2013 November

Q&A WITH M-UP ARTIST AYAMI NISHIMURA.

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Not that many make-up artists can say they’ve had a succesful book published of their work. Japanese make-up artist Ayami Nishimura can!

I first met Ayami in London about 10 years ago on a shoot. She’s little and cute and very charismatic! She has an amazing energy for life and her work, so much so that in 2009 British photographer Rankin approached Ayami with the opportunity to work on his next book after publishing a book with make-up artist Alex Box.  He wanted to continue the make-up series/theme.  Ayami jumped at the chance. She spent the next 2 and a half years with Rankin ( in between working on regular fashion shoots) creating a book about her make-up, inspired by her Japanese roots and her fascination with all things cyber.  This amazing book was published in 2012  

Ayami has worked for Vogue, W, and Harpers Bazaar amongst others and regularly works with one of my favourite musicians- M.I.A. Recently she re-located to New York after spending 20 years in London. I just worked with her in New York and managed to get her to do a Q&A for me, to tell us about the book, her work and a little about herself.

Interspersed between her answers is some of Ayami’s beautiful work including one of her most recent beauty shoots for Italian Vogue and at the end there’s a link to click on where you can buy her book.

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WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

When I was little I always liked animals so I wanted to work in a zoo or be a a vet.

HOW DID YOU END UP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?

After graduation from high school in Japan, I was interested in beauty and also city life so I moved to Tokyo and started to work in hair salon.

London was always my dream city to live since an early age and I moved there in 93’. I studied at Vidal Sassoon Academy then started to work in a salon in Islington.

That time I was hanging around with new / student photographers and they all wanted me to do hair for their test shoot and I just started to do both hair & makeup for them. I got so excited to be on the shoot and I really thought I’d discovered what I really wanted to do – soon after, I decided not to do hair anymore to concentrate on makeup .

WHEN DID YOU MOVE FROM JAPAN TO LONDON?

It was in May 93’ and just before my 20 years anniversary of being in London I moved to NY in April.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IF YOU WEREN’T YOU?

Madonna!!

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I was in East London Hackney Downs where I love and now I am in the East Village in NYC.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR CITY WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Make rent cheaper.

WHAT ARE YOU INTO RIGHT NOW ( MUSIC, FASHION, ART, FOOD)?

I am always into all of the above.  

Music: I like indie rock, Britpop, 80’s, dance, Hip Hop, electro.. I am listening to Manic Street Preachers, Mary J. Blige, Prince, David Bowie, The Knife, Kate Bush, New Order, Joy Division, Jonny Cash, Jay Z, 80’s Madonna, M.I.A, Editors.

Fashion: We just started to shoot all new SS 14’ collections and I am so excited!!

Art: Recently I went to an 80’s Madonna exhibition in NY and it was fun, also I really thought Rene Magrid @ MOMA was a great exhibition. I am going to the Jean Paul Gautier exhibition in Brooklyn next week. I recommend ‘club to catwalk’ at V&A in London, they are absolutely fantastic shows at the moment.

Food: it is so important for me. I have been trying new places in the East Village, there are so many fun restaurants! Japanese food is so good here in NY and also great Mexican & cocktails. I also cook pretty good Japanese foods myself, I am into healthy clean foods, I use lots seaweeds and fishes and love miso soup. 

Films: I like lots of different things. My most recent film I saw at the cinema is Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ and I thought it was brilliant. I like Kubrick, David Lynch, Coppola, Cohn Brothers, Polanski, Fellini. I recently watched ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Magnolia’, ‘The Truth or Dare’ on DVD again and really enjoyed them. I think the original version of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ are great series. I am into gangs like Scorsese too, I saw ‘God Father’ so many times and still enjoy it every time.

(above, some of Ayami’s amazing from work from her book with photographer Rankin.)

SO YOU JUST DID A BOOK WITH RANKIN! TELL US ABOUT IT!

We launched in London in July 12’, everyone came to celebrate our launch party, it was great fun. Then we went to Tokyo to launch it in August at Diesel Art Gallery, we had great success and 6,000 people visited the exhibition in 3 months!! 

My theme of the book is ‘Cyber’. I like Cyber fashion and also our life style has been changed so much since we all started to be into the i-phone, i-pad, i-pod, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. I thought the word ‘Cyber’ is a symbol of our life.

The book is very colourful and inspired by lots of different things like Animals, flowers, Japanese Street fashion, Avedon, Tattoos,  Serge Luten, and anything I like.  Each picture is telling you a different story of ‘Cyber’.

It took me 2.5 years to finish this project and I am 200% happy – I can’t do any better than this.

LIST YOUR TOP 5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.

Chanel No 5,

Crème De La Mar,

Estee Lauder ‘Advanced Night Repair’, 

SK-II Facial Mask,

CHANEL Cils Volume mascara

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(AYAMI’S BEAUTY STORY- NOV 13 ITALIAN VOGUE BY DAVID DUNAN) 

YOU ARE ON A DESERT ISLAND AND ARE ONLY ALLOWED 10 SONGS ON YOUR IPOD. WHAT WOULD THEY BE? (AND EXPLAIN – IF YOU WANT TO- WHY YOU CHOSE THEM.)

There By The Grace Of God by Manic Street Preachers / I think this is just a beautiful song.

– Jet stream by New Order / I love New Order and this song is like singing about me.

– Pictures of you by The Cure / It is beautiful and I never get bored of The Cure.

– Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode / It’s just great, what else can I say?

– Head Over heals by Tears For Fears / I love this, so 80’s amazing!!

– Spellbound by Siouxsie & The Banshees / I think Siouxsie is just fab and this is one of my favourites.

– Make It Wit Chu by Queens Of the Stone Age / This is a very sexy song.

– Losing My Religion by R.E.M / Have you ever felt like that.. I have.

– Bone Machine by Pixies / This always excites me when I listen.

– Keep it together by Madonna / So much memories in Madonna’s early songs.

IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE BESIDES WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?

I would like to stay in one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand or Malaysia and do scuba diving and learn surfing.

WHAT MUSIC WERE YOU INTO GROWING UP- ARE YOU STILL INTO IT NOW?

Yes, often I listen to the same music. I was so into Beatles when I was little because my older brother was always listening to them. It was ‘The Beatles 1962 – 1966’ and I always make sure I have this album with me everywhere I live.

After I was listening to Sex Pistols, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Culture Club, The Cure, Madonna, Prince and I do still listen to them as well as I listen new music –  I just think they were amazing, just amazing, I definitely think there was more soul into their songs and lyrics than music now.

WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER THAT YOU WOULD WEAR?

I wear quite lots Givenchy and I absolutely love. I also love mixing young designer like Nasir Mazhar, Swash and vintage cloths with Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu.

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(above, some more of Ayami’s work.)

LIST YOUR TOP 5 FILMS AND WHY YOU LOVE THEM.

– Blade Runner / I love everything about this great film, so inspiring. It is still future to me.

– Clockwork Orange / It is absolutely crazy and aggressive yet very funny and great images. The book is brilliant too.

– Barry Lyndon / Great story, great images and beautiful makeup and costume!!

– Magnolia / It is wicked, everyone in this film acts amazingly and it is just beautiful when they are all singing at the same time.

-Chinatown / Faye Dunaway is just beautiful, mysterious.. It is very 70’s and great to look at.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESSERT?

I love Éclair.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD.

Someone who is fully.

WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?

Leopard

MASTERMIND IS AN ICONIC TV SHOW IN THE UK WHERE YOU CHOOSE A SPECIALISED SUBJECT TO BE QUESTIONED ON. IF YOU WERE ON THE TV SHOW, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SPECIALISED SUBJECT?

Madonna between 82’ ~ 85’

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO NEXT?

I think I’m going to London!

Thank you Ayami for taking the time to answer my questions. To purchase her beautiful book click HERE

T’Hair Story – Kelly Osbourne

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Back in 2002,  a certain family were literally nose bombed onto our TV sets and into our homes. That family are the Osbournes.

