Floral Prints and Sewing Chat

Shop!

 NO.1 True DecadenceXJohn Lewis/Tropical Shift Dress £37 £12
NO.2 MinkPinkXUrban Outfitters/Moonflower MaxiSkirt £60 £27.99
NO.3 Dorothy Perkins/Collared Floral Dress £32 £11.80 

SO… I’ve been bad.

Between all the final year assignments, essays and job applications, I confess I’ve been doing a liiiittle too much online shopping.

The good news is, however, I have sated my autumn obsession with floral prints, and a got myself a couple of sewing projects for (my guilty pleasure…) Monday Made in Chelsea nights.

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florals

There’s a bit of a floral theme going on with my October online-shopping spree. I think I’m finally getting in touch with my inner girly side. I’ve had a morbid fear of a) PRINTS and b) COLOUR all my life (idk), but it looks like my monochrome wardrobe is getting a flowery kick in the ass.

As per, my shopping bag this month is filled with classy bargain bin buys. In this month’s spree I’ve made two exceptions to my only-perfect-fit, and I’m hoping a cheeky needle and thread job will fix. Or 50/50 chance ruin.

I get a bit ambitious with a needle and thread.

sewing

NO. 1

This shop, I’ve been slowly altering the fab Tropical Print Shift Dress from John Lewis. The statement collar: big, bold, sharp – is just totally not for me, so I’m altering into a slight less obtrusive high-necked white band.

I’ve snipped off the collar, folded back the thick material of the remaining white neckline, and am taking a doubled thread round the inside edge with a blanket stitch. Easy-peasey!

Ta-dah.
Pre boozy Cosy Club debut.

Pre drinks debiut

NO.2 

I absolutely LOVE a sweet Peter-Pan collar, case and point the Dorothy Perkins purchase above with the cutest little rounded collar. There’s a lot to be said for a just about the knees skirt that’s long enough to be demure but wonderfully flattering.

NO.3

Is my next project: the beautiful, dreamy MinkPink x Urban Outfitters maxi skirt. The hefty £3 shipping price made me loath to click ‘confirm’, but I absolutely adore the huge moon-like flowers against the black. What you can’t see in the very sneaky UO shot is that there are two front slits. Weird and Angelina Jolie meme-esque…

Thank God a straight line of stitching even I can handle.

Love

Charlotte xx

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Editorial England: Wild Dartmore

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A couple of months ago the editorial team of Razz My Berries Magazine handed over our reigns to a brilliant, fresh new committee of burgeoning writers, online whizzes and social butterflies. I packed my Razz experience into a proverbial box and sat, baking languidly in the summer sun, reminiscing the fashion, editing and beauty opportunities that had come my way over the past two years. And, as I sat, my phone suddenly buzzed, rather insistently, in my pocket – Toby Craddock, the Magazine’s new Editor wanted to know if I was free for the next creative shoot.
And out of the blue, the experience was not quite over at all.

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With the launch of the magazine, I can finally reveal some sneaky, behind-the-scenes shots of arguably the best editorial campaign Razz My Berries has yet seen: the Dartmore Collaboration.
Not that I could possibly be biased.

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Creative Editor: Wentworth Cecil-Gurney
Model: Joe Stewart, Jules Howe
Photographer: Nathan Dunovic
MUA & Dresser: Charlotte Black
MU/Lighting Assistant: Marianne Pilloux

On a sizzling Sunday in summer, the shoots Creative Editor, Wentworth Cecil-Gurney, along with some of the most fabulous props curtsey of the National Theatre London, veered into Exeter and collected out five-strong artistic team for the day.  I was make-up artist and on hand-dresser on a stunning day’s romp through the Dartmore hills where everything that could possibly happen, just happened.

I guess it’s appropriate to say here that I’m not the most spontaneous person in the world. In fact, the word rolls reluctantly over my tongue with a less-than-fair share of unease; I’ll readily admit that I have several traits of being an oldest child, and certain people may have muttered the words ‘control-freak’ in description of my person (at their own peril, of course). Luckily however, un-spontaneity aside, working in the creative world, and with many creative types, this particular trait, which I would rather refer to as being obsessively organised, has been (forcibly) tempered over the years by learning to quietly go with the flow. Definitely useful on a shoot like this.

