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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“Do me up, Darling”: SS Make-Up

I’ve just started work as Hair & Make-Up Artist for a London-based photography company, and I’m dying to whip up some looks from the runway while we’re on the spring summer board. Here’s a quick lowdown of five fabulous looks that I’m hoping to sneak in there over the next couple of shoots…

1. Shock Me Silly: I’ll be the first to say that green and lips in the same sentence makes me ill. Yet, while these lips are borderline ridiculous, this shade is stunning on a ivory and angular beauty back drop. The combination of a yellow-lime lip with a darker shade glitter cover is blended in nicely with a yellow toned blush. Kudos to the Maybelline team at Thierry Mugler’s SS 2012 Paris Fashion Week.

Lime Pop Lip

2. Colour Blush: Punching in to Spring with a bright palette is on the agenda, and somewhere in there I’m hoping to liven things up with an accent colour on the cheeks reminiscent of MAC‘s ginger coloured blusher in 2011. This contouring and highlighting look is going to be a great one for the big brush and some wacky colours…

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img-richard-nicoll-spring-2011-beauty_220350926870.jpg_collection_2_col

 

3. The Classic: It’s a beautiful day when someone takes the Scouse Brow and give it a good smack up into the realms of classy. I can’t seem to get away from this classic 1920s-esque classic brow, as sported by Cara Delevingne – though, why would you want to? From the Dutchess of Cambridge to the British born baby supermodel, this lightly accentuated brow is the simple way to clean up a day look into high fashion. Looking forward to testing it out with a simple white eye or red lip.

 Jason Wu Spring 2013 NY Fashion Week

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4.Full Eyed Stare: This filled in eye and nude lip combo is begging to be tested out in the next month. Using the full space around the eye, but not looking like you’ve taken a few punches the night before is no mean feat – but the light use of powder eye-shadow and some sneaking shading pulls this one off. Even without going too heavy on the mascara, Chanel’s Spring 2011 smoky runway look is a real popper for all eye colours, while Lavin’s Fall 2008 holds nothing back in metallic black. Swoon.

Chanel's Spring 2011Lanvin Fall 08


5. Hot & Sultry: Think heavy summer nights, sticky hedonism and shaded rooms. This plush lip and dark eye combo is a classic, but I’m itching to try out this variation on the sultry look that boasts a velvety matt finish that featured in Chanel’s 2009 Noirs Obscurs campaign. This sharp lined lip with a slick, but not shiny gloss sits like varnish against the dry, dust look of the eyes. A rich, warm-toned treat.

Malgosia Bela for Chanel

So much make-up, so little time. Let me know what your favourite looks  are from the SS season of Fashion Week!

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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.

Fashion (+) Illustration (=) Bliss

There’s something wonderfully paradoxical about fashion illustration as the endpoint of an artistic process. Clothing of the fashion circuit has it’s genesis in the same  medium as the conclusion of these’s artist’s works; for these artists, the illustration is the piece. Hana Müller and Sabine Pieper’s illustations both capitalise upon and play with their relation to the fashion development process; Pieper’s in her use of material like swatches on a designer’s board, Müller’s in her focus on a character creation that harkens back to the good old process of branding.

The Seductive Monochrome:

You may know her better from her online presence as Myltan from days of old, but Swedish fashion illustrator Hanna Müller is moving up into the big corporate world of art and exhibiting from 11 May – 14 July 2012 at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion. Working in aquarelle and ink (and always by hand) her smooth lined illustrations are simplistically and rather stunningly, beautiful. Granted, it helps that her subjects are model-esque figures clothed in a style blatantly aiming for high-fashion, but her soft, muted-tone shading and barely-there use of colour strikes a cool and sophisticated balance in her work.

Stalk @ http://loudmajor.com/myltan/

The Colour Explosion:

Sabine Pieper, also exhibiting this May with Müller, works in fashion and illustration from Berlin, and her mixed media creations are a sensual experience to kill for. Abstract and leaning heavily onto the art side of illustration, her work is an eclectic haven of rich colours, fabric, thread, and photographic manipulation. Her Vlisco ‘Delicate Shades’ campaign, 2011 [read more about it from her interview] showcases the exceptional innovation of her work and having established herself in commercial world, as well as making the foray into print, Pieper is moving swiftly up on the illustration circuit.

Stalk @ http://sabinepieper.com/

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What a beauty to behold… Ladies and gentlemen: paint me green, I’m dying of creative jealousy. x

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Beijing, TUESC: Tienanmen Square Tourists

Thanks Mr. Hu!

There’s no cutting corners with the volunteer’s first trip outside the safe confines of the Tsinghua University campus.

We’ve get ourselves kitted out with bikes, locks and keys from Mr. Hu (Mr. Who?) the local tough-bargaining student-bike specialist (150RMB for three weeks all-inclusive hire) and we set off to the scene of the 1989 Tianamen Square Protests.

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Tiananmen Square

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It’s a typically over cast day, and though I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever see the sun, I’m fairly glad that I’m out of its rays given the current sticky heat.

We chain up the bikes at the gates of the campus (I’m feeling pretty attached to my transportation already…) and navigate the Beijing Metro to unearth ourselves by the quiet of the square. It’s literally just across the dual carriageway, but it’s a five minute roundabout way to the square’s entrance past politely round-topped fences, and when we get there, we share the space with several other Chinese tourists taking happy photos of the surroundings.

We’re the only foreigners here, and cause some hubbub by sitting wearily in a circle, resting our sagging jet-lagged backpacks in a pile on the ground. And it’s not long before our presence begins to draw attention.

We’re firstly bombarded (although mostly the English looking girls in the group) by Chinese, accents belying their own status as non-Beijing Chinese, and tourists in their own right. We are bemusedly frogmarched into photographs with their children – and them – until a blank-faced khaki guard steps down off his half meter square carpeted block and makes motions for us to move on.

Besides our careful tourist chatter of the revolts in 1989, there’s nothing of the area which would which suggest the murders of peaceful student protesters by military police, but the heavy surveillance, strictly marked walking lines and the relative inaccessibility of the square itself, make me feel like we should take the guards direction and move on.

Luckily, we bypass President Mao’s body entombed in his mausoleum by the square – and in hindsight I think I’m just as happy with the imagined knowledge of the iconography of Mao himself; certainly the other volunteers relish telling us about it.

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The City Gates

The City Gates by the square are a jarring palette of red, blue, green on a back drop of grey; flashes of bright colour in a concrete city. We traispe rather tiredly around the gates, somewhat stunned by their looming structures around which blaring taxis and bicycles and motorbikes fight on the dual lane road. In and out of the market streets, taking many breaks on huge two meter square stone blocks that have been in Beijing over four times our live span, and deciphering dubiously translated English information leaflets.

I had my first green tea flavoured ice cream today.
Ah-mazing.

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