Reviving The 50s – An Interview With Amanda Moorhouse

This week I’d like to welcome the beautiful and talented Amanda Moorhouse, founder of Lipstick & Curls. Hi Amanda, introduce yourself and tell us what was the inspiration behind Lipstick & Curls:Amanda_Lipstick_and_Curls copy

Lipstick & Curls was born out of my love for the vintage look and my career as a hair & make up artist in the fashion industry. I studied hair & make up at the London College of fashion and then went down the usual route of assisting a established make up artist to learn my craft and make industry contacts. I assisted Illamasqua’s Alex Box for two years, whilst also working for a vintage inspired make up and hair retailer called Pout as their main stylist and product developer. For the last 15 years, I feel lucky to have maintained a career in hair & make up styling, a job that I still find stimulating and an area I continue to learn and grow in.

Whilst I had always loved watching old glamorous films I really found my passion for vintage whilst I was a student. There was the music of course but also the clothes. I’m sure partly due to student poverty I used to trawl the charity shops looking for interesting items and in those days it was easier to find some lovely vintage pieces. With these interests I began to research through old magazines and film clips looking for authentic period looks and incorporating them into my work.

Lipstick_and_Curls._7I founded Lipstick & Curls in 2009.with a team of two artists, this has now grown to a team of 15. Lipstick & Curls specialises in hair and make-up from the past and can transform you into a jazz era flapper girl, a golden era Hollywood starlet, a rock n roll pin-up or a Mad Men sex kitten. We pride ourselves on having a fully qualified team that are all part of the different strands of the vintage scene, rockabillies, 40’s enthusiasts, Mods, Northern soul enthusiasts etc. While all experts in vintage styling, they are able to create any look from a bygone period. 

What, in your opinion, has been the most popular styles and make up colours in recent seasons? 

 We continue o look to the past for our inspiration in style and fashion. Media also play s a huge role in our influences, and now more than ever with TV hit series such as, Madmen, Downtown Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Mr Selfridge …and many, many more. This is reflected in fashion across the board and even in hair and make up styling. Women are wanting a more glamorous appearance and are requesting styles from the 20’s to the 60’s. We also see the music industry being heavily influenced by the vintage styles, vintage is really everywhere and in my opinion is here to stay!!

I love the “Pop Up Beauty Parlour” idea …. and judging by the sell outs so do a lot of ladies!! What service tends to be the most popular? And what is your favourite treat at a beauty parlour? Stephanie & Dale's Wedding

The pop up parlor is a great addition to an event! We have a few regulars at vintage fairs and festivals, and ladies can shop as well as getting beautified giving a complete experience. Most of our ladies choose our hair and make up package receiving a full vintage make over, this is our most popular service.

I find I spend most of my time making other ladies beautiful  however when I get the time I do enjoy a manicure and the odd massage, for me that is a real treat!

What’s your most favourite make up item in your collection?

Ooh that’s a difficult one! I am torn between my red lippy and my eyebrow pencil, it would have to be the brow liner.Lipstick_and_Curls_5

Congratulations on Lipstick & Curls  being the Winner of Best Vintage Hair & Make Up in the 2012 Vintage Awards. Have you any new ventures/ideas that you’re planning for 2013?

We are always looking at ways of pushing the company forward. Our new Lipstick & Curls take away has proven popular and is a mobile service that takes glamour to the home. Made popular in the 40’s and 50’s the mobile stylist gives the company a connection with the hair & make up artists of the past.

We have recently started an exciting new venture with a company we love the Vintage Patisserie. It is a hair and beauty academy and our aim is to teach the basics in vintage glamour so ladies can look amazing without a daily visit to a salon. It’s more than just teaching skills though and it will have that very distinct vintage patisserie experience with lots of delicious food and drink.

 In the next few months we are also launching our online shop. From my experience as a hair and makeup artist I have sourced together many of the products and companies that are invaluable to my kit. Many not available in this country at the moment.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?Lipstick_and_Curls_6

I love dressing up and have some loads of original clothes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s but I also have a 3 year old so tend to dress more casually at home in reproduction and keep the originals for work and going out. I have to say I live in my ‘Freddies’ jeans (a reproduction of a classic 1950’s pattern) While I have a passion for shoes and have a great collection, I am on my feet a lot, so wear a lot of flats. I am a huge fan of French Sole ballet pumps, Remix Sandals, Miss L Fire and Terry Smith saddle shoes.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Lipstick_and_Curls_2I’m a big fan of Vintage fairs, where they have the best original clothing dealers but also love to find bargains scourering the charity shops and car boots. Some favourite shops for Vintage are Radio Days in Waterloo and Blackout in Covent Garden. As for reproduction I love Freddies of Pinewood (http://www.freddiesofpinewood.co.uk) , Morellos (http://www.morellos.co.uk/) and What Katie Did (http://www.whatkatiedid.com/)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have recently bought quite a special gold 1950’s wiggle dress and I am on the look out for the perfect pair of 1950’s healed mules to wear with it!

Boots or Shoes? 

Shoes! I wear a lot of skirts dresses and capris and a boot wouldn’t work with either really. I do love my vintage court shoes and even my repro sandals … even in the winter!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

 

Info@lipstickandcurls.net

www.lipstickandcurls.net

https://www.facebook.com/LipstickandCurlsLtd

https://twitter.com/#!/lipstickcurls

http://pinterest.com/lipstickcurls/

 

Thanks Amanda!  I do like your idea of an online shop and I love the whole set up of Lipstick & Curls! I wish you continued success! 

Linda x

Photo Credits: Rhapsody Road; Claudia Rose Carter Photography; Steve Hart Photography; Tony Nylons; Nick Clements

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Firecracker – An Interview with Ruby Rebelle

image_1363689348084818This week I am pleased to welcome to the blog the vivacious Firecracker herself – Ruby Rebelle! Hi Ruby, introduce yourself:

Hello, My name is Ruby Rebelle, I am a sideshow performer and manager of Rebelle Productions; a cabaret events company based in Fareham, Hampshire. I have been performing since 2010, when I debuted in a show organised by myself in aid of The Breast Cancer Campaign. Since then I have performed all over the UK, shocking audiences with my Sideshow stunts. Since 2010 I have been lucky enough to have performed at some amazing events including the world famous Torture Garden, where I performed a sideshow double act with the amazing Joe Black. 

You are a very busy young lady  – what motivated you to start fire eating, glass walking and doing burlesque?

I have always loved the idea of pushing the boundaries, I started performing Burlesque, I was always more interested in the idea of performing skill based routines and so looked into the world of the sideshow, and I instantly fell in love!
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Have you had any mishaps or embarrassing moments that you can tell us about?
I’ve been lucky enough not to have any real mishaps whilst on stage, I’m not saying it won’t ever happen though! Where I perform stunts on stage I have to ensure that the audience and myself are safe, so I always really plan what I’m going to do on stage.
As well as doing burlesque you also teach it – that sounds a lot of fun – do you enjoy teaching? 
I love teaching, it’s great fun! Being able to help other people learn how to do what I love doing is great fun! I teach under the company ER Burlesque with my best friend and fellow performer Eris Eveiller, it’s amazing to be able to work with such a like minded and wonderfully creative person, teaching with her is a pleasure!image_1363689404233027
Favourite outfit/shoes that you’ve modelled in?
I pride myself on customising and making my own costumes, but if I was to pick on it would be one that hasn’t arrived yet! I am having a floor length sequinned dress made for me and I am so excited to be able to wear it! 
You are also deputy editor for online mag Alt- Mu Mag – what has been your favourite feature so far? 
As we are a new magazine we have only had one issue out so I will have to wait until we’ve had a few more out until I can pick a favourite! It’s amazing to be able to work with a creative and talented team and to be able to voice my ideas in a written platform is amazing! 
If you could feature any person in the world in your magazine,dead or alive, who would it be & why?
 
It would have to be Harry Houdini! I’d love to be able to interview him, his stage presence and stunts were incredible!
Is there anything you would like try to try that you haven’t tried yet? image_1363689472525329
I’d love to be able to involve a live band into one of my acts, I’ve performed to a live guitar once and it was amazing, I love being able to work with musicians!
At home, what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
It would depend on the occasion, lets just say I’m never more than 2 foot away from glitter in my house, I love glitz and glam! However being more practical I’ll often wear jeans and one of my favourite band t shirts or a cute pencil skirt and blouse, as I said, it depends on the occasion!
Have you any favourite shops/online sites?
I love etsy and eBay, you can find some wonderful treasures on there!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’d love a custom designed bra set and pair of shoes! So any budding designers contact me now 😉
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Boots or Shoes? 
Shoes, definitely shoes, my dream is a little pair of Jimmy Choos or a killer pair of black stilettos, there’s nothing more sexy than a pair of high heels. 
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook 
My website is www.rubyrebelle.co.uk
Find out more about my burlesque lessons www.erburlesque.info or to check out my Facebook www.facebook.com/rubyrebellesideshow 
Many thanks Ruby and I wish you continued success in all your ventures!
Linda x
Photos published with kind permission from Ruby Rebelle.
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Laced Up And Netted

A little bit of sauciness this week as  I’ve interviewed the fab “Bad Girls” photographer Claire Seville … so are you ready for your dose of sauce?

On my blog this week  is the sexy and talented Claire Seville, “Photographer For Bad Girls”. Hi Claire, please introduce yourself!

I’m Claire Seville and I take pictures of wonderful ladies!!! I love retro, vintage, pinup, latex, chocolate, fast cars, and dancing till my feet hurt!

What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?

I used to do a little modelling when I was younger and I kind of fell into to in naturally. I also enjoyed art and being creative and photography was the one outlet that got me hooked.

What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?

Recently I had a shoot with SINderella Rockafella and she wanted to create a cobweb bra out of liquid latex and I had to paint it on for her, that was a pretty unusual experience, I got right into it though and amazed myself that I actually did an ok job!

What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?

