Set Design Workshop with Lord Whitney

For the past two days I have been fortune enough to take part in a set design workshop with Lord Whitney. A collaboration between Amy Lord and Rebekah Whitney, the duo work on everything from costume design to interiors to music videos. Specialising in art direction and set design, they make the most out of every piece of material they can find by turning it into something wonderful. My group were given a brief of making a stop-motion or series of photographs portraying the personality of an alarm clock. We decided to create a stop motion, showing the journey of our dreams throughout the night. The link can be seen below.

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Great Gatsby-esque bar opens in London

Last night saw the likes of Amber le Bon, Millie Mackintosh, Myleen Klass and Leigh Francis attend the opening of Kelly Brook’s new 1940s American style bar Steam and Rye. Teaming up with nightclub mogul Nick House, who owns Mahiki and Whiskey Mist, the new business-partners are hoping to make the new hotspot a London favourite.

With cocktails named Hoochy Mama, Dead Man’s Boot and Mississippi Lullaby, and an interior inspired by Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, the bar seems to be off to a magical start.

The new venue at 147 Leadenhall Street once housed the Bank of New York; and so the high ceilings and spacious rooms are perfect for production designer, Jonathan Lee’s creation of the bar, stage, living clock and an intriguing Steam Train Dining Carriage.

How much? Despite the glitz and glamour of the place, the food and drinks are reasonably priced – Starters are around £5.00 and cocktails start from £8.50.

So if you fancy time jumping back a few years into the Golden Age, be sure to stop by Steam and Rye – you never know who you might meet!

Opening Times: Monday-Saturday 4pm-3am
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POPCORN COCKTAIL

http://www.steamandrye.com

A Fantastical Chocolate Treat: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The Musical Review

Being the musical theatre fanatic that I am, it certainly felt like I had a Golden Ticket when I went to see the West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical last week! Despite mixed reviews, Sam Mendes’ latest production based on Roald Dahl’s children’s classic gave me a sugar rush of excitement from start to end. 

Following the huge success of Matilda the Musical, inevitably Mendes faced a high expectation to make his musical-extravaganza the best production yet.  And whilst I agree that the show’s pacing is slightly unbalanced, for someone simply wanting to have an enjoyable evening at the theatre, the show very much delivers. 

Mark Thompson’s jaw-dropping set design is a creative extravaganza in itself; each room of the infamous Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is sure to capture the hearts of every child in the audience.  The extremely talented cast, including Wicked’s Nigel Planer as Grandpa Joe and La Cage Aux Folles’ Douglas Hodge  as Willy Wonka, were on-point throughout.  Unbeknown to myself at the time, 3 or 4 of the main child cast hadn’t performed on the stage before; but at no point did nerves get the better of them!

So, if you’re in London anytime soon and fancy a fantasical treat of choc-full goodness, be sure to book a ticket to see the show!

Photo: charlieandthechocolatefactory.com

 

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A piece of Italy in the middle of Soho: Princi London Review

Having grown up learning the language and culture of Italy, I can say from personal experience that it is rare for an Italian to feel content with a meal at an Italian eatery anywhere other than in their home country.  Therefore, when recently told by a Sicilian friend that the only restaurant they felt did pizza and pasta justice was Princi, I knew I had to take a visit.

Walking around Soho, there appears to be a piece of Italy on every corner.  There are so many restaurants to choose from, many Italian and many with good reviews.  Based on London-famous Wardour Street, Princi‘s large glass-front exterior allows possible visitors to openly take a look inside before actually entering the building.  Peering through, I instantly notice a vibrant and energetic atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of a local town cafe in Italy itself!

I decided to take three of my friends for an early evening catch-up.  Having never been before and not knowing how the restaurant worked, we were initially sat in the on-the-go section.  Although this would be perfect for a quick bite or take away (Yes, they offer a take away service!) to eat during your lunch hour, we asked to be moved to the seating area with an a la carte menu.  The staff were extremely friendly and happy to move us right away, giving me a positive opinion before even seeing the menu!

Whether you fancy the foccaccio faccio, veal cannelloni or simply a margarita pizza, the chefs sure know how to deliver.  Slightly guilty of often choosing the dishes I know I will always love, I went for the good old Carbonara.  But, I must say, this Carbonara was AMAZING.  My friends went for a range of different pizzas, freshly cooked in the wood burning oven in the centre of the restaurant – there’s always something warming about watching your food be prepared in a traditional way.

Drinks wise, you cannot beat the fresh juices – the watermelon juice is particularly good!  Of course if juice isn’t your fancy there is a vast range of coffees, waters and other fancy drinks such as Cedrata Lassoni – I’m not sure what this either but the name is enough to draw me in!

Open from 7 to Midnight Monday to Saturday and with reduced Sunday hours, Princi is perfect for an affordable meal at any time, whether it be breakfast, dinner or simply to pick up a coffee on-the-go.  Be warned, it does get very busy, but anyone that eats out should take this as a good sign! In the words of an Italian, è bellissimo!

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Corinne Day Exhibition: May the Circle Remain Unbroken

Staring through the glass wall of Gimpel Fils exhibition space on Davies Street, the images I see are new and fresh to my eyes.  Famed fashion photographer Corinne Day, who passed away in 2010, often captured images of those closest to her.  Her somewhat daring and provocative photographs exhibited the pages of The Face in the 1990s have become iconic in the fashion industry today. 