 Having never met any of the team before, the artistic venture turned out to be one of the most strange, but utterly fantastic I’ve had yet: we sped wildly and we ran out of fuel spectacularly; we ate cream teas and drank pints, shared car-chat and car-silence; we chased ponies, dodged road-roaming cows and borrowed certain historical sites on creative licence, and enjoyed what absolute weirdness can happen in the rare English sun when six undergrads come together to make  and create a stylised shoot.

There’s nothing like the buzz on set when things flowing smoothly from one shot to another, practically glowing the in late afternoon sun. Spontaneity’s the name of the game when you’re working with a limited supply of make up in the wilderness, moving from one shot to another in a set, and shooting in natural lighting. We may have been six strangers (and one happy puppy) on meeting at 10AM, but on set, and in assuming our rightful roles, we could really feel things building; you can spend an afternoon as just people, travelling through the wilderness of Dartmore, but when business called we were suddenly and certainly, an editorial team. Photoshoot setting , tools in hand and perfect light, the Razz Magazine Dartmore Editorial was well and truly under way.

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Photography credits:Marianne Pilloux & Charlotte Black

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MAKE-UP

For this shoot, it was out with the lights and dressing rooms, and into the open nature as we worked on the grass to get Joe and Jules photo ready with my small box of tools and Jules’ own make-up.

Focusing on the skin in a puritanical/gothic, out of the 17th Century look for JULES, it was out with the bronzer and in the the pale foundation for her porcelain skin. Even the most perfect needs some protection against the glare of summer sun, especially in photographs – and summer shine is so not 17th Century. Foundation followed by a light, powder-based sculpting tone (try Cezanne, Japan) to accentuate the angles of her face, a sweep of a red based blusher and translucent finishing powder (try Bare Minerals Veil).  Wentworth was looking for a dark, purplish lip to match the dress, so a little improvising with a mixture of eyeshadow powder and lippy, and an all-over matt look was finished. A quick half-up, half-down do with a pinned square or reed knot (for you former Brownies and Scouts out there) and she was ready to be buckled into her plush velvet dress. Hot in the sun!

Personally, I think it’s always strange putting make-up on boys, and despite having done it on a regular basis working in the theatre with Exeter University Theatre Company, I still haven’t been able to shake the feeling that it’s a little exciting, if not lightly odd! I guess I’ve been putting it on myself since I could hold a lipstick (ruining several of my mum’s lipsticks in the bathroom, sorry mum), and I’ve got twenty odd years to catch up on when it comes to make-uping the lads. With JOE it was a non-shimmer bronzer to accentuate his bone structure, pencilling his eyebrows, and the mandatory sweep of mascara and liner. As rough and ready as we were going for, it got a little up close and personal with the tweezers as Wentworth asked for some eyebrow taming, so thankfully Marianne stepped in… Then it was off to hold the light reflectors and catch the afternoons rays!

Check out the Alternative Freshers Guide Campaign which features one of Photographer Nathan Dunovic’s shots!

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Razz My Berries Alternative Freshers Guide

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Look out for the next Razz My Berries Issue to see the shoot in full. If you’re lucky enough to in Exeter, the University campus shop stocks copies, or get in touch with the editors at razzmag@gmail.com.

Find out more about the Magazine on Twitter | Facebook | WordPress
And about our lovely Photographer’s clothing line at Tight-Threads.com

And until next time…

If these shots are anything to go by, it’s OK to be spontaneous.

(Sometimes.)

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Charlotte xx

Painted Prints: Does it come in acrylic?

One of the tops that stars as a style piece in my ‘She Interns‘ feature is a top that I made a long time ago, and I thought I’d take a second to give it it’s five minutes of fame. The top itself was bought it a Zara sale for £5 when I think I was about 17, but was so sheer and low cut (bought in a strange moment of complete common sense lapse that sometimes occurs when I see cheap clothes) that it got put to the back of summer drawer.

