Amelia’s Magazine | SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution at Somerset House

 PA061099
Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Earlier last week I ventured down to Somerset House to see the eagerly anticipated SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition which charts this rise of the iconic website from its creation in 2000. This large-scale retrospective of sorts was bursting to the seams with installations of some of the best videos, viagra 100mg podcasts, there interviews and most importantly– live projects. Split over two levels, as I entered I was greeted with a room comprised entirely of mirrors that were designed to make each person entering ‘really’ look at their reflection. After a few moments of looking at myself and feeling rather vain and awkward I felt obliged to move on and make way for the hoards of teenagers waiting to pull pranks on each other and the non-suspecting public.

Naomi- image courtesy of Showstudio.com
Image courtesy of Showstudio.com

In the next room I found a giant 3-D sculpture of Naomi Campbell, which was linked to an etch-a-sketch computer where visitors could get involved and draw images which were in turn projected onto Naomi’s imposing frame. Interestingly I discovered after my visit that there were several hidden cameras dotted around the Naomi sculpture to record the best comments made by visitors, so I was very relieved that I had gone alone therefore having no one to talk to.

There were many great fashion moments and highlights peppered throughout this exhibition. I think the best was watching a loop of the project ‘More Beautiful Women’ which pays homage to Andy Warhol’s ‘Thirteen Most Beautiful Women’ screen tests of 1964. It’s based on a simple idea where Nick Knight invited several iconic models from the 1960’s through to the present day and asked them to stand in front of a video camera for two minutes. Models involved were Twiggy, Marie Helvin, Kate Moss, Liberty Ross, Stella Tennant and Gisele to name but a few. The best clip that I saw was that of Stephanie Seymour who looked rather bored throughout and remarked ‘This is the longest two minutes of my life!’ This was sheer brilliance in its subversive undertones both perpetuating and playing upon the underlying opinions most people have of models.

'Freedom of Love'- image courtesy of Showstudio.com
Image courtesy of Showstudio.com

Another project that was popular with all visitors was the 2004 collaboration between Brad Pitt and SHOWstudio titled ‘Freedom of Love’. The short film depicted Pitt frantically painting over an enlarged passport sized photograph of himself adding in captions and blurbs, whilst reciting Breton’s sixty line poem of the same name. Whilst I was there this installation drew the biggest crowd and I believe was so popular due to Brad Pitt’s global fame and heartthrob status rather than everyone’s love of the great poet Breton.

fashionfilmtopsfw
Image courtesy of Showstudio.com

Just when I thought the exhibition was coming to an end I stumbled upon a small section dedicated to Fashion Film, which was comprised of a reel of 16 short films created for SHOWstudio. My favourite was titled ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ which depicted a topless and rather energetic Kate Moss doing a frantic pogo dance which saw her head banging. This was great as I feel it showed much more of her personality than you could possibly gleam from a still image and also had a funny moment near the end where she started ripping the paper background and gets so into it that she suddenly falls to the floor which is the finishing shot.

All fans of SHOWstudio.com would absolutely love this exhibition as it was great to see highlights of the work together in one place, but most importantly it was humbling to see how fashion in general has progressed during this past decade which I feel can partly be credited to Nick Knight and the wealth of contributors who make up the SHOWstudio team. Over the years it has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible and helped guide fashion into the mainstream sphere by applying and manipulating all the modern technologies available to bring it to the masses, whilst looking forward to new and innovative ways to make fashion even more engaging. SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution is running until 20 December 2009 and costs £5.

Categories ,Andy Warhol, ,Brad Pitt, ,Breton, ,Gisele, ,Kate Moss, ,Liberty Ross, ,Marie Helvin, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Nick Knight, ,SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution, ,Somerset House, ,Stella Tennant, ,Stephanie Seymour, ,twiggy

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


PPQ S/S 2012, pharm illustrated by Tina Reidy

What a difference a season makes. This time six months ago I was still moaning to my insufferable friends about how I had waited for almost an hour in the freezing cold waiting to get into the PPQ show only to hear the music began and the burley bouncer announce than no one else would be allowed entry. If I had had the energy, capsule I would have gone wild.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Naomi Law
 
This time around was a different story, and I Frowed with my home boy James who I had advised to wear his TEAM GINGE vest in the hope that Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud fame would be in attendance, clock his ensemble and, I don’t know, praps marry him. Unfortunately she wasn’t there, but this was a PPQ show: a guaranteed celeb draw, so we waited patiently while a Sugababe, Pandemonia, Erin O’ Connor and Peaches Geldof took to their seats – the paps going insane for the latter who had gone pretty much unnoticed at the earlier Felder Felder show.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Tina Reidy


All photography by Matt Bramford

It’s always fun fun fun at PPQ and this season was no exception. A selection of 1990s party hits such as Felix’s Don’t You Want Me and Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam blasted from the sound system as super sexy models sashayed before us with that kind of confidence that would make even a boiler suit seem arousing. I’m not sure if it’s just the shows I’ve been to, but I’m overjoyed to say that there’s plenty of fuller, sexier models around this season. One at Felder Felder, modelling a slinky black bikini, had the hugest breasts I’ve seen on the catwalk since Ziad Ghanem’s A/W 2010 offering. Love that.






The first look brought a hint of 1990s Chanel – a cotton bouclé number with delicate silk fringing and a pencil skirt. More Chanel-esque pieces followed, but they’d been sexed up with cream tights that featured all sorts of embellishments – jewels, ribbon, embroidery.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Alia Gargum

Next came denim for Lee, so tight you might refer to it as ‘spray on’ if you were a berk. A Texan tuxedo was one of my favourite looks in the entire show, teamed with another pastel blue bouclé jacket worn like a cape. Models were all-American blonde with full red lips; my GOD it was a relief to see some models with sex appeal. Some of them this season have been dire. If I were being paid to walk up and down a runway in clothes like this (chances unlikely) I would most certainly be able to swish it up a bit.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Jessika Tarr

Cute pastel dresses were up next in mint and blush – a more demure offering – soon forgotten when the PPQ crest prints arrived – a sort of monogram for the club kid generation rather than the Bond Street elite. I LOVED this. It evoked that inimitable and glorious 1990s Versace period when Claudia and Naomi and Cindy frolicked in wild prints and enormous gold jewellery (GOD I could Google image those pictures ALL DAY) – but PPQ somehow made it seem as fresh as if it were brand new. I particularly liked the marriage of a blazer, micro skirt, vanity bag and ankle boot all in a PPQ crest/rose print. Daniella Westbrook would go BERSERK for this garb.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Naomi Law


Erin caught me pointing my camera in the opposite direction to the model…

Bodycon prints followed, giving the already confident models so much sex appeal that I wouldn’t have been surprised if an orgy had kicked off on row D. Zorro masks worn with straw hats added a hint of kink, and then came blouson blouses, encrusted belt buckles, more embroidery, leather harnesses with playful crystals in primary colours, pearl earrings, bondage tights, more vanity handbags, more denim – it was wonderfully exhausting and by far my favourite show of the day. Nobody parties like PPQ.





Watch the show here:

Categories ,1990s, ,Acid, ,BFC Tent, ,Cindy Crawford, ,Claudia Schiffer, ,Don’t You Want Me, ,fashion, ,Felix, ,Friday, ,Front Row, ,Lee, ,London Fashion Week, ,Monogram, ,Naomi Campbell, ,ppq, ,Pump Up The Jam, ,S/S 2012, ,Somerset House, ,Technotronic, ,Versace, ,Womenswear

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


PPQ S/S 2012, pharm illustrated by Tina Reidy

What a difference a season makes. This time six months ago I was still moaning to my insufferable friends about how I had waited for almost an hour in the freezing cold waiting to get into the PPQ show only to hear the music began and the burley bouncer announce than no one else would be allowed entry. If I had had the energy, capsule I would have gone wild.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Naomi Law
 
This time around was a different story, and I Frowed with my home boy James who I had advised to wear his TEAM GINGE vest in the hope that Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud fame would be in attendance, clock his ensemble and, I don’t know, praps marry him. Unfortunately she wasn’t there, but this was a PPQ show: a guaranteed celeb draw, so we waited patiently while a Sugababe, Pandemonia, Erin O’ Connor and Peaches Geldof took to their seats – the paps going insane for the latter who had gone pretty much unnoticed at the earlier Felder Felder show.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Tina Reidy


All photography by Matt Bramford

It’s always fun fun fun at PPQ and this season was no exception. A selection of 1990s party hits such as Felix’s Don’t You Want Me and Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam blasted from the sound system as super sexy models sashayed before us with that kind of confidence that would make even a boiler suit seem arousing. I’m not sure if it’s just the shows I’ve been to, but I’m overjoyed to say that there’s plenty of fuller, sexier models around this season. One at Felder Felder, modelling a slinky black bikini, had the hugest breasts I’ve seen on the catwalk since Ziad Ghanem’s A/W 2010 offering. Love that.






The first look brought a hint of 1990s Chanel – a cotton bouclé number with delicate silk fringing and a pencil skirt. More Chanel-esque pieces followed, but they’d been sexed up with cream tights that featured all sorts of embellishments – jewels, ribbon, embroidery.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Alia Gargum

Next came denim for Lee, so tight you might refer to it as ‘spray on’ if you were a berk. A Texan tuxedo was one of my favourite looks in the entire show, teamed with another pastel blue bouclé jacket worn like a cape. Models were all-American blonde with full red lips; my GOD it was a relief to see some models with sex appeal. Some of them this season have been dire. If I were being paid to walk up and down a runway in clothes like this (chances unlikely) I would most certainly be able to swish it up a bit.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Jessika Tarr

Cute pastel dresses were up next in mint and blush – a more demure offering – soon forgotten when the PPQ crest prints arrived – a sort of monogram for the club kid generation rather than the Bond Street elite. I LOVED this. It evoked that inimitable and glorious 1990s Versace period when Claudia and Naomi and Cindy frolicked in wild prints and enormous gold jewellery (GOD I could Google image those pictures ALL DAY) – but PPQ somehow made it seem as fresh as if it were brand new. I particularly liked the marriage of a blazer, micro skirt, vanity bag and ankle boot all in a PPQ crest/rose print. Daniella Westbrook would go BERSERK for this garb.


