let's play.. spot the celebrity!

It was such a fun game last time, so here goes: how many can you name in one row? Shot at the Mark Fast show: after all the hoo-hah last February about plus sized models, staff storming out, it was interesting to see this show (which I loved, btw) that he only had one 'curvy' girl, but she was gorgeous: very Mad Men with red hair in a turquoise dress.

Can you spot which yummy celebrity mum is in this shot, below? (hint: I've featured her daughter on my blog once already. Oh and she's got a really cool job).

But some, like this girl, I felt was too thin: that is not a good message to send out in terms of what is beautiful. Anyone recognise the style icon in the audience? Hint: initials KL.

There's a story behind Carine sitting on the end of this row (there's always a story!). That will be my next post.

Actually.. I'm really torn. I've got tons of model shots, catwalk shots, celebs, stylish civilians.. it's really hard to choose what to post. Some blog friends have said they're afraid to keep posting London Fashion Week shots after a few weeks - as if, like wearing white after Labour Day, it's a big fashion faux pas. But I don't want to cram a ton of posts into one day.. you tell me. What do you want? We aim to please here at Polka Dot Inc.

So.. your thoughts on Mark Fast's collection this season. Fingers on buzzers please.


another true shot

LFW: Day 5. Who is this model? It's like a give-away contest but there's no prize. Just the satisfaction of being right, and knowing that, in so many ways, you are smarter than me.

. . .

And the winner is... Anonymous! My wise old Anonymous! Apparently it's her friend Tali Lennox. Thank you Anonymous!! Once again ; )

Hang on... she's Annie Lennox's daughter!!?? Funny old world.

hey pixie!

Pixie Lott, @ Ashish. Every time I've seen this girl she's just so gosh darn happy!

one true shot

During the same time that I was making Dree Hemingway jump, at Waterloo Station after the Tophop Unique show, I also shot a lot of other people, some models, some civilians. One - this girl - was really really nice, but she was clearly so exhausted, and I was respectful of her time. I just wasn't getting the shot.

Until a little later, when I turned around, and there was something about the light. That's what I was waiting for: my one true shot.

A comment last night from Ann, of Glamourshoes, inspired this post. She said "... I actually have a copy of A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, in my purse. In it, he tells himself not to worry (about his writing), that all you have to do is "write one true sentence", and then you can go on from there..."

That's all I have to say. And no, I don't know who this model is. But if that guy from Blade Runner had a daughter.. Rutger Hauer.. actually, wasn't Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner? This girl could be their love child.


when i say jump

I guess I should explain the jumping thing: when I started this blog about 18 months ago, just doing street style was a challenge for me as an artist. My photography up til then had been quiet, 'fine art': still lives, landscapes, a kind of photo-collage using myself, shot by me with a timer... to approach strangers, explain myself and why I was doing this was a real hurdle to overcome because altho I'm rather chatty, I'm also inherently shy.

BUT.. as an artist, I need to move forward and grow. And by last week at London Fashion Week... let's just say the whole idea of shooting fashionable people standing around hoping to be made famous by bloggers was wearing a bit thin for me. And shooting models is way easier than shooting fish. Fish move around. Models, especially after doing one of these shows, are generally hanging around, moving fairly slowly.

EXCEPT when you ask them to jump.

Why do I occasionally ask people to jump for my shots? Partly to keep things interesting, partly for the challenge of catching them in motion.. partly to amuse myself, partly to break the ice.. sometimes (not in this case) I feel the person is really quite photogenic but they're putting on that bored pouty face because they think that's what people want, and I ask them to jump simply to shake things up. Literally.

In hindsight, this fabulous model from the Unique show was really quite a sport. A generous, lighthearted spirit. I mean, she had just done a really difficult catwalk show in death defying heels, on the old Waterloo station Eurostar tracks.. most of the girls were just finding it difficult to stand up, let alone jump around.

It happened quite impulsively. Shini and I were about to leave - she had just said hi to Tommy Tan - we each got a similar shot of him with the model (damn I wish I remembered her name! She told me.. plum forgot*) - you should see Shini's shot, she had TWO extraterrestrial lights in hers - and suddenly, while I was shooting her, I just asked her to jump.

