central, but despite her successes, Rachel’s staying put. I meet her on a grey Saturday afternoon, she’s been up for most of the night, but you wouldn’t notice despite her protests.

”Whoever says January is a dead month is LYING!’ Rachel exclaims as she makes the tea. I do find that I get on better with people who drink lots of tea. I just don’t trust people who don’t like it. I know, as she gives them a stir, that we’re going to get along. We sit at a big oak desk in the centre of the studio, Rachel lights a cigarette and we begin our conversation. I ask Rachel how it’s going, and she seems pretty positive. She has an army of interns and creates ‘a sense of family’ in her studio, which is adorned with all sorts of interesting antiquities like skulls and baseball paraphernalia. A sign above the door, Rachel’s mantra, reads ‘IF IN DOUBT, SPRAYPAINT IT GOLD,’ a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Naomi Law

Rachel brands herself as a ‘costumier’ who happened to fall into fashion, which explains her unique and innovative approach to dressing. ‘I’ll never lose track of my costumier routes,’ she tells me, ‘I’m pretty anti-fashion. It dictates what we wear and how we feel, and I’ve never subscribed to that.’ Her models ‘need to have an arse’ and she’s conscious of the responsibility a fashion designer must adopt, whether that be ethical or environmental. ‘I am the cheapest person!’ Rachel admits, ‘but I will never shop in Primark. I look at the clothes and think ‘somebody suffered for this’. I want customers to hold things knowing somebody’s crafted it – that something is special.’


S/S 2011, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Rachel won’t compromise. She’s staying true to herself and won’t put her name on anything that she hasn’t rigourously vetted and knows exactly where everything has come from. Rachel is as much an ethical designer as any of the Estethica designers – if not more so. She values the work of other people and believes that you ‘have to be ethical in so many different ways’. How you treat your interns, where you source your fabrics, how you communicate with suppliers – all these things, Rachel believes, are necessary for good business, not just opting for ethical fabrics.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Bex Glover

Rachel’s previous collections provide sculptural, architectural pieces with innovative techniques (read all about her glow-in-the-dark S/S 2011 collection here) and it seems A/W 2011 will be even more exciting. As we chat about the boy Rachel’s texting and get mixed up with whose tea is whose (easy mistake – Rachel’s recently got a new mug but the Queen of Fucking Everything option she’s given me still has sentimental value) we’re surrounded by leather nipples. REAL nipples.

Rachel and her team of merry men (and women) have been hard at work in the previous weeks to marry them together to make roses. They’re absolutely beautiful to touch and look at but there’s something rather unsettling about them. ‘That’s my aesthetic!’ Rachel declares.

A sneak peek at some of the fabrics, techniques and colours Rachel’s preparing to show this week:


A/W 2010, illustrated by Joana Faria

Rachel’s also working with Ecco, who are developing processes for leather manufacturing for couture houses. Rachel has devoted a lot of her time visiting the Netherlands tannery working alongside them in their quest to transform how we produce and approach leather goods. ‘I’m obsessed with materials!’ Rachel tells me. ‘It’s much nicer to make a jacket out of something that you’ve had an input in from the start.’ She shows me a new process she’s working on (damned if I can remember the name) which gives leather an ethereal ripple-like pattern that looks as if it’s been photoshopped. I’m speechless, and we both sit caressing it for a while until I can think of something to say.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

So what’s up next for Rachel? Well, A/W 2011 looks set to be her bravest collection yet, and I had a sneak peek at some of the fabrics, textures, techniques and cuts she’s working on. On a grander scale, she ‘loves to teach’ and wants to establish a system where the efforts of designers to instil good practises and skills into their army of interns is recognised. She describes mainstay teaching as ‘box ticking’ and, as someone whose never done what she was told to do, feels there’s more to give in a studio-based environment than anything in the classroom. I hear ya, love.

Rachel’s excited about the future. She plans to dazzle once a year at the A/W 2011 shows while maintaining commissions with an ever-expanding roster of clients and other projects during the rest of the year. She also wants to live on a boat and explore costume design in cinema. She references Jean Paul Gaultier‘s work on flicks like The Fifth Element and is excited by the prospect of applying her unique aesthetic to film. It all comes down to financing. ‘Money dictates and creates a standard,’ Rachel tells me. ‘The system to support new designers is very small, but I won’t compromise my values. I’m here to stay.’

I should bloody hope so.

Rachel’s original draqing for her collaboration with Neurotica:

All photography by Matt Bramford
Karina Yarv
Jena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, visit Illustration by Karina Yarv

I was ushered in through the door by a geezer of a Londoner chap, straight through to a high heeled officious lady. Then again to the very highest heels clinking their way to the front row to show me my seat. The FRONT ROW. This was pleasing to say the least. And there were bags on my seat. Bags filled with goodies. Splendid. The lady next to me was bouncing her baby on her knee, as said baby was knawing on a pain au chocolat. “Nice earmuffs” I said to the tiny fashionista, pointing towards the penguin earmuffs on her head. “To protect her from the sound. It can get very loud. But she does love it here. Loves the shows.” How much do I want a chilled out, cute baby like her? Also, cool mother! I know mothers who wouldn’t take their child to Tescos for fear of its screaming the flourescently lit shed down. I looked around properly, and saw straight backed women before me. Unsmiling, with notepads on their laps and twitter at their fingertips. No one was without a smart phone. Comfortingly others were holding cameras possibly at the same level as mine, not everyone had the enormous lensed beasts. This made me feel infinitely better about my black device with sand trapped in the lens from every holiday in the last three years and glitter from an explosion at a festival last year. It makes me slightly sad to see it sprinkle on my lap when I take the lens cap off. Nostalgic particles… To the left, I felt like I was getting an immense tan however from the mad, bright white, highly lit, flashing, mini bulb, sensation. It was just INTENSE; magic eye, transfixing, blinding… The lady next to me shielded the left hand side of her face for a bit. We briefly discussed the perils of giant screens of mini light bulbs. SUCH a drag. Then it all went dark and we were treated to intro music as the anticipation was allowed to be built. Dum, dum, dum….dum… dum. EXCITED. Most of the opposite front row remained attached to the twit or without expression.

Jena Theo Matilde SazioJena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The darkness remained for a while, and I felt my heart start to beat harder. You know when as a child (/adult), at a theme park, you have just queued to get onto a ride that begins in the dark? You’re kind of scared but excited, not really sure how it will turn out? Yes, that. That was what it felt like. I was half expecting for the floor to drop and to experience a heart in my mouth sensation, as gravity stole my nerves. Child next door was heckling, all ready for the experience to begin. She’s not worried her mother assures me, as a seasoned show-goer why would she be? Well, indeed. This does not compare to my 80s Sussex upbringing. I spent being three and four devoted to my pink bomber jacket and all in one waterproof jumpsuit number. Was it the 80s? Was it me? Is there any hope? I apoligise, enough pondering! The show began.

Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_006 Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_007Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_008Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_004Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_003
Photography by Matt Bramford

I was pleased to see that what was being presented was completely wearable. Definitely in London. Perhaps less so in Bristol – it was slightly ‘too’ urban for the West Country. However, if I had a choice (and el cash), some of those pieces would be getting worn in Falfael King and that secret bar we’ve been meaning to go to for a while… at least supper club. Or – ah see, I kind of want to move to London again. Don’t get the wrong impression of Briz, I beg you. Anyway digressing again- the show was very charcoal, black and cream orientated. The models all had black stripes across their eyes and otherwise bare faces. This made them look like mysterious, moody superheros. I liked it, as it really set of the simple coloured, pieces; the models all expressionless (course), their masks and the movement of the light or dark pieces worked together perfectly. It felt like we were on the sea, with norwegian heroines. Swishing slowly about, their heels never falter, their gaze exact, the path has been set and the grey skies are dappled with stars, as the storm takes hold. These strong warriors will take us with their capes flowing behind them, their hair dancing in the wind.

Jena.Theo Valkyrie by Matilde Sazio
Jena.Theo LFW A/W 2011, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

My favourite piece was one with an almost bustling at the back, flowing down to the ground, in one swipe. The front was a mini, the back was the drama, the fantasy. I would love to wear this one standing at the front of a ship. Not a ferry, a ship. The collection; Valkyrie, refers to a band of celestial female figures who decide to die in the field of battle. So 300, in a sense, but with women. Strong, ethereal women.

Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_002Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_001 Jena.Theo_LFW_MattBramford_005
Photography by Matt Bramford

Jena.Theo have managged to combine the mythology with the urban reality. Fantasy has been embraced, with opulence in mind, the designs are sumptuous, yet strong. Fit for women going into battle with the ice of Scandinavia and the luxuriousness of a cashmere bustle behind them. And why not mix up the hemlines, paint black across our eyes and march like amazonian creations girls. We are women. Watch us gracefully, cooly and quietly move, like we believe we are mighty. We are. For designs that were indeed simple, they were deserving of their sparkling lights.

Categories ,bristol, ,Ethereal, ,fashion, ,Front Row, ,Helen Martin, ,hero, ,Jena.theo, ,Karina Yarv, ,Lights, ,london, ,London Fashion Week A/W 2011, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Matt Bramford, ,Norway, ,scandinavia, ,Ship, ,twitter, ,urban, ,Valkyrie

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Presentation Review: Maria Francesca Pepe (by Helen)

Maria_Francesca_Pepe_Abby_Wright_LFW
Maria_Francesca_Pepe_Abby_Wright_LFW

MariaFrancescaPepe LFW A/W 2011. Illustration by Abby Wright.

It was extremely dark in that first room. Save for a few lamps casting red strips of a blood-like glow. Certain points were lit up on the model, information pills the shining metal spikes, dosage the dull sheen of black leather and the pointed hat. I will be honest now. I had to check that the model was in fact a mannequin. She was. But checking was interesting. The light was so low and I was terrified she would move suddenly. An intimidating mannequin.

red

Hels MFP 5

Hels MFP 1

I wasn’t sure whether the rest of the models would be mannequins too, but as we entered slightly more light filled rooms, it was obvious that these ones were real. But they were also a higher level of scary. Two looked like mermaids trapped on rocks. Occasionally shifting, they looked confident, bored and yet super vulnerable and TRAPPED. I felt myself want to look at them closer, but then one of them looked me in the eye. Which was a shock. These models, with their purposefully lank, long hair, dark eyes, glossy and pale skin, ghostlike sheer dresses, and fabulous golden accessories looked like aliens. Of course ridiculously beautiful aliens.

Hels MFP 5

Hels MFP 5

Photography Helen Martin

I have to say that I was mesmerised by the back of one model. She had a golden, Egyptian styled headpiece, in the shape of eyes. The three main headpieces were forged by hand in resin and carbon steel, then varnished in opalescent acrylics and hand studded with brass and Swarovski hexagonal studs. They are designed in the style of medieval shields and helmets. The tiara for me was my favourite however, it looked regal and yet delicate and pretty. Also empowering, I imagine a useful attribute for whichever land she/you/me might be in. In contrast, although also empowering, MariaFrancescaPepe‘s shoes looked like something you could definitely cause GBH with. Not pretty, pretty – fierce! In a more sultry way than Rihanna fierce. With enormous spikes at the top, their cream colour, did little to belie their extra ridiculous height and metal danger.

Hels MFP 3

Hels MFP 3

Photography Helen Martin

Like the tiara, the majority of the presentation focused on eyes. Earrings, rings and chains…. EYES. This was a small issue for me. Ever since my brother told me the details of his eye operation at five years old, and then watching Dali’s eye slitting scene – ugh- I’m feeling sick as I write, I have been afraid of anything touching eyes. Or just weird eyes. And in truth… Dali. Cue sweeping generalisation alert: In terms of films, books, art and what I have seen; the 30s, like the 70s, seem like the scariest decades to me. Thus, when the saddest and scariest looking model of them all, looked at me right in the eye, with her incredibly, INTENSELY mesmerising own eyes, I didn’t know what to do. Transfixing model.

