Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Blonde Ambition: The Saga Continues

So I got a pretty nice "bronde" result just from using Scott Cornwall's Decolour Hair Colour Remover on my leftover ginge (in fact, my modelling agent assumed I'd been to the salon!) but after 3 months of bleach bottle cold turkey, I was dy(e)ing to go blonder still... When I had longer locks, I prided myself on achieving the most natural-looking shade possible (so successfully that someone I'd spent at least 2 days a week with for 18 months once asked me if I'd "ever tried dyeing my hair" - result!) but I love brighter tones on shorter styles, so decided to take it to the max and leave "natural" at the door for the time being!


The (non-bleach-based) Decolour Hair Colour Remover did a grand job of nixing my red tones (read the full review here), but left my chocolate-dyed roots and underlayers fairly dark so, prior to recolouring, I decided to use the (bleach-based) Decolour Hair Colour Stripper (bonus: this one doesn't smell!), concentrating on the darker areas. One application did pretty much exactly what it said on the box, stripping the lighter areas to a very light yellowy blonde, and the darker areas to an orangey medium blonde.

I think a second application would have taken me down to a uniform pale yellow, but I opted to recolour immediately with a Nice 'n Easy "box" colour (their lightest option - SB2: Ultra Light Cool Summer Blonde). This did tone down the yellow/orange factor and smooth out some of the residual "patchiness", but the result was still too warm for my liking...

So it was back to Boots to grab some Colour Restore Toner in Iced Platinum. Scott recommends toning immediately after stripping (preferably following two applications of Stripper for a "pure" platinum tone), whilst the cuticles are still open, and not after applying a "box" colour, since silicones and waterproofing agents tend to seal the cuticles off once colouring is complete, so I knew I couldn't expect miracles, but, armed with a bottle of clarifying shampoo with which to prise open my cuticles as best I could, I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Although I didn't end up Stefani blonde, it definitely turned up the "cool" factor another notch or two, and, although my hair still retains all the variation in tone put in for the Essential Looks shows (underneath all that red), casual observers seem to assume I've paid a fortune for my "multi-tonal" blonde, so I guess I shouldn't complain!

Overall, although the journey from red to platinum(ish) has taken a little while, I'm really glad I decided to take it in stages - I've seen hair go from dark brown to white in less than 40 minutes at hair shows... and then proceed to snap in less than 2 minutes (eek!) so I'm pretty impressed (and relieved) to have discovered an option that's caused virtually no damage. Thumbs up to Mr Cornwall!

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Express Yourself (Editorial 3)

Hot on the heels of Editorial 2 came our third and final LCS styling challenge... and, this time, the brief was thrown wide open... Given a starting point of "Express Yourself", we were to target publication in an edgy mag in the mould of i-D. First thoughts (obviously) revolved around Madonna clad in double-breasted suit and monocle in the pop video of the same name... Hmm...

Since we were to be provided with our choice of male and/or female model once again, as in the previous shoot, I decided, once again, to take full advantage of the situation and use both, switching up my gender references (not that this turned out to be an entirely unique idea - at least half the class seemed to decide at this point that their portfolio would not be complete without at least one man in a skirt).

Delving into the street style archives and current catwalk collections for inspiration, I opted to combine elements of gothic Victoriana (inspired by Givenchy and Thom Browne's AW15 shows) with a nod to street-style sportswear, playing on the theme of expressing vs. concealing with sheer fabrics and veils. I'd already decided to use our final shoot to push myself out of my darkly romantic, vintage-inspired comfort zone with something a bit tougher and edgier, more graphic and pared-back... so this brief provided me with the perfect opportunity to do just that... which, on the whole, I think I managed pretty well, whilst retaining the essence of "my" style... because, OK, there is a darkly romantic vintage vibe (modern, female version of Charlie Chaplin, anyone?) about some of these shots, but so what?

