Rebecca Wall Fashion Communicator email@example.com +44 (0) 784 323 2088
“One’s destination is never a place, but simply a new way of seeing things” Henry MIller
Publication Concept: The Circus Installment. Each issue is dedicated to a genre of performance arts. Issue one: The Magical World of The Circus The entire publication has a circus theme from photography to creative writing. Photography, Styling, Layout, Editorial and Editing: Rebecca Wall
Publication Concept: ‘Stolen Youth’ Photography, layout, styling and editorial, all in keeping with the styles of Dazed and Confused magazine Photography, Styling, Journalism, Layout, Editing: Rebecca Wall
When I Grow Up I Want To Be In The Circus... Some children want to be astronauts, some zookeepers or firemen; I always wanted to be in the circus. It was a warm summer’s evening in June. The lights were bright and the music loud. The fact that it was the evening made it somehow more magical, for a child there is something unknown and exciting about when the day comes to a close and the sun goes down. It is after all at night that Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all make their mysterious appearances that - despite our best efforts to stay awake – we always missed. So going to Zippos Circus at nightfall made it all the more exhilarating and thrilling. We handed over our tickets and walked into the Big Top. Once the audience had taken their seats, the lights went down and everything went quiet. I had been to the theatre before, but I knew before it had even started this was altogether different: I could feel the hum in the air, as though everyone in the audience had drawn their breath - just as people do before something exciting begins. The ringmaster entered. Resplendent. He welcomed us all and, ever the perfect host, introduced the many acts. The variety was almost too much for my young imagination: from clowns to fire-eaters; trapeze artists to a unicyclist, animal trainers to tight-rope walkers, performing tricks I did not even know were possible.
“I could feel the hum in the air, as though everyone in the audience had drawn their breath” But there was one act that soared high above the rest in my mind, an act that for the next decade I would be dreaming of becoming: the contortionist. Just one loan woman in the middle of the tent, yet she was demanding the whole audience’s attention. Time seemed to slowdown, the onlookers were quiet yet tense. She began by balancing on two tiny pieces of wood elevated from the ground by thin metal poles, holding her entire body weight on her hands. This was impressive enough to me, but she did not stop there. Then came the real skill. She began to bend and stretch her body in ways that did not seem natural. Bending her back in half so far she touched her forehead with her toes. Then she removed the wooden blocks and began to further twist and warp her body into strange shapes, as though she did not even have bones. I was mesmerised.A small transparent box was then brought onto the stage. I sat confused at why they were interrupting her act by drawing attention to a silly little box. Then it became clear. She lay with her chest on the floor and brought her legs over her head to touch the ground in front of her face. She shuffled forward towards the tiny box, contorted as though she was a rag doll. What was most extraordinary was she did not appear to be in pain; in fact she looked quite relaxed. As though she was not doing anything unusual, just part of her everyday routine, which of course it was. Her strength and control was so impressive; I sat awestruck, unable to draw my eyes away from this amazing spectacle. It was freaky, abnormal, weird … incredible. My destiny became clear to me: “This is what I will do,” I thought. “I am going to be in the Circus!” As the show continued I sat there, pondering my future, taking it all in. “How could I be in the circus, how could I become one of them?” ------------------Fourteen years later, there I stood again, looking up at the red and yellow sign. I had steeled myself for disappointment. I had grown up, travelled the world, seen more spectacles, met more people; I was
not going to be impressed by a travelling circus anymore. I had the typical arrogance of every young adult revisiting their youth. Believing myself to be too old and wise for this pastime - the feeling you get when watching one of your favourite childhood movies. Instead of sitting there open-mouthed in wonder, you pick apart everything you once so wholly and unquestionably believed. This time it was a crisp autumn day in November. My favourite type of day - when the sun is shining, the sky is bluer than blue, but you still need to wrap your woollen scarf round tight all the way to your nose. I drove myself to Old Deer Park - the new location for the circus but still equally close to my house - parked and crossed the road to the ticket booth. “One ticket for the 12 0’clock showing please,” I said. I had decided to go alone, something I would obviously never have done as a child, but it felt right. I could quietly soak up the experience without having to analyse or discuss what I felt with someone else. I could just enjoy it, on my own, in my own little world. Outside I was hit by the smell of horse manure, one of those smells that should be disgusting but is strangely pleasant. I walked out of the sun and into the big blue and yellow tent. I felt the sawdust beneath my feet, now the manure smell had given way to popcorn and candyfloss. A heavily made up, extremely smiley woman appeared, and led me through the red velvet curtains and into the main arena. There it was: the stage, the audience, the circus folk. They were selling flashing glowing sticks, once taken home sit in a draw with no real use. Everything just as it should be, although somewhat smaller than I remember. I was struck by the rustic and worn feel of it all, not something I would have noticed as a child, but you could tell this was a circus that truly travelled the length and breadth of the country, the way a traditional circus should. It began with the clowns whistling and running into the centre of the tent. A man and women both dressed in red and white, the infamous red clown nose slightly smaller than I remembered, the shapeless baby grow giving way to a tutu for the woman and red jeans for the man. These were clowns with a modern flare. After the clowns, the acts flowed with ease from one to the next. Every person bounced off each other, knowing exactly where the next was going to step or when they were going to speak. Each prop or apparatus was brought on at exactly the right time, each person pre-empting the next ones step. They were a well-oiled machine, running smoothly, slick and with ease. I could see the sense of family, the stolen glances to one another, a little smile, even a laugh. This is what drew me in all those years ago, the thought of being there on stage, performing, making people happy, and doing it all with your friends.
