Monday, 21 November 2011

The Exceptional Beauty that is Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot is a French former fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex-symbols of the 1960s and is one of my ultimate style icons.
Bardot is known for her banging curves, golden hair, exceptional style and general natural beauty.

This one is one of my faves, what a stunner!!

This is a very iconic photo of Miss Bardot.

Brazilian Model Gisele Bundchen recreated this photo shoot for the cover of Elle Magazine

I love this one, there is something so simple and lovely about this photo, she is so poised and petite.
Georgia May Jagger (who I have a bit of a style crush on also) has been said to resemble the 1960's model with her blond bombshell hair and striking gap between her two front teeth. There is a definite likeness between them anyway.

Brigitte Bardot is one of Kate Moss' style idols, again there is an undeniable resemblance between the two

Fashion Styling and Photography Moodboards

These are just a few moodboards that I made on photoshop, starting at the beginning with the first fashion shoot by Edward Steichen and leading on to 1960's photography greats such as Alexey Brodovich and Irving Pen (Top).

Fashion photograhy is now dominated by names such as MarioTestino and Annie Leibovitz (Top).

Stylists are a big part of the fashion industry and fashion photography in general, they are the invisible hand in a lot of work and I don't believe they are credited enough. These are just some examples of contempory stylists and also stylist ledgends such as Diana Vreeland.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Polly Mellen: The Fashion Notorious

Polly Mellen: The Fashion Notorious
By Jesse May Fisher

Polly Allen Mellen is someone you should be familiar with, her name speaks volumes in the fashion industry, her work, collaborations and general adoration and enthusiasm for fashion proves Mellen as one of the most influential and inspirational “fashionista’s” to date. She was born in West Hartford, Connecticut and worked as a nurses aid during the end of the second World War. She made her way to New York City where she worked as a sales assistant at a Store called Lord and Taylor, a friend from the store arranged a meeting for her with Diana Vreeland who was editor of Harper’s Bazarre at the time, she worked under Vreeland as an editor and stylist for many years at Harper’s Bazarre before moving to Vogue to work with Grace Mirabella and Vreeland again. From 1991-1999 Mellen worked as creative director at Allure magazine, however, her most influential years were with Vogue under the tutelage of Vreeland. Mellen arrived into the fashion industry in the late 1950’s when the fashion editor, however vital their contribution, never saw their own name attached to their work.

Katherine Hepburn was one of Mellen’s earliest influences, she was a cultural icon and acknowledged as an inspirational figure in peoples changing perception of women over the 20th century. Hepburn’s distinctive elegance and style greatly influenced the young Polly. However Mellens most obvious influence was her mentor Diana Vreeland, she was Vreelands protege, she taught her all that she knew “from Vreelands rib came Polly Mellen” states the phenomenal photographer Richard Avedon comically conveying their similarities regarding their style of work. Polly Mellen was a breath of fresh air to work with when you understood her wave length, she collaborated with photography genius's such as Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, Steven Miesel and famously Richard Avedon.

Mellen and Richard Avedon were life long partners in crime in the fashion industry, they conspired together to tune into the mod youthquake and futurism of the sixties, initially Avedon thought she was too “noisy” to work with but but had a change of heart when realised “she was one of the most creative sitting editors I have ever worked with”. Together they produced a spectacular array of amazing photographs including pictures of up and coming models such as their famous shot of nude actress in 1981 Natassja Kinski wearing nothing but an ivory Patricia Von Musulin bracelet and an elegantly wrapped boa constrictor.They had the ability to capture something different and innovative, their abundance of creative chemistry punches boldly through their work portraying elements of politics, culture and history. She concentrated, critiqued and encouraged Avedon; their work blossomed under the influence of each other.

Mellen was right on time to dominate the stylistic world of post war United States in the 1960’s and make it her own. With Avedon they photographed the sixteen-year-old Penelope Tree, Mellen states “Dick you have to see her she looks like something from outer space” when describing Tree’s wide eyed features. They shot her with out shoes in a paraphernalia pantsuit with exaggerated feathered eyelashes and then in an Ungaro couture dress with a graphically curving metal neck piece. It is arguably one of the most effective and greatest fashion images of all time. Mellen holds such admiration for Avedon stating “he gave me such a growth of vision, imagination and intellect”.

Mellen’s photographs belongs to an exceptional class of fashion documentation that reaches the quality of psycho-sexual-sociopolitical commentary. There is a definite taught intensity between the collaboration of a great fashion stylist and a great photographer. In the 1970’s Mellen and collaborating photographer Helmut Newton pushed the boundaries of sexual liberation to its limits.
The most eye catching and  provocative photo shoots that Polly Mellen worked on was Helmut Newtons notorious “Story of Ohhh” it was one of the first depictions of photo-feminism sexuality from a woman’s point of view to enter American mainstream media. Mellen’s favourite shot is one of model Lisa Taylor sitting in a predominantly masculine position in a Calvin Klein dress; meeting the eye of the half dressed naked man, her expression is of frank desire. Mellen describes “The story for me was sex, heat, tease.” Mellen tries to pinpoint, at some level, a truth about the changing times, the vitality, sensuality and complexity of young women at the time.
These photographs radically radiate change and portray chic, shock and sex “I like to take things further. Too often stylists do things to loose the magic this way...I was a stronger woman behind the camera than I was in real life” Mellen felt the most comfortable and in control when behind the camera directing fashion and art. With her signature grey bob and fearless capacity for modernity Mellen occupies a unique and well renowned name for herself in the fashion world, however for reasons of historical convention even her biggest admirers may not realise the great scope of work which she has had the invisible hand.

Polly Mellen is known for encouraging and promoting young designers in the fashion industry “she has never lost her enthusiasm in a field where everyone seems so faded” Isaac Mizrali an American TV presenter and fashion designer displays his affection and respect for Mellen.
According to Vera Wang “Polly has the most extraordinary ability to adapt to the future”. She also never stops searching for young fresh designers, she takes times to attend fashion shows at strange times in odd places like a warehouse or a boxing ring.
Mellen remains grounded and humorous still to this day, at fashion shows she doesn't hesitate to express her love for the collections, she cheers and waves her arms about, she is known as the industry cheerleader, quite the opposite to the oversized pair of sunglasses in the front row belonging to a certain editor of vogue.

Mellen is now retired in Connecticut with her husband of forty-six years Henry Wigglesworth Mellen, however, her love for fashion is still thriving and she remains firmly in the fashion scene attending fashions events and shows. Over the years Polly Mellen has injected a much needed vibrancy into the sometimes uniform and conservative world of fashion, her passion for her work is evident and her contributions and collaborations are truly something else and for this she should be applauded. 

Article written by Jesse May Fisher
Mood Board by Jesse May Fisher
This is an article I wrote as an assignment in college I then submitted it to We See It magazine and it was published yaaay!! here to see the magazine copy. Check out the We See It magazine on facebook too. Every second month there is some amazing photography, fashion and illustration.

Photo shoot with the amazing Emily Bowker

So I'm a blogging virgin, here it go's:)
This is a design project for college, I had to make a garment out of recycled materials, I chose feathers. My inspiration was Josephine Baker a dancer from the 1960's well known for her extravagant over the top costumes. There is a definite 1960's feel to the shoot, kind of inevitable as I'm slightly obsessed with the 1960's, I was definitely born in the wrong era.
We shot them in Hotel Meyrick in Galway City and despite Emily having a cold and myself and my lovely makeup artist Louise kelly being a bit worse for wear after Friday night, I'm pretty pleased with them.
Hope you enjoy:)

Model: Emily Bowker
Hair and Makeup: Louise kelley
Photography: Jesse May Fisher

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