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slave magazine 7

issue#7

london photography fashion culture art

frank’s daughter stuart weston Annabelle Gurwitch matt besser lfw’13

free online magazine


Slave Magazine

Joint editors in Chief:

Twyford Street, N1 0BZ London www.slavemag.com contact@slavemag.com

Ania Mroczkowska Artur Dziewisz Louise Munro


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Unlike the poor summer weather, issue 7 of Slave Magazine will bring the sun into your day. We do what we do and show case outstanding work by our talented contributors with page upon page of the blood, sweat and tears they have put into their work and produced. The last couple of months here at Slave we have been working hard to provide not just our magazine, but our blog too, which brings you all the things we like and think you should know about. So make sure you keep an eye on it. We thank our talented contributors of issue 7 and you our readers and followers as always.

With Love Ania, Artur, Louise


1. How old are you ? Old enough to know what’s good for me.

1. How old are you ? 31

2. Where are you from? I was born and raised in a small village at the end of Western Civilization, but I’m not only from there...

2. Where are you from? I’m originally from a town called Abingdon, near Oxford. Have lived all over London for the last 10 years. But now living in Hackney.

3. What inspires you the most ? Every outrageous piece of nature or behaviour that has once been captured, reproduced and served on a vintage, decorative plate with the label ‘POP’ stuck to its back.

3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I’ve worked in photography since I was 16 when I left school, starting out as a hand printer in various darkrooms and have been shooting professionally for the last 4 years.

4. What are you a slave to ? I’m a slave to anything that my neighbours consider disturbing and inappropriate. Maks’s drawings at pages: 90-97

4. What inspires you the most ? Light. I have a book which I’m forever sketching lighting ideas down in. I can be anywhere from sat on a bus to walking down the street and if I see someone walk through a sweet spot of light, where they are lit in such a way that catches my eye, I’ll scribble down how the light has fallen on them. Then I’ll set about working on ways how I can recreate this in the studio. 5. What are you a slave to ? Green Jackets with pouch pockets and chunky metal zips... and of course, Nina! Tom’s editorial at pages: 80-89


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1. How old are you ? I’m 29.

1. How old are you ? Franco Erre 33 years old, Lucio Aru 25 years old

2. Where are you from? I’m from Rome. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? 4 years. 4. What inspires you the most ? New places, movies, and every kind of natural and artificial light. 5. What are you a slave to ? Movies, photography and

good

food!

Margherita’s Editorial at pages: 232-243

2. Where are you from? We’re both from Sardinia, and we’ve been living in Bologna for 4 years, before that Franco lived in Milan for 10 years. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? We’ve been working together for the last 2 years; before that Franco was working in fashion and Lucio in art/photography. 4. What inspires you the most ? Everything we’re surrounded by can be inspiring for us, everything that “beat” our mind (or heart) can be mixed and re-invented for a new project.

5. What are you a slave to ? Beauty ...and pizza, of course! Lucio’s & Aru’s editorial at pages: 120-135


1. How old are you ? I I’m 31.

1. How old are you ? I’m 26 years old.

1. How old are you ? I am twenty-five years old.

2. Where are you from? I was born in Sardinia, Italy.

2. Where are you from? Russia, Blagoveshensk city, but i’m living in Moscow.

2. Where are you from? I am from London.

3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I’ve been painting and drawing since I was 15, and in the meantime I studied Psychology in the University.

3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I’ve been working as a photographer for about one year!

4. What inspires you the most ? I’m inspired by my studies in psychology, by the concept of the image and the figure in the art and in the visual communication, by the geometry and metaphor.

4. What inspires you the most ? Famous European photographers and fashion world.

5. What are you a slave to ? I am a slave to curiosity and the constant search for completeness which is not a perfection. I am a slave to opposites and the union between the mind and the image.

Vladlen’s editorial at pages: 40-49 and cover picture

Bachis’s drawings at pages: 150-157

5. What are you a slave to ? Photography.

3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I have been doing photography professionally since I was eighteen and being creative in general for most of my life i.e. art & photography. 4. What inspires you the most ? I am inspired by mostly travel, I shoot outdoors a lot, so when I walk past locations I think would be suitable for a shoot the ideas usually form from there. 5. What are you a slave to ? I am a slave to colour, I love bright and bold colours, especially in photography! Lucie’s editorial at pages: 196-205


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1. How old are you ? I’m 21 years old. 2. Where are you from? I’m from Moscow, Russia. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? It will be 3 years in December, since I made my first professional photoshoot. 4. What inspires you the most ? Old Hollywood films, Russian classical literature and emotions of people I’m surrounded by. 5. What are you a slave to ? Coffee and Cigarettes. And a camera, of course. Sasha’s editorial at pages: 188-195

1. How old are you ? My age refers to my life experience – and I think with my life experience , I should be at least 72 years old. 2. Where are you from? I was born in Germany . 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I’ve been doing my creative work for about 20 years : At first working in Film Production , afterwards working as an actress for about 8 years in the U.S. and Berlin in Movies and the Theatre, and being a Professional Photographer for 7 years in the U.S. and Germany. 4. What inspires you the most ? My Inspiration are film Makers especially Wong Kar-Wei, Andrei Tarkovsky, the Punk Rock scene, Romanticism, the Human expression in all its variety and music. I have read all my life – so literature of course has always been a huge influence since I read a book like a visual story. As for Photographers :P. Lindbergh , C. Manaigo, Y.Yemchuk, C. Mc Dean, A. Corbijn and R. Mapplethorpe – to just name a few … 5. What are you a slave to ? I’m a slave to challenges . Caroline’s editorial at pages:106-119

1. How old are you ? I 30’s and 40’s. 2. Where are you from? We are from Scotland. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? Many moons. 20 years. 4. What inspires you the most ? Fashion, Sneakers, Films and Art. 5. What are you a slave to ? The final image. Sarah’s Mark;s & Bob’s editorial at pages: 10-23


1. How old are you ? I wish I can say, this is a man’s secret, LOL. I am 22 years old.

1. How old are you ? I’m 27 years old.

2. Where are you from? 2. Where are you from? I’m from Italy but my origins are different, I am originally from China, and right now I was born in Moscow from my italian father living in the state of California in the US and my bosnian mother ...but i lived mostly in my city Rome. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? 3. How long have you been doing your This is a secret, why don’t you find out from creative work for? my work? I’ve been doing photography for 4 years. 4. What inspires you the most ? I always browse through many fashion editorials and top photographers. My goal is to shoot for VOGUE, ELLE magazines etc.

4. What inspires you the most ? I’m inspired mostly by all the ordinary things and the people I can meet in a day, in my life.

5. What are you a slave to ? I am a slave to photography, just as I will spend as much time to put a shoot together. This is something I will always obsessives me.

5. What are you a slave to ? I’m a slave to all the feelings I have, joy, sadness.

Alexander’s editorial at pages: 168-175

Chiara’s editorial at pages: 136-145

1. How old are you ? I kind of lost count some time ago, but it seems I’m somewhere in my late twenties. 2. Where are you from? Geographically from Poland, practically from many different places.. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I have been putting my thoughts on paper since I was 5 years old. 4. What inspires you the most ? Certain people, certain smells and places, certain music, certain books and films. 5. What are you a slave to ? Those fleeting moments when the earth stops for a few seconds. Kasia’s written pieces at pages: 50-61, 98-99


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1. How old are you ? 24.

1. How old are you ? 27.

2. Where are you from? Born and bred in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with strong Irish roots.

2. Where are you from? A small town in northern Spain although I’m 2. Where are you from? currently living in Edinburgh. Originally the Isle of Lewis, but currently have a studio in Glasgow. 3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? 3. How long have you been doing your For around 5 years. creative work for?