Hels MFP 5

Model looking at me… Photography Helen Martin

It’s not surprising that MariaFrancescaPepe has been heavily influenced by Dali’s surrealism for this collection. As I read: ‘Objects of magical meaning and of inner strength. A mask hides and reveals at the same time. Eyes are a mirror for the soul. Dali’s surrealism lesson has been learnt.’ The presentation was tribal and punky, but also ethereal and ghost-like. Almost like facing your own deep reality, that of the soul’s and our desires. The ‘ahhhhhhhhhhh’ music added to these fearful and reflective thoughts. It was as if MariaFrancescaPepe had gone through Indiana Jones’s chest of treasure, added in some Alien, X Files, lots of Dali and then Marilyn Manson on top. Sounds odd, is odd – but also very interesting. It comes as no surprise that Lady GaGa apparently ‘embodies’ MariaFrancescaPepe’s accessories.

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,Alien, ,brass, ,cuffs, ,Dali, ,Dominatrix, ,Ethereal, ,Eyes, ,Fortuna, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Helen Martin, ,jewellery, ,lfw, ,LFW A/W 2011, ,MariaFrancescaPepe, ,Mermaids, ,Pretty, ,Spikes, ,Swarovski, ,X Files

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: Emily Jane White – Ode to Sentience

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Emily Jane White by LJG Art & Illustration
Illustration by Laura Godfrey, ed LG Illustration

I know that folk music isn’t all organic, this web whole foods, and love – or indeed deep lust – buried in a haystack. Happy all day, before campfires and passions at night. No, folk musicians don’t spend their days wearing slightly grubby lumberjacks or floaty, ethereal frocks. See evidence: Grizzly Bear aren’t happy all the time and Bon Iver is a delightfully melancholy chap. And then just listen to Nick Drake and young Laura Marling. To be honest I’m not really sure where I got the skippy, clappy, dancing in the hazy afternoon sunshine vision from. Perhaps it’s because folk artists tend to sing about the earth, nature and love in one breath. There is no chat of ‘honeys’ or ‘bling’. Gah, And of course, folkers may be generally creative and appreciative of the natural world, but it in no means leaves them exempt of sadness, hurt and darkness. I wonder, does it in actual fact make them more open and adept to describing their feelings than the blingers? Regardless, folk is often as rhythmic and warming as the grandfather clock that my 40s’ Grandpa chopped the bottom of, to fit in his house. Tick, tock. Folk is cosy and true, which is why it feels so pure – which is why it makes me want to reside in a yurt.

Emily Jane White - Sarah Matthews
Illustration by Sarah Matthews

Let me introduce you to Emily Jane White. The PR sheet in-front of me says that her album is: ‘a collection of ten opulent, uncluttered and captivating ballads.’ A friend asked me other day, “If you had to only use one adjective for the rest of your life, what would it be?” If I was a news writer, I would say: “Peh, what even are adjectives?”. As a PR I would pass out. Whilst as a writer of my own devices, I would say – ‘blissful’. Then I could put ‘anti’ in-front of a word perhaps. Awkward. Anyway, off on a tangent again: Emily Jane White’s music is BLISSFUL.

See:

She is melancholy. But in the way that makes you feel perhaps strangely, very contented. Maybe it is because in a sense Emily is making peace with herself and her thoughts through the act of writing her music. She said that she found writing her latest album, Ode To Sentience, out now on Talitres Records, cathartic to write: “They speak to the emotional simplicity and complexity of human relationship. I chose to call the record Ode To Sentience because it is the capacity to feel that creates a share human experience of music. We all share the potency of music by having the capacity to feel, and I found the simplicity of this fact very beautiful.”

‘Tis true.

emily Jane White
Illustration by Laura Godfrey, LG Illustration

Her album is about leaving home, her’s was California – I Lay To Rest (California) – the drawn out strings longing to leave. The sharper notes; the sadness of leaving it. Clipped Wings is ghostly and full of yearning, reflections of love’s passed. The Cliff holds classic American twangs, whilst Oh Katherine, is a string filled heaven of a song. Her voice is as soft and delicate as a peach, whilst her fearless approach to singing from the darker depths of her consciousness matches the strings perfectly.

She is much like a Californian Kate Bush, but less obviously ethereal and screaming. Or she could be a gentler Alela Diane or singular Mountain Man. Black Silk has to be my personal favourite. The Law is guitar based, slow and… actually quite a lot like my Grandpa’s Grandfather clock. It wraps you up. Says it’s all ok. For a little bit of this, here we have ‘The Law’, for you to download for free: here. Download it now.

emily

Emily Jane White’s Album, Ode to Sentience is available now on Talitres Records.

