Tim Walker: Story Teller

Fashion is the dream department for photography. “It is the only aspect of photography where you can create a fantasy." Tim Walker.

Tim Walker has always been a day dreamer. Intuitive and instinctive, he takes ideas from everyday life, and like a chrysalis to a butterfly, he transforms his inspiration into the most beautiful of fantasies. Juxtaposing beauty with eccentricity, Walker’s captivating, ethereal photos continue to grace the pages of leading fashion magazines around the world, igniting our imaginations and caressing our capacity to dream.

I like to dream. Don’t we all? Our dreams and fantasies provide us with hope, escapism and aspiration beyond the realms of our ordinary existence. Walker’s enticing images capture ephemeral moments in surreal situations. They create a sense of nostalgia; for something we saw in our dreams, perhaps? His whimsical narratives transgress the boundaries of reality, yet he does not manipulate his images, he never works in a studio and he only uses natural light. Within his intricately crafted theatrical sets; the flawless models, the stunning backgrounds, the exquisite costumes, the extravagant props; everything is real. Photography doesn’t get more authentic or perfect than that.

From the 18th October 2012 to the 27th January 2013 dreams will become reality at the ‘Tim Walker: Story Teller’ exhibition at Somerset House. Supported by Mulberry, the exhibition will provide an insight into the influences, stories and creativity behind Walker’s mesmerising photo shoots, featuring a selection of extraordinary props from giant dolls to a life-size replica Spitfire plane.  

A series of exciting events are set to accompany the exhibition, with the chance to see a series of films which have inspired many of Walker’s images. ‘Story Teller’ by Tim Walker will also be published to coincide with the exhibition, a book featuring over 175 inspirational images, collages and snapshots from Walker's personal archive. Event and film tickets are scheduled to go on sale in early September, so I’m primed to get mine asap!

A final word from Tim Walker himself, "Only, only ever photograph what you love." 

All images by Tim Walker

Stephen Jones in Conversation with Iain R Webb

‘You can make a hat out of anything’, Stephen Jones pointed out as he casually lifted his water glass and held it briefly on top of his head as an example. This statement made me think; in the liberating world of high fashion, where form isn’t obliged to follow function, creative possibilities are endless.  Place almost any object or material on your head and it has the potential to be a hat.

Stephen Jones for Dior
Last week I was fortunate to visit the beautiful Bowes Museum in County Durham to attend an inspiring talk between milliner Stephen Jones and fashion writer Iain R Webb. Jones and Webb were perfectly at ease as they discussed their long-standing friendship and life-long love of fashion, history and hats. The intimate conversation based on a series of insightful images was so absorbing, I almost forgot I was part of an audience at all. Now that's a sign of an interesting talk.

The Bowes Museum

Jones and Webb met as students at Central St Martin’s and have been firm friends ever since.  Both extremely friendly and likeable characters, both have gone on to establish themselves as leaders in their professional fields. It was a pleasure to listen to such engaging speakers, and as I approached them enthusiastically at the end of the discussion both were kind enough to talk to me in person. I wasn’t going to miss a chance to speak to them!

Stephen Jones and myself

I am fascinated by talented, creative individuals; keen to explore what influences and inspires them. Like many iconic personalities at the pinnacle of their professions, Stephen Jones did not grow up with a predetermined plan to establish himself as a world-class milliner. He explained that he never planned to go into fashion, but that it was his desire to experience the buzz of living in London that led him to study fashion design at Central St Martin’s.

Living where nightlife seemed like a day job, Jones explained that he thought everyone lived like that at the time. They didn’t, of course, but for a curious young creative rushing to make their mark on the world, London in the late1970s and early 80s must have been the perfect milieu in which to cultivate creativity and instigate individuality.

Jones and Webb fondly reminisced about their attendances at Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden, a place where they regularly competed to wear the most outrageous outfits, and where many of the ‘Blitz Kids’ became Jones’ friends and first clients. They talked of mingling with the likes of Spandau Ballet and Isabella Blow and sharing a house with Boy George and Grayson Perry. Fame and success was in the air.

Jones at Blitz
Jones’ radical designs first took centre stage at Blitz, yet his experimental hats soon became notorious for pushing the boundaries of millinery at the very height of fashion around the world. From lampshades and saucepans for Jean-Paul Gaultier, to extravagant swans for Giles Deacon and modernistic veiling for Raf Simmons at Dior, Jones likes doing new things every season and continues to make hats for some of the most acclaimed fashion designers in the industry as well as designing his own collections.  Never without a notebook in hand, Jones finds a theme and crafts hats to tell a particular story.