3. How long have you been doing your creative work for? I’ve been writing since I got involved with the school newsletter aged 14! I launched my own magazine when I was 16 for the rock band scene that was big in my area which I edited on Microsoft Publisher, probably telling the kids how great Topshop is for groupie chic! 4. What inspires you the most ? My friends and sisters and my twin brother, but most of all my mum. She’s so focused and has made a career out of doing what she loves. 5. What are you a slave to ? Parties. I’m half Irish, half Geordie - I can never say no! Rena’s written pieces at pages: 72-79, 100-105

4. What inspires you the most ? Youth and light

1. How old are you ? I have been happily answering to 27 for many years now.

I have been a textile designer for 15 years, photographer for 4 years.

4. What inspires you the most ? 5. What are you a slave to ? Historical costume, portraiture and strange I’m a sleeve to teenage TV shows and fiction. everything 80’s. Igor’s editorial at pages: 206-215

5. What are you a slave to ? I am a slave to my wardrobes (I have 4). I have an eccentric collection of clothing, from vintage wedding dresses and ballgowns to up and coming designer pieces, which have to be sorted, pruned, ebayed and defended from moths on a regular basis. Jade’s editorial at pages: 62-71


Art directors : Sara Hill and Bob Rafferty Make-up : Sara Hill Stylist : Mark Conlin Hair stylist : Lou Clave Models : Freddie Rayner @ Model team John G @ real people castings Sean Allan @ Colours agency


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Freddie (left) Shirt & Jeans: Diesel Sean Allan Mulberry denim Harris teed waist coat grey Levi 501 Converse


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Jacket Zara T-shirt led zeppelin: Barrowlands Market


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Fox fur : We LoveTo Boogie Geek chic glasses : camden market Jacket: Gap


Fox fur : We LoveTo Boogie Jeans Levis


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Orange baseball cap: Superdenim Jeans: Diesel Coat vintage Burberry :Vintage Guru


Varsity jacket: Tommy Hilfiger White basic vest: Topman Levis 501:Levi @ hof Converse allstars: Office Gucci dog tags: Chisholm Hunter


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Tartan rockabilly shirt: Topman Leopard tie: Vivienne Westwood Dark Grey waistcoat: Paul Smith Jeans: Gap Shoes :Hudson @ Office Belt: label lab Hof Grey jacket over shoulder: Hof


Jeans: Diesel Coat vintage Burberry :Vintage Guru


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Fox fur : We LoveTo Boogie Geek chic glasses : camden market Jacket: Gap


Orange baseball cap: Superdenim Jeans: Diesel Coat vintage Burberry :Vintage Guru


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Vest blue and white strips: Tommy Hilfiger Black wool coat: Armani Leather cuffs: Urban Outfitters


aniamphotography.com

Models : Mimi, Joslyn & James @ Oxygen London Styling : Sophie O. Make up : & hair Dorota Nowacka


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Mimi: vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham leather trousers: Top Shop top: American Apparel James(right): vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham Joslyn: Jacket: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham


Jacket: Billy Boyce Trousers: H&M


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Shirt and trousers: Thatwasin Boat Khajeenikorn Jeans studed vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham


vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham leather trousers: Top Shop Top: American Apparel


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Mimi Vest and shorts: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham


Mimi Leather jacket: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham


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Jacket : Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham Trousers: stylist’s own


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Mimi vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham, Joslyn Jacket: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham Trousers: stylist’s own


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Jacket : Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham Trousers stylist own


Mimi vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham leather trousers: Top Shop Top: American Apparel James vest: Hannah Beth Poppy Fincham


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Coat: Billy Boyce, Trousers: Urban Outfiters


Joslyn jacket: Billy Boyce, trousers H&M Mimi jacket: Billy Boyce, dress;:American Apparel James coat: Billy Boyce, trousers :Urban outfiters


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models : Mark Braginskiy @New Face Anton Markovskiy @ DonModelsmen Fashion designer : Aleksey Samarin. MUA : Tat’yana Avdeeva , Anastas Valitskaya


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My first encounter with Stuart Weston, takes place in the virtual space of the internet. In the beginning I meet him through browsing his works ranging from fashion images created for Vogue, Elle, L’Oreal and Harrods to album covers for Skunk Anansie, Gary Moore, Robbie Williams, et cetera...; and acquainting myself with his thoughts spoken out loud in different interviews. My small research and accompanying thoughts culminate in questions that I finally ask him when we meet a bit more directly, this time via e-mail. How to find a balance between satisfying your creative needs and prostituting yourself for cash? Personally, I have never found a completely satisfying balance between the commercial and creative world. The creative is far too seductive and fulfilling. In reality it is rare that I find myself in a position to be completely self-indulgent. I find that the creative process is quite cyclical although its gravitational pull is always present. Careers and creativity wax and wane; circumstance, luck or inspiration may provide an opportunity or trigger but retrospectively I would say that naivety plays its part too. They say a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but few, I believe, would embark on a freelance career in full knowledge of the challenges that await the freelancer. The commercial environment very often reaps unexpected rewards such as meeting new and interesting people or travelling to new locations. But the bare truth is, the vast majority of us work in that environment to earn a living. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful (I know the alternatives) but it’ a hard place for dreamers. In your question you use the term “prostituting yourself for cash ” Did I say that? I guess you found it somewhere… Perhaps I had a bad day, which does not happen often, so yeah, I guess I did! I wouldn’t use such a strong term today but the principle still stands.

by Kasia Mroczkowska

Some of my amazingly talented friends working in the creative field produce great stuff that everyone loves and admires, and yet they do not quite manage to make a living from their creative work, what do they do wrong? Talent is an unpredictable asset. Some are born with talents that have no commercial or fiscal value whilst others enjoy privilege and adoration that few dare dream of. I am sure every one of us admires someone’s talent and wonders why the world doesn’t get it. On the other hand the waters are muddied by a sea of well-connected mediocrates. I used to play in bands when I was young and met many very good musicians who never managed to perform outside the four walls of their bedroom. They just didn’t know how to exploit their craft. To make a sustainable career out of your chosen creative field, you certainly need to be talented, definitely stubborn and hard working, practical, malleable and lucky.


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From an engineer at British Aerospace to a highly successful professional photographer, it sounds like a 180 degree career change. What was the most difficult about this transition? What is the most important thing you have learnt through it? The transition from my formative days as an engineer working on a shop floor at British Aerospace to what I do now was not difficult at all. I find the hardest thing about going to the gym is getting my kit on. But once the decision is made there is no going back. To put things into perspective, I, like all of us, am / was a product of my environment. In the Pennine foothills outside Manchester the idea that anybody could succeed as a photographer in the unfathomable complexity of London was nothing but fantasy. I always had my mother’s support in whatever I did and a career in aeronautical engineering seemed like a very good opportunity for someone like me. I was hopeless at school (I hated every minute), I was always behind the other kids in everything but art, and happy to waste my days drawing motorcycles instead of studying. Funny thing is I always thought I was smart and just didn’t need most of the stuff they taught, so I was OK. On top of that I was popular and always hanging out with older kids because they thought I was cool. When eventually things did start to make sense was much later, I came across photography by association. I was working with a commercial photographer called Mike Cowper in Stalybridge as a graphic designer and took an interest in what he was doing. I took a few shots myself and remember thinking how natural it felt for me. To cut a long story short, I decided to give it all or nothing, moved to London and knocked on doors, tested, begged model agencies for girls to test (Sarah Ducas at Storm Models was wonderful to me), borrowed clothes and even tried my hand at makeup, although the model often ended up doing a much better job and most importantly of all…I lied to potential clients through my back teeth (with a Nikon around my neck). So what did I learn from this experience? If your ambition is to be a brain surgeon remember to wear a stethoscope when you attend the interview. The last question I ask in our virtual conversation is strictly related to a slightly different side of Stuart Weston’s creative life. It seems that his new art project ‘Altered States’, strongly inspired by the phenomenon of ‘Astral Projection’ reveals one of Stuart’s personal interests that he didn’t have a chance to express in his previous creative work.


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slave magazine 7 Is your upcoming art exhibition, Altered States, going to be your one-off independent project, or does it maybe signify a new chapter in your creative career? I do believe that ‘Altered States’ as a body of work does signify a new chapter in my creative career. Financial depressions always create a homogenization of output. The vast majority of clients tend to be more cautious and frugal. To counteract the current climate I have a strong desire to produce work on my own terms and place a value on it. Of course I still hope and need to attract commercial interest but the timing feels right and the satisfaction addictive. Above all else, it has always been my dream to express ideas through art. It has taken me a very long time to regard something that I have produced as art, despite encouragement from others…It may be interesting to ask me the same question this time next year. Our e-mail conversation ends somewhere here with my last words saying: “I am looking forward to viewing ‘Altered Sates’ in September.” Several days pass and here I am at The Worx’s exhibition space surrounded by Stuart Weston’s imagery (as he chooses to call it in preference to photography). As Stuart says, “I use the term imagery in preference to photography because I enjoy mixing elements of painting and layered graphics in a lot of my work. Painting techniques dominate some of the images in this collection. Not only do I find the discipline of applying paint to canvas cathartic, I believe some of the ideas expressed in the “Altered States” collection benefit from morphing the digital and organic media to express a feeling of ‘other worldliness’ .” Contemplating Stuart Weston’s ‘Altered States’, that constitutes the collection of mystical images that seem to envisage the actual act of “Astral Projection”, I definitely feel the presence of the ‘other worldliness’, this feeling is strongly enhanced by the fact that many of Stuart’s life models are present at the exhibition; having an opportunity to view the artistic portrayals of their astral bodies floating outside of their physical beings and to observe their bodies of flesh and bones, standing in front of me, all at the same time; create in my head an uncanny sensation of being somewhere in between the palpable and the ethereal for a while. Being an individual who suffers from recurrent sleep paralysis, I feel a sort of unspoken understanding with those who claim that they have had an out-of-body experience at some point in their life. Nonetheless, in general these people seem to exist in some uncanny “back streets” of the cyber space called the internet. As Stuart Weston notices, when we finally meet at his exhibition, “People may think you have gone bonkers when you mention that something like this happened to you, but if you express the same idea in this way [art exhibition],


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slave magazine 7 I can see it resonates with everybody; it doesn’t matter if they believe in it or not, but it resonates with them. And maybe that’s because we want to believe, maybe that’s the reason…, or maybe it’s something deeper.” During our short face-to-face conversation I also find out that Stuart’s interest in “Astral Projection” comes from his own personal experience. “I believe it happened to me when I was a kid. When we talk about it as kids, we are told by adults that it is not real, so we lose that magic, as we grow up…, but still this experience stayed with me; and it happened again when I turned 28”. Do you know many people to whom out-of-bodyexperience happened? Yes, but I also know just as many people who would deny that it happened to them. How did you find your models for this project? I spent a lot of time online looking for people who volunteered their services as life models. I needed people who were comfortable in their own skin and I was looking for real, regular people. And these were not necessarily people who experienced “Astral Projection”… No, but at some point I asked them if they would like to contribute to the exhibition by answering the question whether or not it had happened to them, or whether or not they believed in it, but their response was not strong enough for me to develop a story there, so I left that out. But these people, who volunteered their services to participate in this sort of project are clearly very open minded and liberal, and comfortable in their own skins, and I think that they gave enough from themselves; and what is interesting is the fact that incidentally in the portraits many of them have their eyes closed, so maybe the eyes are the windows to the soul… Do you think that we can we consider the phenomenon of “Astral Projection” to be a proof that there is something more than our physical bodies? No, it doesn’t prove anything, but it provokes debate; doesn’t it?

Altered States by Stuart Weston showing at : The Worx Studios, London SW6 4TJ. Sept 12-30th Oct Formans Smokehouse Gallery, London E3 2NT. Nov 1st – 30th


towzietyke.com

Hair & Make-up : June Long Model : Lucy Dalgleish @ Superior


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And so it rolls around again, the bi-annual trade fair for the fabulous people. The reverberations of Olympic success and patriotic fervour of the Jubilee still echo on the streets of London, for this season, there was swagger in the stride of designers, who presented punchy, original collections in an even more impressive and professionally pulled off schedule than ever. As writer Colin McDowell pointed out, that Fashion Week is now housed in former government buildings Somerset House, its most glorious and prestigious setting yet, is a great testament to the growing respect which the industry is earning for itself. Unlike the grumpy big sister in February, September’s Fashion Week is a sunnier affair, and the fash pack was out in force. The explosion of street style photography means the courtyard outside the main venue is just as important, and entertaining, as the catwalks. There seems to be two ways to dress for the street style photographers; zany or chic. Camp zany favour accessories and adornments shaped in all manner of objects, like Barbie doll necklaces, light-bulb bright wigs, print, leather and flatforms. East London turned inside out as every fashion student, blogger and wannabe vied for the more eye-catching, crazy ensemble. Meanwhile, Club Chic emulate the international fashion aesthetic with boldly coloured jumpers, minimalist coats, pin thin skirts and glossy, gorgeous handbags, usually featuring a few instantly recognisable designer pieces, padded out with a uniform of flattering staples. Perfect blow-dries were a must.

by Rena Niamh Smith electricdress.blogspot.com

According to the London luminaries, Spring Summer 2013 looks to be a very exciting season indeed, with bold and exciting trend. It was all very shiny and futuristic at Jonathan Saunders and Burberry; luxurious fabrics in elegant, slimline sihouettes heralded the new dawn of a space age. David Koma presented clean, concise sportwear in bright orange and graphic white hues, with semi-transparent fabric overlaying eye-popping shades. Shapes were loose and tee-shirt like on dresses, a form also spotted at Christopher Kane, whose pastel pink palette was interjected with flecks of shiny black ribbon. Loose cropped tee shirts over fitted pencil skirts were spotted at Preen, who digressed from their floral favourites to use snakeskin in their prints, and the effect was delightful.


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Slave magazine was there to capture the buzz; here we highlight our favourite shows.

Everything was worn with hair screwed up loosely in a scrunchie, proper weirdo-style spectacles and pristine Reebok Classics, giving each look a finishing polish that was so perfect. It summed up the interplay between masculine and feminine, as also seen in tulle polka dot skirt worn over the ubiquitous baggy white shirt; polka dots, at once girly, yet also mathematical, measured, the tulle a moment of flamboyance on top of the uniform staples. Numbers were used as a print, one of the only patterns in an otherwise minimalist flow, referencing this brainbox’s love of all things numerate. Indeed, as is the ultimate irony with all things in fashion that are box-fresh cool and considered cutting edge, there was a studied precision to all that “don’t care” attitude. What this old thing? The nineties trend is here, but you have it all from the first time round, right?

The trendsetter: Ashish

The Fashionista’s Favorite: Sister by Sibling

If you wanted any more proof that the 90s are back, just look at Ashish. New Gen winner three times over and Topshop collaborating favourite, his show is a favourite on the London scene. The only decade worth looking to for the next few seasons, his show brought back everything most of us remember best about that decade – loose, easy sportswear in grey marl; solid, stone-wash denim, in baggy jeans or boxy jackets, oft worn together; and of course, school uniforms. Taking cue from the maths geek, “one of those really awkward girls, who are really cool at the same time but don’t know it”, as designer himself put it, the collection featured school-standard white shirts mixed with the kind of denim and sporty separates you’d recognise from any playground circa 1994. And by “mixed”, we don’t just mean worn together – sometimes trousers featured a whole leg of one style and one in another. Jackets were twisted around bodies; shirts worn under tulle skirts or poking jauntily out from what could otherwise have been a full sequin gown.