*Two people so far have told me this is Dree Hemingway, great granddaughter of Ernest. That sounds about right: I think she said her name was Dree. Okay, it's worse then: I made DREE HEMINGWAY, Ernest's great granddaughter, jump up and down having just completed a catwalk show. What is my problem. Just because I was feeling a bit of creative malaise.

I mean, REALLY. What would Ernest say.

Now I'm trying to figure out which one she was on the catwalk.. this might be her. I can't tell. I've been spending hours playing some kind of matching game with my photos, and I'm going a bit cross eyed, and Mr. Dot is getting hungry, and so I am.

I mean, we're talking a SEA of models in that show. And I shot every one. When they came out for the end, it was like an army of amazons walking down along the train tracks. A beautiful army of frizzy haired amazonians on crazy tall lucite platform heels.

It was only today, looking through, that I saw the shot I caught of her minutes after she did her jumping shots. The face she was making at a friend. This is someone with a real zest for life, someone who doesn't take herself, or the madness that is the fashion world, all that seriously.

I just can't believe that a) she told me her name was Dree - several times - and I didn't put two and two together b) I bossed her around like that. But she was a good sport about it.

ingrid, flying

LFW Day Two: the delightfully effervescent Ingrid, of Anywho, defying gravity.


after unique

Day Two, Waterloo Station: after the Unique Topshop show.

we had faces then

Oh is it nice to potato out on the couch with a cup of tea, the cat, chocolate covered cookies, and High Society on TV. I've already lost the race to get my LFW shots up first, so I can now take my time and send them out into the world, along with whatever I shoot next, in whatever random order hits me.

I took these four shots - cropped exactly as you see here - on Day One:
Clockwise from top left: a girl whose name I forget, Rihanna, Henry Holland, and Natayla. You may say this post has nothing to do with 'style' and you're probably right. Except I happen to feel that our personal style comes from something close to our soul. And with that regard, our eyes are the window to that above mentioned, elusive soul.

This weekend we saw a great show, still on, at the Tate Modern called Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera. It's a subject I'm fascinated with, because - as more and more bloggers are shooting 'street style' especially at fashion weeks, and as I push my creative envelope in other directions (hence the alternate blog name - I'm no longer just street style) and as I shoot the occasional celebrity, I'm aware of trying to find a balance between portraiture, privacy, exploitation, and simply the concept of fame.

I wanted to call this title 'don't you know who i am?' but then I spent ages trying to find this quote.. something about 'we had faces'.. couldn't recall which film is was from but it's probably Sunset Boulevard, which led me to this hilarious little sketch, below. No offence, Hillary: we're not laughing at you, we're laughing with you.


olivia olivia

Okay, it's time for the Olivia story. I know it's going to be so stupid and anti-climatic: it was just at the time I did the Julia post ('being Julia'). It was all at the same event, Day Two (Saturday), at the Topshop Unique show at Waterloo Station, and there were just so many photos and stories from that day I said I'd tell you the Olivia story another time and then I just got so busy... and I just can't tell anything simply, but I'll try.

Last February, I met and photographed Olivia Palermo ('deer in the headlights') but I didn't know who she was. (I'm always meeting famous people that I often don't know are famous: one of these days remind me to tell you the Hugh Grant story). The City was already on one of the channels here but it wasn't in our listings.. I eventually started watching the show and I saw what people meant about her character but frankly, I didn't think she was bitchy. Maybe it's because I met her and liked her so I"m biased, or maybe it's because that other one - the big blonde - the one who's actually supposed to be nice.. but I don't think she is. I think she's kind of manipulative by playing the victim. But that's just me. I haven't watched the show much, frankly.

Anyway, because of the strange situation I found myself in (as explained in the Julia story) I found myself just kind of hanging around because I hadn't gone to the little party that Shini had gone to (I had a ticket, I just had gone straight to the photo pit) so I'm just standing around, waiting for it to start, taking photos of people, shoes...

... watching Olivia talk to the famous Telegraph fashion journalist, Hillary Alexander (that's another story)..

and finally I introduced myself again, said we met last February.

She seemed really pleased to see me, seemed convincingly to have remembered me (or it could be good acting), and yet, like in February, it felt like this kind of friendly moment passed between us: like she was relieved that I wasn't treating her like a strange creature, an object to be Papp'd, and just that quick nanosecond moment of 'we're all just normal people' before she got swept into more photos, more taped interviews..

..then the show began, and I'm sitting there next to her (separated by one person)..

.. with a view of her hands on my right, like Julia's was on my left..

..more shots of the show, and then after, I was talking with Julia and left Olivia to the hoards and masses, and that was it, really. Then back outside to the craziness of shooting civilians and models with Shini and the other photographers (and yes, that's another post, or two, or seven).

Not really much of a story, is it? I mean, hardly worth spinning you along this long, and I apologise.

Okay, so this is where the story starts veering into Implausibility Land: my lovely friend Natayla (editor of the online fashion magazine Its Fashion Week) asked me what the 'Olivia' story was. I said I'd tell her when I saw her, it was no big deal. Meanwhile we're both running round to different shows, trying to find each other.. at one point (and this is all within like 48 hours) she ends up in Kurt Geiger, and who should she see alone in the shop with no one around apart from what seemed to be a 'minder', but.. Olivia herself. So she introduced herself and took this shot:

Now Nat also felt that Olivia Palermo, the person, is really nice, sweet, warm. So which is it? Is she a really good actress who can play a bitch well, but in real life acts nice? Or is she THAT good an actress that she's really a bitch and just acts nice in public? Frankly, I don't think anyone's that good an actress.

Anyway, enough on the Olivia stuff. Fame is such a weird thing: there are so many lovely people I meet and shoot all the time, and they could just as easily be famous, they're just not. Yet.

I think I like this shot most of all, when Olivia Palermo, the actress, the celebrity, is simply being a human being. All these shots are unretouched and if you look closely you will see it: a spot. A teeny, tiny spot, granted, but it's there. Proof that she's just as human as you or me, after all.


unique position

Editing a sea of shots I took at the Topshop Unique show: I had an amazing spot, on the step of the aisle, by myself, between the front row that consisted of Julia and Nicola Roberts on my left, and Olivia Palermo and who knows who else on my right. And all these amazing images going by.

One down, hundreds to go. I'm not complaining mind you: it was a real privilege that they let me sit there (an exclusive!) and probably because I was being discreet and polite. And now, after the fact, it's fun to properly see all the clothes and shoes and hair. At the time it was just a blur. This is uncropped which gives you an idea how close I was. I've made a deal with myself: no more posts til I finally tell you the Olivia story. Next up.


mystery blonde

Anyone know who this girl is? Craig said she's an ex model turned blogger. She told me her name but I shot so many people.. help! All I know is her dress and trench look like the real deal: Burberry. And she's really sweet. I love these shades with fair skin and hair and pale blue eyes. And she's wearing simple brown leather loafers: a breath of fresh air among all those heels.

. . . .

Big thank you to Craig who took the time in between shooting Natalia Vodianova, Karolina Kurkova, Roberto Cavalli and Agyness Deyn (and that's just the top two posts) to solve the mystery: she is Candice Lake, and her work looks absolutely gorgeous. Beyond what I'd have expected. A beautiful talent. Or is it talented beauty.

confusion vs. indecision (holly says relax)

One of the strange and yet flatteringly lovely aspects of blogging is that, if you stay with it and your blog takes roots and grows, people start getting in touch asking to swap links, promote their clients, etc. So the other day when I got an email from someone who started off by saying 'I'm Nina from confused.com's press office' I was like uh-huh.. she was writing to say:

"Given that LFW is on I thought you might be interested in a statistic that has come from a national survey, that we have just conducted, of 5,000 people. We wanted to find out just how confusing the UK finds fashion. Interestingly one of the stats that came from the results showed us that over half of us (53%) are worried about being inappropriately dressed at big events and as much as 67% of us are confused about the term “smart/casual”."

