31 October 2011

The Great Gatsby

Now that shooting has begun and Gemma Ward has been confirmed to join the already all star cast of Baz Luhrmann’s 2012 adaptation of the true classic that is The Great Gatsby, the hype and excitement has really started excel. Often described as the Great American Novel, The Great Gatsby, is a literary classic exploring the prosperity enjoyed by American society during the roaring ‘20s. The original novel, written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, explores the concepts of truth, love, betrayal, lust, emptiness and superficial extravagance, reflecting the idea that just as Gatsby’s dream of Daisy was corrupted by lies and power, the American dream of happiness and individualism has disintegrated into the mere pursuit of wealth. We are taken on a hopeless tale of love, portrayed through decadence, corruption, bejewelled headpieces, long strands of pearls and three piece suits, until we are forced by Nick to reflect that the era of dreaming- both Gatsby’s dream and the American dream- is over.
A great literally classic and a wondrous excuse to explore the extravagant ideals, themes and fashions of the iconic 1920s, The Great Gatsby continues to command the attention and expectations that it deserves, even 86 years after its original debut.

"Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 5

"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams--not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 5

"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 6

"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 6

"Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

"It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well. Wilson was so sick that he looked guilty."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

"There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

"I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone's away. There's something very sensuous about it - overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

"With every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

29 October 2011

Cohesive Creativity

The creative process of producing a photo shoot is a collaborative effort that doesn’t always run so smoothly. The pressure of the final result is intense, there are multiple creative egos and opinions all vying for their ideas to be conveyed, and at times it appears every necessary element is working against you. So how exactly do you make your innovative ideas and vision a beautiful, successful reality?

Outfits are changed for the fifth time that hour, hair is put up, only to be let down again, lipstick is applied, taken off and then applied once more. The shoes are too, ‘black,’ the blush is too, ‘red,’ that strand of hair is just a little out of place and the books in the corner setting are not quite right. Miniscule changes are made to each separate element in the hope that when all working together the scene will be created and the set will come to life. Working together collaboratively with other creative minds isn’t always the easiest task, everyone has a separate job to do, an image to portray and their own artistic ideas and points of view. The essential layers and critical ingredients need to work cohesively together in order to produce a successful photo shoot and for this to occur, all creative elements and minds need to not only be working with each other, but supporting each individual field. The stakes are high and the pressure of the final result is enormous, so how is it that despite all the odds, innovative and successful shoots not only become an amazing reality, but do it in a way that masks the stress, heartache and tension. The concept of planning and preparation play a crucial part in the end result, in order to convey a continuous theme there needs to be an evident and structured backbone to support the creative ideas. In order to share and conceptualise your vision, communication is essential. Every element, field and artistic realm of the shoot needs to be involved in the discussions, ideas and concept, in order for the message and development to evolve harmoniously. The importance of telling a story and creating a narrative in each look needs to come before individual egos, flexibility is key to ensure other elements aren’t pushed and forced into a predetermined idea, if it’s not working, work around it. Creating and being involved in the production of a photo shoot isn’t all serious, have fun and laugh a little, it’s a job but a fun one at that!

1. Plan, prepare and plan some more.
The concept of creating a photo shoot allows us to engage and partake in the act of physically making. It is the process of design, interacting with all the essential layers and moving parts needed to produce the desired end result. Every element involved in conveying the final look and theme needs to be prepared, have direction and a plan to follow on the day, so that all components are interacting and working together. Rachel Montgomery, 2011 AHFA Make-up Artist of the Year, explains, in order to achieve the best possible result, all elements of the shoot need to be on the same page, “If one part fails, the entire shoot fails.” In order to achieve this cohesion and strength within the team, planning, pre-visualising and story boarding is essential. “The more organised I am, the better the results,” explains Stevie English from Stevie English Hair, “We plan and prepare enormously, our creative team has meetings and we share influences to create a rough idea of the looks we want to produce.” Preparing the logistics of the day and ensuring everyone is at the top of their game not only results in a smooth, successful shoot, but also allows for some experimentation and creative improvisation to occur. Luci Arias-Martinez, Creative Director of bseProduction, explains preparing the looks in advance ensures there are a suitable amount of options that reflect the style of the shoot, “Alot of new ideas will come on set, however, I need to have the clothes and accessories to back them up,” she says.