The televised lives of father Ozzy, mother Sharon,  daughter Kelly and son Jack, became an instant hit worldwide. Ozzy ( hailing from my home city of Birmingham)  was already famous as the lead singer of heavy metal band Black Sabbath whose dark and heavy sound has often been cited as key to the development of the heavy metal genre. Sharon was Ozzy’s manager.

With Ozzy as Kelly’s father, life was never going to be boring. Born in Westminster, London, she travelled most of her young life with homes in the UK and US. After her appearance on the reality show, Osbourne quickly began to be noted for her varied style among fashion commentators. Her hair has pretty much been every colour in the colour chart, and like her or loathe her, this singer, presenter, designer and actress has had some hairstyles that just cannot go un-noticed!

So, now she’s reached  the tender age of just 29, I present to you Miss Kelly Osbourne, and her array of hair-do’s ( some of them hair dont’s -sorry Kels )

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Britain and some of its subcultures

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Britain, and some of its Subcultures… according to Silvs.

Before writing this, my good friend Tom K and I visited the ICA’s exhibition “London, and it’s Subcultures, 1980 to present day”, at the Old Selfridges Hotel, for some inspiration. The title suggested an interesting and literal account of the last 30 odd years of music, fashion and sociological history of London’s youth.

We entered the dusty, disused hotel and thought this was an apt setting for an exhibition which uses the term ‘Post-Punk’ on it’s website, pamphlet, and is also printed on the wall as soon as you enter, within the explanation of what you are about to see. I’m an avid fan of this loose term of musical genre, which was more defined by a period of time rather than solely a specific sound. An interesting time in the Thatcher years of Britain, you only have to watch an episode of Widows to realise that London wasn’t in full tecnicolour yet, everything was still grey & brown, and every building smelt of stale cigarette smoke. I’d been collecting records from this era since I was mid-teens, to sum it all up… I was looking forward to it.

So, we entered the dusty, disused hotel to find row upon row of chipboard structures, resembling babies incubators from a 1920’s movie. I walked around peering in each, confronted with Blue Peter type displays of peoples creations. Fluffy things here and there, interactive this and that, a section of a room recreated in the corner resembling the height of Swedish design that can be found in the West Croydon and Wembley based mega-store of Swedish origin. Only occasionally peppered with a photo of some mid 80’s squat-type punks foraging around the banks of the Thames.

Confused and bewildered, Tom K and I decided to have a seat and watch the large projected video. Princess Julia was talking, of how exciting she finds London, this was interesting to hear from someone who has been in and around London’s underbelly since the days of the Blitz club. “St Johns restaurant? What’s this doing in the pamphlet?” Tom K is looking at me more confused than before, I look up to the video screen as Jonny Woo says something about a glittery butt-plug with a ‘did I shock you? huh?’ look on his face, to the camera. At this point, a loud obscenity escaped my mouth and we departed for the nearest pub.

Now it’s not as though I need to be spoon fed literal exhibitions, or that the fact that this was a product of the ICA meant that I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I felt that maybe they could have re-named the whole affair slightly different, maybe “We’re from the 80’s & 90’s London, and look how brilliant we still are.”

When Tom K and I were 18 or 19 years old we heard about a club that had started up in our home town of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. ‘Junk Club’ was the name, and it fast became the talk of the town amongst the freaks and weirdos, so we were there before you could say “eye liner and ridiculous hair size/do”.  I couldn’t believe i’d found this place playing all the music from the past that I loved, plus plenty more that I had never heard. What made this interesting was the mixture going on here, 60’s ruffled shirts on the boys and 60’s micro dresses on the girls, teamed with enormous hair do’s on both sexes straight from the new romantic era itself, and not an un-eyelinered eye in the house. White faces with the Club’s signature lightening bolt drawn on a cheek in fluro-red paint. Arm bands, hand made by a drummer in a band, sporting the same logo, everyone wearing them like a member of a strange political faction. Jeans tighter than humanly possible, winkle pickers as sharp as the 80’s German electroklash being blasted from the awful sound system in this dank, rotten, basement, in the only club venue in Southend, that no-one else ever really went to.

Did I join in? You bet I did, “Get me some eyeliner and the tightest black jeans available!” I would shout, “In-fact, just colour my legs in with the eyeliner.”

So, this was our towns’ subculture for about 6 years, it didn’t have a name, although it did have a slogan “Ich Bin Eine Junky” to be painted on the back of your grandads M&S shirt that you wore under your slightly pervy looking trench coat (4 sizes too small.) Now I know this wasn’t unique to our town only, but one thing I am more aware of is that this was most definitely a completely unoriginal happening all together. The evening’s pre-recorded music was created from the past, but most importantly, from a past of subcultures, taking other bored suburban kids fashion and music and pushing it all together to create a breed of fashion-and-music-nerd-mutants.

So what is today’s subculture in Britain? Well, that’s just it, there isn’t just one, todays kids are a subculture of subcultures.

So here’s my literal breakdown,  of what in my opinion is the most interesting and important “Subcultures in Britain, 1980 – whenever it was we realised we had done everything good and started repeating it”.

Post-Punk Era – Punk’s nerdy younger brother as it was cited. Button up long sleeved shirts, high waisted trousers, trench coats, military style haircuts. Often short and neat haircuts on the boys. The girls seemed to be more of the time with their hair, often wearing it permed and quite big! But still quite military and minimal with their dress.

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(Above) A Certain Ratio. (Click here.)

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(Above) Lesley Woods from Au Pairs. (Click here.)

New Romantics/Blitz Kids– Called New Romantics from the idea of using the frilly top shirts and jodhpur trousers worn in the English Romantic period of the 19th century. Frills, an abundance of make up and lace for both sexes. An androgynous scene in it’s fashion and thinking, it was considered an anti to the fashions and ideologies of punk. Quiffs, mullets and wedge haircuts were worn by the boys and girls. One of the key fashion moments in the New Romantic scene moving into the mainstream was when Vivienne Westwood unveiled her Pirate collection, which was sported by the likes of Malcom Maclaren’s creation of the bands ‘Bow Wow Wow’ and ‘Adam and the Ants’.

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 (Above left to right) Steve Strange from Visage. Adam Ant and Boy George.) (Click here.)

Goth – Everybody knows the general look of a goth. Black leather trench coats, black nail varnish, dyed black hair, eye liner and whited out face. Styles borrowed from Elizabethan, Medieval and and Victorian eras. Starting in the late 1970’s in England, it’s one of the longest standing subcultures due to the many factions that have spawned from the original idea and it’s ability to evolve. Often accompanying a musical scene there are goths within post punk, EBM, industrial, cyber punk, steam punk, death metal, black metal and more.

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(Above) The Cure’s Robert Smith. Starting off as a sharply dressed post punk band, The Cure helped launch the start of the Goth look in the UK in the 70’s and 80’s. (Click here.)

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(Above) A group of traditional Goth girls from the 80’s (trad Goth.) (Click here.)

Acid House/Rave – Although Acid House started off in Chicago in the late 80’s, it was soon adopted and widely embraced in the UK. Baggy sweatshirts, overalls, bright and patterned trousers, striped shirts, whistles, horns, white gloves, dust masks and the infamous glow sticks were the order of the day. Hours and hours of dancing, in front of the now even more infamous backdrop of the yellow faced acid smile.

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(Above) The London House scene, early 90’s. (Click here.)

Industrial – ”Industrial music for Industrial people” was the strap line Hackney based band Throbbing Gristle used to define their record label Industrial Records in 1976. Founder Genesis P-Orridge coined the term by trying to create a sound to reflect the scenery around him, Hackney in the mid 70’s was surely a grim place to be. Their attire in the early days reflected this militant style of music by dressing in an infantry fashion. Similar to post punk’s flirtations with the military, but taken to a more combat styled level.

Industrial music evolved into a more rock style of music and was popularised in the 1990’s with such bands such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. The fashion surrounding these bands and their followers was a mixture of lots of black, sleeveless t shirts, hair cuts buzzed off at the sides, like an American military hightop or sometimes a mullet combined with dreadlocks in an almost new-age-crusty-traveller-style.

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(Above) Throbbing Gristle in 1976. Notice the high shine leather trench and the German Shepherd dog, there were often references to the Hugo Boss wearing German SS in industrial music. (Click here.)
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(Above) Nine Inch Nails in 1988. (Click here.)

…….and there you have it.

Moods comedy Monday

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MOODS COMEDY MONDAY 

Thomas Frederick “Tommy” Cooper (19 March 1921 – 15 April 1984) was a British Prop Comedian and magician who was a member of The Magic Circle.

Famous for wearing his red fez hat,  he was large and lumbering at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and more than 15 stone (210 lb) in weight.

His whole act was based on slapstick comedy, around failed magic tricks. He got his first break originally starring in a TV talent show called New to You in March 1948, then he was given his own TV show. He was on Independent Television in the UK for the next 4 decades.

On 15 April 1984, Cooper collapsed and soon after died from a heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act on the LWT variety show, Live from Her Majestys which transmitted live from Her Majesty’s Theatre. As his stage persona required that his act intentionally go wrong for comic purposes, leading to some initial uncertainty about whether this collapse was real.

An assistant had helped him put on a cloak for his sketch, while comedian Jimmy Tarbuck,  the host, was hiding behind the curtain waiting to pass him different props which he would then appear to pull from inside his gown. The assistant smiled at him as he collapsed, believing that it was a joke. Likewise, the audience laughed as he fell, until it became apparent he was seriously ill. At this point the show’s director, Alasdair MacMillan, cued the orchestra to play music for an unscripted commercial break (noticeable by several seconds of blank screen whilst LWT contacted regional stations to start transmitting advertisements Jimmy Tarbuck’s manager tried to pull Tommy back through the curtains. It was decided to continue with the show and other stars proceeded to present their acts in the limited space in front of the stage. For a long time, a rumour circulated that the size 13 feet from his 6’ 4” frame protruded underneath the curtains. While the show continued, efforts were being made backstage to revive Cooper, not made easier by the darkness. It was not until a second commercial break that ambulance men were able to move his body to Westminster Hospital , where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His death wasn’t officially reported until the next morning, although the incident was the lead item on the news programme that followed the show.

The video of Tommy Cooper suffering a heart attack on stage has been uploaded to numerous video websites. Youtube was heavily criticised by the press when footage of the incident was posted on their website in May 2009. On 28 December 2011, segments of the Live From Her Majesty’s clip, including Cooper collapsing on stage, were screened on Channel 4 in the UK, on a programme titled “The Untold Tommy Cooper”.

Anyway, Tommy left a legacy of comedy behind and one of his little gems was this, his Spoon Jar, Jar Spoon sketch.

This sketch makes me belly laugh every time I see it.  and lets not forget his catch phrase, ” not like that,….like that!”

ENJOY

My story so far and the haircuts

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MY STORY SO FAR (AND THE HAIRCUTS)

Well, this was the start of my new (90’s short hair period)

I’d shaved all my hair off and it wasn’t about the haircut anymore it was all about the baseball cap, worn in reverse. I wore them, morning, noon and night, to the point where I almost slept in them.

And as you can see, I thought I was the bees knees. Clothes wise, it had also become all about casual wear, so I was sporting Duffer St George, Michiko Koshino, white 501 Levis and the Rayban Aviator sunglasses.

The picture of me with the Raybans on was taken whilst on a visit to some friends who were living in Milan in 199…..

Things we like, Cristiano Ronaldo underwear

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THINGS WE LIKE- CRISTIANO RONALDO UNDERWEAR. 

It looks like Mr Ronaldo is going to give Mr Beckham a run for his money in the underwear stakes, when he launched his rather sexy looking CR7 range at Palacio De Cibeles in Madrid, a couple of weeks ago.

Don’t know what to buy your man for Christmas, and you’ve already, or he’s already bought the David Beckham H&M range? Well here’s your answer.

There’s also a kids range – well,  for boys not for the girls,  so if you know any young Ronaldo fans, then they can have them too!!

Available to buy now from- Click HERE

OR CLICK HERE TO SEE HIS VIMEO BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Of course there’s still the H&M line from Mr Beckham if you’ve finished taking your eyes off Ronaldo- CLick HERE for H&M