She went on to say if I wanted to know more about the results to drop her a line. Which I did. I was laughing my head off because it's so true! What the HELL does smart casual mean anyway? Would this dress fall in that category? It's definitely smart, and it's not black tie red carpet... yeah I'd call this frock smart casual.

Apart from that what, you may ask, does it have to do with this post? Well I was sitting there with Mr. Dot, not watching Mastermind while he was shouting out the right answers and the contestants getting them wrong, and I start looking at the shots I took at Holly Fulton's show and just thought, this is insane. I can't post every single shot but I can't decide: I love them all.

Holly's catwalk paper on the seat thingy (is it a press release? is there a term for it?) says 'the look is rooted in 1960s cruise wear reworked for the modern woman..' but I didn't expect it to blow me away like it did. I feel disloyal to my other favourite designers like Ashish and Kinder Aggugini but following swiftly in the heels of David Koma, which was amazing, this show just knocked my socks off.

Still, this post is made up of six shots I took within seconds, of the same dress. At this rate, I'm going to have to start a blog and call it The Holly Fulton Catwalk S/S 2011 Blog. I mean, I am THAT wishy washy right now. Does that make me confused?

As I asked Nina, what is the difference between confusion and indecision? Because it seems to me confused means you need more information from someone else where as indecision is.. well, indecision. In any case - how cool is this - she's not asking me to promote anything, but she did tell me about a website they've built called 'confused nation' - a 'a one stop shop where people get support in dealing with confusion around a number of different topics' which will even have a 'leading psychologist' with a Dr. before his name, which will be an on-going site to help people deal with 'decision crises'.

I wonder if that applies to editing photographs.

Oh! I love this one:

"The most confused person in Britain is likely to be a 17 year old girl living in Cardiff, whereas the least confused person is likely to be a 60 year old man living in Edinburgh." You may think I'm sad to find this fascinating on a Friday night but hey- I've just come off fashion week and this is my way of relaxing.

And as Holly's handbags said on the catwalk: HOLLY SAYS RELAX. I've got some great shots of a model wearing a bag spelling it out in sequins but I don't dare go there. Tomorrow, maybe. But we've still got the Olivia post to contend with.

kit kat @ kinder

Before the wondrous Kinder Aggugini show, I got my friend Kit Lee aka the Style Slicker, stylist, blogger extraordinaire, and 'companion' to Matthew Zorpas'*, to pose for me. (*Note to self: I really must ask her what that even means). I got some amazing photos of the show (Did anyone reading this, see it? What did you think?) - I'm not just saying that to spin you along - but I just popped in and must run out again and it takes time to go thru all the shots. I choose not to stay in the 'pit' and get the boring end-of-runway shots, so mine are shot from the middle aisle or if I'm lucky, front row, and it's very hit or miss: it's like big game hunting, those models do move like gazelles on the Serengeti Plain. Which is fitting, given his African theme this season.

Oh btw I just was with my friend Natayla who is now part of the Olivia Palermo story and we agreed, I really must tell you the story because it's like when someone says 'oh you must see this film' (because they weren't expecting anything and they were pleasantly surprised) and then, by the time you eventually see it, you go to your friend 'I didn't think it was all that great'.

It's the law of inverse proportions: the longer I drag this out, the more banal the story will seem. I know!! I can make shit up! You'll never know the difference.


the girl in the paper trousers

Ah! Thank you Kit, for reminding me of who wore the paper boots in the previous post: it's Sandra of a really lovely blog called 5 inch and up. (Trousers are paper, too). I met her quickly with Shini on Day 5 I think? And she told me her name and blog name and Shini looked at me like 'what planet are you from that you don't know Sandra?' (but in a nice way: Shini is very very nice, even at her meanest she can't really do bitchy) and then I didn't write it down and whoosh.. gone.

Sandra said the designer is Martin Margiela, and it's meant to decay, which is an idea I adore, and the ring is Finnish, by Lapponia.

I'm just kicking myself (not literally - that would make typing awkward) for not just stepping a few feet back and getting one shot, or two, of her from top to bottom. You'll just have to piece the concept together in your head.

This post is dedicated to Kit, recent companion of Matthew Zorpas, he of the hay straw jacket.

where do i begin?

Where do I begin? This fashion week, which I wasn't so sure of in the first day or so, just got better and better and better, and weather more glorious, and then, as if the Gods had done their thing, today, the sky weeps with rain, as the fashion world moves on to Milan, and then, Paris.

I'm finding it hard to type even simple words. Just. So. Wiped.

Black and white theme today: top shot is a beautiful boy I met yesterday at Boy's Day @ LFW. I asked who he was with but he's not a model: he's a fashion design student named Ponti. I told him if all fails as a designer he could definitely fall back on modelling: he's so photogenic. Next Helen, from Holland, who really is a model - before the Issa show. Then a sweet girl who Shini's friends with (forgot her name - I got shots of her face, too, she's lovely) - wearing trousers and shoes by a designer (forgot who! See what I mean?) made of paper. It's meant to age - I love that.

And last but not least, a sweet woman from Ireland who was one of my first friends at my first fashion week - if you look around my September 2009 post you'll find her there - talking to two girls whose names I didn't catch, either. Sorry this is the lamest post, word wise, but I'm going to take the cat - who is chocolate brown but looks almost black - and put on white pj's and lounge on the buttery yellow camel faux suede coloured couch with a cup of PG Tips and catch the last few minutes of Butch Cassidy on the TV.

I think I'll start at the end, actually, and work backwards. When next we speak.

It was my lovely friend Natalie, of Canned Fashion, who mentioned in a post not that long ago, that the style she was going for this fall was Ali McGraw in Love Story. I just found this Japanese version on YouTube: it holds up quite well, stylistically. I mean, check out Ryan MacNeil's coat: is that not the definitive Shearling? I wonder if that's where the Honourable Mr. Bailey got the idea.


jaeger sings the blues

Deep greens and blues are the colours I choose at the moment. And so, apparently, does Jaeger. (And rose. And black and white, but I'll save those for a future post). It was thrilling actually to be at the show and see the exact colours I've had in my head since a magic day on holiday in the Dominican Republic when it rained during lunch at the beach and I thought: this is the palette I want to wear right now. Jewel like blues and greens and indigos and some ochre and forest green. And they've channeled that exactly!

And I"m so wanting this rain hood: it's like the old classic yellow 'slickers' - I mean, how lovely would it be to go out on a rainy day with a lovely trench and instead of an umbrella, just bung this thing like a waterproof snood on your head and when it's sunny, just carry it around, rolled up in your bag. Just in case.

It's just so gosh darn practical.

I just simply don't know where to begin with posting: I am flooded with a sea of images - memories - that I want to share with you. But the sun is out and as Mr. Dot pointed out, I'd absolutely kick myself if I didn't scoot over to Somerset House HQ one last time.

Btw: anyone have a clue who this girl is? Must run, but after today we've got all the time in the world, you and I, to catch up. How are you all doing today? Hope you're all well & rested & feeling good, wherever in the world you are.


before the show: fish feeding frenzy

At this rate, I shall be posting S/S 2010 LFW shots til.. let's see.. 2047.

Backstage before Kinder Aggugini's show. It's hard to describe the violence and chaos that goes on there, and yet it's all kind of calm and serene. You'll see these clusters of people that seem to be attacking someone but you can't see what's going on. They're all kind of violently stabbing at someone and then inside is a model. It's like when we were sailing in the Virgin Islands and we were throwing bits of bread off the catamaran: a fish feeding frenzy.

I'm sorry to spin you along about the Olivia story, it will be so anti-climatic when I finally tell you. I've just been posting for Next (red and camel were today's Day 4 trend) and I'm in that jet lag state: the honour of seeing these amazing shows is balanced by the stressful state of running for a plane. And another plane. And another. And I've got a 9:00 a.m. metaphorical Jaeger plane to catch tomorrow, so this is Dot, signing off.