It reemerged one fateful pre-clubbing night when I was gripped by utter I-have-NO-CLOTHES-desperation, and in mad panic, I opened my acrylics that were in constant use when I was still a teen grabbed a pencil and started sketching on the fabric. The whole nautical theme was every that spring, so a quick going over with black acrylic paint – much to the bafflement of the girlfriends who (quite reasonably) didn’t quite know how to respond to, “I’ll be ready in 10, I’m painting my top” – and I made it out. Photo evidence exists, and the top looks fine; the wearer, on the other hand is happier in the past I think…

Paintbrush Magic

It’s not quite the quality of the work on the Great British Sewing Bee or Project Runway, but it just goes to prove that you really can just do it yourself.
Fancy that.

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Backstage Theatre: Amadeus Insanity

Spot the Costume Manager…

Image Credit: Katie Goodsell
Spot the Costume Manager…

Reminiscing hectic times is rather glorious – reminiscing being the operative word. From the safety of a few months distance, I can happily think of the sleepless experience that was costuming a professional production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. A snippit from my ‘Amadeus’ preview written for Razz My Berries is a rather worrying demonstration of my mental state in February – there’s nothing quite like rambling prose, block capitals and extensive (and lucratively placed) punctuation to express madness…

…there’s one person who can picture exactly what it will look like in full costume. Razz’s own Creative Editor is moonlighting as the Amadeus Costume Manager! So we thought we’d see what she had to say…

Since November of 2012, the Costume team and I have been spending sleepless nights thinking of the rivalling composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri who dominate Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’. We wake up in terrible 3am sweat with images of Salieri’s six-foot figure looming, Mozart’s shrill laughter, or most common of all, thinking with a costume team’s despair: “Why, did they have to wear WIGS??” As with all daring projects, such insomnia-producing madness lies dangerously close to their core, and with a twenty seven strong cast, live music, Choral Society choir dances and late 17th century Opera scenes, most would call EUTCo’s ‘Amadeus’ such. From a production point of view, it is a tightly run ship of organisational wonder: Tech, Sound and Lighting, Publicity, Directors, Producers, Costumes, Props and not to mention, actors push our crew numbers to above fifty, and let me tell you, co-ordination is no walk in the park.

Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor George Watkins: Salieri
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor Ryan Whittle: Mozart
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Left to right: Whittle, Owenbridge, Rix, Smith
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor Ryan Whittle: Mozart
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor George Watkins: Salieri

Yet what makes a challenge such as this worth the stress, time, effort and moments of insanity, is just ten minutes in Director Josh Lucas and his cast’s creation of 18th century Vienna. Shown through Salieri’s gripping tale of intense religious devotion, craving for musical inspiration, and desperation of a composer in the Venetian court, is the complicated intertwining of the everyday and the divine. Watkins’ performance is filled with powerful, engaging jealousy; Whittle’s brilliantly charming Mozart is childish and dangerous; Constanze’s (Felicity Cant) devotion to Mozart both delicate and overwhelmingly raw. Last week’s run through of the play left me heart pounding and with a burning adrenaline for the opening night. There could be no other way to end this post other than: go see it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

6th-9th February 2013 (inclusive), 7.30pm at Exeter Northcott Theatre | Student ticket £8, Adult ticket £14.

In the end, the team produced two costumed trailers under the direction of Charlie Paddock alongside two weeks of costumed rehearsals and alteration time on a student budget coming in at (if I may say so myself) a ground-breaking £725. My friends tell me I sounded like a worn out track of Falco and learned to tactically avoid me on skype to save the horrible sounds of Amadeus griping on repeat.

I’m genuinely surprised I survived.

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My awesome Costume Team in full regalia.

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TRAILERS

“What do you think, Salieri?”

“Dance, dance, dance.”

Technical Madness + Curl Creations

What do I have in common with curls, wigs and Luigi Murenu? You have no idea.

February, 2013.