Categories ,album, ,Alela Diane, ,california, ,Cathartic, ,Contented, ,Emily Jane White, ,Ethereal, ,folk, ,Grandfather clock, ,grizzly bear, ,Helen Martin, ,Kate Bush, ,Laura Godfrey, ,Laura Marling, ,Melancholy, ,Mountain Man, ,music, ,Nick Drake, ,Ode to Sentience, ,Relationships, ,review, ,Sarah Matthews, ,strings, ,Talitres Records, ,Yurt

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Amelia’s Magazine | Live Review: Smoke Fairies and Sea of Bees at The Fleece, Bristol

Smokefairies Illustration
Smoke Fairies Illustration by Alice Potter

The violinist comes on stage. He’s very tall and his tailcoat, ask wide tie and long hair and mostasche are how I consider a more genteel England might be attired. He looks considerate and pensive in a poetic sense. The rest of the band come on stage. Then the two female singers who are Smoke Fairies quietly take their places at the front. They appear a little bashful, malady but they have determined stares as they attach their instruments and look out to the audience. Their small frowns and concentrated expressions make them appear like they have been thrust on stage and are finding themselves dazed by the lights. Starstruck by their situation. But also it feels like reassurance; the two, click dressed in black mini dresses, are focused and aware that they behold the potential to have an audience in the palm of their hand. They look out and they know that a mood can be changed by the unison of their voices. They’re not nervous. Because their music is blinding.

Smoke Fairies hels

The sound starts and the voices are slow. The guitars are played, fingers flickering on the notes, dancing in small circles. The electric strums are perfectly matched with the violin. The drums are hit and the two voices are joined and that’s the moment. This time it came earlier than expected. Charlie and I look at each other. A translation says; ‘this is good, I’m glad we came to this one’. Then following this is a quizzical eyebrow raise from him; ‘do we have their cd?’, before he spins me round, grabs my waist (bit annoying) and moves to the music. We try and get as lost as possible, which hopefully leads to synchronized swaying. Occasionally I look at him with my eyes wide: ‘This is EPIC’ (over use of this word through eyes/speech, noted). Oh how I love the difference between playing something off the old Mac and seeing the scenes played live. Even though it is of course a joy to sit/wallow/cry/smile/dance to tracks at home, some acts are just SO much more incredible in real life form. Like Smoke Fairies.

SF_press2SML

Picture Source

I’m telling you when they play together live on stage, it feels, well… I will have to use a simile – here follows: You know that advert for Ireland, when the lady is singing in her Enya (is it her?) voice and the camera is sweeping over the ridiculously green fields and coastlines of Ireland? A bit cringe but you get the image, it feels like you are the sweeper – as in you are sweeping/flying over amazing landscapes. Possibly wearing some tweed, definitely a cape with a hood. The music is more The Cranberries than Enya, but the flying sensation fits.

They also have a hefty 90s twang. Reminding me of Alicia’s Attic and The Shakespeare Sisters (you must know Stay?) – a bit grungy but with a little folk and blues twist. Their name; ‘Smoke Fairies’, fits perfectly with their ethereal, rocky and fantastical sound. From interviews past, I read that it alludes to the summer mist that collects in the hedgerows of Sussex’s narrow lanes. Being a childhood Sussex girl myself, I know this mist well. The old railway tracks by my house are dusty aired heavens; the hours spent walking the lanes, their vision, scent, sound and feel make for ‘home’ in a snapshot. Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire met at school in the fair county of Sussex. And (wisely) rather than 5ive, Wigfield etc. the pair preferred folk, classic rock and blues. So they got together and created their own sounds, moulding their preferences and harmonies. After school, they lived in New Orleans and Vancouver, before returning to go on tour with Brian Ferry in 2007. They have since received high acclaim from artists such as Richard Hawley and Jack White. The former took them on tour and the latter recording a single with the fairies.

packshot_small

Smoke Fairies live highlights for me were; Summer Fades, Gastown, Hotel Room and Strange Moon Rising. As they played their guitars, their concentration and dedication to each note was mesmerizing. Although they seemed a little distant between tracks at times, their music was confident and heavenly. I highly recommend you listen. Their album, Through Low Light and Trees is out now on V2.