Express Yourself, Editorial, Stylist, Androgynous, Gender Neutral, Velvet, Suit, Givenchy, Thom Browne, Faux Septum Ring

Express Yourself, Editorial, Stylist, Androgynous, Gender Neutral, Skirt, Mesh

Express Yourself, Editorial, Stylist, Androgynous, Gender Neutral, Velvet, Suit, Givenchy, Thom Browne, Faux Septum Ring, Sheer, Mesh

Street Style, Androgyny, Gender Neutral, Givenchy, Thom Browne

Photographer: Leigh Keily
Models: Bella Glanville at Milk and Phillip Gardner at Nevs
Make-Up: Martin Carter
Hair: Carolina Crona
Styling: Samantha Simmonds

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Into the Wild (Editorial 2)

When I heard that our second LCS editorial was to be shot on location, in "the wild", I was instantaneously possessed by an unassailable compulsion to conjure up an epic fairytale romance in the mode of a Leith Clark-styled Harper's story... This was what I'd been waiting for all my life. Drawing additional inspiration from the trademark dark romanticism (or "savage beauty", dare I say?) of Alexander McQueen's AW15 collection, and the mussed-up elegance of Haider Ackermann's SS15 menswear, I decided to make volume and layering the keystones of my "regally dishevelled" prince and princess's looks.

Editorial Shoot, Stylist, Cinderella, Samantha Simmonds, Sam Muses, Leith Clark, Harper's Bazaar, Andreia Chaves, Alexander McQueen, Haider Ackermann, SS15, AW15, Feathers, Twig Headdress, Headpiece, Fairytale, Layering, Volume
My Mood Board

Location and concept sorted... now I just had to style up "couture" looks for two on zero budget...

Easy. First stop - my own wardrobe. 4-year-old Limited Edition Primark dress (previously part of my Alice in Wonderland/Jesus - don't ask - costume, worn for last summer's onstage crucifixion) layered over £10 Izabel London tutu for a lavish tiered effect, and under Topshop's new dusky-feathered gilet for an additional "lift" and nod to the wilderness.

Accessories-wise, it was customisation o'clock once again... Inspired by Andreia Chaves' mirrored shoe boots, I marshalled a few hundred mirror mosaic tiles (nope, I'm not exaggerating), a whole lotta hot glue and 11 hours of my time in the service of creating my take on Cinderella's glass slippers...

Eliza Franks
Cinderella, pre- glass slipper loss (and/or disintegration)

Did they fare better than Cinders' originals in the great outdoors? Well... no, not really, since you ask, but Franco, our lovely photographer, was kind enough to touch up the tiles wickedly whipped away by the wind by the time the above image was shot #AboveandBeyondtheCallofDuty.

A bangle wrapped with ribbon and some illicitly-gathered twigs fashioned, along with some more of those damned mirror tiles, into a headdress, and Cinderella was complete. Then, of course, Prince Charming had to be appointed - from sources outside my own wardrobe, obviously (well, aside from the Primark faux fur... and I'm keeping that snake-print scarf).

Eliza Franks and Jack Harrison
On top of the world: my favourite shot

Photographer: Francisco Gomez de Villaboa
Models: Eliza Franks and Jack Harrison at Milk Management
Make-Up: Martin Carter
Hair: Carolina Crona
Styling: Samantha Simmonds

Keep your eyes peeled for the results of Editorial 3, coming soon to a screen near you...

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Friday, 10 July 2015

Review: Scott Cornwall Decolour Hair Colour Remover

As much as I enjoyed toying with titian temptress tresses, I've never stopped thinking of myself as a blonde, so, once my obligation to submit to crazy colour mousse as and when required expired with my final SS15 hair show, it felt like time to go back...

But, with chocolate-dyed roots and underlayers mingling with orange-toned coppers, all layered over yet more layers of bright reds, getting back to blonde seemed like a tough ask... Before I resorted to salon-strength bleach, I decided to try the DIY route... enter Scott Cornwall Decolour Hair Colour Remover.

As a result of my extensive online review-based research on the various home colour removal products available, I knew I had to prepare myself for three things, no matter which I ended up choosing:
  1. The stench of rotting eggs
  2. Very little idea of which colours might be lurking under all those layers of dye, ready to reveal themselves in all their glory (or horror)
  3. A high probability of ending up ginger 
Filled with equal parts excitement and trepidation, then, I mixed up my magic potion, followed the instructions for dark colours/colour build-up to the letter, and...