“There it was: the stage, the audience, the circus folk” It felt more intimate this time round, personal. In the intermission the ringmaster called out two names, two little twin sisters who were celebrating their fourth birthday. Their parents brought them down to the stage. They were dressed in red and sparkly dresses and we all sat and sang happy birthday to them. I could not help but smile - that was me once. I felt connected to it all, as though for those two hours we were part of the circus family. There were new acts of course, as their family adapted and changed through the years, people would come and go bringing with them new skills. I was not quite sat there in astonishment and shock as my seven year old self had been. I had seen more impressive acts in the time that had passed – courtesy of the internet. I admired their skill; I knew that it must have taken hours of practise to perfect that strange foot juggling, and riding a motorbike in a loop so that they went upside down. There was one thing missing though, the act, to me, that was the reason for revisiting the circus. It was what I had dreamt of becoming for years, the strange and bending contortionist. I should have been devastated, heart broken that she was not there. The circus with no contortionist. You could not have Broadway without the singing. Yet somehow it did not seem to matter. The circus still had the ability to capture my attention and not let go, contortionist or no contortionist. I still laughed, and sat there grinning from ear to ear. It was not about that one particular act anymore, it was about being transported back to being that naively optimistic child again. About the feeling I got on that first visit to the circus, a warm feeling in my stomach, an excited buzz and a smile I could not wipe off my face.
The truth is I still wanted to run away with the circus, nothing had changed, not really. As it drew to an end all the acts came on the stage to take their bows, the audience clapped and cheered standing up to show their appreciation. The ringmaster took to the stage once more. Here he was: the man of the hour, the master of ceremonies. He removed his hat, gestured to the audience, bowed his head, looked up and said: “Remember you’re never too old, you’re never too young and you’re never too cool, to come to the circus.” I could have sworn he was looking right at me. Rebecca Wall
Too Much Too Young The magazine shows a young ingénue sitting on a table dressed in a thigh length lace dress, with an over sized glass bottle wedged between her legs. She looks up provocatively through strands of tousled hair at the camera. But this magazine is no top-shelf publication; it is one of the most respected glossy fashion publications in the industry. The photo is of seventeen-year old actress Dakota Fanning, for the Marc Jacobs Lola Perfume campaign, and has since been banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority because it “could be seen to sexualize a child”. Young Hollywood seems to have taken over not just our movie screens but our magazines too. Hailee Steinfeld star of True Grit, is currently the face of Miu Miu, a brand whose target market is over twenties. She is only fourteen. Younger sister of Dakota, Elle Fanning, is just thirteen years old and already the star of Steven Speilberg’s blockbuster Super 8. She has also landed the Marc by Marc Jacobs campaigns - something models and actors twice her age may only dream of. Marc Jacobs has always been a designer who does not exactly play by the rules, which adds to his charm and eccentric character. So it would be unlikely that we would see the same generic advertisement campaigns as other designers from him. But at her tender age is it right that she is selling these clothes when she would barely fit the smallest size? This trend to use such young models is not a modern one. Twiggy was the tender age of sixteen when she was plastered all over the Daily Express as the face of ‘66. Jean Shrimpton had booked the ultimate job for a model, a Vogue cover, by eighteen. At this age most of their peers were still looking for their first jobs, finding love and living with their parents. Not exactly the demographic to be spending thousands of pounds on the latest couture gowns. So why is it that we see the teenagers as the perfect models to sell these clothes? Would it be so awful if we saw a thirty-year-old with maybe
“Are we creating an impossible aesthetic for others to maintain?” even a hint of a wrinkle at the eye? Does a thirty year old really want to buy clothes that a pre-teenager is selling? Is this creating a deeper problem: by putting these young people on the pages of magazines are we creating an impossible aesthetic, for others to maintain? These girls have barely hit puberty, have that flawless skin Photoshop can only dream of recreating, and have not got an ounce of fat on their tiny frames. Sure they look amazing, but anyone past 15 is never going to recreate this. With the media placing such an emphasis on the way we look these days, and glossy magazines being blamed for the ever rising number of people going under the knife, are we just encouraging more people to go to extreme lengths to achieve a youthful look? Statistics published by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, show that over 38,000 procedures were carried out by association members in the UK alone in 2010 a 5 per cent rise from 2009. This is not including non-surgical procedures such as Botox or filler injections. It has become