PPQ S/S 2012, illustrated by Naomi Law


Erin caught me pointing my camera in the opposite direction to the model…

Bodycon prints followed, giving the already confident models so much sex appeal that I wouldn’t have been surprised if an orgy had kicked off on row D. Zorro masks worn with straw hats added a hint of kink, and then came blouson blouses, encrusted belt buckles, more embroidery, leather harnesses with playful crystals in primary colours, pearl earrings, bondage tights, more vanity handbags, more denim – it was wonderfully exhausting and by far my favourite show of the day. Nobody parties like PPQ.





Watch the show here:

Categories ,1990s, ,Acid, ,BFC Tent, ,Cindy Crawford, ,Claudia Schiffer, ,Don’t You Want Me, ,fashion, ,Felix, ,Friday, ,Front Row, ,Lee, ,London Fashion Week, ,Monogram, ,Naomi Campbell, ,ppq, ,Pump Up The Jam, ,S/S 2012, ,Somerset House, ,Technotronic, ,Versace, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Toni & Guy – Hair Meets Wardrobe


Naomi Campbell, salve illustrated by Phoebe Kirk

So fashion week (unofficially) kicked off early this S/S 2012 season with a Thursday night show-cum-product launch from purveyors of the faukhawk, Toni & Guy. I had no idea what to expect from this. Well, clearly I imagined there’d be a fair few hair dos on display – but would it take the form of a normal runway show? What would the fashion be like? Would I leave desperate to dash to my nearest T&G salon? I was soon to find out.


Toni & Guy, illustrated by Gareth A Hopkins

Inside the uninspiring BFC tent within the awe-inspiring Somerset House, we were treated to champagne, Pimm’s and traumatic canapés that make it entirely impossible to look attractive whilst throwing them in your gob. I was starving though, so I did my best ‘I-don’t-even-care-about-looking-attractive’ face whilst hoovering them up. Inside the tent we were rewarded with pretty decent seats, an enormous goodie bag featuring the new Toni & Guy Hair Meets Wardrobe range, and a crisp A4 sheet detailing what was about to happen. I scanned down it and thought I read ‘with an introduction by Naomi Campbell’. I read through it again. I hadn’t been mistaken; ‘with an introduction by NAOMI CAMPBELL‘. There it was, in black and white. Really? The Naomi Campbell? Yikes.


Naomi Campbell, illustrated by Sally Jane Thompson

A scrum ensued when Olivia Palermo took her Frow seat right in front of us: flash after flash left a permanent glare on my eyeballs. She was joined by Matthew Williamson in a rather stylish hat, with yet more flashbulbs going off at record speed.


Olivia Palermo, illustrated by The Lovely Wars

The lights dimmed and an X-Factor-style voiceover requested we welcome NAOMI CAMPBELL. Not much of an ask, let’s face it. Out she sashayed to huge cheers, and I could actually feel one of my legs wobbling. I write the next sentence with caution and hide behind my screen to avoid any airborne mobile phones, but our Naomi isn’t the best public speaker. I can’t imagine she’d spent much time rehearsing, but she fluffed her way through it, referring to Hair Meets Wardrobe as ‘Meet the Wardrobe’, at which I chuckled. Having said that, a woman like Naomi could read the Yellow Pages aloud and I’d still be completely mesmerised.


All photography by Matt Bramford

On with the show, and a video popped up on the big screen showing some of nature’s finest matches: fish ‘n’ chips, gin and tonic and so on – I think they were getting at that hair and wardrobe are quiet important together – a concept not brand new to fashion. The show was then divided into four sections (the four components of the new Toni & Guy brand): classic, casual, glamour and creative.

Classic


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

The classic section featured 1960s-esque natural beauties with slick hair styles. Croydon facelifts were popular – a hairstyle that will never go out of fashion.

Casual
I loved the ‘casual’ section, and can’t wait to mess up my locks with the sea salt spray we were given. Sexy bedroom hair, that I’ve since seen on numerous catwalks, was presented in a variety of ways, from backcombed scruffy heaps piled atop models’ heads, to long natural styles with uneven plaits.

Glamour


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

T&G cranked up the glamour for what was by far my favourite portion of the show. 1920s tight waves walked alongside big, big backcombed locks and modern interpretations of the pompadour. Sexy, smokey eye make-up and flowing frocks brought the looks together perfectly.

Creative

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

This is praps what Toni&Guy are essentially known for – and I have to admit that I was expecting much more of this from the show. Y’know – the kind of hairstyle popular with Diesel-clad punters from Leeds. A couple of spiked coloured numbers felt a bit dated in the mix of all that glamour and sophistication, but a Louise Brooks-esque severe bob soon turned things around. A few cartoonish styles at the end brought a welcomed bit of fun.

Previous fashion editor of Tatler, Charlie Anderson, had styled the show and had married striking outfits with each of the hairstyles. it’s difficult to focus on hair alone when you’re used to watching models parade backwards and forwards, but the clothes (apart from the final pieces) were cool enough to bring the barnets to life without stealing the show. These were my final thoughts as another pap scrum formed where Naomi had taken her seat.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,BFC, ,Casual, ,Charlie Anderson, ,Classic, ,Creative, ,fashion, ,Fauxhawk, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Glamour, ,Hair, ,Hair Meets Wardrobe, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louise Brooks, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Phoebe Kirk, ,Pimm’s, ,S/S 2012, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Somerset House, ,The X Factor Voice Over Man, ,Toni & Guy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Toni & Guy – Hair Meets Wardrobe


Naomi Campbell, salve illustrated by Phoebe Kirk

So fashion week (unofficially) kicked off early this S/S 2012 season with a Thursday night show-cum-product launch from purveyors of the faukhawk, Toni & Guy. I had no idea what to expect from this. Well, clearly I imagined there’d be a fair few hair dos on display – but would it take the form of a normal runway show? What would the fashion be like? Would I leave desperate to dash to my nearest T&G salon? I was soon to find out.


Toni & Guy, illustrated by Gareth A Hopkins

Inside the uninspiring BFC tent within the awe-inspiring Somerset House, we were treated to champagne, Pimm’s and traumatic canapés that make it entirely impossible to look attractive whilst throwing them in your gob. I was starving though, so I did my best ‘I-don’t-even-care-about-looking-attractive’ face whilst hoovering them up. Inside the tent we were rewarded with pretty decent seats, an enormous goodie bag featuring the new Toni & Guy Hair Meets Wardrobe range, and a crisp A4 sheet detailing what was about to happen. I scanned down it and thought I read ‘with an introduction by Naomi Campbell’. I read through it again. I hadn’t been mistaken; ‘with an introduction by NAOMI CAMPBELL‘. There it was, in black and white. Really? The Naomi Campbell? Yikes.


Naomi Campbell, illustrated by Sally Jane Thompson

A scrum ensued when Olivia Palermo took her Frow seat right in front of us: flash after flash left a permanent glare on my eyeballs. She was joined by Matthew Williamson in a rather stylish hat, with yet more flashbulbs going off at record speed.


Olivia Palermo, illustrated by The Lovely Wars

The lights dimmed and an X-Factor-style voiceover requested we welcome NAOMI CAMPBELL. Not much of an ask, let’s face it. Out she sashayed to huge cheers, and I could actually feel one of my legs wobbling. I write the next sentence with caution and hide behind my screen to avoid any airborne mobile phones, but our Naomi isn’t the best public speaker. I can’t imagine she’d spent much time rehearsing, but she fluffed her way through it, referring to Hair Meets Wardrobe as ‘Meet the Wardrobe’, at which I chuckled. Having said that, a woman like Naomi could read the Yellow Pages aloud and I’d still be completely mesmerised.


All photography by Matt Bramford

On with the show, and a video popped up on the big screen showing some of nature’s finest matches: fish ‘n’ chips, gin and tonic and so on – I think they were getting at that hair and wardrobe are quiet important together – a concept not brand new to fashion. The show was then divided into four sections (the four components of the new Toni & Guy brand): classic, casual, glamour and creative.

Classic


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

The classic section featured 1960s-esque natural beauties with slick hair styles. Croydon facelifts were popular – a hairstyle that will never go out of fashion.

Casual
I loved the ‘casual’ section, and can’t wait to mess up my locks with the sea salt spray we were given. Sexy bedroom hair, that I’ve since seen on numerous catwalks, was presented in a variety of ways, from backcombed scruffy heaps piled atop models’ heads, to long natural styles with uneven plaits.

Glamour


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

T&G cranked up the glamour for what was by far my favourite portion of the show. 1920s tight waves walked alongside big, big backcombed locks and modern interpretations of the pompadour. Sexy, smokey eye make-up and flowing frocks brought the looks together perfectly.

Creative

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

This is praps what Toni&Guy are essentially known for – and I have to admit that I was expecting much more of this from the show. Y’know – the kind of hairstyle popular with Diesel-clad punters from Leeds. A couple of spiked coloured numbers felt a bit dated in the mix of all that glamour and sophistication, but a Louise Brooks-esque severe bob soon turned things around. A few cartoonish styles at the end brought a welcomed bit of fun.