sea of bees

Sea of Bees Illustration by Genie Espinosa

Sea of Bees supported Smoke Fairies. As you may already know, I think Julie Ann Bee is superb. You can see from my review of her album, Song for The Ravens, available on Heavenly Recordings. Seeing her live, she was even more endearing than I had hoped. Somewhat of a contrast to Smoke Fairies’ mysterious mood, Julie broadly smiled and chatted between songs. She seemed really happy to be on stage, declaring her love for the South West’s cider and mentioning that since she was a child, she had in fact deeply wanted to be English. I got the impression that she yearned for this through the sugared lens of Mary Poppins, when she mentioned the singing dreampop, in the same way that we all live in castles and are close friends with Prince Harry. Not that England isn’t splendid. Regardless, when she talked of the Isle she sounded genuine and almost childlike. I get the impression that she has a very vivid imagination and a warm heart, perhaps under appreciated, but certainly obvious tonight. And in all her music of course.

Sea

Happily Julie’s singing on stage was as sweet as it is on her album, but with the high notes hitting the rooftops. Hearing her explain each song’s meaning was a delight not often had. And seeing her acting out the songs, her face frowning into the mid distance and then smiling… looking to the imaginary stars – made her album’s preconceived character a reality. Her feelings manifesting themselves in her music, she seems almost vulnerable, but utterly lovable.

sea of bees3

Sea of Bees Illustration by Genie Espinosa

She talks and sings of dreams and following them, of saying goodbye to past loves and the joy of friends. All that we can relate to, but that we could never articulate with such beautiful sounds as she does. As sugary as a sugar mouse, as heavenly as a glass of Peach Prosecco on a cloud. Song For The Ravens is out now on Heavenly Recordings.

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Categories ,5ive, ,Alice Potter, ,blues, ,Brian Ferry, ,bristol, ,california, ,England, ,Enya, ,Ethereal, ,Fairies, ,folk, ,Genie Espinosa, ,Heavenly Recordings, ,Helen Martin, ,ireland, ,Jack White, ,Jessica Davies, ,Katherine Blamire, ,Mary Poppins, ,moody, ,New Orleans, ,Prince Harry, ,richard hawley, ,Sea of Bees, ,Shakespeare Sisters, ,smoke fairies, ,Sussex, ,The Fleece, ,V2, ,Vancouver, ,Wigfield

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Pascal Pinon and review of new album Twosomeness

Pascal Pinon by Bex Bourne
Pascal Pinon by Bex Bourne.

Following hot on the heels of Scandinavian sibling act First Aid Kit, comes the new album from Pascal Pinon, 18 year old Icelandic twins Ásthildur and Jófriður. Twosomeness is an altogether more ethereal affair, a delicate blend of haunting harmonies and uncluttered synth folk, the sparse melodies at times taking on an almost religious beauty. This is a gorgeous album that belies the relative youth of Pascal Pinon, it’s hard to believe that this is already their second album. Jófriður answered my questions.

Pascal Pinon - Twosomeness
You’ve been making music together since you were children: do you remember when you first started doing this and can you describe that moment?
We started making songs when we first discovered Garage Band on our mother’s ibook g4. Ásthildur had a midi keyboard that we somehow plugged in and formed the band Við og Tölvan (translation: We and the Computer). We were 11 years old at the time and made two albums and about 30 songs, some very experimental while others were merely joke songs. We wrote plays and dances to the songs on the two albums but the only person that was lucky enough to see it was our mom.

Pascal Pinon by Carolyn Raship of Caviglia's Curiosities
Pascal Pinon by Carolyn Raship of Caviglia’s Curiosities.

How do you create music together and what happens when you are apart and you have some musical inspiration?
I write most the songs very secretly in my bedroom, it works better that way. But when I’m ready with something I show it to Ásthildur and she gives me her feedback. We do the arrangements together and focus a lot on making nice backing vocals and power breaks and all that stuff necessary for a good pop song!

pascal_pinon_by_Lilja Birgisdóttir
What other musicians do you rate at the moment?
My favorite music at the moment is by Steve Reich, and I’ve also been listening to Terry Riley and Louis Andriessen a lot. My favorite pop music discovery is Sohn but there is not very much out there by them yet.

Pascal Pinon by Vanessa Lovegrove
Pascal Pinon by Vanessa Lovegrove.

You used to be a four piece: what has been the journey of your music making so far?
It was a couple of years ago when Ásthildur and I decided it was time to start a band. We asked our friends if they were interested and the ones that came to the first practice were Halla and Kristín. They had just gotten instruments but didn’t really know how to play them, neither did we for the matter. We wrote some songs and basically learned how to play as we went on. we played some shows and were really surprised when people asked us to play and wanted to buy our albums (which we didn’t have). So we kind of became a ‘real’ band by accident and things seemed to happen quite fast from there. It was a lot of stuff to deal with and obviously one person had to be in charge, but that didn’t seem to work out for everybody so the other two girls backed out. Ásthildur and I wanted to continue so we did and now we are really really glad that we didn’t give up at that point. Very soon after that drama we started working with Morr Music and it’s been an amazing experience ever since.

Pascal Pinon by_Lilja_Birgisdottir
Pascal Pinon. All photographs by Lilja Birgisdottir.

What inspires your lyrics?
Everyday happenings, emotions and teenage drama, people around me and lyrics and poetry by artist that have something to say.

Where does the name Pascal Pinon come from and what inspired you to take it on as the band name?
We had a really hard time figuring it out but landed on this guy’s picture, he had two heads and a funny name so we just went for it, Pascal Pinon!

pascal pinon by Rosco Brittin
Pascal Pinon by Rosco Brittin.

How did you come to work with producer Alex Somers?
Alex had seen our show in norway in 2011 and was interested in producing our new album, which we had already recorded in a very similar style as the first one. at first we were a bit scared, scared of losing our characteristics, scared of doing something that we hadn’t done before and perhaps scared of throwing away the old recordings. Nontheless we decided to meet up with alex and try recording something over one weekend and it was actually amazing. we worked so well together that we couldn’t imagine doing the album with anyone else. Alex exaggerated our characteristics and creativity instead of losing it, and the whole thing felt like it was meant to be.

Pascal Pinon - Pascal Pinon cover
Who creates the artwork for your releases? I love some of the illustrations – what kind of art direction do you give?
We like old cutouts, homemade stuff, sometimes children’s drawings and artwork that is simple but honest in every way. We got very lucky with an illustrator; Julia Guther created most of the morr music artwork, and she totally understood what we wanted and was willing to collaborate a little bit, like using drawings and cutouts that we sent to her.

Pascal Pinon by_Lilja_Birgisdottir
You create your music with the minimal of technology, why do you think the DIY culture so prevalent in Iceland?
I have no idea actually. For us it was somewhat the most obvious thing to do because we didn’t have any money or equipment, other than our mom’s computer. When we decided it was time to release an album we were encouraged by our father to record as much as possible on our own. He lent us his microphone and pre-amp and gave us instructions on how to use it. We like to make as much of the sounds and instruments on our own and right now we are creating a really cool synthesizer that we plan on taking into the live set as soon as possible.

YouTube Preview ImagePascal Pinon – I wrote a song

Where can we see you live in 2013, and what are you most excited about?
We have our album out this January, we are going on tour in February, graduating in may, applying for university somewhere in the meantime and hopefully starting a new and exciting study in September. All these things are exciting but also a bit stressing. It’s going to be an eventful year I’m sure.

Twosomeness by Pascal Pinon came out this week on Morr Music.

Categories ,Alex Somers, ,Ásthildur, ,Bex Bourne, ,Carolyn Raship, ,Caviglia’s Curiosities, ,DIY culture, ,Ethereal, ,First Aid Kit, ,folk, ,Folktronica, ,Garage Band, ,halla, ,iceland, ,Jófriður, ,Julia Guther, ,kristín, ,Lilja Birgisdottir, ,morr music, ,Pascal Pinon, ,Projekta, ,Rosco Brittin, ,Sohn, ,Steve Reich, ,Synth, ,Terry Riley, ,Twosomeness, ,Vanessa Lovegrove, ,við og tölvan, ,We and the Computer

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