Following her breakthrough into the industry, Day continued to create fashion and documentary photographs for a number of publications including i-D and Vogue.  Coinciding with the launch of the book ‘May The Circle Remain Unbroken’, Gimpel Fils’ latest exhibition allows the public to see a glimpse of Day’s personal life.  With photos titled ‘Kate in jumper on chair’, ‘George doing the dishes’ and ‘Kevin on the phone’, the never-before-seen images showed me a real sense of normality for someone so iconic. 

Running until 23rd November, I strongly suggest anyone interested in fashion or photography to stop-by.

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Diversity in Beauty

My latest University project has centred around diversity in beauty and how today’s portrayal of ‘perfection’ in the media can increase anxiety and self-esteem levels for millions of people, particular in younger generations.  In a group, we were briefed to come up with an idea for a photo-shoot that would be fitting for a particular publication.  After a long time brainstorming, we spoke to various people about their flaws and insecurities and any personal stories they had in relation to this.  We spoke to a 19 year old called Charlie; Charlie had a cycling accident when he was 12 which left him in a coma for 2 weeks and with permanent scarring to his face.  The trauma he experienced had an significant impact on his life and we felt it would be effective to visually represent his personal story in our photo-shoot.

SCARRING, BIKE ACCIDENT, PHOTOGRAPHY

The image above shows Charlie holding a photo from the time of his accident.  The aim of the photo is to convey the idea that time heals everything; this can be symbolised through the watch he wears.  Charlie’s scar is must less visible today, but for him it is very much a part of his identity.  We felt the topic of our images would be perfect in Vice magazine, described by themselves on YouTube as ‘the people who confront and talk about uncomfortable truths’.

In contrast to the image portraying Charlie’s personal journey, we carried out an experimental study on the emotional response to artistic expression by creating artificial burns on the skin of a young couple. Drawing on the works of Jenny Saville, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin, we aim to exhibit these images on a larger-than-life-size scale to challenge the public’s reactions and emphasize the psychological link between art and emotion. Having recently stated in an interview with The Guardian “I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies”, it is evident that Saville’s work is fitting with the messages we aim to convey. Her vast canvases, typically of the exposed female body, celebrate the energy of the human form whilst bringing across a visual personality to the piece; something which is rarely seen in mainstream fashion and beauty publications.

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Pixie Lott Covers Avicii’s Wake Me Up

Remember that singer called Pixie Lott..? It seems like a good couple of years since the young star was on top of the media radar, with chart topping hits including What Do You Take Me For and Mama Do. Aside from her own chart success, Pixie always had a talent for creating beautiful covers of tracks such as Aloe Black’s I Need A Dollar and One Republic’s Apologize, and her latest cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up is certainly no exception.

Although only a couple of minutes long, the soft yet beautiful vocals make the song almost unrecognisable from the original – if this is anything to go by, it seems Pixie may well be on her way back!

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Photographer – Laurent Croisier

Photographer – Laurent Croisier

Through researching for a beauty project, I came across the photographer Laurent Croisier.  Croisier’s characteristic photographs stray from the norm by addressing unique subject matters such as ‘Playground’ and ‘Citadium’.  His works often appear fragmented, leading you to take a while to understand the full meaning of the image, however his unique vision brings out intriguing and striking images – definitely one to note down for future creative briefs!

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Social Norms within the Media

Considering changing social norms around smoking has taken over 50 years, to drastically change a factor within society is never going to happen overnight.  We are at a point in time where everyone is merging into one, so many are trying to be ‘individual’ and in doing so, everyone is becoming the same.

The rise in social media has left younger generations subconsciously considering their online presence in relation to everything they do, for example the ‘need’ to check into your favourite restaurant on Facebook or post a filtered Instagram photo of your dog on a walk.  Brands and celebrities fall victim to this on another level, for example the intense media hype surrounding Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the VMAs, an appearance which set out to create a media frenzy and consequently increased coverage for the young star.  Colin McDowell knocked the nail on the head in his book The Anatomy of Fashion by stating “There are some pretty bloody rough looking pop stars and what has happened is that beauty is being superseded by quite crude sexuality, it’s not ‘oh, how beautiful!’, it’s, ‘wow look at that’”.  With icons including Grace Jones, Leigh Bowery and Annie Lennox, the media substantially helped to change attitudes towards women, race, homosexuality in the 1980s, whereas today it appears to be a ‘popularity tool’ rather than a catalyst for new attitudes towards issues that really matter.

My current university project is entitled ‘Diversity in Beauty’, in which I have decided to look into scarring and the emotions felt by people that have severe scars and burns.  A girl left with scarring from a hip replacement said of how her life changed after the experience “although many people wanted to see them, it made me feel a bit like some kind of circus act or something that people could see for their amusement. Initially it was just as I feared.. that I as a person had become all about my injury and scars”.  Although sensitive issues such as scarring, disability and illness are explored within the creative industries, the media will then create such widespread publicity that it still seems ‘un-normal’, when in reality diversity should be accepted as a social norm without journalists picking up on it as something ‘different’.

The media is an extremely powerful tool and now is the perfect time to take a bigger step into changing attitudes towards diversity in the creative industries – I just hope that in 10 years’ time we won’t be surrounded with forged ‘celebrity sexiness’  and will celebrate male and female beauty in the way it deserves.

What goes around comes around, right?