Amelia’s Magazine | The NailGirls spa salon in Islington Spring/Summer 2010 nail polish launch event.

Colourbox leadersdebate
Illustration by Antonia Parker.

Last week it occurred to me that if one drew something remotely funny and sent it around twitter at the same time as everyone was going mental with the hashtag #leadersdebate whilst watching the Leaders’ Debate on the TV, what is ed one was more or less garunteed a huge amount of retweets and a viral hit.

Except there was something that was irking me about this twitter phenomenon: and that was the poor quality of the drawings that were tickling the fancy of so many. So I sent out my own twitter message to see if anyone was up for drawing something satirical and vaguely amusing that we could send out on twitter at the appropriate time this week, no rx and knowing that I hang out with lots of very talented illustrators on twitter.

Then I read in the Evening Standard that the election has already brought about a vast outpouring of artistic ingenuity: drinks (slightly poisonous looking concoctions in virulent red, and blue and yellow), logo decorated jellies and even rag rugs have all been created with the election in mind. So it seems I am not the first to cotton onto a general feverish mood in the artistic firmament.

Here, then, are the results of my callout. This blog is not about my political leanings – though I’d happily take a pop shot at Cameron’s flabby potato head (sorry Sam) before I’d see him in power – but rather about an experiment in the way we communicate during election time in 2010. So these images will also be twitpic-ed out come 8.30pm tonight. Feel free to join in the fun and let’s see how far they travel!

With thanks to the lovely illustrators who answered my callout with such glee. It seems I touched a nerve…

jenny robins - leaders debate
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Clegg, Cameron, Brown-Abi Daker
Illustration by Abi Daker.

Leaders Debate Katie Harnett
Illustration by Katie Harnett.

Illustrations by Antonia Parker.

Marnie Hollande-Leaders Debate
Illustration by Marnie Hollande.

DEBATE-Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

I’m not really a high maintenance kind of girl, illness but the older I get I am starting to think that maybe I should consider paying just a little bit more attention to myself. But grooming just takes so much time, store right? And it’s just so darn pricey?

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Well yes to both the above. And no. Last week I had my nails done at the NailGirls Spa Salon in Islington, order it took about ten minutes and it didn’t cost a thing. Oh okay, so it was a freebie as part of the press launch for their summer range (yes, nail varnish really does come in seasonal colours) but it was also incredibly quick. Within ten minutes of Kelly placing my hands – with well practiced firmness – on the towelling rest, I was sporting 10 perfectly manicured pinkies in Purple #7. Here at NailGirls they don’t go in for fancy names for their nail varnishes, preferring instead to take the minimalist route.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Musing, in the way that one does whilst being attended to by a beautician, I wondered how long it takes to grow really sick of painting nails. Five years perhaps before the sight of someone else’s paws drives you insane? “Well, I’m 20 years old,” says Kelly, “but I’ve already been doing nails for 5 years.” Blimey, 5 years? No way?! “Yes, since I was 15!” But she isn’t sick of it yet: in fact she’s just left behind he beloved cheerleading squad that she tutors up in Brum to pursue a glittering career in London, where her financial trader boyfriend is based. I love hearing about these little things. Human life, always so fascinating.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
Lynda-Louise and Joanna Burrell (just before Jo spilt white wine down Lynda’s top, but we won’t talk about that).

NailGirls is the brainchild of two north London sisters. As my nails are being painted Lynda-Louise tells me how she spent 11 years working in the fashion industry in New York before returning to set up the business with sister Joanna Burrell, formerly working in oh-so-glamourous recruitment. “I knew that I wanted to do something in fashion – and there didn’t seem to be anything here like they have in the US, where they have proper nail spas.” Before she returned to the UK Lynda put her back into some serious research and got together a nail polish formulation that is not tested on animals and eschews nasty chemicals such as toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and camphor, which are proven carcinogens. The nail varnish is made in the US and imported to sell in the salon and online.

Nail Girls-joanna burrell

Lynda is passionate about painted nails as a way of keeping on trend. “It means you can change your look really easily and without the expense, of say, buying a Chanel handbag.” And without going into consumer overdrive, I should add. Using her self-confessed expertise in the field of trend spotting she picks out key colours for each season. For spring/summer 2010 she has picked out colours from the collections of Christopher Kane, Christian Louboutin and Burberry: a soft coral, bright green, pale blue and pearlised apricot. During their friendly garden speech the sisters described working with top make-up artist Pat McGrath during fashion week, and excitedly hinted at more fashion related collaborations later this year.

Nail Girls-lynda-louise jo burrell

It’s all rather fun this beauty malarkey, I have to say – and I found it most intriguing to chat with the various girls that I met at the launch; in a shrewd move the NailGirls have chosen to target a range of beauty bloggers (the success of this strategy is borne out with a quick blogsearch). Hungrily ogling the nail colours on the salon shelves I met the immaculate Lola of the Beauty Geek blog, who is normally doing corporate stuff for Nokia but puts together blogs demonstrating how to apply perfect Cheryl Cole-esque make up in her spare time.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty Geek
Beauty Geek blogger Lola.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty Geek
Those are Lola’s delicate little hands, not mine.

Whilst I was snaffling canapes by Eclectic Food in the garden I met some beauty bloggers who work at the other end of the spectrum. Hair stylists Alex Brownsell and Louise Teasdale run Beauty is a Religion, which takes an occasional look at plastic surgery gone wrong, tattoo art and 18 year old girls with orange skin and fake boobies for whom Jordan is an idol. They sport fabulous pastel coloured hair and pale skin. You couldn’t get two more diverse approaches to beauty blogs if you tried. Other bloggers present that I did not get to meet have some fantastically named blogs: including Do Not Refreeze, Vex in the City and Make Up to Make Out. It’s a whole wide beauty blogging world out there I tell thee.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Alex Brownsell
Beauty is a Religion blogger Alex Brownsell.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Louise Teasdale
Beauty is a Religion blogger Louise Teasdale.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion
This is Louise’s identical twin! Except for the hair that is.

It’s been a week since I had my manicure, and I have to report that my nails are faring very much better than they would have done had I applied a manicure myself (though not as good as Lola’s – blimey she’s doing well!).

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

“You must come back and have a pedicure when the sun is out!” Jo tells me as I leave this friendly little salon just off the high street in Islington. The NailGirls website desperately needs a bit of tender lovin’ care to make it more user friendly, but I’d return to be pampered in their lovely garden spa area in a jiffy. Summer pedicure did you say?

Categories ,Alex Brownsell, ,Beauty, ,Beauty Geek, ,Beauty is a Religion, ,blog, ,Bloggers, ,Burberry, ,chanel, ,Chemical Free, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Christian Louboutin, ,Christopher Kane, ,Do Not Refreeze, ,Eclectic Food, ,Islington, ,Jordan, ,Louise Teasdale, ,Make Up to Make Out, ,Make-up, ,Nail Polish, ,Nail Varnish, ,NailGirls, ,Press Launch, ,Spa Salon, ,trend, ,Vex in the City

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Vivienne Westwood Shoes, An Exhibition 1973 – 2010, at Selfridges

Naomi Campbell wears Vivienne Westwood (1993), viagra sale illustrated by Krister Selin

It isn’t very often that a specific fashion designer is singularly celebrated for their contributions to fashion; when the V&A presented the Vivienne Westwood retrospective in 2004, medicine fashion fans were delirious at the opportunity to revel amongst the creations of our most fashionable Dame. This month, viagra the team at Selfridges reopen the Westwood archives and present a glorious exhibition devoted entirely to Vivienne Westwood’s revolutionary footwear.

Vivienne Westwood, illustrated by Abi Daker

What began as a calm stroll into central London on a bank holiday Monday soon descended into chaos – it was absolutely heaving (and to those of you shouting OF COURSE IT WAS YOU BLOODY IDIOT at the screen – yeah, I know). A text to remind me I was going to a party at Shoreditch House as early as 6pm didn’t help either, so me and the other half legged it down Oxford Street to catch the exhibition, and thank heavens we did.

Located in the chic Ultralounge on the lower ground floor of Selfridges (where previous exhibitions and pop-ups have occurred, including the brilliant 100 years of Selfridges display), the room features long rows of glass cabinets holding a huge selection of Westwood footwear from over the years. The black walls are sparse, with a few large images from advertising campaigns and of Our Viv herself dotted here and there, and a show reel of some of Westwood’s awe-inspiring catwalk shows at the back of the room, featuring a soundtrack of sexed-up national anthems and punk hits. It is, however, row after row of shoes displayed like the crown jewels that capture the imagination the most.

Ordered chronologically, the exhibition charts the literal rise and rise of Dame Viv’s footwear, from surviving examples from SEX and Seditionaries, (including leopard mules worn by SEX shop assistant Jordan) right through to Propoganda pirate boots (worn mostly by the gays and people from Leeds) and pairs seen at the most recent fashion weeks. The most interesting comparison drawn when you’ve seen every pair is that there isn’t much of a comparison at all – similar shapes and themes are echoed through the ages, shoes that have been consistently daring and innovative.