I absolutely adored shooting Masuimi Max, she’s such a doll and we had a real good giggle through out the shoot. I was a bit nervous to begin with as I had admired from when I was modelling myself, but she’s so lovely the nerves soon went. We’re getting together again next year and I can’t wait to work with her again.

I love your catchphrase ” Photography for Bad Girls ” – but, if you were given the chance, who would you love to photograph? Who would be your ultimate “Bad Girl”? 

Madonna!!! She has such a great attitude, she doesn’t give a crap and loves to shock, she’d be amazing to shoot as I think she’d be up for pretty much anything. There’s loads of other models I’d like to shoot too, Bizarre did a shoot with Vivi Stirling and Fae Raven, they looked smocking hot together, I’d love to get my hands on the pair of them.

What style of photography would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I’m hoping to do some erotic art next year, I have lots of ideas I want to try out. I rarely move far from the sexy stuff, it’s what excites me!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?

I’m a real chameleon to be honest, I wear dresses, shiny leggings, leather, denim, high heels, wedges, high tops, dr martens, creepers, always got a slight rock chic edge though. I wear a lot of black.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Topshop has been pretty good this season and suits my style. I’m not really a label kind of girl although I do have some beautiful Vivienne Westwood pieces. I recently brought some suspend leggings from Black Milk Clothing which were cool. Pinup Girl Clothing, Doll Chops Clothing, Kreepsville 666, Kissin Bombs Design all have some mega cool stuff and you can’t beat a bit of latex Psiclone make a lot of custom stuff for me.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’d love a 80s classic rock style fringed leather jacket, haven’t found one I like yet though.

Boots or Shoes?

Do I have to choose? lol I wear a lot of boots but for the right occasion it’s got to be heels, providing I don’t have to do too much walking!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Thanks Claire!  

Linda x

Photo credits: Claire Seville

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Metallica the Trend

Metallica …it hit the fashion runways in both 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make too much of an impression …then along comes 2013 and metallica comes alive for both men and women! This time the trend seems destined to stay throughout winter, spring and into summer – especially as Summer 2013 looks set to have the colour white as a main fashion colour – because, combined with white, golds and silvers enhance a tan quite unlike any other colour.  Back to winter and spring though – gold and silver combined with black and greys glamourise an everyday outfit and although the party season may be over for some, there is no reason not to strut your stuff at the local club in some sparkly wear. There’s nothing more sexy than throwing on a black leather biker jacket  over a little metallic number, adding some heels and your weekend is sorted.  This year though, metallic colours are not just limited to silver and gold – explore copper rose/coral (fab as a top teamed with khaki shorts or chinos), metallic beiges ( brightens up an “ageing” colour!) and oyster pink ( beautiful wedding alternative). It is not just sequins either – satin (a la 1970s/1980s), dyed leather,lurex knit, silk mix metallic materials, and even fine silk twill laminated with a thin layer of foil!  2013 most certainly has arrived in a bright and shimmery fashion!

Time for a chat – I’d like to welcome to the blog this week Alex from Seventh Circle Artworks … Hi Alex, introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Alex Palmer, owner/designer/maker at Seventh Circle Artworks.
What made you want to pursue a career as a jewellery craftsman?
I studied sculpture and fine art at college and have played in various bands over the years, so combining the two creative elements seemed like a natural thing. I made my first piece for the US metal band Saint Vitus and sold all 25 limited edition rings in just one day on their merchandise stand at a Dutch festival. To be there with them, watch them play, and generally have a great weekend of rock n roll because I made some rings is about as much incentive as I need to want to do this professionally!
What has been the most unusual jewellery request you’ve had ?
Nothing too unusual as yet but its early days! I have made a ring for someone with the words “Life Is Too Short” engraved in large gothic style lettering around the outside. It was for a guy who had been going through treatment for cancer for the past year and wanted something to remind him that indeed, life IS too short, don’t waste a minute of it. Not unusual, but a beautiful piece to be asked to create.
What has been your favourite jewellery piece to date?
My favourite piece would have to be the celtic torc I made for the singer of Saint Vitus, Wino. We had talked for a year about it but finally confirmed it with only 2 weeks before he arrived for one day in London! That kind of piece would normally take around 6-8 weeks, but the pressure really helped me pull it off. From the hand carved wolf heads to the hand twisted silver wire torc itself, it’s the one piece I genuinely did not want to hand over to the client.
Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a jewellery piece?
If it’s a custom piece I like to find out something about the client first in order to get a grasp of where their inspiration comes from. For my own work, generally the darker things in life inspire me. Skulls, occult symbols etc. Music also has a big influence on my work. Depending on what kind of piece I am making I will listen to something like ACDC for the more rock n roll edge or maybe some doomier underground stuff like Amber Asylum to get that extra bit of atmosphere to the piece.
What style of jewellery would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?
I’d like to try designing jewellery with precious/semi-precious stones as the centre piece of the design. I am hopefully going to be working on a collaboration with French based Oblivion Jewellery next year which will fulfil that goal. We already spoke a few times online about ideas and we both come from a similar music related background so I’m quite excited about what we can come up with.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
Haha!! Not something I usually get asked to be honest with you! Pretty old school rocker in that sense, denim and leather! I can always rely on my New Rock biker boots and Lee jeans without fail.  
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
There is a great handmade leather stall in Camden market where I got a cool wristband from a few months ago. They are really interesting guys and happy to talk about what they do with you, and go the extra mile to make you something you want. There are a few stalls and shops like that in Camden, you just have to search for them.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More band t-shirts I imagine! I’m a sucker for buying shirts at gigs.
Boots or Shoes? 
Boots without a doubt. They are comfortable, hardwearing and as a big 6ft guy they are chunky so suit me better than shoes. And because they simply rock!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Alex…don’t forget to check out the fabulous Twins of Evil Torc Bangle and the Stone Dead Forever Skull Eternity Ring, as pictured – great ideas for Valentines Day!