2. Communicate, you are part of a team.
Working with a team of creative minds can often be difficult, especially when everyone has their own outlook and view to portray. All elements must be equally as strong, however, they also need to work together explains Michael Greves, Principal Photographer at Michael Greves Photography, “Each element should relate to at least one other and then the stylist and the light pulls it all together.” Greves also explains the importance of communicating your issues and ideas with those who are directly in charge, “Find out who is really in control and where the direction stems from, always go to the top to avoid Chinese whispers.” In order to create this necessary cohesion, there needs to be the strong presence of communication and the sharing of ideas. All elements have to support each other, explains English, “They are all equally as important and the only way a successful shoot can materialise is if the entire team is getting along and communicating to make it work.” Although some members of the team will have a stronger and louder voice than others, ultimately, everyone needs to work together and be on the same page. There’s no other way to make a shoot succeed explains Arias-Martinez, “If one element fails, the whole shoot fails, you have to communicate and let everyone do what they do best.” The aesthetic and concept of the shoot needs to play a dominant role in each separate element’s creative direction, Montgomery explains, “You are part of a team, if everyone only worries about themselves, it simply cannot work. You have to take into account the overall feel and message of the shoot.”

3. Have a story, but be flexible.
Each shot needs to have clear direction, a story to tell and a pure idea behind it, “Shoot for a purpose,” says Greves. When you a have a solid idea and concept, you can ensure the message you want to convey has a strong presence. The theme is essential and to ensure its existence huge amounts of time and effort are put into the design of the concept, this lessens the chance of the narrative getting lost, explains English, “I like a strong message that leaps out at you from the images.” However, the material and ideas that develop from planning and preparation can not all be forced into one shot, and on numerous occasions your original concept won’t transcend through the camera. As a result, you have to be open-minded, flexible to explore other ideas and discard your presupposed image. You can’t be too precious about your vision, sometimes something amazing is created from collaboration and sometimes from sacrifice, being guided by someone else’s vision takes you to a place that you might not have gone, explains Montgomery, “Some of the best work I’ve done has happened because I had the courage to acknowledge and remove what wasn’t working.” New opportunities will always emerge that clash with your individual ideas and visions, you have to react artistically and disregard your ego in order to produce the best possible outcome. “It’s a matter of detaching to a point where you can decide what’s good for the shoot, not just what’s good for you,” explains Montgomery, “When it’s your shoot then you get to decide the narrative and the creative vision!”

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously, nobody else is!
The atmosphere on the set of a photo shoot is full of excitement, determination and creativity, and maintaining this positive energy plays a large part in producing a successful shoot. There is always a buzz and a sense of excitement on set and it’s really important to maintain this vibe explains, Arias-Martines, “It’s always great to be able to have a laugh after a 12 or so hour day. We’re creating, so love it and don’t take it too seriously.” Remembering to have a sense of humour is so important, explains Montgomery, “Don’t take yourself too seriously, creating a photo shoot is like playing for a living, so have fun with it, be professional, be nice and smile.” If you are well organised and everything has been planned, you have the luxury of focussing on the mood and aura of the set. Music makes atmosphere, explains English, “We like it loud, slightly crazy and always upbeat, I am a positive guy and if you’re prepared and relaxed, it will always work out.” If you’re doing what you love, covering your bases and being mindful of your surroundings, the shoot will be a guaranteed success, explains Greves, “The way people view things is all new and it’s opening up alot of exciting challenges for us to explore creatively.”

Producing a successful photo shoot is a collaboration of essential layers and moving parts, all working together to achieve perfection and bring the set to life. Everyone has a separate job to do and an image and vision to portray, however, all these critical elements need to not only work with one another cohesively, but support each other creatively. The stakes are high and the pressure to produce the final shot is intense, however, when all artistic fields are working together towards the same end result, the preparation and innovation behind the ideas and concept have the ability to become a beautiful reality. Plan and prepare all elements of your shoot in order to ensure there is a cohesive message and image, communicate constantly with everyone involved, focus on conveying a narrative and laugh. It’s a creative process, engage and interact with your field, those supporting you and produce the highest quality outcome.

All images except the first, (which is unknown), Natalia Vodianova by Mario Testino in State of Grace, Vogue UK May 2009

28 October 2011

To Print...

It seems the natural progression for the fashion and publishing industries these days is to develop a brand, a business or a concept from print to online media in an attempt to stay ahead, (or at lease beside), the rapidly advancing technological game… Leave it Style.com to challenge the ordinary and do exactly the opposite!

