Monday, 15 January 2018

Monday 15th Feb: Rest In Peace Harry Uzoka

I absolutely love the opportunity to photograph backstage at fashion shows; to capture the details in the hair, beauty and garments that you can't appreciate on the runway.  However its tricky because of the high-pressure environment of models either running in from the previous show or running off to the next.  They are usually on high-alert, not to mention all the teams responsible for getting them in place to walk out on time.  So breaking up that nucleus with a lens as an invading stranger to the system is a strange dynamic.  Backstage photographers aren't wanted by anyone and although its a necessary evil for PR purposes, noone holds back in making you feel unwelcome.

That is, for the occasional pearl nestling in the grit.  Here is model Harry Uzoka who I got to know over the seasons of London Fashions Mens Collections because since I first stopped him for a close up at Christopher Shannon's show in 2013, he always remembered me. 

In the fashion world people either avoid saying hello because you are deemed uncool and association would bring them the same doom or transversely fall over themselves to get close to you if your'e the current "one to watch".  However, there’s a slither of the community who are genuinely unthreatened enough in there own self-esteem to be human and communicate outside of this sleaze.  There's also a remaining 2% that are new to the game and probably too naive to imagine such a bizarre code of conduct.  Harry fitted into both of the latter.  He was out on his own cosmic trajectory, untouched by the bullshit despite having started modelling young.

When I found out about his death at the weekend I was deeply, deeply shocked and saddened.  I described him as a "special soul" and when I looked up the news story it turned out that I wasn't the only person to use this description. 

It's not just a tragedy that a promising and positive young man was taken away too young in an unnecessary act of violence but the thing that's upsetting me is also for his family.  As testament to his open and natural nature, he must have been brought up with unprecedented care.  He had the manners to raise above his environment and always be the best the version of himself without fail.  He would always call out to me, make time for me, be patient and leave me with a spring in my step.  No agenda.  He was just a shining light.  A special soul.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wednesday 10th January 2018: Kitty Joseph in COLOUR

As usual I spent New Years Eve with Kitty Joseph in the rainbow penthouse of Zandra Rhodes Fashion & Textile Museum.  So it seems apt timing to reflect on some of our colourful moments from last year including these films for her IN COLOUR and Muse series, both shot by Bridie O'Sullivan.  One filmed in the spectrum loft and the other in my own multicolour home!  See more of Kitty's stunning spectrum SS18 collection over on her site  and check out the other personalities in the portrait series on Bridie's Vimeo page and Instagram.

Thanks to Bridie for these screen-grabs of the moving image and thanks to Tracy Hayes at Fudge for colouring my hair as always!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Monday 8th January: LABRUM AW18

"Labrum" is a Latin word for having an edge. Labrum not only has an edge, detail, innovation, craftsmanship, quality, unique style and philosophy but founder Foday Dumbuya has manifested this all from dreams into reality right in front of us. We’ve witnessed the ideas come alive and now it’s out in the world and showing at #LFWM this season with his very own ASICS Tiger exclusive sneaker. I proudly stepped out in mine to witness his “FREETOWN” collection inspired by his formative years and recent work in Sierra Leone. 
The collection has been inspired by the country's history, people and tribes via their working methods such as the fishermen seen in the narrative of the look-book photography.  Art Director Harris Elliott brought this theme into the styling of the looks with netting in the hair, basketry accessories and the mood of how the models were to carry themselves throughout the presentation.  Here you can see highlights of the live event and the collection's imagery shown as large-scale prints around the Truman Brewery venue.  Illustrated backdrops were created by Masha Karpushina who has drawn scenes depicting Sierra Leone's ecosystem of the harmonious farming lives from the mountains to the sea. 
The country of "Gold & Diamonds" has also informed the textiles in the tailoring with the geometric diamond jacquard weave.  Clean silhouettes complement these textures to be paired with the "Freetown" shirt and its signature curve detail on the lower placket.  Shaping has been considered all the way down to the feet with the exclusive customisation project on the ASICS Tiger iconic GEL-Mai, limited to only 60 pairs.  Luckily for me I have been gifted a pair and feel honoured to wear this “one to watch” for the future of wearable and idiosyncratic menswear.  Watch this space!

See archive posts here.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Sunday 31st December: Haeckels, Margate

You may have noticed Haeckels products along your Christmas shopping safaris in different cities.   Here is the home and hub of the ethical enterprise in Margate, Kent with the boutique situated right on the seafront.  These ocean inspired perfumes and cosmetics developed to heal, care and scent the body are derived from the local seaweed botanicals.  Haeckels have a licence to harvest their own marine minerals for their "Thalassotherapy" practise which bases it's products on properties from the ocean.  The range of hand-made luxury goodies are packaged in sustainable, exquisitely designed boxes and glass vials - absolutely no plastic bottles here!!!!!  Each eau de parfum comes in a 100ml amber bottle which is laser etched with the GPS coordinate, the day they first went to it and the weather on that day!

Head over to their site to see more from the series of incense, candles, balms, serums, scents, bath salts and even tea!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Sunday 24th December 2017: Grayson Perry's "A House For Essex", Wrabness

I took on the Rapha challenge to cycle 500k over the week between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  For my first outing I chose a destination that I've wanted to visit for such a long time.  As I was at home in Essex I was in the right county to scoot across!  Here are my snaps from a very, very cold windy day so I had to be quick about it because I couldn't have my hand out of my glove for any time before the journey back home!  But I'm so glad that I ventured out to finally witness the majesty in person.  The tiles that Grayson Perry hand-designed in clay cover the entire building with a copper roof, a little bit like a ginger bread house so it was the perfect Christmas outing!  The shapes within the architecture of "A House For Essex" follow themes of triangles which are reminiscent of Sir Thomas Tresham's buildings, constructed to symbolise his Catholic faith (thanks mum for the historic insight).  Head over to English Heritage to see his Triangular lodge and the National Trust to see Lyveden lodge.
Head over to FAT and Living Architecture to find out more about A House For Essex in the Stour Valley.