Monday, 30 March 2009

Floral prints, granny chic, imperial mints, tory bashing freak...

This was how my thought pattern was running this weekend, very spasmodic and just bit confused!

I met up with the family outside of London, in the valley of the Rar and O.K Yar in Oxford. Perhaps to anyone who is not familiar with the British class system might like a swift, biting and oh-so-very tongue in cheek definition of a 'rar' or an 'O.K Yar'.

Also known as a Sloane in the 80s, they are children of upper class descent who favour the following shops; Jack Wills, Abercrombie&Fitch, Ralph Lauren, Fat Face, and White Stuff. Both sexes enjoy any form of rugby shirt which the female sex accompany stylishly with a pashmina and gravity defying back brushed hair ,whereas the male sex invariably wear with boating shoes or flip flops regardless of the seasons. The term 'rar' and 'O.K yar' refers to the loud braying noises often emitted from them into i-phones or across pubs to each other as a form of communication.

As arrogant as a chav playing their latest Ndubz tune on their phone discerningly combined with the correct use of the Queen's English, the 'rar' is both feared, loved and loathed throughout Britain. However the females technical approach to vah-vhooming hair and appearing girly in a totally indifferent manner I can admire and is most definitely inspiring my style right now.

This weekend I came across another sector of Tory voters, in fact I was staying in their house at a local B&B near Oxford. As my sister said of the place it was like walking inside a museum of all things kitsch. There were china dolls, toy cars, plates covering the walls, witches hanging from the ceiling and of course a yappy bulgy eyed, runt of the litter rat of a dog, to provide a soundtrack of high pitched barks during our 24 hour visit.

The icing on the cake was the parting opinion, from the seemingly sweet old lady who ran the guest house, which ran along the lines of 'single mothers are the downfall and breakdown of society'. She was Maggie Thatcher in a twin set and pearls.

Politics and snobbery aside, the rar's and the single mother bashing older ladies know how to work some serious style with the older generation matching pastels, florals and lace. It was all suddenly starting to look a bit Luella.

Therefore today I am dressing in honour of the Rar's and the blue rinse brigade with Luella in mind in lace gloves, satin bows, pearls, a spring-like floral dress, red lipstick and vah-vhoomed hair. Though I think I'll leave the un p.c thoughts at home amongst the china dolls and yappy dogs.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Right said Fred

Yesterday the ingenious Fred Butler visited our little class and allowed us into her kaleidoscopic world of toy robots, eye watering colour and her refusal to be defined.
Although Fred is vague about what it is exactly that she does for a living, she can be described through a medley of definitions as a fashion prop stylist or an art director, and she can now add the title of accessories designer with her new S/S 09 range of adaptable origami style pieces. Which of course she was wearing when she arrived, with two geometrical cubic pieces pinned to her head, setting off her white blonde hair.
From her softly spoken voice and polite manner, you wouldn't have expected her to have been so bold as to go to New York on her industry year, as part of her Brighton based degree in fashion, and to seek out some little known designers called 'As Four' and promptly become their first intern. Or to have phoned up Shona Heath, an art director and set designer, to ask her 'just a few questions on a project I was doing. I had to ask her how much she earned! But she did offer me a job after the conversation' and she then worked for Shona for a 18 months, painting plants gold and making giant sweets from cellophane.

Although us students and Penny Martin, ex Show Studio editor in chief, battered her with questions Fred was completely unfazed and at ease. She only became excited when someone nailed her perceptions of her work; how she likes to place the set on the body, tries to get as much humour into her work as possible 'my friend wanted me to put a joint in the photo but I don't think Kickers would have gone for it, but I managed to sneak in a flag with the word cannabis!', and how she loves children's memorabilia.
Explaining her working method and haphazard approach to finding inspiration, she mentioned how she cannot go to the library and just consume visuals or read but has to pick things up, touch stuff and fiddle with everything in order to be intrigued by something.

This intrigue is also surrounding Fred unconsciously as she is many things; a hoarder, a magpie, a tactile touchy-feeley person, an artist, a surrealist, a believer of magical realism, and most definitely unaware of her inspiring others.