The Portico rooms of Somerset House were positively buzzing with excitement at the third installation of brand Sister by Sibling, the womens wear line by knit company Sibling, as friends, family and fans, as well as the industry cohort, took their places to see the fruits of labour by Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery. And the collection was just as electric; with a little help from fashion heavyweight Katie Grand, the super stylist herself, it was a Day Glo frolic in fashion’s imagination. The self-described “young-old-lady outfits” featured twin sets, tennis dresses and cardigans done in all kinds of knit. It was inspired by punk singer Poly Styrene, whose famous love of dressing well beyond her years before “vintage” was ever a thing, or indeed charity shop shopping a craze.

Prints got more than enough spotlight at digital print queen Mary Katranzou’s collection. Showing clothing made with postage-stamp prints for day and bank notes for evening, she evolved the medium with humour and wit. Denim also made an unexpected appearance in the proceedings. Mulbery were minty fresh and ladylike; Erdem’s coral florals popped over lilac on frocks. But top of the class for show-stopping theatrics surely went to Phillip Treacy, whose homage to Michael Jackson opened with Lady Gaga as model, and whose creations were more fantasy than most designers can only dream of.

For as well as geek-meets-jock, the other power play was between these utilitarian colours and fabrics or jersey and denim, and sequins, Ashish’s own handwriting. Yeah, sure, this girl has just come out of a maths revision session.; but she’s headed for the disco, okay? With a nonchalance only bright young things can get away with, the sequins were incorporated into the legs of jogging bottoms, socks and dresses. One gown, hanging off the neckline, and cut on the bias, was kind of blazé in its simplicity.

Juxtaposing the geriatric connotations of knit was first and foremost colour. In “retina firing optic white and fluro acidic lime”, as well as neon pink and orange, the palette was a riot of energy. Big, classic stripes on long frocks were re-done in “Pick n Mix” shades. Textures too played their part; maxis in looping, see-through stitch making naught but big knickers underneath visible to all, it was thoroughly sexual in subversive stitch. Lime or pink leopard print in jacquard covered in clear sequins was a delight. Toile de Jouy fabrics, once consigned to grandma’s table cloths and curtains, was proposed in hot pink on twin sets using East London scenes rather than the typical French countryside idyll. But then what grandma puts on her curtains is something of a given for any fan of East London. Grand Ma herself Katie did a sterling job, and watched on from a cosy seat on the front row. Quite literally the crowning glory to the old meets young, Minnie Mouse made an appearance in the form of headdresses.


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Something of a sponsored motif this season, the ultimate icon of girly sweetness was referenced in the huge raffia “ears” atop models heads, whose faces were covered in lace, a veritable old lady fabric in its own right. The collection looks set to go down a treat with fashion kids, who love a riff on an Unlikely Style Hero like grandma, especially when it meets a raver punk aesthetic. Yet the collection also had the making of commercial success too, especially the skull knit cardigans in pink and gold, soon to be copied by a high street giant near you. For the irony of “young” and “old” fashion industry procedures means up-and-coming designers must fight tooth and nail to get their work properly paid for by clients before the fast fashion factories churn out their ideas for next to nothing before they can. The One to Watch: Bernard Chandran Sporty yet urbane, tough yet cool. Inspired by “the rough edges of a close friend’s love tale”, if the muse behind Bernard Chandran’s Spring Summer 2013 collection has been spurned in love, she’s coming back fighting fit. Models sported graphic eyeliner and retro-futuristic shades that resembled catwalk-ready visors. Always one for mixing an interesting fabric or too, the coats that mixed silk and leather, with a raglan sleeve to give a soft but strong shoulder shape, were the combat clothes of a sophisticated fighter. A palette that mixed fresh whites with pink going to monochrome prints that oozed confidence without being shouty, through to blacks with navy, it was elegant and authoritative with just a dash of girly flair. Some minimal dresses incorporate just a panel of bright colour at the throat with flowing lengths of nude and blush, a quietly chic way of doing things without using embellishment or jewellery. Sleek lines in cutaway frocks with slightly oversize shoulders gave way to intricate sequin work on dresses that turned an initial instance of a graded hem line (short at the front, longer at the back) right around (thigh skimming at the back, floor length to the front). Because if surviving the ordeals of love isn’t about tearing up the rule book of who you are to come back fighting fit then what it? There was also frocks with chiffon skirts under corset tops that showed this girl hasn’t lost her mojo.

The Ambitious One: Topshop Unique Topshop has made its name synonymous as being a cornerstone in British fashion, and this season was more directional than ever. It was a step up and away from the boisterous prints London has been recently making a name for itself as doing best; instead, it was clean, grown-up, polished. Urban tailoring with a nineties minimalist finish. Cool, clean, put together; wholly of the moment and not a moment too soon. Overseen by ex-Vogue lady Kate Phelan, the collection was influenced by Bauhaus design, and featured as highlight a brilliant white trouser suit, shown with pointed stilettos and a tiny crop top. Coats were oversize and boxy; skirts fitted to the body, worn with oversize crops. The nineties references were lost on no-one. There was transparent panelling too, and with powder pink makeup and a palette of largely white, with flashes of lemon and blush, the feel remained sophisticated not sticky sweet. Also on offer was a wonderfully well-coordinated addition of navy and black, a delightfully sombre choice or summer. Well played too were the touches of graphic monochrome print, or the art-on-dress piece that kept things powerful not playful. Topshop can be known for more giddy choices, but you would be forgiven in thinking this was a mood meant to suit Topshop’s thirty-something clientele, not school students with pocket money to spend. No longer hangers-on to the coat-tails of higher fashion oracles, Topshop is single-handedly carving a new space for retail giants on the world stage. Shown in a spage-age white space in a marquee in Bloomsbury, it certainly felt like the future of fashion. Yet even without a glance at the clothing, it is clear Topshop makes a killer PR investment with this kind of show. Heavyweights such as Natalie Massenet, founder of Net a Porter and just-crowned BFC Chairman, and super-blogger-turned-Vogueeditor Anna Dello Russo showed up; so, too, did It girl Olivia Palermo. Then there were the pop stars and models set of crowd pleasers; Nicola Roberts, Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe, and the up-and-coming such as Delilah. They even name-dropped in the show notes, citing Corrine Day’s photos of Kate Moss as inspiration. Topshop, it can be said, want to be seen with them as much as they do on a front row, and it is a happy exchange. Crowd pleasers or trend leaders, Topshop further their cause to make their name synonymous with everything good about British fashion now.