Illustration by Joana Faria

There must be over 100 pairs on display, all of which are a delight to view, but here are some of my favourites:

Mock Crock Elevated Gillie from Anglomania, AW 1993

Frilly petit-pied sandal (there is a shoe in there somewhere) from Blue Sky, SS 2005

Elevated court shoe in PVC, 1994, illustrated by Dee Andrews

Can shoes, from Ultra Feminity, SS 2003

Biba shoes, from Le flou taillé, AW 2003

MAN coin sandals, from MAN, SS 2005

Swarovski court shoe with Gina, from 56, SS 2008

The exhibition is supported by Melissa, the wonderful Brazilian-born ethical label that champions Melflex®, the recycled plastic phenomenon that uses sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes. Beginning with plastic versions of iconic Vivienne Westwood shoes, the collaboration has grown to include many of the archive styles on display at the exhibition (re-imagined in plastic, of course).

Exhibitions of this calibre, celebrating our fashion designers and presented so brilliantly, don’t come around very often. So if you’re in London and anywhere near Selfridges, do check it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Illustration by Meera Lee

Until 22 September, admission free.

Get all the important details here.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,1973-2010, ,catwalk, ,Dame Viv, ,exhibition, ,footwear, ,Jordan, ,london, ,Meliflex, ,Melissa, ,Oxford Street, ,Plastic dreams, ,Seditionaries, ,Selfridges, ,SEX, ,shoes, ,Ultralounge, ,va, ,Vivienne Westwood

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: Falguni & Shane Peacock

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

The invite for Falguni & Shane Peacock showed a plethora of jewelled leopards photoshopping their way out of a bodiced mannequin, symptoms in a shower of what looked feasibly like a large quantity of blood. Rendered in soothing hues of beige, closer dissection of what appeared at first glance to be quite tasteful revealed an image that was a little more disturbing. What could it all mean?

Falguni invite

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the design of the invite bore little relevance to the Falguni & Shane Peacock show early on Sunday morning at Victoria House, notable in it’s organisation for being quite disorganised. Looked after by Blow PR this weren’t. People piled in and sat wily nily where they fancied. No press bitches to move us along… always good for a front row seat I find. And the audience was indeed very different from other shows – featuring a preponderance of bejewelled, sunglass-bearing Asians and identikit gay men with badly bleached hair and orange skin.

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

It came as no surprise to discover that Falguni & Shane Peacock are from India, with a publicity shot straight out of the Bollywood school of chic. “Where other designers travel thousands of miles for the luxury of the world’s largest selection of high quality fabrics and embellishments, the dynamic designer couple have it all at their fingertips,” trumpeted the publicity blurb. “They create and manufacture in-house at their factories and employ over 200 highly skilled seamsters and embroiderers.” Er, I’m sorry but I’m not sure that’s a particularly special feature if we’re talking clothing made in India. I think, for instance, that our very own Monsoon could probably claim the same kind of thing. Now what I would be interested in is the conditions of said employees, having spoken widely to designers working in the Indian fashion industry for issue 10 of Amelia’s Magazine, and being well aware of the level of equality (or lack thereof) for garment workers in that part of the world.

But maybe I’m just being mean, because Falguni & Shane also “support many charity causes relating to children and cancer.” Do you see what they did there? Children and cancer folks. You don’t get much more saintly than that.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Anyway, I digress. What were the clothes actually like? Well, there was no blood and no leopard print (very disappointing for an animal print fan like myself). Instead a succession of dresses in ultra sheer fabrics skimmed over naked bottoms unadorned with the bright geometrics applique and metallic frippery that adorned the fronts. According to the press release inspiration came from the abstract graphics of the 80s, but it’s amazing how an Indian sensibility can transform this into something so much more, well, glitzy. It isn’t hard to picture these clothes worn by Bollywood starlets – even, or perhaps because of, their revealing nature, for times have changed on the sub-continent, even if a taste for maximalist embellishment lives on.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

The most interesting piece was a sculptural turquoise dress, unfortunately worn by a particularly galumphing model who did its shape no justice. It was interesting to note that Falguni & Shane chose to totally eschew Indian models – maybe we don’t have enough, utter madness given the huge Asian diaspora in the UK – in favour of a host of slightly ropey models in every other colour under the sun.

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

But what really intrigued me is why Falguni & Shane decided to show in London at all. It must have cost a fortune to put this show together, and their sensibility is very much geared towards their home audience. Perhaps they have their sights set on a potentially lucrative ex-pat community, which further begs the question, why not find models better suited to show the collection? Or perhaps the presence of the orange over-coiffured gays signifies a desire to hit the ex Page Three girl market. I might mention Jordan briefly here. There, I just did it. Jordan. See, did it again. Wonder how this will affect my website stats? Move along now… Sorry, no fake boobs/badly dyed wigs/car-crash marriages here.

And I’m not sure about that legendary craftsmanship – apparently the runway was littered with beads and bits of applique once the show was over.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. Aw, they look very sweet don’t they? Have I been too mean…

Categories ,80s, ,abstract, ,Blow PR, ,Bollywood, ,Embellishment, ,Falguni & Shane, ,Geometrics, ,India, ,Jordan, ,Monsoon, ,Orange Gays, ,Page Three, ,Peacock, ,Sculptural, ,Sheer, ,Victoria House

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Witch and The Robot on the release of new album Fear of Mountains

The Witch and The Robot fear of mountains
They live in the Lake District, drug they’re neighbours with British Sea Power and they make bewitching alternative music that has been labelled psych folk but which really doesn’t fit in any box. New album Fear of Mountains has just been released on digital download and features a series of unique songs inspired by their isolated location and a fabulous mash up of influences. Meet Sam Hunt and Andrew Tomlinson of Cumbrian band The Witch and The Robot (otherwise known as TWATr) for a fabulous insight into some truly creative musical minds. We’re talking everything from Wordsworth to Alex Reid

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains head
How has living in the Lake District affected your approach to music making?
It pops up everywhere really; we are situationists through necessity rather than design. Growing up in places like the Lakes you have to create your own sense of scene, help a strange amalgam made up of half understood snippets from the radio or read in magazines. We found ourselves on a strange diet of Mo Wax/Warp/Ninjatune, New Romantica/Depeche Mode/Prince and David Bowie/90’s jingly jangly indie and Tupac; unable to appropriate a single scene we made one up ourselves. It’s hard not to reference where you live in songs, if you want to write about yourself, we are conscious of the romantics and the various other assorted lunatics, artists and rum buggers who by and large saw the Lakes as a place to escape the ‘real’ world. Wordsworth on the run from memories of the French Revolution, Josefina de Vasconcellos (who pops up a lot in our songs) on the run from London society, Kurt Swchitters on the run from the war…

The Witch and the Robot by Rachel Higham.
The Witch and the Robot by Rachel Higham.

The place is filled with them, hotel staff who are a bit cagey about life before the Lakes, rich artists who see themselves in the mould of the before mentioned Schwitters, loads of people who find it very easy to create their own reality in this rural bubble. Josefina had a view on it that the mountains are both muse and jailer, we quote her on Fear Of Mountainsthis place can make things seem more than they are’ it heightens emotions I suppose, to quote Lou ‘there is only one good thing about a small town that you know that you gotta get out‘ .. Fear Of Mountains Pt 1 is about getting out….
Witch and Robot by Carne Griffiths
Witch and Robot by Carne Griffiths.

Are you happy with your acronym? Was it a conscious decision to use TWATr and if so why? And why the little r at the end?
When we decided to call ourselves The Witch and The Robot we were just trying to think of two creatures who would not have met before, the acronym was just a happy accident.. We’ve written a number of stories about how the two met, some of them should be on our blog but as far as the little rTWAT is a funny word and word that is used a surprising amount in endless context, maybe it’s a Cumbrian thang…

YouTube Preview ImageHoudini

Love the video for Houdini, where was it shot and what inspired the treatment?
Why thank you – the video was shot at Wastwater – I think Sally Webster from Coronation Street got it voted ‘Britain’s favorite view’ on a ITV special – it’s England’s deepest lake, as deep as the North Sea and provides much of the water for the cooling process at Sellafield just down the way – I think there was a doctor who killed his wife and flew over Wastwater in light aircraft with her weighted body intending to drop her into the icy depths but missed and she ended up on the side of the mountain.. There’s also the Gnome garden, put at the depth where it starts to get dangerous for divers, Gnomes all happy surrounded by white picket fences, the police removed it, to prevent gnome tourism but it was put back up the next week. We filmed it on a very hot day with all our Star Wars figures and HeMan figures with the intention of tying them all to helium balloons, but you would be surprised at how many balloons you need to make an action figure fly.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains balloons
The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains balloons
How do you write your songs, can you describe the process of how you work together?
We have always written together, it’s a very easy process as we’ve known each other literally all our lives, the thing about TWATr is that we are not really sure anyone else is listening, its what we as a group of friends have always done and will continue to do.
Witch and Robot by Gareth A Hopkins
Witch and Robot by Gareth A Hopkins.