all too normal to hear of people having a little nip-tuck here and there. A friend of my mother’s told me she recently had Botox at her dentist. It is a worrying thing when something so potentially damaging becomes so common, but society’s thirst for youth has meant that it is just as common as going to get your teeth checked out as it is to get a lethal injection into your face. It is difficult not to blame the media for this obsession with remaining youthful, when all we see are edited photos of
“A friend of my mothers told me she recently had Botox at her dentist” teenagers without an imperfection in sight. French Vogue recently felt the wrath of angry parents on the subject of the over-sexualisation of children. Their December 2010 edition saw an editorial with the ten-year-old model Thylane Blondeau. The pictures saw the young girl dressed in low cut dresses, five inch heels and jewellery probably worth the price of an average hatchback. All with a face full of make up, posing on leopard print bed, staring alluringly into the camera. The pose is not anything out of the ordinary for French Vogue but this is a girl who has not even started secondary school. Many felt the poses were far too provocative and seductive for her age, and the setting suggested something far too sexual for a ten year old to even understand. From an art perspective there is no denying the photographs were beautiful, but I cannot say I would be able to be so subjective if it was my child. In the fashion industry, and especially the competitive world of magazines, there is a pressure to stay on top. The quest to give readers something new and exciting, often leads to quite shocking photographs, editorials and articles. Vogue is undoubtedly at the top of its game but many of its readers will be mothers who find it uncomfortable to see children in clothes they would buy. The Dakota Fanning Marc Jacobs campaigns have got people talking and even those who may not usually have taken any notice of yet another perfume advert have something to say about these photos. But at what expense? Surely negative press cannot be good for the sales of the perfume mothers are not going to want to buy their daughters a perfume which has been associated with the over sexualisation of children. It is not just high fashion at blame of over-sexualising children. The clothes high street stores produce for young girls can often be seen as too grown up or suggestive for the ages of the children they say on the labels. Disney had to stop production on some novelty underwear they produced for children as young as four with the words from the High School Musical film on them. Mothers were outraged when in the multipack set of underwear, one pair had the words “dive in” on the front. New rules have been set since June 2011 to try to crack down on sexually suggestive clothing for children. Padded bras for young children have been banned, along with many inappropriate slogan t-shirts, including one item by Playboy with the words ‘future porn star’, which was aimed at young girls. The world of fashion will never stop surprising. It is one of the biggest industries in the world today and there will always be a fight from the big names in fashion to stay on top. In fashion if you are being talked about - regardless of the subject - it is deemed a good thing because at least you have not been forgotten. We will never be able to predict what the creative people behind the brands will come up with next to keep us entertained, I just have to hope that we do not see babies in gowns and heels on the runway next. Rebecca Wall
The Circus Comes By Night Editorial images produced for Cirque publication. Theme and inspiration: The Travelling Circus Styling inspired by the circus characters, clowns, acrobats and the Ring Master Photography and Styling: Rebecca Wall
The Changing Faces of The Clown Modern take on clown inspired make up and styling. Produced for Cirque publication Make-up, Hair and Photography: Rebecca Wall
Disturbia in Suburbia Photography for the ‘Stolen Youth’ Dazed and Confused edition Photography and Styling: Rebecca Wall
Sixties Photography and styling: Rebecca Wall
Hatmosphere is a company I set up at with a group of peers selling slogan woolen hats. The hats featured a series of colloquial, humorous slogans. We conducted market research to determine a gap in the market for this style hat. As a group we covered every aspect of the business from marketing, advertisement, selling, finances and producing the product. It has given me a good understanding of what it takes to run a business.
Experienced at Running a Business Market research Sourcing reliable products and suppliers Financial tarkets and sales forcasts Logo and Slogan Design Sales techniques Consumer trends Business finances Trade fairs Marketing Social media interaction Customer interaction Quality control on products
The Ultimate Fashion Experience Company concept, Photography, Design elements: Rebecca Wall
Mode Voyager offers tours behind the iconic fashion houses, with exclusive access into their worlds. Voyagers are fully encompassed in the brand, with a choice of Mulberry, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. Featuring brand secrets, meeting the designers, access to the factories, show tickets, after parties and personal stylists.
Rebecca Wall Fashion Communicator firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 784 323 2088