The Showcase: Fashion Fringe Despite the name, Fashion Fringe, brainchild of British fashion don Colin McDowell, closed fashion week at the heart of the on-schedule proceedings, hardly a fringe affair at all. With the final slot in the courtyard catwalk space in the middle of Somerset House, replete with a packed audience and celebrity front row, seems emblematic of the trajectory of British Fashion as a whole. One designer who has remained faithful to the English capital is Christopher Bailey, who has turned Burberry into a heritage brand and multimillion pound empire that uses Britishness as a USP. He also helped to oversee and nurture the talent at Fashion Fringe as chairman. As he noted in his speech, he too was once a graduate designer and needed support and belief from those around him to succeed. That new talent in London is being given mentorship by such prestigious names as Bailey, as well that of McDowell, and that it is being recognised in such a way, suggests that Britain is finally taking its creative talent seriously and respecting the fashion industry as a whole

And the creative talent on display tonight was indeed worthy of such weighty support. CSM graduate of 2005 Haizhen Wang showed an architectural collection inspired by Japanese armour and the architecture of Santigano Calatrava. Citing cultural and feminist theory as influence, the collection certainly played with gender notions in a strong, sculptural offering. Thick, padded jackets and coats were worn over tailored pants or draped skirts like archaic military-wear, with all the romantic ideals of strength and beauty one associates with ancient Oriental soldiers, made feminine with wide belts cinching in waists and exaggerated shoulders and hips giving things a sexy silhouette. The palette of whites, navy and black was both on trend for the season and suitably androgynous and cool. Teija Eilola showed a somewhat more wearable, simpler collection, not to detract from her craft. Indeed, her draped pieces were easy, breezy beautiful with just a twist of something darker creeping in; her inspiration, apparently, was “a Finnish girl comes in from the cold spring weather into a party… on the way she walks through the forest and crossed two hills.”Adraped gown something like leaves creeping over the front in a beautiful nude colour, with little leather fastenings at the back summed

this mood perfectly, as if this girl had caught some of the woodland debris on her ball gown as she made her way to her evening event. The cocoon shape frocks with cutaway backs were also great; there was something wrapped up against the cold about them, yet also something more exposed and naïve. Having formerly worked at Ted Baker, who kindly provided the accessories for her collection, Eilola’s work looked the most ready for store success. Finally, Vita Goitlieb’s work fused Western and Eastern influences, with embroidered fabrics and silky, figure hugging dresses occupying that funny old place between the two geographical and cultural worlds, namely the Western “interpretation” of the East. Names after a 1911 party thrown by Paul Poiret named “Thousand and Second Night” in which “guests were asked to wear Persian dress and indulge in dancing in the moonlight”. The slinky mini-dresses in sultry fabrics were easily and obviously informed by ideas of Persia and beyond as a fantasy place. Thankfully Goitlieb’s intention was clearly to foray beyond reality; the shoulder piece crafted from what looked like a thousand and two hand-knit cones was incredible, especially since Goitlieb received no formal training in fashion. After the three collections, band Bastille played a set before Bailey presented Haizhen Wang with first prize and literally leaped with joy to see him come out to receive it. If anything, it shows just how much heart and soul Bailey had been putting in. He had all three finalists come for a two week placement at Burberry HQ where they got to see all sides of the enterprise, a worthy privilege when you consider how much creative guidance and how little business training fashion students receive when essentially they are entrepreneurs-in-waiting. Having just opened the Regent Street mega-boutique for Burberry, quite the contradiction in terms, where technology and retail become one, Bailey is very much a winning appointment for Fashion Fringe, both for this year and next.


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Jace Jacket : Domingo Rodriguez Turtle neck: Jean Chan Sunglasses: Ray Ban


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tomandrew.co.uk

Hair : Sheridan Ward sheridanward.4ormat.com Makeup : Bethan Owens bethanowens.com Stylist : Chloe Wood (chloe-wood.com Models : Joshua Moroney @ FM Models Jace Moody @ Next Models Justin Bravo @ Next Models


Joshua vest: Jean Chan


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Justin Shirt: Domingo Rodriguez 3/4 joggers: Izzue Dog tag: Chanel


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Jace Jacket and shorts: Domingo Rodriguez


Joshua Cardigan and shorts: Jean Chan


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Justin Jumper: Jean Chan Shorts: Domingo Rodriguez


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maksandala.blogspot.com


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by Kasia Mroczkowska

One of the greatest perks of working in the cinema is to be given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch loads of films on a big screen “totalmente gratis”, guilt-free and fair trade. This of course may turn out to be pretty devastating to your psyche, especially if you suddenly realise that this month you have watched one of those pseudo-intellectual,cult-cinema-wannabes, indie (of course) productions more than ten times; well of course you did not want to…, but, as Kevin Arnold’s dad used to say: ‘work’s work….’., you had no choice really… The recipe is always more or less the same: 90% of Polaroid-like colors 70% of hipster clothes 60% of “nice” music 80% of ‘I don’t care, but still look great’ young faces and bodies 1% of content /Shaken not stirred…/

“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present” and “Ai Wei: Never Sorry”, two documentaries that I have watched within a short period of time, made me think that….*(to be continued in the next paragraph) and made me think (full stop). *…there is still hope. In one of the first scenes of “Ai Wei: Never Sorry” we see a cat opening the door by leaping up to pull the handle. Of the 40 cats that walk around the artist’s compound in Beijing; only this one seems to have this gift, as Ai Wei notices: “If I’d never met this cat that can open doors, I wouldn’t know cats can open doors. Where did that intelligence come from?” Space for your answer:........................………( continue on a separate sheet if necessary). In one of the last scenes of “Marina Abramovich: The Artist is Present”-the documentary that can be viewed as a cautionary tale for any famous artist-wannabe cocky hipster, we can read this ambiguous phrase: ”ART IS EASY”, which in the context of real blood, tears, sweat, pain and sacrifice, that have been the prevailing part of Abramovic’s life as an performance artist, seems to be a truly thought provoking slogan. Speaking about good films…, do you know that at the top of his career, cinematographic genius, Krzysztof Kieslowski, said that he would stop making films, because he thought that his productions would not be properly understood any more, plus he finally needed to retire...As simple as that. Any questions? “I’m confused…,”my colleague Eric told me yesterday, “There seems to be a growing group of people whose “activities” tend to be less and less about real sweat and blood, and more and more about trying to brainwash everyone around (including closest friends) that everything they do is meaningful, and highly successful. I am just fed up with this omnipresent “creativity” of those so called “artists”! And the more their “fans” “Like” them, the more disillusioned they (and everyone around) become, and what’s the point of all of that in the end?”

Sorry to wake you up hun, but you started to snore pretty badly…- said him or her sitting in one of the front rows

But do you want to be brainwashed? – I finally asked

just behind me… On the other hand, there is always the other hand in case you prefer your left hand to the right one… Maybe it is just a matter of using a slightly different part of your brain… or just using your brain. Fortunately for some of us /For many of us? For how many of us?/, there are still people in this world who do not necessary think that everything you need to make your brain happy is a nice picture.

“No, thanks… I’m more into genuine smiles than smiley faces.” Having said that, he went home to watch “Camera Buff” on his good, old VHS. Thumbs up Thumbs down Ga Ga A Gu Gu


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When I meet with one half of band Frank’s Daughter in a hip Bermondsey café one sunny Saturday in August, I find him sipping a latte and tapping away on a laptop. This is not a man who I would expect to want to question the generic urban life experience as a whole. What’s more, I assumed the guy who I sat down with was a band member; he founded the band and made the music, along with other half of the duo, but actually, they are not the band members at all, but the physical counterparts to two wholly artistic creations. If there’s one thing Frank’s Daughter can teach me in an hour, it’s to stop with all the assumptions and assume only that things are not as they seem.

franks-daughter.com

For their first studio album, Sound of A Heart Unraveling, Frank’s Daughter went on something of a spiritual as well as musical quest. Having met in New York as musicians with other bands, they got together back in London to create the album and honing a new technique. Ultimately, they want to achieve something that is, for want of a better word, more organic. These are the kind of guys who live without a TV, who you won’t find tweeting their breakfast choice to allow fans to gain insight into their lives nor promote themselves as a “brand”. It is an old-fashioned way of living in an all too connected world. To make the album, they took up residence for three months in a secluded Alpine chalet which was under renovation and had no electricity except for in the attic studio. Contact with the outside world was minimal. It was an escape from modernity in its purest sense.

by Rena Niamh Smith electricdress.blogspot.com

They wanted to create a mood, a colour, rather than a perfectly packaged album. “I wanted to create a new kind of voice; we wanted it to have a soul; we wanted it to be something rather than a clutch of songs. We didn’t have a strict idea of how we were going to write or how we were going to record; we spent every day experimenting, seeing what kind of sounds we could create and how we could mix real recorded sounds with what we were making on the computer.” “We kind of found a way where we could write and record, so we wanted it to feel more like brush strokes, like when a painter paints, the moment he [sic] puts that brush on there, he’s made that moment and that moment is there; you don’t tend, in painting, if you want that mark, to keep going over it and over it. 90 plus per cent of stuff that’s written for us is ad-libbed. When it comes to recording, I literally write and record it at the same time, so literally, the sounds I’m recording are what I was thinking at that time and thatwas really important.”


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That they ended up with a ten track album still surprises and pleases them, such was the extent of their fluidity when operating. In our modern, fast-paced world, getting things right every time and re-producing the same thing has become an industry obsession in the drive to make money, and the band felt that this detracts from the work itself. An artist is forced by record companies, marketers and the consumer’s expectations to find something tangible, something whole, which can be bottled and sold. When something is a success, others rush to emulate with their own version of the market-leading models. The industry soon becomes awash with different versions of the same thing, and any sense of originality is soon lost. And the band felt that this is greatly driven by the way in which music is made in the first place. Although both had been musicians, they both studied fine art and the method of working as visual artists informed their perspective and inspired them to tear up the rulebook on how music is made. “From early on we knew that we wanted to create music the way that we both create painting, something that we had never done before, we always saw music as something very different, something much more structured as a way of creating, whereas when we both paint, it’s much more free and much more spontaneous.” “Something we know from the past is that when you record, you record the same parts again and again and again, and it always feels like a photocopy of the original idea, and we’ve always been a bit disappointed with that, because what we love about music is that music is that moment when it happens, when it works, and what we don’t like is that we’ve then got to smooth everything off and start putting a grid around it and putting it into a box.”


slave magazine 7 This is where the mysterious characters come in Frank and Arthur, the band’s original members, are the kind of shadow versions of the two guys who make the music, Paul and Lee. Frank and Arthur “don’t rush around and do the normal stuff like go and get the shopping, they just make music, they awake to just do those really important, purely artistic thing. In the Alps, the shadows really came out – there’s no hard edges” They allowed themselves to connect to this more emotional, free state to create the music. “What we felt that lacked in music is emotion, because a lot of emotion is sort of washed out when it’s not spontaneous, it’s learned basically; you’re learning; you want to put a certain emotion into it but you kind of fake that emotion because you’ve done it twenty, thirty, forty times when you were recording it, whereas when we were doing it, we didn’t want that to happen, we wanted to record what we were thinking at that time” There is certainly a kind of emotional shadow place in the music. Incredibly haunting, there is a sadness to it that feels pure. Not only were they away from people, the only electricity in the chalet was in the studio, as the chalet was being renovated at the time. It was a kind of foray into nature, away from things like grocery-fetching, that allowed them to connect with a much more organic side of life, in a place open to the elements and exposed only to natural light, or lack of it. I ask why the music seems so melancholy, and it seems that it stems in part from the removal from urban life. “It’s a reflection of what we were going through at the time and what we were feeling, it was an emotional time; I’d just spent a lot of time in Scandinavia the year before by the sea and to me that really sot of continues in the music, it really feels like that Scandinavian coastline, just the imagery of it, it feels cold when it cold and warm when its warm. The nature [around us] really influences it, when I was writing a lot of it I was in Scandinavia and that affected it and then we were in the Alps when it was germinating so there were trees, and there was fleeting snow; there was times when we’d have really hot days in the forest and then a few days later everything would be covered by a blanket of snow, and then the sun would come through and melt it all. It’s not like in a West London studio with artificial light and soundproofing, that feels like a lab, the last thing we wanted to do.” The name Frank’s Daughter was literally the first woman they saw upon their return from the alpine retreat, and the choice reflects the lasting psychological effects of the experience on the band at a critical moment of its conception. Unsurprisingly, they favor vinyl, which is how the record will be released. It makes sense; vinyl is the choice of those who respect music as an art form rather than using it as a soundtrack to treadmill running or tube journeys.


“The thing I love about music is you have to commit to it when you make it, and when you want to listen to it, and vinyl is all about that. You know, you look through your vinyl’s, you decide what you want to listen to and then you take it out, you read the vinyl notes, you look through to see what song you want to listen to, or the whole album, and then you put it on; for me, that’s really important, the way you listen to it; whereas in the digital world, you have ten, twenty tracks on these CDs, and on thousands on your iPod; there’s no connection to it. You’re asking someone else, a computer, to make all those decisions for you, and I just think it’s those decisions that actually connect you and that’s what makes it tangible, what makes it special.” Typically when artists derive ideas for their work, they are forced by labels to hand it straight over, to be copy and pasted for all. On returning from the Alps, it seemed there were people who wanted to take their work and apply the same cut-and-paste promotion techniques that all bands get. Having spent all this time perfecting their craft away from all that, the band then wanted to bring it to people in their own way, even forming their own production company. It all has a homemade feel to it, but that’s sort of the point. They wanted to reject the idea so prevalent in technology these days of specialized equipment for everything, balancing the camera on a bike when making their video and using trial and error methods to achieve their desired effects. As visual artists first and foremost, they have a strong aesthetic to support their music, and they used old mug shots of convicts as starting points to create the album cover. “We came across them online when we were looking for an album cover, and they just sort of started to speak to us, certain images, like one of them we really wanted to use. Frank just really looked like what we wanted Frank to look like, and then there was one that looked a bit like Lee anyway, so they kind of worked. We really wanted shadow stuff - they could be us, they have bits of us in them, but they don’t have to be a mirror image, so that’s where they came from. They are us really,maybe a much quieter, softer side, there’s something about them.”

They also made demo sleeves themselves with a box of old photographs of people who were certainly real but whose story has been lost along the way. “they’re all real people – I kind of love the mystery of that, it adds to the mystery of what Frank’s Daughter is – but they’re all real, they we all real people, they had real lives and they loved and lost like everyone else but we don’t know who they are, we don’t know them.” From this mystery, whoever listens to the album can look at these photographs and imagine the story behind them, perhaps make connections between the fragmented lyrics of the music with their own lives, or with the imagined history of the people on the covers. It is a beautiful way of being which adds to this suspended state of admiration, the space which Frank’s Daughter exist and from which they make music. Certainly there seems to be contradictions at work, but it is from these that the beauty comes. For example, organic doesn’t seem the right word when they were able to cart a whole load of hi-tech recording equipment up somewhere else, even if they were nose-to-nose with nature and fresh air. That, of course, wouldn’t be possible in the days before Twitter and all that the globalised, consumer-driven world gained the pace it has today. If it is something purely artistic they wish to conceive, why make an album? Yet it is a new pat they are forging, not simply rejecting everything like some kind of music monks, but creating a space for the kind of thing they want to make in exactly the way they wish to make it. Having rewritten the rules of recording, don’t expect Frank’s Daughter to produce what you hear verbatim at gigs; live performances will be a further interpretation of their work that will be a continuum of their quest to find that softer side. They don’t envisage returning to that chalet in the Alps for the next album, but you can be sure they will find an isolated spot somewhere to carry on their mission to make something totally original, from that goldmine of pure inspiration which they found in the mountains, or perhaps within themselves, the last time they took off into the unknown. Frank’s Daughter- ‘The Sound of a Heart Unravelling’ Limited Edition Vinyl only debut album will be out 5th November 2012


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Photographers Assistant : STEPHEN ELLEDGE Styling : ANI HOVHANNISYAN –MANKXX Styling Assistant : LISBETH CERVANTES CELESTE LINDSAY Makeup : SWAIN Hair : AMANDA SHACKLETON MODELS : ALINA BASAKOVA / PEARL MANAGEMENT JULIA MORRISON


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Grey silk evening gown with black eagles: Religion Green military jacket: Jason Wu


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Sequin Bodysuit: Topshop Pinstriped stockings: TopshopThigh high black nappaboots Tanya Spinelli


Black silk vintageblouse with lace: Yves Saint Laurent Black grey paton pants by Lako Bukia Black long mokasins with leather strips: Mao Black checker leather boots with silver heels: Tanya Spinelli


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Sequin bodysuit: Topshop Pinstriped stockings: Topshop


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Black silk vintageblouse with lace: Yves Saint Laurent Black grey paton pants by Lako Bukia Black long mokasins with leather strips: Mao Grey wool long sweater jacket by Allsaints Spitalfields


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Black silk gown: Taddashi Feather belt : stylist’s own Black goat high heel boots: Tanya Spinelli


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Grey sweater dress with long silk skirt: Brandon Sun Paisley silk vest: Love Zooey Calves skin thighhigh boots: Tanya Spinelli Necklace : Dokham / NYC


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All clothes & accessories : Elisabetta Delogu /Atelier Regina - Sassari atelierregina.it Model : Silvia Gambalonga


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Stylist : Alexia Mingarelli Make up : Andrea Beci Model : Lorena Elena Ardeleanu


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Jacket: vintage Body: Maison Martin Margiela Earrings and ring:Iosselliani


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Top: Jessica Harris Skirt: Leopardessa Necklace: Iosselliani


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Dress: Leopardessa Necklace: Iosselliani


Jacket: Leopardessa vintage remake Skirt: Jessica Harris Necklace and ring: Iosselliani


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Body: Maison Martin Margiela Skirt:Misuraca Milano Necklace: Iosselliani


Dress: Leitmotiv Socks: American Apparel Shoes: H&M Necklace and bracelet: Iosselliani


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slaveCULTURE

by Chris Purnell

To most Americans, being stuffed up with the cold, suffering from a dry throat due to nerves, possessing a British accent, and having floppy hair, will either make you sound endearingly foppish like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings, or will make you sound like you are calling from a care home, and someone has left you unattended with a telephone and a notepad full of questions that seemed interesting and intelligent at 2am the previous night. As I replay our conversation in my mind, I can’t help but feel Matt Besser thought the latter. But I had good reason to be nervous. Besser is a comedy legend. And while it is true that labelling someone a legend, is to dismiss them as a once-was, which negates the work they are currently doing, you cannot fully appreciate Besser without understanding the impact he has had on comedy in the past twenty years without the word cropping up. As a founding member of the sketch/improv comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, the group’s theatres in New York and LA continue to grow wellknown comedic talent through their classes and improv training. UCB alumni include performers and writers for such TV shows as, Saturday Night Live, The Office, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, 30 Rock, and The Colbert Report, as well as for such feature films as Bridesmaids, Anchorman and Talladega Nights. Impressive as that maybe, the UCB had their own success with a long running Comedy Central sketch show that pioneered the use of real-life, hidden camera sketches involving unsuspecting members of the public. The UCB’s success led to movies and various sitcom roles for its members Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, Amy Pohler and Matt Besser. But when I ask what question he hates answering, he says, ‘When people ask me about the founding of the Upright Citizens Brigade.’ Fine, cause we were here to talk about Freak Dance. A film in which Besser makes his directorial debut, alongside co-director Neil Mahoney. As an aside, Besser explains what question interviewers should ask him, ‘does being a great comedian make you a great lover? And the answer is yes. No one ever asks that. That’s always for the dramatic actors, never the comedians. We’re great lovers too.’


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Freak Dance, is a semi-autobiographical mix of every competitive dance movie, and The Warriors. ‘We have a theatre in New York, and in 2001 it was shut down by the city,’ says Besser. ‘The building inspector came and said ‘you guys don’t have a proper second egress,’ and we said ‘what’s an egress?’ That’s a fire exit, we were told.’ Besser laughs as he becomes animated. ‘If you’ve been to New York, you know that buildings are up against each other, so really nobody has a second egress. They could shut down every business in New York.’ He continues, ‘I think what was really behind it was a neighbour wanted us shut down and they called the city.’ He tells the story with enthusiasm and vigour. His Connellyesque storytelling is as entertaining on stage as it is during our interview, but I sense that this is the fiftieth time today he has been asked to recount his film’s orgin. He would later tell me, ‘I’m doing a lot of local press for the different cities I’m going to opening the film.’ He even said that with a weariness that made me yawn.

The story of Freak Dance follows Cocolonia, a rich girl desperate to break away from her domineering mother and dance. She runs into a scrappy dance crew whose headquarters are at risk of being shut down for lack of a second egress, and they are forced into a dance competition in order to raise the money to help. As an improviser, and running an improv based theatre, we spoke of how it works on his set, ‘I don’t know whether people should be improvising in musicals.’ Says Besser. ‘With hitting songs and choreography, it’s not something that you can be totally loose with, but as far as the actual dialogue, we did run it on stage for two years and every night those guys would improvise lines, whether I’d ask them to or they would do it themselves out of boredom.’ Haven originally written the script to be produced as a full scale musical film, Besser tells me, ‘it was really great to be able to work the script out with improv and adlibbing through the two years on stage.’ He continues, ‘if I’d just written the script and then immediately produced it, it definitely would not have been as good.’

In dance movies there are always good dancers and evil dancers. I love the concept of there being an evil dancer...

‘We had to shut down, we lost all our money, and then we had to do a lot of shows to raise money to open a theatre again,’ says Besser. ‘It was like we were inside a plot of a dance movie, because that’s the plot of every dance movie; their community centre shuts down and the dancers have to come together despite all their differences and battle the rich part of town to get their community centre back.’ And so it goes. In a world where dancers are poor kids with big cocks (‘To me that’s the exact difference between rich people and poor people,’ says Besser) living on the streets, and society is a straight-laced, button down, Foot Loose place where dancing is frowned upon.

Speaking of his obvious, and surprisingly sincere love of dance movies, Besser says, ‘in dance movies there are always good dancers and evil dancers. I love the concept of there being an evil dancer and that instead of fighting, they dance aggressively.’ He continues with such gusto that makes me think I love dance movies too, ‘I really do love them.’ He continues and his tone lowers, ‘I hate dancing myself, that’s why I’ll avoid a wedding, so not to have to dance at the reception.’ As a side to side shuffler myself, I could relate. ‘That’s why in the movie I’ve conveniently written myself a part where I don’t have to dance,’ he laughs. As excited as I was when I first heard what Besser’s movie involved, I did squirm at the thought of another parody movie in a comedy soup bowl overflowing with mind-numbing Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies (Date


slave magazine 7 Movie, Epic Movie, Meet The Spartans), Wayans Brothers movies (Scary Movie 1-4) and other movies made by purveyors of cheap ten minute laughs followed by a boring eighty minute romantic story line, and then ending with our main characters falling in love (High School High), getting married (Robin Hood: Men In Tights), or some variation of shacking up (MacGruber). ‘You never think of Rocky Horror of being a parody of Frankenstein,’ says Besser. ‘It’s own thing, but really that’s exactly what it is, so I don’t think you’d watch my movie and say it was either - Especially not in the same way we think of parody films these days.’ When asked if ‘parody’ is considered a dirty word, Besser says,

‘I think to the comedy nerds it is.’ That hurt my feelings. ‘Airplane! was probably the first comedy movie I saw, and when you compare it to what the parody movies are now, they just don’t seem the same. Like at that point when Airplane! was released, parody was a positive word, and now it seems like it’s associated with the laziest way of doing comedy,’ Besser says, with an almost confused tone in his voice. ‘I was trying to stay away from the more obvious parody points while writing Freak Dance,’ he says. ‘I tried to go for more absurd elements, whereas parodies do what has already been done.’ Absurd, how? ‘All dancers wear tights in my movie, whether they’re a ballet dancer or street gang banger dancer,’ I was about to wrap our interview up when he hastened to add ‘And the big cock thing.’ Freak Dance is available now on Amazon.com. You can visit FreakDanceMovie.com for more information.