The online fashion empire is launching its new print magazine, Style.com/Print, next week, giving all its loyal devotees, trend reports, street style snaps, runway coverage and exclusive interviews, wrapped up in a beautiful glossy package, adorned with the lovely Lindsey Wixson.

The first issue will feature the top ten collections and tends from the Spring/Summer 2012 shows, which wrapped op only a few weeks ago, Tommy Ton’s street style snaps, essays on Alexander McQueen and Proenza Schouler, an interview with Azzedine Alaïa and a 23 page photo diary of fashion’s new favorite, the gap toothed darling cover star.

Style.com outlines the idea behind the unconventional move was to…“ Bring the voices of both the editors and the readers of the world's leading fashion website to print for the first time. This new publication not only uncovers the most intriguing people, places, and clothes of the season, it also charts the highs and lows, the triumphs and setbacks, the public and private moments on the journey from New York to Paris, catwalk to sidewalk, backstage to after-party. It's the season from every angle. It's a magazine for fashion obsessives by fashion obsessives. Out just three weeks after the last look left the runway, Style.com/Print offers both a first view and a collectible distillation of Spring 2012.”

Links à la Mode

Cadence and Clementine was again included in this weeks Links à la Mode... Very exciting I know!
So here's your weekend reading list, sit back, enjoy the sunshine and get lost in the wonderful world of fashion...

Still Evolving
Edited by: Fajr Muhammad of Stylish Thought

I love how multi-faceted fashion blogging has become. In the beginning it was mostly celebrity style driven but has evolved to include everything from personal style, social commentary, fun fashion trends and high fashion! While blogging is becoming a staple of our everyday world, fashion blogging is continuing to push the envelope.
Fashion is converging into lifestyle and we are defining the medium and what it means to be a fashion blogger. Check out the diverse links this week that our pushing our craft to new places.
SPONSOR: New Jackets at Shopbop: Opening Ceremony, Add Down, RED Valentino, RLX Ralph Lauren, Mackage, Jen Kao, Vena Cava, Doma, Winter Kate, Halston Heritage, Veda, Gryphon, & Ella Moss.

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine

27 October 2011

Pump up the Stam

Back in ‘09 the ever-talented Rachel Zoe channeled her inner ‘80s in a xanadu-esq photo shoot for V magazine featuring one of my favorite ever models... Miss Jessica Stam.
The high fashion editorial, styled in Zoe’s signature aesthetic and shot in a gym, was packed full of over the top accessories and perfectly depicted the ‘80s revival of the time.
It appears that even in the midst of an era most would like to forget, V plus RZ plus the Stam, equals magic!

26 October 2011

Genius of a Generation:

I was, and still am today, obsessed, in love, in awe of and inspired by Alexander McQueen, (so much so that I feel the need to have one copy of his book at home and another copy at my desk at work).

He took the ugly things of the world, the ones that no one really wanted to think about and shoved them in our faces, forced us to deal with them and presented us with the most innovate, unique and beautiful creations of the 21st century. "I admired him tremendously. He was a revolutionary. He will not be forgotten and it is an immense loss.(...) Daring, original, stimulating he understood how to be a fabulous ambassador for fashion” - John Galliano.

We all know the tragic fall of this iconic man and we waited with baited breath for Sarah Burton to pick up the magnificent, but disastrously tainted, pieces as she stepped into an almost unfillable pair of shoes. With its spectacular drama, arresting beauty and classic magic, the collection serenaded the label’s unique visionary with a clear statement that the McQueen legacy was here to stay. "We are deeply touched by the sudden death of Alexander McQueen, a designer that we have always admired for his creative genius and uncompromising inspiration. He has left an incomparable void in the world of fashion." - Dolce and Gabbana.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was a shamelessly theatrical exhibition at the MET, which payed tribute to McQueen’s extraordinary contributions to the fashion world. McQueen challenged and expanded the idea of beauty and fashion, beyond utility, to a conceptual expression of culture, politics and identity. “He was an uncompromising creator. A provocative genius! In addition to being a fabulous director, he was a truly great couturier.” - Marie- Jose Jalou.
“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition,” –Lee Alexander McQueen.
To a true individual, who continues to influence and challenge the world of fashion, and who for so many years shared with us his dark romantic creations and dared us not to call them beautiful.
“I’m 40 now, but I want this to be a company that lives way beyond me. When I’m dead, hopefully this house will still be going. On a spaceship. Hopping up and down above earth.”       - Lee Alexander McQueen.