And for that matter, how did you meet and start making music?
We all grew up together, in and around Ambleside, I think music making came from the lack of anything else to do.

YouTube Preview ImageHetero
Fear of Mountains is apparently the first of three concept albums in a Rock Opus. What can we expect from the others?
Like David Bowie’s 1. Outside it is our ‘A Non-Linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle‘, also like 1. Outside Andrew thought it would be funny if it was the only one of the trilogy we ever did. I on the other hand have an idea about an album/graphic novel/action film/musical starring Celeb Big Brother winner and former beau of Jordan Alex Reid as a battle hardened William Wordsworth, we’ll just have to wait to see who wins out.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains
The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains grave

Can you describe your attraction to some of the oddball characters that feature within the music, and what exactly comes across of their personality in particular songs?
Most of the oddball characters are probably us in some way or form, so it’s probably safer just to remain hidden behind abstract lyrics, but as mentioned some real life people do tend to pop up quite a lot – the key one being Josefina de Vasconcellos, a daughter of a Brazilian diplomat, became a bit of a legend in the Lakes. She was a monumental sculptor and Blake-like visionary who specialized in figurative religious art and died at the ripe old age of 101. Religious art has never really be cool – unless you were a sculptor in renaissance, but her work was totally insane, if ever in Edinburgh have a look at The Last Chimera at The Cannongate Kirk on the Royal Mile or Escape To Light overlooking Morecambe Bay at Millom Lifeboat Station. I spent 2 years making a film about her, which in the end wasn’t that good, but was certainly an experience, as someone who struggles to believe the news let alone the presence of a God, it was a fascinating insight into what is faith…

The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal.
The album can be bought in the Hide & Horn shop in Ambleside – has it since been stocked elsewhere or would you encourage a digital download of the album instead?
We released our first album On Safari on a proper label with distribution and the like and to be honest we’ve seen not a bean, so we thought it was time to scale back and try and do something interesting with the release – when you are in a Z-list psych-folk band I think it would make more of a difference to do something like that than let an un-bought album grow dusty on Rough Trade East’s shelves – also Pete at Hide and Horn could really do with the trade. But I have succumbed to peer pressure (Andrew) and put it on sale digitally as well, if you do get it from Hide and Horn Andrew has made you a lovely picture to go with it.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains bw
Are there any particular Lake District traditions that you feel the rest of the world should know more about, and why?
At the beginning of Fear Of Mountains pt1 we have recoded a snippet of Ambleside’s Rushbaring – for years we were told that this obviously pagan fertility rite was how they used to change the rushes on the floor of the church – but stiff like that happens everywhere – I once went to 2 or 3 Cumbrian wrestling lessons when I was 12/13 wish Id stayed on as I’d probably be world champion by now. But apart from noticeably excessive daytime drinking I think the wider world is probably better off with the Lakes traditions staying in the hills.
You can hear the whole glorious record here: I recommend you take a listen. Fear of Mountains Pt 1 is out now on digital download and at the Hide & Horn shop.

Categories ,90’s, ,Alex Reid, ,Ambleside, ,Ambleside’s Rushbaring, ,Andrew Tomlinson, ,Barb Royal, ,Blake, ,British Sea Power, ,Carne Griffiths, ,Celeb Big Brother, ,Coronation Street, ,Cumbria, ,David Bowie, ,Depeche Mode, ,DJ Aesthetic Heartbreak, ,Escape To Light, ,Fear of Mountains, ,Fertility, ,French Revolution, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gnome, ,HeMan, ,Hide and Horn, ,Houdini, ,ITV, ,Jordan, ,Josefina de Vasconcellos, ,Kurt Swchitters, ,Lake District, ,Millom Lifeboat Station, ,Mo Wax, ,Morecambe Bay, ,New Romantica, ,Ninjatune, ,On Safari, ,Pagan, ,prince, ,Psych Folk, ,Rachel Higham, ,Rock Opus, ,Rough Trade East, ,Sally Webster, ,Sam Hunt, ,Sellafield, ,Star Wars, ,Stuart Shingler, ,The Last Chimera, ,the witch and the robot, ,Tupac, ,TWATr, ,Warp, ,Wastwater, ,Wordsworth

Similar Posts: