Sneak preview of the festival fashion shoot I assisted on for BN1 Magazine tonight.

STEPHEN O’MALLEY AT THE GREEN DOOR STORE
Preview for Brighton Noise here.

To those of you familiar with the drone doom metal genre, the name Stephen O’Malley will be a recognisable one. The founding member of pioneering experimental act Sun O))) and other countless names such as Burning Witch, Khanate and KTL, O’Malley’s influence on the doom sphere since the 1990’s is a profound one. O’Malley will almost certainly be bringing the 20-minute compositions of the heaviest drone and spine-numbing reverb he is famous for to his show at the Green Door Store on Sunday 13th April.
Hailing from Seattle, the 39 year old’s discography is a lengthy catalogue of collaborations, cross-overs and side projects including various journeys into the art and theatrical world. As a guitarist first and foremost, O’Malley has proven time and time again how he can turn his hand in a whole manner of production and composing feats. When Thorr’s Hammer disbanded after a short-lived six week stint in 1995, O’Malley teamed up with Greg Anderson of Goatsnake fame to found the extreme doom metal band, Burning Witch. Combining the sludge characteristics of the Melvins and a strong influence from drone godfathers Earth, Burning Witch’s amalgamation of tortured screams and melodic hymns against the backdrop of feedback were pivotal. This unusual sound was carried through into O’Malley’s and Anderson’s next project, the famed Sun O))). The resulting sound image is a hypnotic experimentation of vast expanses of quiet that intermittently erupt into resonating bass and guitar – loud, slow and heavy. Other accomplishments and alliances to adorn O’Malley’s résumé include work with American sculptor Banks Violette; album art for the likes of Emperor and Burzam; in creating labels such as Southern Lord and Ideologic Organ; and the black metal fanzine, Descent.
Supporting O’Malley: ritualistic black metal from French occult rockers Aluk Tolodo and Brighton’s own folk duo, Lutine. You can be assured that the Green Door Store’s stone walls will be resounding with some of the most thunderous and sculptured sound pressure your ears will ever be exposed to.

STEPHEN O’MALLEY AT THE GREEN DOOR STORE

Preview for Brighton Noise here.

To those of you familiar with the drone doom metal genre, the name Stephen O’Malley will be a recognisable one. The founding member of pioneering experimental act Sun O))) and other countless names such as Burning WitchKhanate and KTL, O’Malley’s influence on the doom sphere since the 1990’s is a profound one. O’Malley will almost certainly be bringing the 20-minute compositions of the heaviest drone and spine-numbing reverb he is famous for to his show at the Green Door Store on Sunday 13th April.

Hailing from Seattle, the 39 year old’s discography is a lengthy catalogue of collaborations, cross-overs and side projects including various journeys into the art and theatrical world. As a guitarist first and foremost, O’Malley has proven time and time again how he can turn his hand in a whole manner of production and composing feats. When Thorr’s Hammer disbanded after a short-lived six week stint in 1995, O’Malley teamed up with Greg Anderson of Goatsnake fame to found the extreme doom metal band, Burning Witch. Combining the sludge characteristics of the Melvins and a strong influence from drone godfathers Earth, Burning Witch’s amalgamation of tortured screams and melodic hymns against the backdrop of feedback were pivotal. This unusual sound was carried through into O’Malley’s and Anderson’s next project, the famed Sun O))). The resulting sound image is a hypnotic experimentation of vast expanses of quiet that intermittently erupt into resonating bass and guitar – loud, slow and heavy. Other accomplishments and alliances to adorn O’Malley’s résumé include work with American sculptor Banks Violette; album art for the likes of Emperor and Burzam; in creating labels such as Southern Lord and Ideologic Organ; and the black metal fanzine, Descent.

Supporting O’Malley: ritualistic black metal from French occult rockers Aluk Tolodo and Brighton’s own folk duo, Lutine. You can be assured that the Green Door Store’s stone walls will be resounding with some of the most thunderous and sculptured sound pressure your ears will ever be exposed to.

My preview for Magnum Opus Tattoo studio’s exhibition of custom Marshall Amps in Brighton’s BN1 Magazine.

THE YOUNG KNIVES @ THE HAUNT, BRIGHTON
20th March 2014

The Young Knives reaffirmed their title as ‘Britain’s Weirdest Band’ last week with a mesmerizingly eccentric performance at The Haunt. The Leicestershire born, Oxford based trio were on tour promoting their latest self-produced, self-released album Sick Octave, described by the band as their ‘ripest album yet’.
Against a backdrop of bizarrely entrancing video footage that reaped inspiration from the likes of Jan Švankmajer to Jackass, the band delivered a dizzyingly passionate post-punk performance. At times electronically poppy, and others gravely sombre, Henry Dartnell’s vocals were confident and self-assured amongst a myriad of organs and other nonspecific noises. Interludes were expansive spaces filled with experimental space-agey electronica and feedback. ‘White Sands’ stood out as a prime example of the weird, almost psychedelic-rock sound that define the band, with Dartnell and brother Thomas (or ‘House of Lords) taken in by some sort trance, chanting “I took a hundred of these”, against the urgent drum beat from Oliver Askew.
 Never overstepping the mark of ‘too-much’ theatre, the barks of poetry and visual spectaculars didn’t distract from the thrashing drums and manic guitars that formed together perfectly in ear-pleasing anthems. All of which came to a fanatical climax as Dartnell came flying through the audience in a sweaty, fervent blaze.
A breath of fresh air: a highly underrated band who thrive off life’s oddities and create non-conformist music for their own pleasure, The Young Knives ensured the packed out audience were craving more of their sheer energy and catchy tunes. Their new album, Sick Octave, definitely warrants a listening to.
Find more information about new releases and gigs from The Young Knives, visit their website:
www.young-knives.com

 

THE YOUNG KNIVES @ THE HAUNT, BRIGHTON

20th March 2014

The Young Knives reaffirmed their title as ‘Britain’s Weirdest Band’ last week with a mesmerizingly eccentric performance at The Haunt. The Leicestershire born, Oxford based trio were on tour promoting their latest self-produced, self-released album Sick Octave, described by the band as their ‘ripest album yet’.

Against a backdrop of bizarrely entrancing video footage that reaped inspiration from the likes of Jan Švankmajer to Jackass, the band delivered a dizzyingly passionate post-punk performance. At times electronically poppy, and others gravely sombre, Henry Dartnell’s vocals were confident and self-assured amongst a myriad of organs and other nonspecific noises. Interludes were expansive spaces filled with experimental space-agey electronica and feedback. ‘White Sands’ stood out as a prime example of the weird, almost psychedelic-rock sound that define the band, with Dartnell and brother Thomas (or ‘House of Lords) taken in by some sort trance, chanting “I took a hundred of these”, against the urgent drum beat from Oliver Askew.

 Never overstepping the mark of ‘too-much’ theatre, the barks of poetry and visual spectaculars didn’t distract from the thrashing drums and manic guitars that formed together perfectly in ear-pleasing anthems. All of which came to a fanatical climax as Dartnell came flying through the audience in a sweaty, fervent blaze.

A breath of fresh air: a highly underrated band who thrive off life’s oddities and create non-conformist music for their own pleasure, The Young Knives ensured the packed out audience were craving more of their sheer energy and catchy tunes. Their new album, Sick Octave, definitely warrants a listening to.

Find more information about new releases and gigs from The Young Knives, visit their website:

www.young-knives.com

 

"‘The day that I quit punk rock was the day I found out while the boys love to talk about how they aren’t sexist and how oh so fucking PC they are, it never seems cool to be a girl in the scene’ – Sarah, The Day I Quit Punk Rock, (one off zine). Women found themselves at gigs and shows being pushed to the back of the room; laughed at, mocked for being ‘dykes’ for joining in the pit and getting up on stage themselves. And thus, angry, bitter and disillusioned girls banded together with one protest in mind: girls to the front.

The only subcultural groups who have seemed to circle around the idea of creating a female safe haven for women who feel alienated, not only from society and ‘the norm’, but from male-dominated subcultures, are the Riot Grrrls (and the closely linked but not entirely related Kinderwhores) of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.  The first group focuses more on media production, whilst the latter converse more spectacularly through their dress. Riot Grrrls are more of a subculture, whereas Kinderwhores are more of a style, and were born from the discontent they felt from not being allowed to wholeheartedly join the subcultures they wanted to. They felt alienated from most of the masculine post-punk scenes: the grunge scene stemming from Seattle, and the Hardcore scene from Washington DC, they wanted to build their own spheres rebelling against the sexism and estrangement they felt. Both became Oedipus counter cultures, and their aim was to create a safe-haven for women to navigate freely, built on the foundation of: ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. (Irving Berlin, 1946)

Angry and excluded, women wanted to build a scene where they could be ‘something more than eye-candy’ (Piano 2003: 253). A counter-counter culture, where women could move freely without judgement, where they could promote feminist virtues and discuss issues that only women could be concerned with that were not acknowledged in earlier punk movements, like sexuality, sexism, racism, pro-choice, body image, plastic surgery etc. Where they could become producers as opposed to consumers, and unite disillusioned girls in solidarity through music, zines and other productions. Piano describes the spread of Riot Grrrl as an ‘intense and magnetic’, and it created ‘alternative positions for women within subcultures… and paved the way for the development of sustained feminist subcultural activities’ (Piano 2003: 253). Bands like Bikini Kill, (see fig. 3)  L7, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy and Huggy Bear dominated the scene, and utilised new and upcoming technologies mixed with traditional Lo-Fi DIY punk aesthetics to be seen, and heard.”

[Extract from my case study on Women and Subcultures.]

 

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

The beauty industry is over-saturated, over-bloated and overly conceited. Thousands of arrogantly over-worked faces look down on us from every corner, gazing condemningly at us mere mortals, and it is virtually impossible to escape.

Years of wasted youth, fucks and money lie in the countless bottles of acne remedies, red lipsticks, shitty mascaras and volumnising  mousses that litter my teen years. They say that practise makes perfect, and I finally think I’m getting there. I have finally found my skin, and by no means was it entirely reached through the use of creams, serums and gels. For those who try and try again to venture down that rabbit hole and into your local beauty department, often the hope of finding a small dose of self confidence in that small tube dies very quickly.

But, in some, I did find small doses of ego and faith, ‘blossoming potions’, thus I cannot entirely resent the beauty industry. It is one that we love to hate, but one we buy into.

As a generation, we are becoming more cynical than ever. And we wish to uphold this, encouraging women to, when they do buy in, do so in an informed and educated manner. Believe it or not, when it comes to health and make-up, we are all about the practical, the fun, and the honest. Make-up by no means changes or improves you, but it is for some a catalyst for bringing out inner beauty and confidence; and I acknowledge and support that. We are certainly not going to force feed you ‘Top 5 Winter Skin Buys’, but instead seek out what is already happening out there, and give you the visual low-down on real-world beauty and make-up. Non-brand, non-ego, and non-aspirational. We are sceptical of the money we spend and the brands we buy into.

Continue on for beauty in the strangest of places.

[Excerpt from a beauty feature I wrote and photographed.]

BRODY DALLE’S ‘MEET THE FOETUS / OH THE JOY’

 

It is every little punk rock girl’s dream: the day that The Distillers and Spinnerette front-woman Brody Dalle releases her first solo album. Luckily for us, the day that ‘Diploid Love’ comes out is not that far off at all (28th April 2014), and even more excitingly, Noisey has just premiered the video for the single ‘Meet the Foetus / Oh the Joy’. 

It not only features Garbage’s Shirley Manson, but Warpaint’s Emily Kokal (in some serious girl-gang vocals perfectly designed for dancing on your bed); and combines all the velvety heaviness of Spinnerette with the fast-paced joyful punk melodies of The Distillers. The song was inspired by Dalle’s post-natal depression after the birth of her daughter, and this firmly grounds this song as an all-powerful, all-female no-shit anthem. The transition and acceptance of becoming a mother is reflected in the evolution of her musical voice. Dalle has finally risen from teen idol to a mother of all the alienated and disenchanted young women who have grown up with her music. This is sensed resoundingly through the comforting and soothing vocals that envelop you over the steady beat in the first half of the song; through to the exuberant gang chants, brimmed with emotion, that finish the tune. Proving that growing up and into a woman does not mean disbanding your teen loves, but instead that all it entails is becoming a more powerful, assured and sexy version of yourself. And to never, ever, lose the leopard print. 

'Dreaming of David'

Preview of my article celebrating 50 years of Jackie Magazine, with an exclusive interview with past Fashion editor, Wendy Rigg.

Words: Lauryn Embleton

Graphics: Harry Embleton

Designer Profile: Tara Mischa Jewellery. 

Words: Lauryn Embleton

Models: Georgia Huzar & Amy Hurst

Photographer: Fishmonk Photography

There’s FEED.

The mission statement I devised for the magazine I edited.

FEED. Magazine’s February Issue just launched. 

THE OPINION ISSUE.

More excerpts and features to come.

Model: Ebun Oladeru

Photographer: Myself

Some extract’s from our ‘Tampon in a Teacup’ inspired feminist zine: Grunge Clunge.

Shop Report: Maison Martin Margiela

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A short walk away from the bulging and biggest high street in the UK, Oxford Street, New Bond Street remains one of London’s most desirable shopping locations: hundreds of high end designer boutiques sit shoulder to shoulder, luring you in. Once you come to the end of New Bond Street, past brands such as Mui Mui, Tory Burch and Mulberry, one can turn left onto the slightly more discreet street, Bruton Street. And in true Margiela style, it takes a bit of a look, and then there it is, a subtlety and unobtrusively branded shop front, which instantly indicates Maison Martin Margiela. The only mention of the brand’s name is a hardly eye-catching traditional swing sign hanging above the door, with the logo of 0-23, and Maison Martin Margiela written quietly underneath, (see fig.above). The display is modest, simply three white tailor’s dummies used as mannequins, no head to distract from the clothing. Margiela has always explored tailors dummies in his work, and often uses them for inspiration for the clothing, as opposed as a tool for making the clothing. Two handbags are on show adjacent to the mannequins, propped up on a silver leather bench.

On entering the shop, you are greeted with a mixture of textures, old and new. Huge silver letters made from leather stagger to the end of the shop, reading “Welcome”. Glass and steel compose the majority of the fixtures, with a huge futuristic, space-ship feeling, brightly lit by white clinical lighting, but enhanced by an unusual blue ring of light above you, looking like something that just came straight out of Star Trek. The silver surrounds you, mirrors, holographic effects and reflective surfaces transports you to a 1960’s ideal of the future, the space age craze. I guess I could link these design aesthetics to Margiela’s love of designers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin, who inspired him to create clothing in the first place.

A couple of minutes into scanning round the room, you start to notice another aesthetic, an entirely contrasting mix of the old remains in the room. If you were to look behind the displays, and the huge furniture holding the rails made from glistening glass, you notice the walls behind them remain untouched from when the building was uninhabited. Decaying walls, remains of paint and wall paper and crumbling mortar, brick and skirting board still endure. The electrics are not hidden with any effort, and the huge industrial air conditioning pipe circles round the ceiling quite obtrusively. Walking further to the back of the store, old step ladders are crudely painted white and used to display accessories rather than the huge glowing glass and steel boxes used earlier. This mix of old and new harks back to a Dazed & Confused interview with the anonymous team at the Maison Martin Margiela Headquarters. On describing the interior of the building: “When we arrived here, we found the place as it was, with papers still on the desks… We kept the building and interior close to when we discovered it. There is a blackboard upstairs which still carries some formulas- as they’ve been there so long, they’ve created a permanent mark. We don’t want to erase them.” (Dazed and Confused Digital, accessed April 2013).

Each collection is displayed with the numbers 0-23 displayed on the glass above the rails, with the appropriate number circled to indicate what collection it is. In the centre a display holds the [untitled] fragrance products and other accessories. Right at the back in a circular room, shoes are displayed.

Mannequins are headless. There is no music. Hangers are made from clear plastic and have no logo displayed on them. The labels in the clothing simply display the numbers 0-23, with the appropriate one circled, visibly tacked on with white thread. Furniture like chairs and sofas, which have always been found from flea markets since MMM’s roots are covered with white sheets, like the room was expecting a repaint. All of this ensures a certain anonymity and homogeneity.

Two Sales Assistants look up from tidying the front of the boutique, they smile and greet us, a woman and a man. Both beautifully but naturally presented, they are wearing a white linen lab coat over their own clothes. On asking about the uniform, the woman kindly replies that it is just the way the brand is and what we’re about: anonymity. She said that no matter how far up or down the chain you are, whether you’re a sales assistant or head designer, this uniform must always be worn. This suggest a certain equality amongst the staff, and from seeing the staff here and reading what few interviews there are with the anonymous design teams, they all seem happy to work under the brand. They don’t wear name tags, and although always remaining friendly and welcoming, when I offered a few questions about the types of customers and the aesthetic of the shop, she seemed quite unsure and unconfident in her answers. I put this down to a lack of training on the theory behind the brand, or simply that probably had not thought about it before, and was put on the spot. Either way, it did not detract from her kindly demeanor and awkward willingness to be helpful. She encouraged me to look, touch, and feel the clothing, and as I expected, the clothes were as high in quality, softness and desirability as I expected them to be. On leaving, I noticed a pad attached to the door alarms, where you could rip off an A4 sheet which illustrated where various MMM stores are across the world. Altogether, for a label that aims to remove any personality from the brand, and remain homogenous, and anonymous, it was an overall, friendly and welcoming experience and not at all what I expected.

TREND PREDICTION 2016: Rio de Janeiro

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Every four years, attention is drawn across the planet to a different city, a city looking to diminish stereotypes and boast their successes to the rest of the world. The year 2016 will ensure the world’s gaze will turn to the Brazilian capital, Rio de Janeiro, which will be the first South American or Portuguese speaking country to ever hold this prestigious event. This colourful and exotic city will be under scrutiny from the remainder of the world, and we will look to gain insight into this curiously seductive capital, known as the ci­dade maravilhosav…‘the marvelous city’.

In my mind, I question what depiction of themselves the people of Rio de Janeiro, cariocas, will want to convey to the rest of the world whilst they have this opportunity.

To most of Europe, and especially North America, Latin Ameri­can countries, such as Brazil, have been seen as almost an ‘exotic curiosity’, a tropical novelty rife with stereotypes we have ourselves created that we can marvel at. And for us to exploit. Sultry beaches and steamy rainforests set the scene for seductive samba and the extravagant carnaval.

Altogether overlooked by Christo himself, his arms out­stretched across the bustling tropical landscape. As with every other country in the world, hidden beneath these clichés we are all too familiar with, is a darker, more somber side to Rio. Beneath the overwhelmingly beautiful landscape, lie cascading favelas, social apartheid and a city rife with crime and corruption. Only time will tell if the cariocas play to our pigeon-holed expectations of a thriving, tropical gemstone in the heart of South America. Or will they convey the true depth and profundity of Rio de Janeiro?

This question of the identity of Rio de Janeiro will in itself become the macrotrend of 2016. Tropicana and exotic trends have reared their heads numerous times over the years, with bright tribal/floral prints and encrusted jewels and gemstones for summer beachwear looks. But this in itself calls upon the stereotype of Brazil and Latin America. It has become decidedly ‘over-done’. It is time for a more educated look at how Rio can influence the fashion in­dustry. And where to start? The lady in the Tutti Frutti hat herself: Carmen Miranda.

It is her overbearing and exaggerated shadow that reigns ty­rannically over Brazilian culture. Her image and persona are the metaphor for Rio de Janeiro, the eccentric yet sensual showgirl femme, taken in and exploited by the masculine North America. But, as with the city itself, there was a darker side to Miranda’s life, thus making her the perfect representative to define Rio’s struggle with identity.

The Broadway and Hollywood musical star made her entry to fame in Brazil and lived a popular career from the 1930’s through to the early 50’s. She spent her life living a metaphorical tug of war between her beloved Brazil, and the ladder to world-wide fame in North America. By the time she reached Hollywood in the 1940’s, she stood tall and proud, towering in colossal platform shoes and lofty fruit-laden headdresses (in reality disguising her mere 5ft 3in height) as the richest woman in Hollywood. Opening the world’s eye to the richness and culture of Brazil, she blurred the lines between ethnicities and took emphasized influence from all corners of Latin America to create her image, in the hopes of furthering her success and becoming an ambassador for Latin Americans across the world. This eventually backfired and the South American’s rejected her image, her portrayal became an offensive stereotype that reflected her as nothing more than a ditzy showgirl with little intelligence. The Brazilian Bomb­shell had been ‘Americanized’. This knocked Miranda hard, she was rejected by those she loved and lived for the most, and tied in with a tumultuous and abusive relationship with her husband, a dependency on drugs and alcohol, and exhaustion from over­working, she fell into decline in the last years of her life. Ending, eventually, with her collapsing on stage of a heart attack and dying later that night.

Surely this demonstrates her as the perfect metaphor to represent the tainted yet stereotyped image of Rio de Janeiro in 2016; all eyes will be on them briefly, before quickly being criticized, dropped and disposed of by America and the rest of the world.

Visually, this will culminate in aesthetically addressing these conflicting ideas and interpretations of Rio and Miranda, via colour palettes and silhouettes, boiled down from the idea of truthfully looking and isolating the reality of Rio de Janeiro, Carmen Miranda, and Tropical Culture.

In the same way that this trend is a call to steer away from Latin American stereotypes, it is a call to avoid Tropicana cliches. Bin jewel coloured floral prints, Day-Glo brights and colour blocking, and instead investigate primary fabrics, photos and postcards of Rio in the mid 20th Century. The truth is that when each shade is isolated on its own, it reflects a more sombre, antiquated tone of pink, green or blue. Shades that appear to have been left in the simmering sun for too long.
Monocolour: earthy pinks, mossy greens and grey blues, dusky palettes that through their contrasts highlight each other when used in retro, yet simplistic prints that don’t overly draw attention. Nothing overdone, no OTT; colours that reflect more melancholy and sobriety than kitschy cliches of faked joy and exultancy. This particular colour palette was achieved by placing well known images of Miranda in full bombshell persona under a veil of black and grey, and then seceding the image to remove key colours from her costumes. A photo set using varying images of her across her career, manipulated in such a way surprisingly
revealed comparable tones.

Prints will be used sparingly, on linings and small features to highlight the
erogenous zones, but these colours will be applied through traditional tailoring fabrics in a block or ombre fashion, to suggest a formality discussed in the silhouettes, all of which were inspired by Miranda’s day-to-day dress, which was almost utilitarian and subdued in comparison to her stage costume.