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slave magazine 7


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by Chris Purnell

Retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, REtard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, REtard, REtard, REtard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard, retard. ‘What is all the retard stuff?’ This was director Woody Allan berating the 42 year old actress and comedian, a rather bookish, and very slight brunette with glasses, Annabelle Gurwitch, from his latest Broadway production during rehearsal in a blacked out theatre space in downtown Manhattan at 3.45 on a Saturday afternoon. Annabel had no idea what he was talking about, but she knew she had just been fired. He then furrowed his brow, closed his eyes, and with a pained expression on his face, explained with exasperated enthusiasm why she looked retarded when engaged in his latest dramatic work. Annabel, however, could not hear anything except the blood rushing through her ears. This was her dream job. Whilst admitting to herself it was unhealthy, she had put all of her self-worth and esteem into this. ‘You look retarded.’ Annabelle stood in silence wondering if her hero, her idol, Woody Allen was right, and she was in fact mentally challenged. Not even Woody’s ‘I cant believe this,’ shtick, seen in Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and every other one of his films was enough to lighten her mood. Her dream job was over. Everything she had thought of and dreamed of was over. She was left crushed. And humiliated, thanks to the friends and family members that would subsequently ask her how her Woody Allen job was going. After weeks of drinking, to numb the pain, eating, to numb the pain, and crying, to indicate more of the first two, the inspiration for Annabel’s documentary ‘Fired’ was born.


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‘Coming forward with my story of being fired, and the idea behind the project, is that I want us to learn how to reclaim the experience, to not feel ashamed – whether you’re the fired or fired adjacent - and to really learn how to deal with it.’ Gathering stories from actors, CEOs, union workers, assembly line workers, factory workers, the recently unemployed at job fairs, and comedians like David Cross, Jeff Garlin, Harry Shearer and Sarah Silverman. But far from just being a funny film, Annabelle extracts advice that people can learn from in the plethora of heartbreaking, hilarious and toe-curling stories. ‘One thing I found that

You look retarded.

people in the entertainment business actually have as a skill, that other people can learn from, is that they are continually preparing to be fired. I’m an actress and a writer, so I’ve been doing it for a long time. You have to know what’s in the job market, because you may have to switch, and you have to keep your CV updated. It is kind of another job.’ ‘In the film Robert Rice, the former US Labour Secretary, talks about the changing paradigm of employment, not only in America but worldwide. The idea that one would have a career at one place for fifty years, get a gold watch at the end of it, and retire, has all but disappeared.’ Annabelle spoke passionately and so fast that if she ever did cocaine her head might explode.


‘Particularly in the first world manufacturing jobs, which of course were always the staple of the middle and working class.’ While obviously left leaning, the film does not have a political narrative sewn throughout, like one would expect from a husky, baseball cap wearing American. Instead Annabelle concentrates on the human side of what the changes in the world economy means for the ordinary worker. ‘People have to find themselves in a more entrepreneurial situation, which lends oneself to going from job to job to job. It’s something that we are all going to be experiencing. People who thought they were in safe careers will be having this experience right now.’ ‘One of the things that I’ve found is a commonality among people that are fired, whether they’re the CEO of a company or they’re a factory worker, they experience it in the same way.’ Annabel spoke of the shame and

it’s cheaper to laugh about your situation than to drowning it in liquor...

embarrassment people feel after being fired. Something she had obliviously experienced after her run in with Woody Allen, but in a less anecdotal way with her former husband. After he was fired from his job he was so ashamed that he didn’t tell Annabelle, and for two weeks, got up, got dressed, and left as if he was going to work. Obviously still hurt, Annabelle said, ‘you have to have compassion for your partner if yo can, because it might happen to you also.’ A large part of the impetus for the project was to help people get through this initial stage of embarrassment and depression. ‘My husband got really tired of me crying,’ she said laughing. ‘I think I cried for way longer than I should have about being fired by Woody, and then I started gardening.’

She spoke about doing something to take your mind off the firing, and filling up your day without a job to go to. ‘It helped a little.’ She smiled a smile filled with a Zen like hope, then in the same breath said, ‘I cried a lot over my plants.’ The hope was dashed, but the smile remained. ‘Then one time, once I started to be able to see the humour in it I was able to move on. Comedy is one of the most effective coping mechanisms a person has, and it’s cheaper to laugh about your situation than to drowning it in liquor, and it’s less calories than eating sweets and binging on ice cream, which is very often what people do after they’ve been fired.’ Annabelle spoke about why some people treat being fired the same as a divorce or the death of someone close to them. Given that most people spend more time at their workplace than they do with their family or friends, being fired does not only mean a loss of a pay cheque, it can be the loss of society and a network of people you have spent most of your life with. ‘I’m totally guilty of not doing that, but we need to have a support system outside of work, because we are going to be going from different work situations. So you’re really going to be in trouble if you’ve isolated yourself to one group.’ Annabelle, clearly exasperated by what she had been told by people around the world continued, ‘these people need people around them. Reach out to them!’ Everything she said was with empathy beyond that of a Good Samaritan. ‘Sometimes people feel like, ‘oh, I don’t know what to say, cause I’m embarrassed and they’ll be embarrassed’. Really?’ Annabelle became more animated as she became increasingly frustrated. ‘Here’s what you say ‘Hi, I heard you’ve been made redundant,’ if you can’t bring yourself to say fired, ‘Let’s get dinner,’ people also feel financially strapped, so find ways to get together with people that don’t cost money. Get together to go for a walk, go to a museum on a free day.’ Annabelle wanted to do what she could for the people she had met and a billion like them around the world, and by shining a light on their situation, she hoped to demonstrate that being fired was simply a normal part of life and not a huge monolithic disease to be made ashamed of and never spoke about. Like a walking talking before and after photograph of someone on the Slim Fast plan, Fired shows that it can be the making of some people, as it gives them time to revaluate their goals and ambitions before taking the next step – hopefully to something better. And for the currently employed, ‘Fired’ is really funny, and it never hurts to be prepared.


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20/9/2102- 11/11/2012 The Book Club 100-106 Leonard Street EC2A 4RH FREE ENTRY

Creating sumptuous and often melancholic imagery, Surys unique take on fashion photography has truly established her as one-towatch. Artworks from her collection, plus brand new pieces will be on display at her first solo London show.

Paulina Otylie Surys was born in 1979 in Poland and is a fine art and fashion photographer based in London. Paulina studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland where she developed her skills and her distinctive style as a painter. Following her studies, she discovered photography to be her preferred medium for its unique ability to capture a moment in time. She could, however, be considered a photographer, painter and art director in equal measure. Surys’ highly original photography draws on an extensive range of influences from all areas of art history. It is her interest in the old that fires her experiments into new artistic territories. Turning her back on modern digital manipulation and choosing compositions that recall classical art, her work has an air of symbolic mystery usually found in the great religious oil paintings.


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slave magazine 7


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Slave Magazine 7  

Photography, Fashion, Art, Culture

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