Previous fashion editor of Tatler, Charlie Anderson, had styled the show and had married striking outfits with each of the hairstyles. it’s difficult to focus on hair alone when you’re used to watching models parade backwards and forwards, but the clothes (apart from the final pieces) were cool enough to bring the barnets to life without stealing the show. These were my final thoughts as another pap scrum formed where Naomi had taken her seat.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,BFC, ,Casual, ,Charlie Anderson, ,Classic, ,Creative, ,fashion, ,Fauxhawk, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Glamour, ,Hair, ,Hair Meets Wardrobe, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louise Brooks, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Phoebe Kirk, ,Pimm’s, ,S/S 2012, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Somerset House, ,The X Factor Voice Over Man, ,Toni & Guy

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Amelia’s Magazine | Green Gold, the Supermodel and the Blood Diamond – a fabulous tale of ethical jewellery


Illustration by Paul Shinn

So I popped along to the opening of 123 Bethnal Green Road this week with Amelia, here who I found outside clutching her phone, more about medications looking a little anxious, sickness surrounded by Dr Noki’s entourage of weird and wonderful fashionos. I hadn’t expected this at all – and then remembered that this new store boasted an entire floor of Dr Noki’s fashions. Amelia and I both remarked what an exhausting effort it must be to be part of his clan, which left me wondering what said clan members wear to the supermarket – surely not this rig-out everyday?


Illustration by Paul Shinn

123 Bethnal Green Road promises to be a ‘sustainable fashion concept store’ and is many years in the making – gosh, that place has been ‘opening soon!’ longer than I’ve been in London. It’s a beautiful on both the inside and the outside, though – and a skim of the press release reveals, unsurprisingly, that it’s a listed building – which probably explains the hold up in it’s opening.


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

Brought to you from the people behind Vintage For Sale, these guys know their fashion and the store stocks a range of sustainable goods – from Dr Noki’s somewhat strange NHS range featuring the now ‘iconic’ New Era reworked hats, to vintage finds with the ’123′ label. The latter being more my cup of tea (with no offence to Dr Noki, of course) here there’s lots of interesting finds. Reclaimed fabrics have been reworked by the 123 design team, featuring the most covetable cuts – mini skirts, layered tops and ruffles are aplenty, making using of fascinating fabrics with all sorts of colours, patterns and textures.



Illustrations by Natasha Thompson

The store dedicates an entire floor to whacky Dr Noki, described as a ‘fashion rebel’. The doctor (I’d like to see his accreditation, please) is famed for said New-Era re-workings and outlandish creations, including turd necklaces for pregnant women. Yeah, you heard me. His ethos is a good one, though – he’s challenging the corporate giants of the fashion industry and creating one-off art pieces that, for all their nu-rave conotations, are pretty stunning…

…and the evening will remembered for Noki and his harem of followers, who push the fashion boundaries and are aching to be photographed (which suits me fine). Here are some photographs from the event for you to feast your eyes on:


Look at this guy. ACHING to be photographed, I tell ya. Pubis tattoos will be everywhere come SS2011.

All photographs by Matt Bramford

Feelin’ hot hot hot… we arrived at the field with a blanket and straw hat, check and headed straight to the bar. Queuing for what felt like a life-time in the blistering heat, advice sounds of Johnny Flynn drifted through the air along with the smells of barbecued sausages. Queuing aside, we were happy.

Ciders in hand we weaved through camping chairs and stepped apologetically over blankets, occasionally catching the odd sandaled foot or splashing a little cider over a resting head… all part of the joy of festivalling, we found a spot, lay the blanket on the ground just in time for Laura Marling to take to the stage. ‘Afternoon everyone!’ Laura’s soothing voice echoed over the masses, ‘what a day!’…. people woo’d and clapped and cheered. In two years, Marling’s voice and lyrics have matured from pretty ditties to soulful folk… and her performance this weekend reeled in an eclectic crowd. Folk of all ages stood, eyes fixed and humming and Marling’s voice resonated. Songs from Marling’s latest album I Speak Because I Can mixed with original tracks from My Manic and I had us reminiscing, spinning around and singing-along.

Between sets we ate, drank and lay gazing into the brilliant blue ether… catching a bit of celebrity football, Mumford & Sons giving it their best. Seasick Steve was next up, and took to the stage with crowds-a-roaring. Unfortunately, due to minor sunstroke, we weren’t around for the whole set, but from what we saw, as always Seasick gave a cracking performance.

Mumford & Sons belted out there emotive country-inspired folk, now well-known from their vast radio coverage, and had the audience fixed. Looking and sounding the part, and slotting in perfectly to the Hop Farm scene.

Whilst queuing for a lamb kofta and chatting to a wonderful lady who lives on a pig farm in Cambridgeshire, who told me stories of her days as a festival queen in the 70s… (she was so small she used to crouch on the loo seat, feet on the seat – to avoid sitting on it… little ladies – take note!) Ray Davies performed and it came as pleasant surprise to hear the well-known Kinks records: Lola, You Really Got Me and all the rest. At the age of 66, Ray’s voice carried across fields, still very much in tact.

Last but not least, good old Bob Dylan appeared on stage, his (very) husky tones hooking the expectant field of fans, and taking them on a tumultuous journey through a plethora of songs steeped in sentiment.

Finally, an incredible set from Devendra Banhart ensued; no longer the long-haired folky-dolky guy that once plucked at our heartstrings, Devendra has completely reinvented his style: short-back-and-sides, checked shirt and long yellow cardie buttoned up; the sounds were funky and playful, his voice endearing and still with that jagged edge that made him famous. Even a few Roxy Music covers were thrown in to get us grooving. We danced until the cows came home.

All in all, a grand day out. Thank you Hop Farm!


Mia Farrow, visit illustrated by Natasha Thompson

Tall tales of cursed jewels are ten a penny.  From the classic novel The Moonstone to the very real Hope diamond, the story is pretty formulaic: huge gem is prised from eye socket of sacred statue; setting in motion a thousand misfortunes – like an Indiana Jones-style booby trap. The curse followed the Moonstone from exotic India to the English countryside; and the hapless Marie Antoinette is falsely rumoured to have lost her head wearing the huge Hope diamond. 

In fact there seems to be a sneaking suspicion that there can be hell to pay for gems with a murky past.  But the modern-day mystery surrounding supermodel Naomi Campbell and the blood diamond that actress Mia Farrow alleges she received from Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia and war criminal, over at Nelson Mandela’s pad, shows not only is truth stranger than fiction, but that mud – or should that be blood? – sticks. 

Since 2002 when The Kimberley Process “[an] … initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.” was introduced, and with a little help from Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2006 box office hit, consumers have been keen to bag rocks with a clearer conscience. In fact the ethical jewellery movement has gained such momentum that this year’s London Jewellery Week (LJW) saw the launch of Essence, ‘an Ethical Jewellery Pavilion’.  Showcasing pioneering ethical luxury jewellery brands like CRED and Fifi Bijoux alongside cutting edge names, like Ute Decker who uses recycled silver and bio resin, and some future glitterati from London Metropolitan University experimenting with materials like nylon. 

Christian Cheesman, of CRED, speaking at the What is Ethical Jewellery? Debate at LJW said, for him, ethical jewellery means redefining luxury to encompass “inner or spiritual values”. But the union of spirit and sparkle is not an easy one.  Cyanide, the favoured poison of many an Agatha Christie murderer, is used to extract gold, with lethal leakages into local water supplies a potential by product. According to the No Dirty Gold (NDG) campaign a gold ring results in 20 tonnes of mine waste. And miners, often fleeced by manipulative middle men, live lacking life’s bare necessities.  Thus CRED The “world’s first Fair Trade jewellery retailer” uses Oro Verde green gold, “the most loved gold in the world”, to create its wedding rings.  Oro Verde gold being produced using an “environmentally sustainable, socially responsible form of artisanal mining”.   


Illustration by Jenny Costello

NDG’s slogan: ‘The more you know, the less gold glows.’ is exactly the knowledge Vivien Johnston, Director of Fifi Bijoux, is keen to harness.  Recently dubbed “The Fairest of Them All” by Harpers Bazaar, Fifi Bijoux highlights hot topics with discreet designs in ethically sourced materials: from the humming bird pendant ‘inspired by our fragile earth’ to the Little Acorn pendant with 10% of profits going to sponsor children at risk of exploitation in Ghanaian mines. When I suggest to Vivien it’s about ‘educating’ the consumer she corrects me, it’s about making an “informed choice”, whether that is ethical or not, she says. 

Which brings us to ‘Essence’, a curious name for a jewellery showcase? It evokes aromas and flavours, not twinkling trinkets.  But according to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘essence’ can also mean:”the intrinsic nature of something; the quality which determines something’s character.”.  And it’s this facet of the word which resonates with the ethical jewellery ethos. We buy jewellery to mark memorable moments in our lives; and the meaning attributed to these special pieces makes it all the more imperitive they be produced in the best possible way. Ute Decker, for example, influenced by the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, crudely ‘imperfect beauty’, makes a feature of the creative process itself so that “…each object carries a meaning beyond its functional use.”. 

And from next Valentine’s Day wearing your heart on your sleeve – or round your lover’s neck – will be made easier with the launch of Fairtrade Fairmined gold, the first ever third party independent certification for gold, developed by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM). The launch date seems to symbolise the need to ‘spread the love’ all the way from your luxury pad here to impoverished mining communities there; as well as emphasising ethics as a high priority consideration to privileged consumers. 


Naomi Campbell, illustrated by James Wilson

So as notorious Naomi hotfoots it to The Hague to testify at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, to “…help clarify events in 1997.”, it seems hardly surprising that someone with a string of ethical boobs to her name – famously U-turning on her “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign for PETA – may be embroiled in such a saga. However, perhaps, this time, the ever fascinating flawed star will pull in the punters the good and the green sometimes fail to reach, casting some light on an industry which often bedazzles and beguiles. Let’s just hope, this time, her heart is in the right place.   