Swan Headpieces at Giles Deacon

Veiling at Dior
Creating spectacular works of art for music videos, runway shows, fashion editorials and even an Olympic closing ceremony, it is the variety of millinery that Jones finds fantastic. It became clear throughout the talk that one of the reasons he has achieved such astonishing success is because he knows what his clients want. A milliner must not only be an exceptional hat maker, they must also be good listeners Jones explained, as there is always compromise when designing a hat for a client. Clearly Jones is an incredible listener.

Jourdan Dunn wearing Stephen Jones for British Vogue
Hearing Jones talk about what inspires him as a designer, I discovered that one of the most important factors he takes into consideration is who the client wants to be, because essentially, they don’t want to be themselves. Collections are about the wearer, and whether the commission is for a member of the Royal Family, or high-profile musician, a hat has the power to come alive on someone’s head, giving them the poise to be whoever they want to be. ‘The purpose of fashion’, he said, ‘is to make people dream.’

Exquisite millinery by Stephen Jones

Jones is constantly inspired by the different people he meets. When asked who he would like to design a hat for given the choice, Jones praised Michelle Obama’s sense of style, but commented that she doesn’t often wear a hat, therefore he’d be keen to design a hat for her. I don’t often wear a hat either, I wonder if Stephen Jones would like to make a hat for me? Oh well, I can dream...

Lavish Luxury from MARYLING

The following collection review is written by myself and was first published for fashionising.com. A link to the publication is here http://www.fashionising.com/clothing/b--lavish-luxury-maryling-28169.html

If look books could kill, MARYLINGs stunning Autumn/Winter 2012 collection is dangerously eye-catching. Not familiar with MARYLING? Perhaps the element of the unknown makes it all the more enticing. Yet if luxury retail group Flannels have anything to do with it, the brand will not remain unheard of for long.

Set to rise to prominence as a stylish new go-to for luxurious womenswear wardrobe staples at accessible price points, MARYLINGS A/W collection is now exclusively available to buy at Flannels stores around the UK. Characterised by a combination of traditional style and innovative design, MARYLING is tailored for the sophisticated, independent woman. Rarely does a collection feel so modern and yet so timeless.

With an air of opulence preceding Autumn/Winter 2012, MARYLING’s striking A/W collection exudes exotic evocation. From wool cashmere jackets and satin wrap pants, to disco filmstrip skirts and wet look trench coats, lavish fabrics of sumptuous textures create tactile intensity. Reminiscent of the sensuous splendour of a Moroccan bazaar, the rich fusion of vivid turmeric, deep plum, soft pastels and hints of gold 
create an indulgent autumnal colour palette.

The dominant mood, however, is dark. Black may represent the absence of colour, yet its obscurity is devastatingly emotive; indicative of mystery, defiance, and seduction, glossy black, shine finished pieces encapsulate the darkest of decadence. Erotic, rebellious and lusting for power, a woman in black is as menacing as she is mesmerizing. For the allure of gothic glamour, sleek hair and blood-stained lips add dramatic effect.

Every outline is effortless. For unique tailoring and statement coats, whether oversized or waist-cinching, feminine or androgynous, contrasting silhouettes explore a juxtaposition of structure and fluidity. Beautiful, powerful and mysterious, MARYLING reflects the multifaceted dimensions of contemporary femininity. Paradoxical? Women are complex creatures, after all.

All images from the MARYLING A/W 2012 look book.
The MARYLING A/W 12 collection is exclusively available in the UK from August 1st at Flannels stores in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.  


Olympic Spirit

As the 2012 Olympic Games take place in London, Olympic spirit is rousing the nation, indeed the world, and I myself am enthralled.

The Olympics is symbolic of human progress and advancement; a recognition of elitism and the ultimate test of athleticism. When one hundredth of a second or a fraction of a millimeter can mark the margin between victory and defeat, state-of-the-art technology and scientific development now play a crucial role in sport. Yet no matter how technical and meticulous Olympic sports become, the effortless beauty of the body and graceful glory of the games continue to inspire and exhilarate.

Indicative of Ancient Greek origins, this stunning Olympic-themed photo shoot by photographer Joanna Kustra embodies the timeless, mythological nostalgia of the Olympic Games. Celebrating natural human movement, and highlighting the achievement of the human body, Kustra's Olympians are empowering, statuesque and God-like. 

Photography by Joanna Kustra www.joannakustra.com
Make-up, hair & styling: Marcin Kulak
Models: Nadia K @ Orange Madels, Joanna P. @ Network Models & Radek Kruczek
Photo Assistant: Karolina Trzaska
Styling Assistants: Ludwika Arseniuk & Monika Mista

Published in Papercut Magazine and online at fashionising.com