By day I’m despairing in hair trials with actresses; by night, I’m trawling youtube videos of women who like to pretend they’re Marie Antoinette. I’m in trouble:  I’m worryingly obsessed with a late 17th century up-do.

Ok, but it’s not because I’m pining for a lost age of bee-hive like hairstyles (which, as it seems from youtube, some people actually are). It’s because the sixth of this month is show week for a professional production of Peter Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’ – helpfully set in late 17th century Vienna. …And at this moment, I’m rather regretting my role as Costume Manager. It’s more like ‘Hair, Make-Up, Costume and Twenty-Seven Actors’ Manager.

But, with incredible desperation, no money and mild insomnia – comes inspiration!

Et voilà!

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My ‘dos are created by over fifteen barrel rolled curls, secured with slides and hairspray, a high front quiff and various hanging curls. And after creating these babies, for four consecutive show nights with my team of army-drilled hair girls, I have nothing in my head but a hell of a lot of respect for the teams that work behind the scenes at Fashion Week

March 2013. 

Luigi Murenu is designing and creating these fabulous paint-dusted, flat-pin curled wonders  for Givenchy at the AW Paris Fashion Week. This wig-like creation with rich yet soft pastel tones is to absolutely die for.

Luigi Murenu for Givenchy
Photo Credit: Victoria Will

The matching matt and simple make-up, paired with statement hair, looks breathtaking against the dark, military tones of Givenchy’s collection. For my two cents, I’d be really curious to see how this look would have been if the models eyebrows had been shaded to match the hair, but Muernu’s creations sit self-consciously, and brilliantly, wig-like, rather than a futuristic statement I reckon the added eyebrows would make.

Givency AW Fashion Week
Floral prints and striped leather
Givency AW Fashion Week
Floaty gauze and heavy zipped leather

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Born in Sardinia, Italy in 1964, Murenu is Global Creative Director for John Frieda and can boast the nearly all the big name clientèle of the fashion world:  Armani, Gucci, YSL, Viktor & Rolf, Chloe, Givenchy, Prada, Roberto Cavalli,  Louis Vuitton,Versace… Need I go on? And that’s not even to mention the sheer array of beautiful celebs that have managed to get their hands on him over the years –  Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron – I’m talking to you.

Unfortunately, the big difference between me and Luigi Murenu is that he’s probably sitting on a six figure salary, easy. Whereas I, the lowly student am working my butt off for free. But hey, I love it.

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The serious “I’m working” face returns…

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We’ve all got to start somewhere, eh?

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Statement Shoes: China

razz china shoes

It has to be in for when?!

When I came back from China last summer and got a plea for the editors of Razz My Berries to submit something for their summer edition ‘Style and Drift’, I hadn’t picked up a 2B pencil, let alone a paintbrush for about two years. Still, I knew I wanted to draw something. But I was also terrified that two years of artistic hibernation would have killed all my paint-soaked brain cells. The article was written. The equipment was hauled out dusty and mouldering from my cupboard. I had a blank page in front of me, and I had to do something with it.

Razz Shoe 2 Cycling Beijing paint edit
Razz Shoe 3 - Great Wall paint edit

Razz Shoe 1 - Emei Mountain 3099m Paint edit

And OK, so it’s not some of my best work; I was clearly out of practice and evidently, I hadn’t worked up the knowledge of post-editing (which the wonderful digital age has provided us with) quite yet. Those lines were dragged out, kicking and screaming, by the stress of a looming deadline. But as a rough and ready, quick blast illustration of some genuine fashion articles from the streets, mountains and walls of China? I’m fairly pleased, actually! To top it all off, the magazine gave me the OK and took my work off to be formatted and edited.

Clearly the ability to draw doesn’t die, it just sleeps quietly for a little while, and is, understandably, cranky when you wake it.

Don’t let your creativity hibernate.

Get in there and poke it with a stick.

I promise the results will be interesting, if nothing else.

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(I hope the bemused ladies who let me photograph their scandalous shoes are proud too.)

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Article written for Razz My Berries Magazine |Issue 12. Words and illustrations my own.