Categories ,Alliance for Responsible Mining, ,Blood Diamond, ,Charles Taylor, ,CRED, ,Diamonds, ,Essence, ,Ethical Jewellery, ,fairtrade, ,Fifi Bijoux, ,ghana, ,Hope Diamond, ,Indiana Jones, ,Jewels, ,Leonardo DiCaprio, ,Liberia, ,London Jewellery Week, ,London Metropolitan University, ,Marie Antoinette, ,Mia Farrow, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Nelson Mandela, ,No Dirty Gold, ,Oro Verde, ,Oxford English Dictionary, ,PETA, ,Sierra Leone, ,The Hague, ,The Kimberley Process, ,The Moonstone, ,Ute Decker, ,Vivien Johnston

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Amelia’s Magazine | SpeedArting: the art of seduction

Thumb
The Cinematic Orchestra were playing on the laptop. With the rain petering down outside, erectile the tarmac awash with its newfound uninhabitable river, viagra I opened the enormous wooden door and peered outside. I didn’t want to go and rush away with the stream of no return. I wanted to stay here, treat with him. His jeans were baggy and beautiful, his carpet pulled at the soles of my tights. I left. To Build A Home faded.

Cinematic Orchestra by Matilde Sazio

Man With A Movie Camera Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Walking back along the slippery treadmill of road I made no effort to shelter from the swiping blankets of droplets. My brow furrowed and my eyes looked up as I stood at the top of the hill and looked at the sea from left to right, my heart taking my breath away. Unquestionably gluttonous for punishment I fell into my room and To Build A Home was alive again. I was confused. I was in love.

Dawn by The Cinematic Orchestra is on and i’m walking to the beach, with a cider and baguette in my backpack. It’s a beautiful sunny day and the strings mix with the birds as I feel my eyes glint in the harmony of the simplicity of now. Of this love sitting against the wall.

The Royal Albert Hall Karina Yarv

The Royal Albert Hall Illustration by Karina Yarv

I’m at The Royal Albert Hall, Breathe by The Cinematic Orchestra is playing live. The London Metropolitan Orchestra are stationed and moving with fierce precision. The circle envelops me, I look and he smiles. I peer the miles down from our sectioned box and I see Heidi Vogel is about to unleash and pour her voice over the hall again. She does it slowly and blends with the instruments before together they gallop and circulate the grand hall, swirling us up in a haze of stunning sound.

Heidi Vogel by Matilde Sazio

Heidi Vogel, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The Cinematic Orchestra in their live form are impressive and encapsulating. Like tablets of emotion, they use their prowess to orchestrate and leave impressions upon the many. They were formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. A Ninja Tune employee, he arrived in South London from Scotland, via Yorkshire and Cardiff. With a love of jazz bass players, rhythm sections and film soundtracks he worked on The Cinematic Orchestra in his own time. After getting together a group of jazz players, he delivered the debut album, ‘Motion’, on the Ninja Tune. It was considered the perfect soundtrack to the dangerous bar, the femme fatale, the hero and the dead, with throbbing riffs, repeated loops and instrumental phrases. It’s music on tenterhooks, awaiting the next explosion of this, that and everything.

HelsLights

The Cinematic Orchestra tracks certainly sound as though they have been lifted from a gorgeous, very visual film, yet of course these films do not exist. That is, they didn’t until their first film soundtrack came along in the shape of ‘Man With A Movie Camera’. In 1999. Swinscoe was asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2000 if the band wanted to score a silent movie to open the celebrations. The film was Dziga Vertov’s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, a 1929 early documentary cinema film from the Soviet Union, focusing on the daily life of an average worker. The work made the band think about unwrapping musical narratives slowly, combing sounds and textures. Influencing ‘Every Day’, the ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ album was released in 2003, on Ninja Tune. ‘Every Day’ was The Cinematic Orchestra’s second album, released again on Ninja Tune. With ten minute tunes, like ‘All Things to All Men’, they experimented with softly, softly orchestra mixed with moody deep notes. Swinscoe worked with bass player, Phil France on this album and enlisted the talents of Roots Manuva and modern Jazz legend, Luke Flowers.

‘Ma Fleur’ on Ninja Tune, is the band’s latest album, released in 2007, and features To Build A Home, as well as Breathe and Child Song. It feels very refined and yet sporadic in its waterfall outbursts of music. Adding to their film credentials, The Cinematic Orchestra also recorded the soundtrack to the Disneynature film The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos in 2008. They also released; Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2008, on Ninja Tune, after their last performance at the prestigious Hall.

stage1

Listening to their music in such a venue can only be described as very special. It is one of those ‘nothing and yet everything matters right now’ moments. You are right there with every note, engulfed in a hall, reverberating in the clarity the sounds produce. It is difficult not to be moved by the rising and falling emotions, the burst of the strings, the flowing piano. The serene and yet momentous feeling. So what an earth can it be like to actually be on that stage, and play at The Royal Albert Hall, so steeped in grandeur, beauty and respect? I asked Heidi Vogel some questions about this after her incredible performance.

What was it like performing at The Royal Albert Hall last night?
It was a night I will never forget.  Performing at the Albert Hall,  on that beautiful stage,  and in such a beautiful space,  looking out to a sea of people filling the entire hall to its fullest capacity, is an experience unlike anything else.

Helsrah

What was the best moment for you?
Standing at the side of the stage waiting to come onto the stage for my first vocal of the evening, which was on ‘Burn Out’. I was so excited to come onto the stage and join in with the Orchestra, to be part of the music that was being made. I was standing there, all ready and the Orchestra had come in for the beginning of Ivo’s piano solo. It was such a moving moment in the music, and I felt my hairs standing up hearing it being played like that with The London Metropolitan Orchestra. It was really something so special.

How does the RAH compare to other venues around the world? Where in the world have you loved performing?
Well RAH can’t be compared to anywhere in the world,  it is so completely special and unique. I have played on many wonderful stages that I loved, and RAH is unique among them all. We have played in Sete in France in the open air Roman Amphitheatre on the sea, and lovely outdoor stages such as in Toronto Harbourfront, or Milan Jazz Festival, The Big Chill, Fuji Rock,  and many beautiful theatres, festivals and countries that we loved.

roof

This night was Ninja Tune’s 20th birthday, Ninja Tune XX. They celebrated with the band that produces real and imaginary film soundtracks, formed in the minds of people whose lives they have run beside. Without an actual film, the music lends itself to whatever narrative you bestow upon it. To me obviously, this has allowed me to wallow in my own sadness and skip in ecstasy (ha!) But to see The Cinematic Orchestra live was to feel the elation of an evening comprising of a huge range of talented musicians, performing beautifully. It was a night to rejoice in the achievement of humans producing descriptive and emotive sound that mirrors and acknowledges life in all its forms and idiosyncrasies.

The Cinematic Orchestra were playing on the laptop. With the rain petering down outside, physician the tarmac awash with its newfound uninhabitable river, I opened the enormous wooden door and peered outside. I didn’t want to go and rush away with the stream of no return. I wanted to stay here, with him. His jeans were baggy and beautiful, his carpet pulled at the soles of my tights. I left. To Build A Home faded.

Cinematic Orchestra by Matilde Sazio

Man With A Movie Camera Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Walking back along the slippery treadmill of road I made no effort to shelter from the swiping blankets of droplets. My brow furrowed and my eyes looked up as I stood at the top of the hill and looked at the sea from left to right, my heart taking my breath away. Unquestionably gluttonous for punishment I fell into my room and To Build A Home was alive again. I was confused. I was in love.

Dawn by The Cinematic Orchestra is on and i’m walking to the beach, with a cider and baguette in my backpack. It’s a beautiful sunny day and the strings mix with the birds as I feel my eyes glint in the harmony of the simplicity of now. Of this love sitting against the wall.

The Royal Albert Hall Karina Yarv

The Royal Albert Hall Illustration by Karina Yarv

I’m at The Royal Albert Hall, Breathe by The Cinematic Orchestra is playing live. The London Metropolitan Orchestra are stationed and moving with fierce precision. The circle envelops me, I look and he smiles. I peer the miles down from our sectioned box and I see Heidi Vogel is about to unleash and pour her voice over the hall again. She does it slowly and blends with the instruments before together they gallop and circulate the grand hall, swirling us up in a haze of stunning sound.

Heidi Vogel by Matilde Sazio

Heidi Vogel, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The Cinematic Orchestra in their live form are impressive and encapsulating. Like tablets of emotion, they use their prowess to orchestrate and leave impressions upon the many. They were formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. A Ninja Tune employee, he arrived in South London from Scotland, via Yorkshire and Cardiff. With a love of jazz bass players, rhythm sections and film soundtracks he worked on The Cinematic Orchestra in his own time. After getting together a group of jazz players, he delivered the debut album, ‘Motion’, on the Ninja Tune. It was considered the perfect soundtrack to the dangerous bar, the femme fatale, the hero and the dead, with throbbing riffs, repeated loops and instrumental phrases. It’s music on tenterhooks, awaiting the next explosion of this, that and everything.

HelsLights

The Cinematic Orchestra tracks certainly sound as though they have been lifted from a gorgeous, very visual film, yet of course these films do not exist. That is, they didn’t until their first film soundtrack came along in the shape of ‘Man With A Movie Camera’. In 1999. Swinscoe was asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2000 if the band wanted to score a silent movie to open the celebrations. The film was Dziga Vertov’s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, a 1929 early documentary cinema film from the Soviet Union, focusing on the daily life of an average worker. The work made the band think about unwrapping musical narratives slowly, combing sounds and textures. Influencing ‘Every Day’, the ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ album was released in 2003, on Ninja Tune. ‘Every Day’ was The Cinematic Orchestra’s second album, released again on Ninja Tune. With ten minute tunes, like ‘All Things to All Men’, they experimented with softly, softly orchestra mixed with moody deep notes. Swinscoe worked with bass player, Phil France on this album and enlisted the talents of Roots Manuva and modern Jazz legend, Luke Flowers.

‘Ma Fleur’ on Ninja Tune, is the band’s latest album, released in 2007, and features To Build A Home, as well as Breathe and Child Song. It feels very refined and yet sporadic in its waterfall outbursts of music. Adding to their film credentials, The Cinematic Orchestra also recorded the soundtrack to the Disneynature film The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos in 2008. They also released; Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2008, on Ninja Tune, after their last performance at the prestigious Hall.

stage1

Listening to their music in such a venue can only be described as very special. It is one of those ‘nothing and yet everything matters right now’ moments. You are right there with every note, engulfed in a hall, reverberating in the clarity the sounds produce. It is difficult not to be moved by the rising and falling emotions, the burst of the strings, the flowing piano. The serene and yet momentous feeling. So what an earth can it be like to actually be on that stage, and play at The Royal Albert Hall, so steeped in grandeur, beauty and respect? I asked Heidi Vogel some questions about this after her incredible performance.

What was it like performing at The Royal Albert Hall last night?
It was a night I will never forget.  Performing at the Albert Hall,  on that beautiful stage,  and in such a beautiful space,  looking out to a sea of people filling the entire hall to its fullest capacity, is an experience unlike anything else.

Helsrah

What was the best moment for you?
Standing at the side of the stage waiting to come onto the stage for my first vocal of the evening, which was on ‘Burn Out’. I was so excited to come onto the stage and join in with the Orchestra, to be part of the music that was being made. I was standing there, all ready and the Orchestra had come in for the beginning of Ivo’s piano solo. It was such a moving moment in the music, and I felt my hairs standing up hearing it being played like that with The London Metropolitan Orchestra. It was really something so special.

How does the RAH compare to other venues around the world? Where in the world have you loved performing?
Well RAH can’t be compared to anywhere in the world,  it is so completely special and unique. I have played on many wonderful stages that I loved, and RAH is unique among them all. We have played in Sete in France in the open air Roman Amphitheatre on the sea, and lovely outdoor stages such as in Toronto Harbourfront, or Milan Jazz Festival, The Big Chill, Fuji Rock,  and many beautiful theatres, festivals and countries that we loved.

roof

This night was Ninja Tune’s 20th birthday, Ninja Tune XX. They celebrated with the band that produces real and imaginary film soundtracks, formed in the minds of people whose lives they have run beside. Without an actual film, the music lends itself to whatever narrative you bestow upon it. To me obviously, this has allowed me to wallow in my own sadness and skip in ecstasy (ha!) But to see The Cinematic Orchestra live was to feel the elation of an evening comprising of a huge range of talented musicians, performing beautifully. It was a night to rejoice in the achievement of humans producing descriptive and emotive sound that mirrors and acknowledges life in all its forms and idiosyncrasies.

Thumb

The Cinematic Orchestra were playing on the laptop. With the rain petering down outside, approved the tarmac awash with its newfound uninhabitable river, I opened the enormous wooden door and peered outside. I didn’t want to go and rush away with the stream of no return. I wanted to stay here, with him. His jeans were baggy and beautiful, his carpet pulled at the soles of my tights. I left. To Build A Home faded.

Cinematic Orchestra by Matilde Sazio

Man With A Movie Camera Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Walking back along the slippery treadmill of road I made no effort to shelter from the swiping blankets of droplets. My brow furrowed and my eyes looked up as I stood at the top of the hill and looked at the sea from left to right, my heart taking my breath away. Unquestionably gluttonous for punishment I fell into my room and To Build A Home was alive again. I was confused. I was in love.

Dawn by The Cinematic Orchestra is on and i’m walking to the beach, with a cider and baguette in my backpack. It’s a beautiful sunny day and the strings mix with the birds as I feel my eyes glint in the harmony of the simplicity of now. Of this love sitting against the wall.

The Royal Albert Hall Karina Yarv

The Royal Albert Hall Illustration by Karina Yarv

I’m at The Royal Albert Hall, Breathe by The Cinematic Orchestra is playing live. The London Metropolitan Orchestra are stationed and moving with fierce precision. The circle envelops me, I look and he smiles. I peer the miles down from our sectioned box and I see Heidi Vogel is about to unleash and pour her voice over the hall again. She does it slowly and blends with the instruments before together they gallop and circulate the grand hall, swirling us up in a haze of stunning sound.

Heidi Vogel by Matilde Sazio

Heidi Vogel, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The Cinematic Orchestra in their live form are impressive and encapsulating. Like tablets of emotion, they use their prowess to orchestrate and leave impressions upon the many. They were formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. A Ninja Tune employee, he arrived in South London from Scotland, via Yorkshire and Cardiff. With a love of jazz bass players, rhythm sections and film soundtracks he worked on The Cinematic Orchestra in his own time. After getting together a group of jazz players, he delivered the debut album, ‘Motion’, on the Ninja Tune. It was considered the perfect soundtrack to the dangerous bar, the femme fatale, the hero and the dead, with throbbing riffs, repeated loops and instrumental phrases. It’s music on tenterhooks, awaiting the next explosion of this, that and everything.

HelsLights

The Cinematic Orchestra tracks certainly sound as though they have been lifted from a gorgeous, very visual film, yet of course these films do not exist. That is, they didn’t until their first film soundtrack came along in the shape of ‘Man With A Movie Camera’. In 1999. Swinscoe was asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2000 if the band wanted to score a silent movie to open the celebrations. The film was Dziga Vertov’s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, a 1929 early documentary cinema film from the Soviet Union, focusing on the daily life of an average worker. The work made the band think about unwrapping musical narratives slowly, combing sounds and textures. Influencing ‘Every Day’, the ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ album was released in 2003, on Ninja Tune. ‘Every Day’ was The Cinematic Orchestra’s second album, released again on Ninja Tune. With ten minute tunes, like ‘All Things to All Men’, they experimented with softly, softly orchestra mixed with moody deep notes. Swinscoe worked with bass player, Phil France on this album and enlisted the talents of Roots Manuva and modern Jazz legend, Luke Flowers.

‘Ma Fleur’ on Ninja Tune, is the band’s latest album, released in 2007, and features To Build A Home, as well as Breathe and Child Song. It feels very refined and yet sporadic in its waterfall outbursts of music. Adding to their film credentials, The Cinematic Orchestra also recorded the soundtrack to the Disneynature film The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos in 2008. They also released; Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2008, on Ninja Tune, after their last performance at the prestigious Hall.

stage1

Listening to their music in such a venue can only be described as very special. It is one of those ‘nothing and yet everything matters right now’ moments. You are right there with every note, engulfed in a hall, reverberating in the clarity the sounds produce. It is difficult not to be moved by the rising and falling emotions, the burst of the strings, the flowing piano. The serene and yet momentous feeling. So what an earth can it be like to actually be on that stage, and play at The Royal Albert Hall, so steeped in grandeur, beauty and respect? I asked Heidi Vogel some questions about this after her incredible performance.

What was it like performing at The Royal Albert Hall last night?
It was a night I will never forget.  Performing at the Albert Hall,  on that beautiful stage,  and in such a beautiful space,  looking out to a sea of people filling the entire hall to its fullest capacity, is an experience unlike anything else.

Helsrah

What was the best moment for you?
Standing at the side of the stage waiting to come onto the stage for my first vocal of the evening, which was on ‘Burn Out’. I was so excited to come onto the stage and join in with the Orchestra, to be part of the music that was being made. I was standing there, all ready and the Orchestra had come in for the beginning of Ivo’s piano solo. It was such a moving moment in the music, and I felt my hairs standing up hearing it being played like that with The London Metropolitan Orchestra. It was really something so special.

How does the RAH compare to other venues around the world? Where in the world have you loved performing?
Well RAH can’t be compared to anywhere in the world,  it is so completely special and unique. I have played on many wonderful stages that I loved, and RAH is unique among them all. We have played in Sete in France in the open air Roman Amphitheatre on the sea, and lovely outdoor stages such as in Toronto Harbourfront, or Milan Jazz Festival, The Big Chill, Fuji Rock,  and many beautiful theatres, festivals and countries that we loved.

roof

This night was Ninja Tune’s 20th birthday, Ninja Tune XX. They celebrated with the band that produces real and imaginary film soundtracks, formed in the minds of people whose lives they have run beside. Without an actual film, the music lends itself to whatever narrative you bestow upon it. To me obviously, this has allowed me to wallow in my own sadness and skip in ecstasy (ha!) But to see The Cinematic Orchestra live was to feel the elation of an evening comprising of a huge range of talented musicians, performing beautifully. It was a night to rejoice in the achievement of humans producing descriptive and emotive sound that mirrors and acknowledges life in all its forms and idiosyncrasies.

The Cinematic Orchestra were playing on the laptop. With the rain petering down outside, help the tarmac awash with its newfound uninhabitable river, cialis 40mg I opened the enormous wooden door and peered outside. I didn’t want to go and rush away with the stream of no return. I wanted to stay here, pilule with him. His jeans were baggy and beautiful, his carpet pulled at the soles of my tights. I left. To Build A Home faded.

Cinematic Orchestra by Matilde Sazio

Man With A Movie Camera Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Walking back along the slippery treadmill of road I made no effort to shelter from the swiping blankets of droplets. My brow furrowed and my eyes looked up as I stood at the top of the hill and looked at the sea from left to right, my heart taking my breath away. Unquestionably gluttonous for punishment I fell into my room and To Build A Home was alive again. I was confused. I was in love.

Dawn by The Cinematic Orchestra is on and i’m walking to the beach, with a cider and baguette in my backpack. It’s a beautiful sunny day and the strings mix with the birds as I feel my eyes glint in the harmony of the simplicity of now. Of this love sitting against the wall.

The Royal Albert Hall Karina Yarv

The Royal Albert Hall Illustration by Karina Yarv

I’m at The Royal Albert Hall, Breathe by The Cinematic Orchestra is playing live. The London Metropolitan Orchestra are stationed and moving with fierce precision. The circle envelops me, I look and he smiles. I peer the miles down from our sectioned box and I see Heidi Vogel is about to unleash and pour her voice over the hall again. She does it slowly and blends with the instruments before together they gallop and circulate the grand hall, swirling us up in a haze of stunning sound.

Heidi Vogel by Matilde Sazio

Heidi Vogel, Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The Cinematic Orchestra in their live form are impressive and encapsulating. Like tablets of emotion, they use their prowess to orchestrate and leave impressions upon the many. They were formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. A Ninja Tune employee, he arrived in South London from Scotland, via Yorkshire and Cardiff. With a love of jazz bass players, rhythm sections and film soundtracks he worked on The Cinematic Orchestra in his own time. After getting together a group of jazz players, he delivered the debut album, ‘Motion’, on the Ninja Tune. It was considered the perfect soundtrack to the dangerous bar, the femme fatale, the hero and the dead, with throbbing riffs, repeated loops and instrumental phrases. It’s music on tenterhooks, awaiting the next explosion of this, that and everything.

HelsLights

The Cinematic Orchestra tracks certainly sound as though they have been lifted from a gorgeous, very visual film, yet of course these films do not exist. That is, they didn’t until their first film soundtrack came along in the shape of ‘Man With A Movie Camera’. In 1999. Swinscoe was asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2000 if the band wanted to score a silent movie to open the celebrations. The film was Dziga Vertov’s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, a 1929 early documentary cinema film from the Soviet Union, focusing on the daily life of an average worker. The work made the band think about unwrapping musical narratives slowly, combing sounds and textures. Influencing ‘Every Day’, the ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ album was released in 2003, on Ninja Tune. ‘Every Day’ was The Cinematic Orchestra’s second album, released again on Ninja Tune. With ten minute tunes, like ‘All Things to All Men’, they experimented with softly, softly orchestra mixed with moody deep notes. Swinscoe worked with bass player, Phil France on this album and enlisted the talents of Roots Manuva and modern Jazz legend, Luke Flowers.

‘Ma Fleur’ on Ninja Tune, is the band’s latest album, released in 2007, and features To Build A Home, as well as Breathe and Child Song. It feels very refined and yet sporadic in its waterfall outbursts of music. Adding to their film credentials, The Cinematic Orchestra also recorded the soundtrack to the Disneynature film The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos in 2008. They also released; Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2008, on Ninja Tune, after their last performance at the prestigious Hall.

stage1

Listening to their music in such a venue can only be described as very special. It is one of those ‘nothing and yet everything matters right now’ moments. You are right there with every note, engulfed in a hall, reverberating in the clarity the sounds produce. It is difficult not to be moved by the rising and falling emotions, the burst of the strings, the flowing piano. The serene and yet momentous feeling. So what an earth can it be like to actually be on that stage, and play at The Royal Albert Hall, so steeped in grandeur, beauty and respect? I asked Heidi Vogel some questions about this after her incredible performance.

What was it like performing at The Royal Albert Hall last night?
It was a night I will never forget.  Performing at the Albert Hall,  on that beautiful stage,  and in such a beautiful space,  looking out to a sea of people filling the entire hall to its fullest capacity, is an experience unlike anything else.

Helsrah

What was the best moment for you?
Standing at the side of the stage waiting to come onto the stage for my first vocal of the evening, which was on ‘Burn Out’. I was so excited to come onto the stage and join in with the Orchestra, to be part of the music that was being made. I was standing there, all ready and the Orchestra had come in for the beginning of Ivo’s piano solo. It was such a moving moment in the music, and I felt my hairs standing up hearing it being played like that with The London Metropolitan Orchestra. It was really something so special.

How does the RAH compare to other venues around the world? Where in the world have you loved performing?
Well RAH can’t be compared to anywhere in the world,  it is so completely special and unique. I have played on many wonderful stages that I loved, and RAH is unique among them all. We have played in Sete in France in the open air Roman Amphitheatre on the sea, and lovely outdoor stages such as in Toronto Harbourfront, or Milan Jazz Festival, The Big Chill, Fuji Rock,  and many beautiful theatres, festivals and countries that we loved.

roof

This night was Ninja Tune’s 20th birthday, Ninja Tune XX. They celebrated with the band that produces real and imaginary film soundtracks, formed in the minds of people whose lives they have run beside. Without an actual film, the music lends itself to whatever narrative you bestow upon it. To me obviously, this has allowed me to wallow in my own sadness and skip in ecstasy (ha!) But to see The Cinematic Orchestra live was to feel the elation of an evening comprising of a huge range of talented musicians, performing beautifully. It was a night to rejoice in the achievement of humans producing descriptive and emotive sound that mirrors and acknowledges life in all its forms and idiosyncrasies.


All illustrations by Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is very much the sonic embodiment of its band members. Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl are intrigued by everything around them and distill this into the music that they make, diagnosis like two wide-eyed innocents, holding each others hands and trying to make sense of the wonders and absurdities of life with the aide of a couple of mics and a multitude of instruments. Their recently released new album Acoustic Sessions (which can be brought here) acts as the perfect showcase for their union as both musical and romantic collaborators. Sean and Charlotte duet together on every track; her voice is as delicate as a thimble and rings clear as a bell, a perfect addition to Sean’s deeper timbre (which interestingly, has the slightest trace of a Liverpudlian burr to it when he sings). The songs are whimsical without being twee, and while they pay homage to 60′s folk-pop, there is no element of pastiche.

My hour spent with Sean and Charlotte on their whistle-stop touchdown in London was an illuminating peek into the high-octane lifestyle of two very in-demand individuals. While most of our music interviews take place in make-shift back stage areas, this interview is conducted 22 floors up at the William Morris Agency housed in London’s Centre Point Building. The plush meeting room offers sweeping views across Central London. Managers and PR’s field incoming emails and update schedules on ever buzzing Blackberries, but thankfully Sean and Charlotte seem unaffected by the surrounding melee. The first surprise of the morning comes when they reveal that the print version of Amelia’s Magazine was one of their favourite publications. “We’ve read almost every single issue!” exclaims Sean as Charlotte explains that their sound engineer on Acoustic Sessions introduced them to us and subsequently, the Amelia’s Magazine issues were the go-to reading material as the album was recorded.

As abstract as one of their self-designed illustrations, the interview takes the form of a free flowing stream of consciousness with Sean and Charlotte finishing off one another’s sentences and thoughts. (Their website wasn’t wrong when it wrote that The GOASTT work from one heart despite having two separate minds). While it wasn’t the typical Q+A that I was anticipating, it was way more fun – and fascinating – to touch on topics such as geodesic domes, Bauhaus, Buckminster Fuller, synesthesia, the phallic stature of city buildings, and what this represents in society – over to Sean on this one: “Joseph Campbell says if you look at the history of architecture you can see what the value system of society was like. The idea is that whatever the biggest object in your city is, is what you care about the most. In the beginning of civilization it was your hut i.e your home; in the middle ages we had churches as our spiritual centers and now the biggest buildings are banks, so it shows that we worship money now.” As seemingly random as the threads of conversation were at the time, looking back over my notes I could see that it’s all part of Sean and Charlottes conviction that everything is connected; art, music, culture; so why not question and draw inspiration from what’s around us?

While Sean has had both a solo career and been involved in other bands, The GOASTT seems like his most personal endeavor to date. “It’s the work that I’m most excited about having done since I’ve met Charlotte” he says. Sean’s musical lineage is well documented, but Charlotte is somewhat of an unknown force. I asked her about her background. “I had written a lot of folk music”, she explained, “but it wasn’t for commercial purposes. I was travelling a lot when I was younger doing modelling and at that point my only companion was a guitar.” With no firm musical direction, she abandoned her music, but when she met Sean she found her inspiration, and received a crash course in Sean’s prolific record collection. “Folk and classical music was my only background, and Sean was a rolodex of so many different musical genres; he played me so much music that I had never heard of and it just blew my mind.” Sean reminisces about the first time he heard Charlotte’s music; “She kept it a secret that she played at all and I found it very mysterious. She had written all these songs and didn’t tell me till we had been dating for a year, and then she played them to me and I was like: ‘wow’…….. ” Joining forces, they embarked on an outpouring of work. “We wrote, like, 50 songs quickly. There was a lot of chemistry, not just in our relationship but creatively.” Charlotte is quick to praise Sean’s musical versatility: “I think Sean is so schizophrenic musically because he’s so talented. I’ve heard him playing so many styles, from folk, to funk, to..” “To flunk”, chimes in Sean helpfully, “that’s funk and folk combined”. (Is it? I need to do some research on this).

We talk about the nature of the album, and the fact that it’s entirely acoustic (the clue’s in the title). “It’s funny”, says Sean, “because someone asked us if this record was a concept album, and it’s not per se, except that there is one concept which is that we wanted to do everything on the record by just the two of us – no one else plays on it – and all the instruments are non electrical.” I remark that all of their performances feature a lot of instruments being used; guitars, cymbals, melodicas and xylophones are laid around Sean’s and Charlotte’s feet, ready to be picked up and played. “The record that you hear is very much live” confirms Sean, “and in order to recreate that live we had to figure out how to multi-task with our instruments which makes the show a lot more exciting for us – although I don’t know if it does for the audience!” (FYI, their set at The Roundhouse Studio on the following night was seamless and very well received).

Their days are currently filled up with gigs around the globe, most of the time performing strictly as The GOASTT, or occasionally pulling in musical friends of theirs. If that doesn’t keep them busy enough, the band is housed by their own record label, Chimera Music which they run from their home in New York. Also signed to Chimera is his mother Yoko’s group; The Plastic Ono Band, of which Sean is musical director. (Sean and Charlotte had come to London by way of Iceland, where he was overseeing the Plastic Ono Band gig, held in honour of what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday). All in all, it’s been an incredibly busy and productive year for Sean and Charlotte, and while their schedule seems to verge on the absurd, they are keeping a cool head. “It’s a good time, an inspiring time for us”, Sean assures me, and on the basis of Acoustic Sessions, I can believe this.


By Daniel Williams

Maybe theres something in the air, more about maybe its my age or maybe its the season but it seems everybody around me has suddenly spawned. Friends have started to have babies, viagra approved and family members are producing them faster than I can count them.


By Michelle Urvall Nyren

I am also a little south of skint, so my meagre craft skills have come in pretty handy. I recently made a baby mobile out of stuff lying around my flat. It was easy, free and convenient , so I thought I’d show you how to make one.

You’ll need:

Wire coat hanger
Fabric (I used an old running t shirt, denim cut offs, and some other fabric I had lying around)
Ribbon, if you have any
Scissors
Glue
Buttons (Optional)

Firstly, bend a wire coat hanger into a circle. Easier said than done. I found that laying it on the table and beating it into submission with a hard object worked best. Wrap some thin strips of fabric around the wire coat hanger, using a dab of glue every few wraps to secure it.

To make the part that will attach to the ceiling, plait 3 strips of fabric 3 times. Then attach the three plaited strips evenly around the fabric covered wire frame, using glue or a staple or a few stitches.

Cut your strips of ribbon and fabric to the same width and length, then fold the top of each strip of fabric around the fabric covered wire frame, using a dab of glue to secure each strip.
To make sure none of the lengths of ribbon fall from the frame, you could also add a few stitches to each strip too.

Baby Mobile Finished
Baby Mobile Finished

This is easy enough to encourage little hands to help you do it, as I did with my creation above. I fashioned the wire and plaited the three strips that attach to the ceiling, and my little assistent attached the individual strips to the frame. You could neaten it by hemming the fabric, or using only ribbon, or keep it rough and ready. Parents will appreciate the time you put into it and babies will love the colours and the way it moves. And, more importantly, it doesn’t add to the inevitable pile of growing tacky plastic crap, either. Winner.

This column attempts to provide lovely ways to recycle junk into useful and beautiful things. If you have a genius recycling idea or if you are stuck with something you don’t want to chuck away, leave a comment and let me know! I may feature your idea or I will try and come up with a solution to your recycling conundrum.

Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

Fashion illustration. You may have noticed we get pretty excited about the genre, nurse particularly with Amelia’s new book on the way. Drawing Fashion at the Design Museum has been hotly anticipated and it doesn’t let down. Put together by Joelle Chariau of Galerie Bartsch & Chariau over 30 years, viagra the show covers fashion illustration from the early 20th century forward. The present installment at the Design Museum is the first time the collection has been shown together.

The quick overview: the show captures the power of illustration to reflect not only the fashion but also the tone of the times, for sale in a way unique to other media forms such as photography. It proves that although photography has become the predominant media from the 1930s, illustration still holds a valid and special place in fashion. 


George Lepape

The longer version: split into five eras, the exhibit focuses the viewer to the changing role of fashion illustration and its connection to the culture it is a part of. The first, From Gold to Silver 1910-29, captures the optimism and new worldviews of the early 20th century with bold use of colours, a new vibrancy and a focus on lifestyle in the illustrations. The single figures of Erté, the Vogue and La Gazette du Bon Ton George Lepape covers bring out the new silhoette of the 1920s. Stylised illustrations celebrate the lifestyles that few could afford, but which encapsulate post war enthusiasm. The highlight here: George Lepape’s Chapeaux D’Hiver for Le Bon Ton in pen, ink and watercolour, showing both the original and use in editorial. 

Moving forward to 1930-46, the tone of Time & Decay reflects the changing times: the depression, the movement of focus from Paris to America during the war years, the popularity of the cinema and a focus on leisure and sportswear in fashion. This more casual tone is brought through the illustration, with looser strokes, more muted colours and more introspective compositions. This section highlights the talent of Bernard Blossac and René Bouché


René Gruau

Enthusiasm returns in New Rhythms, New Rules 1947-59, introducing Dior‘s ‘New Look‘ in 1947. The illustrations of Réne Gruau perfectly capture the ‘exagerated elegance’ of Dior’s bold new style. His bold use of colour and line, with a predominance of red, white, back and orchre shine through this section of the exhibit. The timelessness of the illustrations is highlighted by a Vogue Paris cover illustration, first published in the 1950s, republished for the Juin/Juillet 1985 edition, that would look equally contemporary today. Another highlight is a single pink glove, showing a movement from full figure to individual detail and objects of the body. 


Antonio Lopez

The true star of the show is Antonio (Lopez), the sole focus of Liberty & Licence, taking the viewer through 1960-89. Anotonio’s bold graphics in pencil and watercolour celebrate the dynamic feminism of the 1970s and especially the 1980s. This is power illustration to the max, matching the era’s power dressing with big shoulders, tight waists and attitudes to match. Hitting the mood of each decade, Antonio’s style adapts through the 1960s-80s, with a focus on form and art. 


François Berthoud

The exhibit concludes with The Tradition Continues 1990-2010 and Fashion Drawing for the Future. The illustrations chosen in this section react against ‘the cult of the individual’ and big budget commerciality of fashion and advertising. Matts Gustafson and François Berthoud show new paths forward in terms of form and technique. Berthoud’s Allure de Chanel for Rebel, France (enamel on paper) reduces the figure to positive and negative forms.


Mats Gustafson

Overall, illustrations are more moody and suggestive and are often simplified to form, colour and movement. An Aurore de la Morinere for Christian Lacroix published in Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine loses the form of figure and clothes to a shimmer of colours, becoming etherial and fantasy rather than any depiction of the body. A dark illustration for Alexander McQueen with the figure walking away from the viewer and displayed alone poignently reminds of the loss of this fashion great. 

There is currently a resurgence of interest in fashion illustration and Drawing Fashion celebrates this. With any retrospective, it’s difficult to cover everything and there are a few illustrators missing – notably David Downton who we interviewed recently. The exhibition, however, demonstrates illustration’s power to take the viewer beyond the simple display of clothes and connecting what we wear with the mood, ideologies and changing tides of the 20th century.

Get all the information you need, including the line up of talks associated with the exhibition, in our listings section.
Gemma Milly Speedarting

SpeedArting by Gemma Milly.

So I’ve spent an hour getting ready. I’ve gone for a little black dress, viagra 40mg bird necklace and black shu-boos, for sale and am heading out to Stone Horse Paper Cow on Bishopsgate. As I draw nearer the anticipation rises and I can feel my heart beating faster. Why does this always happen when you’re about to meet some potential totty?

But this is no ordinary date, oh no, I’m about to arrive at an altogether more intriguing rendez-vous. Tonight, with my best-friend at my side, I am going SpeedArting. There is every possibility that I will still meet a dark and handsome stranger, the only difference is that he’ll be hanging on my wall rather than off my every word (as I’m sure they always do). And none of the ‘I’m not ready to have a relationship’ after a few dates to put up with. Hurrah!

Victoria Topping - Illustrator

‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ by Victoria Topping.

Brainchild of Jody Kingzett, Photographer who has snapped the likes of Dame Helen Mirren and Naomi Campbell, and who I met two years ago on a photoshoot in the freezing cold in Southwark, the concept is so simple that I’m surprised no-one has thought of it before. In a nutshell, it’s all about matchmaking you, the public ,with affordable art, in quirky locations – think Sketch Parlour not Slug and Lettuce (thank the lord!). So hats off to Jody for spotting a niche and hop, skip and jumping right into it.

Illustration by Darren Cranmer

Illustration by Darren Cranmer.

Amongst the artists that will be exhibiting and selling their wares this Wednesday are Neha Mojaria, who produces street-art style canvasses with a fashion twist, Illustrator Victoria Topping who creates surreal music-based illustrations, and Darren Cranmer who’s illustration style is sublimely delicate and atmospheric. Not to mention the man himself – Jody Kingzett.

Meha Mojaria - Artist

Painting by artist Meha Mojaria.

The next SpeedArting event is this Wednesday November 24th at Stone Horse Paper Cow, and promises to be a festive one. What better antidote to a tiring day in the office than to grab your friends and head out for a spot of high-brow Christmas shopping, with a free drink thrown in? So if you fancy being part of the newest big thing to hit the London art scene, make sure www.speedarting.com is firmly at the top of your bookmarks, and follow SpeedArting on Facebook or twitter. Who knows, you might bag yourself a nice little bit of eye candy.

Categories ,Affordable, ,Bishopsgate, ,Christmas Presents, ,Dame Helen Mirren, ,Darren Cranmer, ,fashion, ,Gemma Milly, ,illustration, ,Jody Kingzett, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Neha Mojaria, ,painting, ,photography, ,Sketch Parlour, ,Speed Dating, ,Speedarting, ,Stone Horse Paper Cow, ,street art, ,Victoria Topping

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Amelia’s Magazine | SpeedArting: the art of seduction

Gemma Milly Speedarting

SpeedArting by Gemma Milly.

So I’ve spent an hour getting ready. I’ve gone for a little black dress, bird necklace and black shu-boos, and am heading out to Stone Horse Paper Cow on Bishopsgate. As I draw nearer the anticipation rises and I can feel my heart beating faster. Why does this always happen when you’re about to meet some potential totty?

But this is no ordinary date, oh no, I’m about to arrive at an altogether more intriguing rendez-vous. Tonight, with my best-friend at my side, I am going SpeedArting. There is every possibility that I will still meet a dark and handsome stranger, the only difference is that he’ll be hanging on my wall rather than off my every word (as I’m sure they always do). And none of the ‘I’m not ready to have a relationship’ after a few dates to put up with. Hurrah!

Victoria Topping - Illustrator

‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ by Victoria Topping.

Brainchild of Jody Kingzett, Photographer who has snapped the likes of Dame Helen Mirren and Naomi Campbell, and who I met two years ago on a photoshoot in the freezing cold in Southwark, the concept is so simple that I’m surprised no-one has thought of it before. In a nutshell, it’s all about matchmaking you, the public ,with affordable art, in quirky locations – think Sketch Parlour not Slug and Lettuce (thank the lord!). So hats off to Jody for spotting a niche and hop, skip and jumping right into it.

Illustration by Darren Cranmer

Illustration by Darren Cranmer.

Amongst the artists that will be exhibiting and selling their wares this Wednesday are Neha Mojaria, who produces street-art style canvasses with a fashion twist, Illustrator Victoria Topping who creates surreal music-based illustrations, and Darren Cranmer who’s illustration style is sublimely delicate and atmospheric. Not to mention the man himself – Jody Kingzett.

Meha Mojaria - Artist

Painting by artist Meha Mojaria.

The next SpeedArting event is this Wednesday November 24th at Stone Horse Paper Cow, and promises to be a festive one. What better antidote to a tiring day in the office than to grab your friends and head out for a spot of high-brow Christmas shopping, with a free drink thrown in? So if you fancy being part of the newest big thing to hit the London art scene, make sure www.speedarting.com is firmly at the top of your bookmarks, and follow SpeedArting on Facebook or twitter. Who knows, you might bag yourself a nice little bit of eye candy.

Categories ,Affordable, ,Bishopsgate, ,Christmas Presents, ,Dame Helen Mirren, ,Darren Cranmer, ,fashion, ,Gemma Milly, ,illustration, ,Jody Kingzett, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Neha Mojaria, ,painting, ,photography, ,Sketch Parlour, ,Speed Dating, ,Speedarting, ,Stone Horse Paper Cow, ,street art, ,Victoria Topping

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Amelia’s Magazine | A review of the David LaChapelle exhibition, Rape of Africa

Transition Town football

David LaChapelle’s ‘Rape of Africa’, discount illustrated by Lisa Stannard.

I first discovered the deliciously decadent fantasy world of David LaChapelle as a spotty teenager when I used to flick through my stylish older sister’s copies of Vogue. His sexed-up, cialis 40mg over-the-top, information pills glitzy style and explosive colour schemes – which shamelessly celebrated glamour, popular culture and materialism – were mesmerising, especially to a shy thirteen year old whose most fashionable outfit was an all-in-one stone-washed denim number (this was the first time around when it wasn’t cool).

Over the years, in a fantastic plastic kind-of-way, I have grown to admire LaChapelle’s razor sharp aesthetic, despite the crass nature of some of his chosen themes. Amongst celebrity and fashion circles, he is a master when it comes to knowing what makes a pretty picture so when I heard that his first political show, controversially entitled ‘Rape of Africa’, had opened at Robilant and Voena in Mayfair, I bolted down to the gallery like a horse on speed to check out the kitsch king’s take on more serious affairs.

Having turned his attention to fine-art in recent years, LaChapelle’s latest work is an open critique of western consumerism, presented as a mash-up of Italian Renaissance art and his glossy signature style. The show lends its name to the centre-piece, a tribute to Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’, with a modern day twist. At first glance the photograph features a regal and supine looking Naomi Campbell as Venus in elegant tribal attire with one breast exposed and a handsome semi-naked model, Caleb Lane, as Mars in a post-coital state, surrounded by young angelic boys. On closer examination the boys are carrying guns and Mars is casually resting a finger on a gold human remain, possibly an arm/leg bone, with gold hand grenades, treasures and a diamond-encrusted skull scattered beneath him, in contrast to the African Venus’s more modest surroundings of a goat and cockerel. Behind the opulence, a hole is blown through a neon-lit montage of ‘Sun Bleach’, an American-stylised brand of detergent, to reveal a war-torn landscape with several cranes busy at work, destroying what is left of the distressed land.

Make no mistake, this is LaChapelle’s unapologetic statement piece, drawing our attention to child soldiers, unethical gold and diamond mining, and the derogatory view of African women being viewed as an exotic commodity by Western cultures, as their homes and countries are ravaged for the consumer’s benefit.


David LaChapelle’s ‘American Jesus: Hold me, carry me boldly’, illustrated by Lisa Stannard.

LaChapelle continues in this vein using models in art history to point a finger at the world’s obsession with materialism. In the gallery’s library, a vibrant colour-infused piece streaked with flowing pale blue, yellow and pink ribbons explodes from between the bookshelves. Another photograph inspired by Botticelli, ‘The Birth of Venus’, depicts Venus’s emergence onto the eden-like landscape, looking serenely into the distance, flanked by two male admirers who replace the Zephyr wind-gods and Nymph in the original painting. On closer inspection, LaChapelle again highlights contemporary consumer society by drawing our attention to Venus’s bling footwear (aquamarine diamond-encrusted shoes), with her male admirers wearing gold Puma trainers and a diamante-encrusted fishnet vest, with a metallic blue Nike tick sprayed onto the barefoot of one of the men.

Perhaps the most controversial piece likely to cause offense is ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, an image depicting the pope sitting on a gold throne inside a grand cathedral atop of mounds of treasure troves filled with pearls and gold, with four bloodied naked bodies, bound, blindfolded and scattered beneath the valuables in various states of trauma.

Similarly, a triptych of Michael Jackson in various messiah and saint-like poses flirts with the viewer’s tolerance. The first photograph, entitled ‘American Jesus: Hold me, carry me boldly’, shows an illuminated Jesus sitting amongst a rugged forest landscape, carrying the dead body of Michael Jackson as his white, diamond-encrusted glove lies limply on the floor just beneath his hand. The subsequent panels present Jackson in a saint-like pose with a gold pocket watch and a white dove resting in his hand, standing alongside a female holy saint. The final panel shows Jackson as an Archangel with white feathered wings, contrasting with his black Thriller-style outfit with tears streaming from his eyes, as Jackson’s right foot stamps down authoratatively on the devil’s chest.


David LaChapelle’s ‘Archangel Michael’, illustrated by Lisa Stannard.

As I wandered around the gallery examining the photos, I found myself underwhelmed by LaChapelle’s rather uninventive, shallow and juvenile take on the various themes. Although the photos were distinctively LaChapelle in their refined visual quality, there was no intellectual interpretation required here, challenging you to think beyond what was presented. However, as I pondered further, I realised that it was actually me who was missing the point.

LaChapelle’s work has always been known to be bold and gaudy, compelling and repelling in equal measure, a formula which he uses to leave an imprint on your inner psyche. For example, ‘Rape of Africa’, viewed from afar is a stunning visual of beautiful colours portraying beautiful-looking people, commanding your attention; however, once you are drawn in, it presents you with a harsher reality, hammering on the door of your conscience. Thus, for the MTV and Twitter generation, LaChapelle may be more effective in using hard-hitting pop culture imagery to bring home the message to a much wider audience than, say a political activist might, through more traditional forms of communication.

Having made his name through photographing the rich and famous, many of whom epitomise the consumerist attitudes that he now criticises, this show is a brave and interesting turn for LaChapelle. As I stepped back out into my dull monochrome surroundings devoid of his magical splashes of colour, it gradually dawned on my inner cynic that the exhibition whiffed slightly of hypocrisy. Apart from the preparatory drawings for ‘Rape of Africa’ included in the exhibition, all of the other portraits are up for sale. How much was LaChapelle making from this show I wondered, and how much of that money was he planning on donating to African NGOs?

I guess whether you’re wearing jewels indirectly responsible for destroying a continent or producing meticulously crafted portraits about jewels indirectly destroying a continent, beauty always comes at a cost.

David LaChapelle: The Rape of Africa is currently on show at Robilant and Voena, First Floor, 38 Dover Street, London W1 until 25 May 2010 (robilantvoena.com/exhibitions).

Having spared the time to attend Mr LaChapelle’s exhibition and write a review of his work leading to increased exposure for him, Amelia’s Magazine had a bit of a nightmare experience with Robilant and Voena’s press office in trying to obtain images for this piece, which are apparently available on request (depending on who you are). So, in the absence of official images from the gallery (and to avoid having to deal with snooty, unhelpful people), we took the liberty of coming up with our own and a few more from the ‘LaChapelle Studio’ as seen below (all illustrations by Lisa Stannard).


Amanda Lepore


Angelina Jolie


Brittany Murphy


Cameron Diaz

Categories ,Archangel, ,Botticelli, ,Caleb Lane, ,David LaChapelle, ,Devil, ,Eden, ,Italian Renaissance, ,Jesus, ,Kat Phan, ,Materialism, ,Messiah, ,Michael Jackson, ,MTV, ,Naomi Campbell, ,NGO, ,Nike, ,Nymph, ,pop culture, ,popular culture, ,Puma, ,Rape of Africa, ,Robilant and Voena, ,Saint, ,The Birth of Venus, ,Tripych, ,twitter, ,Venus and Mars, ,vogue, ,Zephyr

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