Linda x

Picture Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Marie GC Photography; Zuleika Fray;Alex Palmer

 

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Man Up!

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first blogpost of 2013 – a post almost entirely dedicated to menswear!  I’m talking this week with the Man about Town himself, Bret Hollywood.

Bret Hollywood  is an American/British Television personality and MMA ring announcer. He has worked for most major MMA promotions across Europe and the Middle East including Cage Rage UK’s Ultimate Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Contender IFPA and others. He has hosted the Miss Great Britain Pageant, several charity events, was featured on the Sky Atlantic show “The Guest Wing” He is known for his flamboyant dress and his trademark catch phrase “It’s Go Time”. He has been seen on live and pre-recorded televised MMA events in more than 70 countries! 

So, Hi Bret! How did you first get involved with Mixed Martial Arts in Britain?

I moved to the UK in 2007, and was married to my British wife Julia in 2008.  Needless to say I didn’t have many friends coming here from the US.  I have always had some form of martial arts in my life and on the way to work one day I noticed a sign that read “Unity Martial Arts” I thought to myself “hmmmm that would be a great place to meet some other like minded guys.” I looked them up on the Internet and found that they had Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I called and spoke to the instructor who actually turned out to be world-class champion. We had a chat and before I knew it I went in to check it out. The day I got there, he was in the middle of an MMA session, and the guys in the room were all big hitters!  They all held championship belts and had fought on some of the biggest shows in the UK. I got talking to one of them called Denniston about wrestling (which is where my background is) and he invited me to come to an afternoon sparring session. My very first ever MMA session was really more like a school yard beating! It was AWESOME!!! I’m still not sure if I’m game or stupid, especially at first! I would stand in front of anyone! That day I was absolutely killed! I broke my nose, got KO’d and learned why you should always keep your hands up! From there I was in!! Denniston and I became very close friends and before long I was managing him. Through him I made a lot of really good contacts into MMA. After a few months, I got my first invitation from a promoter.  He asked to MC his upcoming show, KAYO MMA because of my American accent. That show was televised on The Active Channel and from there it just sort of took off! Before I knew it, I was getting calls from all over the country and have never looked back.   I have now announced hundreds of shows all over the world and have been part of both live and prerecorded television broadcasts.  I have hosted my own weekly television chat show, and even stepped into the cage myself and had a fight for the Katie Piper Foundation.

Have you had any unusual experiences when you’ve been MC/Ring Announcer /TV host or as an after dinner speaker?

Hmmmm. I suppose there have been quite a few “Unusual experiences”  I can remember once when a fighter entered the cage and he was very excited to be there.  It was his first fight.  He began bouncing off the cage walls (you know, like a wrestler would do) and breathing really loud.  The cameraman looked at me and began to giggle, and it started me giggling too.  This poor guy was getting ready for the first fight of his life and we were all giggling.  I then had to stare down the barrel of the camera and announce him and try not to laugh. I have had production guys telling me jokes in my ear when I was doing a live broadcast, less than accurate information and all sorts.  At the end of the day I just try to be the most professional guy in the room and do my best.

You are known for your flamboyant clothing style, so,what has been your favourite outfit/jacket worn whilst hosting?

That’s a tough one!  I have a gold sequin jacket that I had made for me by Sir Tom Baker.  It is one of my favourites!  I had it made for a show I was doing in Amman Jordan.  I also have some gold Jeffery West boots to match.   This was probably the first really amazing outfit I bought.  It was a big deal for me because the show was in an exotic location and the promotion was gaining notoriety and I just knew that the crowd there would love the gold. I have others that I am really fond of as well.  I have another sequin jacket from Tom in black, and a red lame’ jacket with skull lining (also Sir Tom Baker) A black DJ with a big diamante skull on the back… its hard to pick one that is my favourite.  I also have boots to match them all!

What do you like  doing best – MC, ring announcer,tv host or after dinner speaker? 

I guess my favourite part of my job is the crowd interaction.  If it’s a fight night, there is nothing like stepping into the cage at the beginning of the night, the lights down and the buzz in the air…I step into the middle of the cage, The spot light hits me, I say “Gooooooooooooooooooood Evening!” and the crowd responds!  Then when it comes the main event of the evening, I announce the fight using my catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S GO TIME!!!!  And again, the crowd responds! I absolutely love it!  After the shows there is always an opportunity to meet fans, take photos and just chat in general.If on the other hand I’m hosting a dinner event, the atmosphere is a bit different, and I like the intimacy of a smaller crowd and the opportunity to spend more time with the attendees.  I love chatting to people I meet, and if they are fans, its even better.  I know sometimes some people are a bit shy about talking to someone who may be in front of the camera or on TV, but I don’t ever want anyone to be shy about approaching me.  I love chatting with fans!

What role would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I wish I could sing!  I would love to be a singer!  The trouble is I couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle on it !

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?

Seneca said “We live not according to reason, but according to fashion”  I love that quote!  I think clothes say a lot about a person.  I tend to go for more in your face rock and roll stuff!  I love to stand out (as if you couldn’t tell already) I get a lot of stuff custom made and have very few stores that I go to. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yes, as you can tell, I am pretty particular about the things I wear.  I tend to do most of my shopping on Jermyn Street in London. Favourbrook does fantastic velevet jackets and waistcoats; New and Lingwood also do great waistcoats and lots of amazing skull stuff. I tend to get most of my shirts from Duchamp, or Etro, I love Blaqua in Carnaby Street for cufflinks, I have an amazing vintage Cavalli suede jacket that I just love and John Varvatos does some cool stuff too but more casual! I tend to be impulsive about jewelry, whenever I see something I like I will buy it.  I wear a lot of rings on my microphone hand, because I think it adds something to the close-ups for TV.I get most of my jackets made for me by Sir Tom Baker (no, not the Dr Who guy, the London bespoke tailor).  Tom is one of the coolest guys I know, and he dresses the most rock and roll rock stars in the world!  He has made suits for Robert Plant, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, Keith Flint from the Prodigy, Alice Cooper, Dave Stewart, David Hasselhof and of course me, Hollywood! I love the whole process of getting something made for me.  There is nothing like getting a bespoke suit handcrafted for you! I get all my shoes from Jeffery West.  In fact, with the exception of trainers, they are all I wear in or out of the cage!  I have about 30 pairs of shoes and boots from them.  Again, their shoes and boots can be seen on all sorts of rock stars and TV personalities.  Jeffery West designs shoes [that are] my style and I get a lot of attention because of them.  In fact I wore a bright red pair to a live show once and there were so many comments that night on Twitter that they actually trended.  I love it when stuff like that happens! From that night on, Jeffery West shoes have been one of my trademarks in the cage.  I even have a fantastic pair of silver skull encrusted Jeffery West boots that were made for me by the fab Milly J Shoes.  (In fact they now reside in the Northampton Shoe Museum)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Why a new pair of Boots of course !  I saw a preview of a new pair that Jeffery West is releasing in their next collection and I cant wait!  Other than that, I sometimes get an idea or a picture in my head of an outfit and then will go and try to get it made.  I always have a head full of ideas so I’m never short of things on my wish list.

Boots or Shoes? 

I always wear boots! In fact I even tweet a picture of my boots every day “the view from my desk”.  Of course I do wear shoes when I have meetings or am delivering presentations in my day job (The corporate world isn’t quite ready for Hollywood)  I just prefer boots and cannot find shoes that are as edgy as the boots I typically wear.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

You can find my fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HollywoodBret

 Twitter @HollywoodBret

And of course my website is http:// hollywoodmc.com

Thank you Bret and I hope you like some of the ideas I have highlighted! Don’t forget, ladies, keep in touch with the latest footwear and accessory bargains and styles by following the facebook group BOOTS SHOES ET AL  – just press the icon.

Linda x

Photo credits:  Jeffery-West;  Bret Freeman; Adam Hobden

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A Night At The Museum

It was a cold but clear night. Travelling from the wilds of the Essex salt marshes to the heartland of England’s shoe industry – Northampton – went myself and my husband, on Friday 23rd November 2012.  Our destination was the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery home to the world famous shoe collection – the second largest shoe collection in the world (the largest being in Ottawa, Canada), no less.

We had been invited to the Press and Celebrity Private Evening Viewing of the fabulous collection of Milly J Shoes and I had been looking forward to this evening for weeks!  Milly couldn’t have picked a better place to launch her exhibition – Northampton Museum is “Heaven on Earth” for shoe lovers and I fell head over heels in love with the place as soon as I stepped over the threshold. As well as shoes, the museum also has a prestigious collection of Italian and British artworks, including work by John Collier and David Hockney.  But let’s get back to shoes….as I was saying, the ground floor of the museum looks at shoe fashions, shoemaking and the significance of shoes and in the comfortable Shoe Lounge, currently exhibiting until 6 January 2013, is the fantastic artwork shoe creations of the delightful and unique Milly J.

Milly J Shoes – one-off art to wear shoes and shoe sculptures are unique and the work and creativity that goes into each and every item needs to be seen in the flesh, photographs cannot do them justice. I found myself looking at each and every shoe with awe and wonder – I have seen them before in photos on Milly’s website – but up close…well, the details blew me away!! The shoes are works of art, no doubt about that, but wearable too …and ever since Jodie Marsh stepped onto the This Morning’s set in her “teapot” shoes designed by Milly J …other celebrities and non celebrities have been clamouring to own their own unique pair and be part of the Milly J Shoe  Envy Club.

So, which were my favourites?  I loved the Red & Black Vampire Diaries court shoes that matched the dress I was wearing that night…but they are owned by a lovely lady called Emma, who won’t part with them (understandably!) I also had a crush on the green lace up army boots …little army figures climbed up the heel and around the shoe …they would look fab with my jeans although my husband did point out that one trip and the little man at the front would probably come to a sad end!

 My husband Adam loved the boots made for TV personality and MMA Announcer Bret “Hollywood” Freeman …they started life as a pair of Jeffery West white boots and with a little magic from Milly they have been transformed into boots full of skulls! Designer Guy West (Jeffery -West) also admired the transformation! (Jeffery – West are also exhibiting their 25th Anniversary exhibition in the adjoining room until 9 February 2013 – to the delight of my Adam and Bret who had a quick mooch around that exhibition too!)

Bret “Hollywood” Freeman opened the proceedings with a toast to Milly J and her achievements in just less than a year.Milly J presented to the museum a special exhibit called the Tap Shoe – this was a shoe in a black/white check (reminiscent of traditional bathroom tiling) with a tap and plug on it….hard to describe but it is a fab piece of artwork….

 

Milly J is certainly a talented lady …apart from wowing us all with her creative shoe artworks, she is a lovely chatty and friendly lady with a proud, supportive and equally lovely fiancé Mark, and her main forte is actually being an actress and classically trained singer …and she blew me away with her fantastic rendition of In The Summertime ...it was just a fantastic evening and the fabulous cupcakes with edible shoes on them also deserve a mention … these were provided by Cuppies ‘n’ Cream …delicious Natalie, thank you.

So, here are some of the gorgeous Milly J Shoes creations…made with lots of love…

Wedding boots with a difference…and the Birdcage…

Liquorice All sorts …Breast Cancer Awareness Shoe..

For photograph enthusiasts…these were another favourite of mine…

Oranges…ideal if you’re feeling fruity…

At the Cafe – look at the detail – menu board, tablecloth, crockery…

Rubik’s Cube…

Secret Garden…

Another pretty one…ladybirds and roses…another favourite contender..

 

 

Dotty Tea Pots..

 

 

 

 

 

These have removable candles on the front with faux flames …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now I’m pleased to welcome to the blog the unique lady that is Milly J. Hi Milly, I really enjoyed meeting you and seeing your creations close up… so please introduce yourself ..

I am Milly J, aka Emily J, the shoe artist

Your shoe designs are amazing! Where do you get your ideas from?

My inspiration comes entirely from my belief in what is possible. I do not hinder myself and I am not scared to take a risk and surprise myself. I am from a theatrical background and this has put me in good stead to truly go out with an idea and see it to the end process. My skills in communication, my love of surrealism, my upbringings abroad, culture, society, anthropology and food. Though what really inspires me are the people that come to me. By talking to them and building a rapport of what makes them tick is very important. By having a hook in any form of work, your work will breath life.
In your opinion, what has been your wackiest design?
To be honest, to me I know that those that perhaps are more “middle” of the road would see my designs as “whacky”, though it’s when you read the titles and start to understand the meanings behind the shoes, they make complete sense. Though in terms of un-conventionalism, I’d have to say, the Mad Hatter’s teapot. Not just due to the actual design, but also due to the whole psychology of the Mad Hatter Character. A totally bonkers entity that sees elements where perhaps elements are not apparent. I took this mentality and tried to create this through a shoe.
Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?
Yes, the Guardian Angel Shoe. This shoe was created almost straight after the passing of my brother. It is a shoe that is steeped in sensitivity,  based on “real” situation that is so very dear to me. A shoe that speaks of taking flight and letting what will be rest.
What do you like best about being a shoe designer?
The uninhibited nature of being an artist is so very liberating. Be able to realise that art is simply what works. Being able to create for not just yourself, but others too. The non selfish aspect of designing is so very special too, sharing your work with the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?
I am at heart not someone who is hindered by what the market perhaps may subtly tell us to wear.Like my work, I like to be free in the notion that there are so many possibilities for me to fit in to. So it could Boho, Rockabilly, preppy… what ever works for me.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I love etsy. As it’s an avenue where you can really enjoy hand made creations that are created by fellow artists and designers, from the heart. None of that manufactured, processed malarky!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I want to own a really nice Boho coat. I already have one, but another wouldn’t hurt! The type you can find in Camden. With silks and embroidery that speaks of craftmanship and skill.
Boots or Shoes?
Any works for me :-). I after all am a shoe person full stop. I love demonia boots to look at but I also love a dainty shoe to ponder over.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Milly …it was lovely to meet you …and don’t forget if you are in Northampton pop in to that gem that is the Northampton Museum and be mesmerised, as I was!!! In the meantime, check out her website and have a look at all the other creative works not shown here…Milly J surprises me daily with new creations!!! 
Linda x
Photo Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Linda Hobden
 

 

 

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Time To Party

Welcome onto the blog the delightful Anne of Essex’ee Legs….Hi Anne, introduce yourself :

I am Anne Tyler, owner of Essex’ee Legs, based in Brentwood Essex UK
When choosing stock for your shop, do you have a set criteria or do you go with what grabs you at the time or a bit of both?
I try to introduce a couple of new brands every 6 months or so. I generally look for good quality brands. When choosing the stock; I have to like the items I am selling and have confidence that they will sell well, I have made mistakes along the way but hopefully, have learned from them 🙂 I try to be different from the High Street, but do stock some everyday hosiery as well. I like to take the more glamorous route as I find these are the styles my customers want.
What has been the most popular style and colour in recent seasons?
Suspender Tights have proved to be the most popular style in recent seasons. This style first appeared around 2009 and its popularity doesn’t diminish, and is still a best seller. All the brands have come up with different interpretations of suspender hosiery and they are still selling very well.Black is still the favourite colour with greys not far behind.
Have you had any strange hosiery requests ?
 A customer once asked me to find black fishnet footless hold ups for her wedding day! I found these and she was delighted.
 What’s your most favourite item in your collection, current or in the past?
Seams have to be my personal favourite. They are so classy and chic. I am loving the Jonathan Aston Opaque Backseam Tights at the moment. They are new in for AW 2012 and are gorgeous.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
At the moment, I love smart stylish pencil style dresses and skirts with heels and seamed hosiery.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Particularly like Reiss, Monsoon, M and Co and M&S online for outfits. Shoes; so many stunning styles about online, love Reiss and LK Bennett, but a special treat as very expensive.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Some new outfits for forthcoming Festive Season, and a pair of Black LK Bennett shoes I’ve got my eye on!
Boots or Shoes? 
Both! Boots generally for Winter days, shoes for nights out. Has to be heels, hate flats!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Twitter: @EssexyLegs
Thank you Anne!  As ever, join us on Facebook  
 
Linda X
Photo credits: Essex’ee Legs;

 

 

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An Evening of Burlesque and Boudoir

I’m so excited…I’m off to see a West End Burlesque Show and I can’t wait to indulge in the glamour of the occasion! Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a revival of burlesque shows on both sides of the Atlantic. This revival is known fondly as Neo-Burlesque and one of the best known performers is the immensely successful Dita von Teese, who began performing in 1992  – and in the last few years she has made cameo appearances in the Eurovision Song Contest;has been ambassador/spokesperson for MAC cosmetics (as part of a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign) alongside Debbie Harry, Eve and Lisa Marie Presley;has launched her own make up collection “Classics” in partnership with the German cosmetic brand Art Deco; and has launched her own range of lingerie – Australia being the country honoured with the first collection.

Corporate Burlesque Entertainment Booking Sukki Singapora

So what is burlesque? Burlesque is basically striptease with the emphasis on tease – think vintage glamour – feathers,corsets,seamed stockings and nipple tassels!! Although every burlesque performer has their own unique showstopper – Dita von Teese shows are influenced by musicals and films of the 1930s and 1940s – her signature show features a giant martini glass and her feather fan dance was inspired by burlesque dancer Sally Rand and featured the world’s largest feather fans, now on display in Hollywood’s Museum of Sex. In contrast, Sukki Singapora, performs an ultimate fusion of traditional burlesque and Bollywood Glamour.

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Burlesque is a popular fancy dress theme, and as a hen/girly night idea there are dance schools, such as the Pink Kitten Dance School in Bristol, offering burlesque dancing classes where you and your girlfriends can learn to take off your clothes seductively …but don’t worry you don’t end up nude, you just wear lots of layers to practice in!! Boudoir photography often have a burlesque feel to the shots – probably because of the make up, corset ,hosiery and shoes worn …not forgetting the props!

Corsets,tutus or combined corset-tutu dresses are a must….there are plenty to choose from on the internet from specialist corset shops through to fancy dress outlets  – ebay offers a reasonable and good selection too.

Stockings- seamed black stockings, fishnets,hold ups or how about fishnet suspender tights.

Other props could include long gloves,either plain or black lace,gothic style; fascinators….the list is endless and best left to your imagination.  Don’t forget to check out the lingerie sections of catalogue companies such as La Redoute too!

Talented MUA Emma Brooks who has worked in the industry for over 15 years with MAC, and now is freelance, gave me some advice on getting that perfect Burlesque look:

Burlesque Make up is all about the sexy retro era, cat like eyes and a beautiful cupid’s bow shaped red lip. It’s what us make up artists like to call “Flicks and Lips”. Here are the key products to create the look:-

  • Skin – Flawless matte skin to begin, M.A.C  Studio Fix Fluid SPF15, using foundation slightly paler than your natural skin tone.  Powder on top with M.A.C Blot Powder. Apply M.A.C Pink Cult blusher to the apples of the cheeks.
  • Eyes – M.A.C. Bare Canvas paint blended from lash line up to brow bone. Blend a little M.A.C. vanilla eyeshadow all over the top. M.A.C. Blacktrack Fluidline applied with a M.A.C. 266 Angle Brush, to create a cat like perfect FLICK on the eye. Really emphasise and elongate the flick at the outer corner of the eye. Lashings of mascara and Dior Black show kohl pencil. M.A.C Fascinating White in water line of eye. M.A.C. spiked eyebrows to darken and emphasis brows. M.A.C.  12  false eyelashes.
  • Lips – M.A.C. Red lipliner pencil to create a fuller top lip and really emphasise the cupid’s bow. M.A.C Ruby Woo lipstick.
  • And lastly, not forgetting the essential beauty spot on cheekbone using M.A.C. Coffee eye kohl pencil.

So, now you’re ready to strut your stuff at the burlesque parties this season… and perhaps attend a show or two yourself! I was lucky enough to interview the extremely sweet, multi national burlesque artist (and model,vocalist & violinist) Sukki Singapora, for this week’s blog..

imageMultinational Burlesque Starlet and proud representative of Burlesque for Singapore, Sukki is one of the most exciting performers to emerge into the Neo-Burlesque Scene. She is the World’s first Professional Burlesque Performer to hail from the “tiny sunny island” of Singapore, capturing the imagination and heart of the nation [ChwennyLand, November 2011]. Using her native roots she has created signature fusion routines which mix Bollywood and oriental gyrations with tongue in cheek showgirl bump and grind.Her acts have been critically critically acclaimed in all the countries she’s performed, and has enabled her to share a stage with high profile celebrities such as UK TV Comedians Rufus Hound and Jason Manford. Little over a year into her career she founded The Singapore Burlesque Society, it’s main aim being to promote and support Burlesque in Singapore, and freedom of expression through the Art. Clearly a talented force making waves in the industry Sukki is also the mastermind behind sell-out revue The Singapore Burlesque Club.Her performances are as lavish and elaborate as her costumes, making this sultry and visually stunning performer not one to be missed.

Hi Sukki! Glad to have you on the blog! I know that every burlesque performer has their own style – and the costumes worn reflect that. Where do you get your inspiration from for the outfits? Custom made or designer etc? For me it’s about creating something individual, rather than simply slipping into something already designed. My inspiration comes from many things,my childhood,my heritage,and burlesque pioneers of the past such as Barbara Yung. it can take months of imagination and reinvention before the finished costume is created. Usually I have designers to help with the basic designs, and then I add and embellish them myself until they’re perfect. Wherever possible I like to start with the material from a sari so that every showpiece has a story to it which reflects my ethnicity.

imageFavourite stage outfit /shoes. At the moment my favourite stage outfit is the one for my “Introducing Miss Singapora Act.” I love the complexity of the beading, and the way it makes me feel. It took so many hours to complete. Often the most glamorous pieces do! And my favourite stage shoes… a vintage 1950’s pair of gold dancing heels. High enough to emphasise the seductiveness of a woman’s leg, but not too high so as she can’t move gracefully. I love the story that comes with dancing in her shoes, and what history they might hold.

Off stage, what outfits/shoes do you normally wear? Off stage, I enjoy wearing vintage. My favourite dresses at the moment are Chinese pieces from the 1940’s. I always like to make an effort, even when “off duty” and never leave the house without makeup! My favourite shoes depend of the occasion. Recently my muse has been Jeffrey Campbell. Definitely my first choice to feel playful and elegant in during the day!

Any advice for wannabe burlesque starlets ? In my experience, I’ve found that the best burlesque acts have a hint of something unique. Something which shows off your personality without trying too hard. Explore your own individualism, and keep practicing. Also avoid cliches when it comes to style. Try not to step on the stage in the head to toe catalogue of a “burlesque” outfit from a sex shop. You can never do too much customising!

Your routines must require a lot of energy as well as skill – what do you do to keep fit? To keep fit I think it’s as much about diet as about exercise. I have hourly intensive workout sessions with a personal trainer two times a week, and on top of that I make sure I rehearse routines every day, I try to eat many small meals throughout the day rather than waiting and eating huge portions, and prioritise proteins and vegetables. I avoid bread and dairy products, although I don’t cut them out completely. One day a week I allow myself to eat whatever I want – in some form or another that usually involves chocolate!
Boots or Shoes? Definitely shoes, and never without a platform or a heel!
Links eg website, twitter,Facebook etc so that readers can find you/or follow you etc
Have fun!
Linda x
Sukki Singapora photos: Photography by My Boudoir; MUA by Sarah Elliott; and corsetry by Kiku Boutique.
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Welcome to my Blog!

Hi! I’m Linda and a big welcome to my blog!

I’m currently running the Facebook group, Boots Shoes et Al , and this blog I hope will compliment the information, friendships and general discussions already being experienced in the group. With this blog I hope to share my passions for fashion, footwear,beauty,music,photography and socialising …!!! I will be chatting to some lovely people about their fashion passions; I will be delving into my make up bag and accessory drawer for product assessments; and, of course, I’ll be indulging in some truly fabulous boots and shoes conversations!

So, let’s get ready to rumble, come on in and join me !!!

Feel free to contact me via comments, Facebook or email.

Linda  x

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