If there is a paraben, dye, mineral oil free brand to be found, I am bound to be intrigued by it. To my delight when I stumbled on Swiss brand Arbonne, I discovered that it was also Vegan certified and made with 100% botanical bases.
I had to speak to the lovely Afua Duodo (as pictured above), a product consultant for the brand to get more on it.
1. Hi Afua, Thank you for taking the time to speak to me on Arbonne. Tell us a bit about the brand and background.
Hi Marian, it is a pleasure. Arbonne products have a Swiss heritage, established 32 years ago and are pure, safe and beneficial. It has 100% botanical bases, is PH correct and Vegan certified. They also are free from dyes, mineral oil, perfume and harmful parabens.
2. Like a lot of other brands, it is free from Parabens. What makes it stand out from other brands in this same category?
They are free from parabens and nourishes the skin and body, with visible results with 24 hours ( as in the case of the anti-aging RE9).
3. What is your current favorite skincare tip?
I like using the sheer glow with the foundation to give you your own spotlight.
4. Two products from the brand that you’d recommend for most beauty counters?
Most definitely the RE9 (anti-ageing) and the makeup primer.
5. Your personal favorite from the line?
The ABC range (baby products), excellent for dry skin and eczema.
Until recently, my now 8-month-old baby suffered from severe dryness, which he would often scratch for relief. We spend great amount of time in Canada and climate is dry which during the colder months causes the skin to become extra dry. During my recent spring visit to London to spend a few months with my parents, my mom who has been using Arbonne anti-aging (RE9) for last couple of months was convinced that the ABC range would improve my baby and affectionately describes the baby skin as being a “sand paper”. After using ABC sample for two days, I noticed that baby skin was moist, soft and smooth, a contrast to the dryness of skin that he had, since he was three months old. The immediate results got my attention, so I started to use Arbonne products range and registered to become a product consultant.
When I’m out and about with the baby people often comment about the appearance of his skin and its softness, when they pick him and it always brings a smile to my face, because I have found product that actually works.
6. More and more women are trying to scale back on their lotions and potions, minimizing the number of products they use in their beauty regime. How can Arbonne help them cut back to focal products that are effective only beauty counter?
The RE9 range is effective and gives the option of using the right products that actually work.
7. How can readers order products?
By going to www.arbonneinternational.com
click on join Arbonne, use sponsor id: 441054593 and following the instructions or contact email@example.com for more information.
8. Your thoughts on natural skincare and the boost in paraben free beauty brands?
More and more people are becoming conscious of their environment and the ingredients in the products they use. They are thus looking for products that are safe, but also work, and Arbonne tick both boxes.
9. One current beauty trend that has caught your eye?
Looking natural, so going for products that enhance beauty and our cosmetics range enables that.
10. Last word on this brand?
Pure, Safe and Beneficial.
Jenny Hattersley. Courtesy of Jenny Hattersley. 2. There is something whimsical and joyful about your designs. What (could be anything; place, song, color, book, dream etc.) bringing you joy currently? A cliché perhaps, but the misty mornings and the forces of nature in the promise of Spring are definitely working for me! 3. You have an obvious love of haberdashery and texture. What textures would you like to see your leather, tassel and crystal highlights worn against? That’s tricky as they’re designed to have the ability to transform a simple, muted garment as much as they are to highlight & clash against a bold Marni-esque print…..I’d have to go with the bold print for a full-on effect!
Jenny Hattersley. Courtesy of Jenny Hattersley. 4. What is the story behind the Dark Horse name? As I work predominantly in leather and am informed by British heritage and saddlery techniques I wanted something that conveyed that spirit of equestrian culture…..as well as choosing something that is a little bit thought-provoking & memorable. 5. Why leather and textile accessories? I adore textiles but don’t always find them practical as the basis for an accessory because they don’t necessarily wear well for long…..my product is all about quality & longevity and for me, leather offers that resilience combined with the colours & qualities of a fabric. Leather only improves with each wear and therefore provides an excellent backdrop for my more delicate and vibrant haberdashery embellishments.
Jenny Hattersley. Courtesy of Jenny Hattersley. 6. Your Deco Deluxe collection is very geometric referencing the 20’s. The collection notes state that this was mixed a 90’s vibe. How so and why the 90’s? As always in my work there is a contradiction at the heart of its inspiration! The twenties is so distinctive and informs my more tonal, geometric designs but the 90’s was a really coming-of-age era for me and I am referencing that part of me which is drawn to brash, chunky chains & fly-girl neckpieces, massive chunks of crystal and even bigger earrings! 7. The 20’s are having a moment this spring. What is your favorite icon, trend or piece of culture or reference from that period? The paintings of Tamara de Lempicka – I love her distinctive, bold, powerful and unashamedly sensual style.
Jenny Hattersley. Courtesy of Jenny Hattersley. 8. What is your productions process, are all your pieces fully crafted by hand? Absolutely, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The in-house design & production is key to the brand ethos – it ensures outstanding attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. 9. Share something dark about Dark Horse? Our ideas are much brighter for dwelling on the dark side! 10. Your tassel necklace and earrings are textural and glamorous. One tip for wearing them by day? One or the other and definitely not to be worn as a set….and because they are fairly luxe I’d love to see them over a piece of textured knitwear with some beaten up denim for great contrast. 11. Your stars mesmerize and the crystal detailing, contrasting colored leather draws one in. If we could only choose one piece from your current collections which would you suggest as the definitive Dark Horse Ornament accessory? It would have to be the ‘Glint’ antique crystal cuffs – they are a perennial favourite and have a luxurious substantial feel to them that oozes understated glamour – they just epitomize the Dark Horse label.
Jenny Hattersley. Courtesy of Jenny Hattersley. Discover Dark Horse Ornament. More Five Minutes With… encounters.
Photo of Alistair Guy by Emanuele DAngelo for Livin Cool
I have longed liked the work of stylish and celebrated fashion and reportage photographer Alistair Guy. His clients include the likes of British Fashion Council and Jil Sander. His work has been featured in British Vogue, Vogue.com, Style.com, Vanity Fair, The Times, Wonderland Magazine to name a few.
I was so pleased when he kindly agreed to document a day in his life. He went one further and documented a diary (and what a memorable diary it truly is!) over the menswear autumn 2012 shows at London Fashion Week.
Read on for Alistair Guy’s LFW autumn winter 2012 menswear diary.
Alarm goes off and porridge for breakfast is in order for the start of the day!
Checked emails and blog…
After my shower I decided my outfit of the day based on my old 90′s New Balance grey and blue trainers which I adore! So I instinctively chose a Mr Start grey three piece suit (blue trousers to clash), light blue shirt and blue tie.
Met Oli Clutheth from Ben Sherman outside Somerset House and also bumped into Maurice from the Standard looking all so dapper.
Got photographed a lot outside before my first show.
Went to Christopher Shannon show, chatted to Chris Benns, stylist to Professor Green and then sat next to Susana Madsen, editor of Dansk magazine.
Met up again with Oli and had some tea in Covent Garden before next show…
Topman Design show and watched it from the balcony as turned up late as usually seated!
Afterwards bumped into the lovely Katy Lubin from Mr Porter who introduced me to her boys and their Jaguar.
Met my assistant Luke who joined me for some lunch in the BFC lounge.
Sat front row with Luke (see first image above) at the Lou Dalton show, I’m big fan of all of Village press who are all so lovely and always look after me! (See second image above)
Went to see Philip Start with Dan Rookwood, fashion editor of Men’s Health at his Mr Start presentation in the Portico Rooms, all looked so fine and cleanly put together as ever.
James Long show started with a speech introduced by Harold Tillman (see above) and Dylan Jones informed us about the next menswear fashion week in June, I can’t wait…
James Long show.
Went out into the courtyard of Somerset House and photographed again so returned in to the BFC lounge for some tea and cakes.
Chatted to David Gandy who is now working with the BFC on menswear fashion week.
Did an interview for Monocle Radio.
Oliver Spencer show and had a Casio G-Shock ‘Watch-Off’ with DJ/comedian Melvin Odoom.
Result was a draw as we were too well dressed to fight! Oliver’s show was my favourite of the day, a perfect balance of smart and casual (see second image above), also a lot of fantastic beards (see last photo)!
Met ex-model Didi Stoesell for drinks in Mark’s Bar downstairs in Hix.
Had drinks before James Small’s show, bumped into James Brown and Sacha Bailey, always well looked after by Fran Cutler…
Show started and the usual crowd cheering by Kate Moss and Jamie Hince began… It was styled by my friend Aimee Croysdill who did a great job.
Went for our regular post fashion week burger at Byron in Covent Garden, so delicious and well deserved!
Off to the Corinthia Hotel for James’ after party and joined Aimee and her new artist Yadi (signed to Warner). Danced the evening away to soul classics below the fashion film show starring the gorgeous Zara Martin who I recently shot for Elle magazine…
Visited Massimo’s restaurant and pretended to be a TV chef!
Left into the night with a lovely two blonde female escort…
Got into bed after emailing images to my lovely new client Joseph. Good night and thank you LFW until next season.
I thoroughly enjoyed Alistair’s diary and it was a reminder of inspiring menswear can be. It is no surprise that Alistair’s diary is brimming with visual inspiration. He is as dapper and well mannered as he is talented. I particularly like how varied his encounters are.
Kind thanks to lovely Alistair for documenting this diary.
Catch up on the diary series.
I attended the launch of supermodel Helena Christensen’s new lingerie line. The Helena Christensen for The Luxury Collection by Triumph Essence was launched at SELFRIDGES, London. The line sees Christensen who is ambassador for Triumph Essence design three pieces for the spring 2012 collection of their luxury range. She stated that it was important to her that the designs edify the women they are designed for.
In conjunction with this was the global launch of Triumph’s ‘Fantasy Mirror’. It allows the customer to (created by OgilvyAction London using 3D visualization) try Triumph lingerie choices without actually taking any clothes off or putting any underwear on.
I was honored to interview Christensen on her new line and lingerie as a whole. Read on for the conversation.
1. Two pieces every lingerie drawer needs?
A large pair of comfortable pants that holds you in all the right places. I’m not a G-string kind of person, the bigger the better. I think there are many women who like them and it makes sense for certain outfits. However whenever I wear them I am always cognizant of them. They don’t feel comfortable.
So yes, it would be a very big fitting pair of underwear and a bra. And yes again I am not really into wires or padding but now I’ve learnt of other techniques to use to still give you good hold, a comfortable hold and a nice shape. It is not about having an overwhelming cleavage because that to me was never really sexy. When it is obvious that is has been forced, if you have it naturally then it is beautiful, but when it is forced like anything in life it is never going to be charming. It is never going be attractive or becoming.
So a nice bra that feels really comfortable and gives you a good shape from all angles; front, side and back.
2. How important is the role of lingerie in a woman’s confidence?
I think very important.
It is also something I have now been educated in while working with Triumph because you don’t think how intricate the design of a bra and underwear is, of how many details and how many things you’ve got to keep in mind when you are actually designing it from scratch, to fit all the different body shapes there are and make sure that it is comfortable in a sense that the straps can’t be digging in, the wires can’t be too tight, there’s a lot of detail.
When obviously a woman goes to buy lingerie, you visually look at it, you look at what aesthetically pleases you and then you try it on and everything changes because that when you realize that this not do my body any favors
There is a whole philosophy of building bras and lingerie and I think if you can combine beautiful lingerie with that which fits comfortably then obviously that is what we are looking for, that is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable which is exactly what you find out how to create with a company that is 125 years old.
If we can combine the two I think it goes a long way into making women feel confident.
3. I think your pieces are sensuous what are your thoughts on this?
I think it is interesting that you use that word sensuous and I am happy you think so. I always preferred to be called sensuous over the word sexy. I prefer sensuous, as it just seems more natural.
4. Your favorite piece from your new Triumph Essence collection?
The lace skirt. I like that I could see it being worn with a thick comfortable jumper and socks just unwinding. So adding comfort to a sensuous luxurious piece. In a Marilyn Monroe undone natural way.
5. That leads to my last question, If you could have any old Hollywood screen icon in your collection, who would it be?
Oh so many of them; Marlene Dietrich who seemed so strong to the public but had a real vulnerability, Katherine Hepburn. I really like the actress Jean Seberg, also Audrey Hepburn.
But most of all Marilyn Monroe.
She was truly something. People saw her as vulnerable for being so open but she was pretty strong in my opinion rather as in those times it was not the place of the woman to speak her mind but she did which rather shows strength. And she was so beautiful. She was a natural. Her husband Arthur Miller once said that when she walked in the sand she only left one straight line of footprints as her steps where completely one in front of each other.
Yes if I could have one old Hollywood screen icon I think it be Marilyn.
The Helena Christensen for Triumph Essence, The Luxury is now available in store at Selfridges and on Selfridges online.
More Five Minutes With interviews.
On Tuesday 31st January the launch of the new Roberto Cavalli fragrance was celebrated at London’s Roberto Cavalli boutique on Sloane Street.
Starring in the campaign directed by Johan Renck and Steven Klein (film and photography respectively), the beautiful actress and model confidently embodies the Roberto Cavalli woman.
I spoke to her on the new perfume.
1. Elisa congratulations on being the face of the the new Roberto Cavalli fragrance. What do you think about the perfume?
Thank you. When it comes to perfume, I am not so versed on what makes a fruity or floral fragrance but do know what womanly characteristics that it has. It has the same strength and bold independence a woman possesses with that inner subtlety. Like a woman should be the fragrance has strength with a gentle softness.
2. How has the creative process of working with the house of Cavalli been like so far for you?
I’ve been so pampered. Incredibly pampered and the process has been wonderful. The brand is amazing and inspiring. Truly amazing to work with from shooting the campaign and everything to this launch
3. The fragrance is synonymous with?
Sparkle, joy, desire, love and life.
Kind thanks to Elisa.
Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune is notably quoted as saying – The world changed when fashion instead of being a monologue, became a conversation.
That quote for me sums up the allure that the online holds for me. It encapsulates the power that a blog can have. It is the reason why I am as excited about print as I am by its online building block.
I am of the belief that a good blog creates conversation. It provokes thought and gives you new perspective on something already seen.
One of my favorite blogs is Shala’s Rabbit Hole. Written by Shala Monroque, Creative Director of Garage Magazine (Monroque was formerly Editor-at-large of Pop Magazine), it continually challenges me to thought.
Monroque’s ability is one of all great dreamers; the ability to draw you into their dream, the challenge to think for oneself, the call to imagine without boundary or border.
I was honored to interview Shala on her site, the things that inform it and more.
Her answers are a revelation, it is an honor to share them with you.
1. Hello Shala, thank you for granting with reference to your blog, Shala’s Rabbit Hole. What inspired you to start the site and how would you best describe it to someone who has never had the pleasure of reading it?
I stumbled on blogging when I was the Editor-at-Large for Pop Magazine. When I left I wanted to continue on my own platform and so I created Shalasrabbithole.com. The site is meant to be one of inspiration hence no advertising. I didn’t want it to have any distractions. I’ve been playing around in my head with the idea of randomness for a long time now and that’s a big part of the blog. Like how two things together may not make sense but if you stare at them or think of them next to each other long enough you will come to make it mean something. Often the images have nothing to do with the text, but I juxtapose them based on my feelings, not thought. Really it’s meant to be a glimpse of how things are processed in my head.
2. The name of the blog references Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Alice in Wonderland. Is this a favorite of yours and how did you settle on the name?
When I started traveling extensively, I often felt like I’d fallen down the rabbithole. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland, things were not the way they were supposed to be. One example of this is in the summer months I would go to various art fairs in different cities and in every city I landed in I would see some of the same people. That to me seemed like an odd dream. I think of a rabbit hole, in the way that Lewis Carroll describes it as a sort of black hole, a place that exists in the imagination or memory even, yet maybe only one person can experience it this way. I sought to create my own rabbithole.
3. Yours is a way that is distinctive in its bearing. What is your opinion on the strength of your perspective?
I’m a daydreamer and I’m also very curious, I spend a lot of time digging deeply like a mole through the recesses of my mind. I have lots of memories and I like rearranging them, not necessarily in order. I like to call it “fictitious memory”
4. What to you is the making of a good blog and which ones are you currently reading?
It depends, I mainly troll through fashion blogs, but there are all types of blogs in every field. I think at best a blog is one that constantly creates interesting and unique content. In fashion I like Tmagazine’s blog because it has such broad coverage on fashion, art, design and it’s always news, I especially like its “chic in review” section for its cheek.
Tommy Ton’s Jak & Jil is also at the top of the list. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and it shows in his photographs. That’s really what separates him from all the other street-style photographers, his eye is so sharp he instinctively knows what’s next.
And then I love Tumblr because I love images.
5. You run the gamut of everything from wistful images taken in foreign locale to current day events. All written in that voice unique to you. What informs and inspires your site?
I love art. I love beauty. I love images and words. I think these things form the foundation of the blog.
6. The categories of the blog are so poetic in their being. What is the story behind each; Basin Jamet, The Crystal Tearoom, Tuning In To Josephine and River of Beauty and Youth?
Basin Jamet, is an actual place in the mountains of St.Lucia, the island that I’m from. It’s meant at once to be an inside joke and also a marker. Basin Jamet is a river pool where the girls would go swimming and scream very loudly, basically there they were uninhibited, the true essence of themselves. Sometimes I feel so many restrictions are placed on women, women could never get away with a lot of the things that men do. But there, at Basin Jamet the women did as they pleased, they bathed naked, they got along, they laughed really loud and they didn’t care what anyone thought. A jamet means a loose woman. It was not necessarily a positive word but I like to think of them in a positive way because in my child’s eye, they genuinely seemed happier than women who were tied down to societal conventions.
This category on the blog is a celebration of the freedom of women.
I came up with the name, The Crystal Tearoom whilst dancing at Club Plastic in Milan. There is a room in the club where the ceiling is covered in chandeliers. Whilst dancing and again daydreaming I was thinking that it could be a great place for conversation on any topic and this room would be in the middle of nowhere, a dark hall sparkling with lights and hushed conversation. Since it was probably never going to be a reality I thought well why not make it a place on the blog.
River of Beauty and Youth is an imaginary place as well where beauty abounds.
“…I improvised, crazed by the music…Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever. Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone.”
I used to have this quote from Josephine Baker on my Pop blog and I thought it to be so powerful. All the odds were against Josephine Baker and yet she had such a powerful sense of self. Imagine, even today if she did what she had done all these decades ago she would still be criticized. But she delved deep, and she brought to the world such a gift that only she could have dug up, and it was so necessary. But it took strength, courage an understanding that isn’t ordinarily found. It is the gift of the artist to go this far.
7. On reading your blog it is seemingly obvious that you are in love with words. Would you say this was the case and if so what is it about them that compels?
Yes I have always loved words. I’m not sure where this love comes from. I tried writing long before I could, and I made up stories from my books based on the pictures when I did not yet know how to read. So eager was I to understand the world. I was also always juggling two languages, English and French Creole and then there was the language in between the broken-English. The little differences were always interesting to me.
8. Everything from the blog name to your story like telling nature of posts encourage readers to think, imagine and dream. How important is this for you?
If you’re not thinking for yourself then you pass over your power to someone else. I do not believe in that. Imagine if Josephine Baker had listened to the people who told her to put her clothes back on. Everyone has the ability to see the world differently, but sometimes we doubt ourselves and just follow the pack, but what of the Steve Jobs’, Barak Obamas, Nicolai Teslas, Nat King Coles? Can you imagine what the world would be like had they not been dreaming?
The whole point of the blog is to inspire thought, imagination and exploration and to dream.
9. What are your thoughts on online as medium?
Well first of all it’s brand new. We’re still grappling with it. I’m not sure what it will grow into but at the moment it has incredible reach and that’s valuable.
10. Shala’s Rabbit Hole is synonymous with?
Many kind thanks to Shala for the interview.
I am excited by the work of Amaka Osakwe. Her Maki Oh label which is at once sensual and intelligent, provokes thought.
Hello Maki, thank you for honoring Mariankihogo.com with this interview. Congratulations on the intrinsically memorable spring summer 2012 collection. The collection entitled REDS, notably draws inspiration from French artist, Henri Matisse and his use of color and form. What initially drew you to the Fauvist stylization and rawness evident in his work?
Hi Marian, thank you for having me on here. I was drawn to the Fauvists because of the ideology that the function of the artist is not to translate an observation but to express the shock of the object on his/her nature, and this one of Maki Oh’s main beliefs. I honed in on Henri Matisse when I learnt of his love affair with the colour indigo, his fascination with the female form and his love for African art and textiles. But, it really all started at indigo. Indigo is a colour that I hold very dear to my heart. The colour represents the Africa I dream of.
Your Autumn 2011-2012 offering explores the tumultuous throes of love as inspired by Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Love is a Mystery’. This season, it is Matisse’s uncanny prowess in pooling the tribal into the modern. Both the Einaudi and Matisse inspiration have an untamed but intelligent sensuality about them that seems to be an ongoing underlying theme of your work. Is this intentional and if so, what is it about the uninhibited and sensuous that compels?
Like I explained about the Fauvists, it’s the emotion and shock that these subjects evoke in me that I try to express my work and my work is one medium where my emotions can be totally unrepressed. The hedonistic color palette boasts a coral almost carnal in nature, a languid nude, sensual blues whilst texture is as equally all about the senses; velvet, silk charmeuse, silk organza’s and chiffon.
How do you balance such rich color and decadent texture so seamlessly?
This collection is about the extreme seductress. Her feminine wiles are unfathomable, but she draws one in nonetheless. Her walk, her smile, her aura all come together and make up this genius art form – the art of seduction. The colours and textures in this collection are my interpretation of the emotions that she evokes in anyone who she so much as glances at.
As with the work of Henri Matisse, you explore angular form in this new lineup. This is further reiterated with clever placement of embellishment. As a fashion designer what is more important to you, function or form?
Form over function. In the words of Henri Matisse, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them”.
Who is the quintessential Maki Oh woman and how would you like to see your designs worn?
The Maki Oh woman is a multi faceted being with a strong sense of identity.
Ideally, I will like to see Maki Oh pieces worn as conversational/communication mediums in the same way traditional Nigerian garments were worn to convey a message or tell a story. Either that, or with well-manicured nails.
Your use of Adire has become signature for each collection. Seeing that your work is not confined to the obvious, it is no surprise then that Ankara and other African prints and textiles are not employed. Tell us about your treatment of Adire and why it is a Maki Oh staple?
Maki Oh’s use of natural indigo and the Adire dyeing processes is our little contribution to preserving a dying Nigerian art. Adire is one of the few authentic Nigerian fabrics we have. Traditionally, everything from the growing of the cotton to the dyeing of the fabric was (and still is) done on Nigerian soil, and this authenticity appeals to me. Maki Oh’s adire fabrics are locally dyed in southern Nigeria using methods that have been passed down, unchanged from generation to generation. Adire has also been a staple in the collections as a means to educate the world (this includes Africans) about true African fabrics. Ankara/African print fabric does not appeal to Maki Oh’s sensibilities because it is not African.
Each collection sees you employ an indigenous feature. With spring summer 2012 it is the Nigerian local sponge. Why is it of importance for you to employ an indigenous feature per season and what was the creative process for juxtaposing the local sponge with your streamlined silhouette?
Everything in fashion has really been done before, so I strive to use indigenous materials in innovative ways, to bring something “new” to the table. Local sponge was used in the ss12 collection because as it is with everything Maki Oh, there’s a hidden meaning behind every pattern, silhouette, fabric etc. This collection tells the story of the extreme seductresses – ‘The Lagos Reds’. The root of the plant that the sponge is derived from is traditionally used as a contraceptive medicine, so I’ve used this material to serve as a social message that says ‘use a condom’. The streamlined silhouette in this collection simply serves as blank canvas used to create the story of each seductress.
Yours is an uncanny ability to make the brazen take on refined and elegant sensibility. Is this a conscious ethos?
I have always been fascinated by how the Japanese designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, took their culture and traditions and made it modern, even futuristic. I’ve tried to bring this concept into my design ethos, by taking the raw and updating it. I’m glad to hear this is translated to you as refined and elegant.
Maki Oh is synonymous with?
Conversations, complex-simplicity “simplexity”, and ethical and sustainable fashion.
Thank you to Amaka for the interview.
Explore Maki-Oh here.
Award winning actress and TV presenter Ama K. Abebrese recently documented a diary of a trip to London and Italy here.
When I found out that she was due in Toronto for the screening of the latest film that stars Ties That Bind, I had to get to document this journey.
The independent film by writer and director, Leila Djansi, sees Abebrese share lead with Kimberly Elise and Omotola Jalade.
The trip to Toronto by the currently Ghana based, British actress was always bound to be interesting.
Read on for her diary.
After an 11 hour flight from Accra to Washington, I am to catch connecting flight to Toronto. At 6am and no make up and very tired, I bump into rapper Chamillionaire, we have a little chat, and he is such a nice fellow. We are now twitter buddies.
Touch down in Toronto, and in the limo cab on the way to the hotel.
Heading into Downtown Toronto. Such a lovely view.
Screen shot of Fashion156.com courtesy of Fashion156.com. Photography: Fabrice Lachant | Styling and creative direction: Guy Hipwell | Hair & Makeup: Verity Cumming, Teola Wittorff-Lecoq | Models: James Cooper, Marc Massa at Premier| Fashion assistants: Tom Bloomfield, Anna Tatton | Shot on location at the Biscuit-Factory with thanks to Barbara Acheampong
As an avid enthusiast of the digital fashion sites like Fashion156.com as founded by Guy Hipwell has become an important tool.
The online magazine which gives a visual voice to emerging talent, has shaped the way we look at digital fashion.
It was an honor to speak to Founding Editor and Creative Director Hipwell about his online platform, his thoughts on the evolution of blogging, enthusiasm for emerging talent etc.
1. Guy thank you for saying yes to this interview! I am a fan of your work and the voice that Fashion156.com gives emerging talent.What propelled you in 2006 to launch the online magazine platform?
As a freelance stylist I kept seeing all these great new designers breaking through in London. Even some of the more directional magazines I worked for still insisted on inclusion of a list of advertisers in stories -which is understandable – but sometimes they just did not fit the style of the shoot at all. So really Fashion156 came about due to this frustration – I wanted to create a magazine and just be able to place a brand new graduate on the front cover and mix in emerging labels into my shoots.
2. You have been fundamental in the digital fashion. What is it about online fashion that inspires you?
What is exciting is the immediacy. I can see a show or collection and post something about it straight away and within seconds send this information around the world. Moving image and film really inspire my work so it is also great to shoot footage of our editorials and see the clothing moving and coming to life.
Photography: Fabrice Lachant | Styling and creative direction: Guy Hipwell | Hair & Makeup: Verity Cumming, Teola Wittorff-Lecoq | Models: James Cooper, Marc Massa at Premier| Fashion assistants: Tom Bloomfield, Anna Tatton | Shot on location at the Biscuit-Factory with thanks to Barbara Acheampong
3. What are your thoughts on blogs and how do you see them evolving? Which do you read if any?
To be honest I really believe a slight backlash is starting against blogs – in my opinion there are too many and the standard can be variable. The last year or so I have severely cut back on the blogs I read, as many are just churning out the same press releases sent by the PR’s. Some of my favourites seem to have just ‘sold out’ too much and in their quest to monetize have lost the independent voice that made them interesting in the first place. I have always been into film and prefer to watch clips on YouTube for research (shooting a Northern Soul dancing story next week, so doing loads towards that) and look at lots of business sites and slightly more random sources such as News Scientist
It would be great though if some of the newer bloggers trying to break through were given a chance, as rather bored seeing the same individuals mentioned continually. You would think there were only 5 or 6 great blogs around to listen to some commentators.
4. You have obvious love for the emerging talent. How can you tell who will last the long haul and who do you find exciting right now.
What is so impressive is the quality of the collections some of the new designers are producing. A few years back graduate pieces would literally fall to pieces as soon as you put them on a model to shoot, but things are changing, designers have realized to be taken seriously they need to up their game. These are the individuals I admire the most and try to pick out and support – they have a real chance of being successful. There are so many designers I work closely with but a few stands out are Agi & Sam, Shaun Sampson, recent CSM graduate Anabel Luton and many of the designers I curated recently for the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Graduate Showcase.
5. The pace of fashion seems to get faster with each passing day. How is digital fashion and the role of social media influencing this?
With site such as NowFashion uploading runway images in real time I think the pace is now too fast. Even though I am an online editor I do feel the industry needs to rethink, and make some changes. Consumers are seeing runway shots and want to buy the pieces straight away, it will just need some really big players to decide to change things and then the rest will follow. One thing I would love to see banned are those awfully blurred/out of focus phone shots you see posted on Twitter – if I was a designer would certainly not want that to be the first image people see after 6 months of my hard work.
Photography: Fabrice Lachant | Styling and creative direction: Guy Hipwell | Hair & Makeup: Verity Cumming, Teola Wittorff-Lecoq | Models: James Cooper, Marc Massa at Premier| Fashion assistants: Tom Bloomfield, Anna Tatton | Shot on location at the Biscuit-Factory with thanks to Barbara Acheampong
6. Your current Fashion156.com issue is dedicated to head-wear. If the catwalk is anything to go by it would appear that head-wear seems to be having a moment. Why was it important to explore this?
I have always loved to use hats and headpieces in my shoots and like how they totally transform a look. For SS12 there is also this whole move towards facial concealment with fascinates me as it is the total opposite to celebrity ‘look at me, look at me’ culture. I believe people are feeling over exposed – everything we do now seems to be documented and uploaded to Facebook, and so hats, veils, statement sunglasses can just act as a barrier and allow people to keep something in reserve.
7. What is your favourite or editorial from the The Headwear Issue?
I really enjoyed using the fresh floral garlands for our Cardboard Box editor (it rained continually on the shoot day, so the box acted as a massive umbrella like shield) and the amazing hat dresses by Paul Stafford
8. Fashion156.com is seemingly a beautiful conversational-curation of the fashion of our times. Is this intentional?
‘Conversational’ is a word I use a lot actually as that is the way I ask our writers to communicate via our daily blog. Even though I am bit crazy about fashion – at the end of the day it is just a few frocks; we are not saving lives, so I try to ensure we keep a level of realism in the tone of our articles and mix in vintage and high street pieces. Fashion156 is all about images though; that has always inspired me the most and so I dedicate a huge amount of time to our shoots and try to incorporate the latest influences I have seen on the street and at the shows.
9. How vital is for fashion to be a dialogue?
To me it is vital. Unless you engage your audience and give them the opportunity to comment and offers opinions on your work there is no point being online.
10. In an ever-evolving industry, where do you think your platform will be in five years?
We are looking for more global contributors as I worry Fashion156 can be too London-centric at times. I know about London but would love to investigate more about say what is going on in China or Brazil. We have just started interviewing bloggers from around the world to get an idea of what is emerging for them locally, so hopefully this will broaden our appeal. For the future – a dream would be to produce a bi-annual print issue perhaps and even a book of our editorials on really amazing quality paper.
Many kind thanks to Fashion156 Founding Editor and Creative Director Guy Hipwell for this wonderful interview. His insightful answers inspire.
Please visit the Fashion156 site here.
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