Scott Cornwall Decolour Before and After
  1. The smell was pretty rank, yes - more like drains than rotting eggs, I'd say... but bearable (forewarned is - mentally - forearmed), and fairly quick to dissipate once I'd finished.
  2. It went blonde - hooray! The darker roots and underlayers stayed darker, but this could be my natural hair colour, grown out in the time since I first hit the red.
  3. A pretty gingery blonde, to be sure, but still a lot less ginger than I was when I started! I popped a semi-permanent ash blonde colour containing very low bleach levels (Boots Botanics Hair Colour in Light Ash Blonde) on to correct the tone, which helped, although the colour is still slightly warmer and darker than I'd ideally like (for some reason, the above photos don't really show a difference pre- and post-colour application - bottom right was taken before applying, and bottom left after).
Back to Blonde

Overall, I'm really pleased with the results, which are better than I dared to hope for (- and, amazingly, my hair didn't seem to incur any damage during the process - in fact, even before applying the conditioning treatment, it felt great). In a week or so (unless I nab another hair job and end up with another entirely new look, that is!), I'll recolour using a lighter, permanent colour, which was always part of the plan, but that's purely down to personal whim, and, until then, I certainly won't be reluctant to leave the house (or go to the two job interviews I've got lined up... well, maybe I will, but not because of the hair!).

Do you dare to DIY..?

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Degree Show Report 3: Central Saint Martins (Fashion & Jewellery Design)

And so to our final UAL Summer Show, at Central Saint Martins... Revived by a quick coffee on the train over from Chelsea (well, Vauxhall), we arrived with just enough time to spare to elbow our way through, seemingly, the entire population of North London, whilst checking out the fruits of the fashion and jewellery design grads' labour before the exhibition closed.

Fashion: Womenswear

The womenswear display was pretty epic, no way round it. Structure (well, perhaps "scaffolding" might be a more fitting term), layering and deconstruction were the watchwords of the collections, and, whilst I couldn't help but adore the drama (teetering on that borderline with the theatrical to which I am such a recurrent visitor myself) of standout pieces such as that red dress a couple of shots down, I also fell for the quieter charms of the - equally innovative - deconstructed pieces (beige can never again be accused of blandness), given added impact by some very canny layering with contrasting pieces.

CSM  Womenswear

CSM Womenswear 15

CSM Womenswear 11

CSM Womenswear 10

CSM Womenswear 14

CSM Womenswear 2

CSM Womenswear 1

CSM Womenswear 6

CSM Womenswear 7

CSM Womenswear 3

CSM Womenswear 8

CSM Womenswear 5

CSM Womenswear 4

CSM Womenswear 9

CSM Womenswear 13

CSM Womenswear 12


Fashion: Menswear

In terms of the pieces themselves, I was equally impressed by the menswear collections - lots of exciting boundary-pushing going on, whilst the temptation to simply "run riot" without due thought and attention was skilfully avoided. However, I was a little saddened that they were given so much less "airtime" than the womenswear collections - no mannequins or complete looks on show, just lots of rails... Which made photography, as well as gaining a full appreciation of each student's collection, pretty tricky...

CSM Menswear

CSM Menswear 2

Fashion: Graduate Diploma

Although this was a much smaller showcase than that of the BA students, some of my favourite pieces were tucked away in this little collection... So innovative... well, would you have thought of doing that with a silver pipe?

CSM Graduate Diploma 2

CSM Graduate Diploma

Jewellery Design

This was a real treat. I am a sucker for a statement accessory, and you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger statement than the ones made in this room... headdresses, harnesses, full-face pieces, even full-body pieces... #betterthanTiffany.

CSM Jewellery Design 3

CSM Jewellery Design 2

CSM Jewellery Design 4

CSM Jewellery Design 6

CSM Jewellery Design 5

CSM Jewellery Design

CSM Jewellery Design 7


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