House of BlueEyes. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Bumbling back towards the Freemasons’ Hall I recognised a familiar face standing out in the street, look looking not unlike a sexy Morris Dancer – that of Faye, order a stripper who featured in issue 01 of Amelia’s Magazine and pole-danced at my first ever launch party at the Seventeen Gallery in Shoreditch High Street.
Faye also taught me how to pole-dance at her studio in the Rochelle School in Arnold Circus, back when it was briefly trendy to take it up in the name of exercise. Or at least she tried, I being light in upper body strength and heavy in body weight – but I did enjoy wearing those ridiculously high see-through perspex stripper shoes and pretending to twirl around a pole sexily, usually collapsing in giggles as I failed to spin into the air once again. It’s hard work you know, and Faye always made it look so effortless; I was in awe of her lithe physique. She spoke of entering competitions and winning respect: for her pole-dancing was an art-form that just so happened to take place in front of grosse men in grotty pubs. In this Time Out article from 2006 she is quoted as saying “Pole dancing is an art and women appreciate the effort involved. Men just stare at your crotch and I want to shout ‘What are you looking down there for?? I’m doing GYMNASTICS!!’”
Faye Marie was always very down on men… but I’m thinking that her views may have changed now that she steps out with Joe Corre – making her step mum to none other than Vivienne Westwood‘s pouting (and very pretty) granddaughter. Joe Corre co-founded Agent Provocateur, owns menswear label A Child of the Jago, publishes The Daily Terror and has just become a shareholder in glamourous make up brand Illamasqua. I am guessing Faye no longer strips for pound coins in the White Horse to fulfil her pole-dancing desires. But I do hope she is still dancing because she was a joy to watch.
Cupcakes from Through the Looking Glass.
Turns out Faye was loitering outside because her latest venture is a bookshop cum teashop called Through the Looking Glass in Amwell Street, which thrives on the premise that it’s best to enjoy a good book with a nice cup of tea. (I must pop along there sometime and check it out.) And she had provided the pretty china and cupcakes for the House of BlueEyes presentation, which would shortly take place in the upstairs galleries.
So I went on up to investigate and I found a man, large of bearing, parading through the corridor in a pink t-shirt, hot pants and thigh-high spray-painted boots, his face and legs smeared with blue paint and glitter. As I watched he stumbled to the floor and caressed a women with butterfly eyes. A cluster of bland-looking fashion week girlies watched from the sidelines, bemused and utterly unable to explain what was going on. I though to myself: this, THIS is why fashion week is so fun! Inside an oddball collection of painted live mannequins posed on windowsills, astride chairs and on a small stage beneath coloured lighting gels and studio lights. An elderly couple looked mildly uncomfortable as they sipped their tea, asking if they were in the way. Was it part of the performance? Who knows.
As the models pretended to paint, patted a small dog, gazed longingly or amusedly into my lens (pictures below) I smiled, for it was impossible not to, as the blue man, a stylist named JohnnyBlueEyes, intoned some guff about angels, love and revolutions. I cannot tell you a thing about these angels’ outfits other than they were colourful, glittery and totally unwearable – but the makeup was fabulous indeed.
This was fashion as statement, even in its incoherence – it was fashion as spectacle, fashion for joy and fashion for the sheer fun of dressing up. It reminded me of raiding the dressing up box as a child, and of dressing in drag for our Merrymoot sketch shows on FSC youth camps.
I later encountered this mismatched gaggle marching the streets of Covent Garden, looking slightly more bedraggled and drab, but still calling for a love revolution, as promised. It was all thoroughly silly but it’s this kind of random event that makes London Fashion Week what it is.
- Illustration: FAYE SKINNER
- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Maria Grachvogel
- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Masha Ma
- London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Fashion Mode, Florian Jayet
- An interview with illustrator Faye West, as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration