Thursday, 30 July 2009
Monday, 27 July 2009
from the Times here
One of the accusations frequently laid at fashion’s sometimes gaudy door is that it’s frivolous. It’s like criticising cats for sleeping during the day, or curries for smelling of spices. Frivolity, inter many alia, is what fashion does. And what if it does? Frivolity gets a bad rap. What about being overly serious and boring everyone around you to death? An element of frivolity keeps a soul from atrophying.
I was reminded of this the other day when a friend, well into her sixties, turned up in an immaculate white shirt she’d bought in Dover Street Market, a pair of high-waisted Margaret Howell wide trousers and a tangle of neon-ended diamanté necklaces from Topshop.
Without the necklaces, the outfit was chic enough – too many sixtysomethings succumb to the elasticated waistband, the shapeless top and the given-up-all-hope underwear.
But the neon added an unexpected dash of verve. Make that nerve. Not dressing like a sixtysomething takes confidence and courage.
The forty and fiftysomethings have it easy. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing 45-year-olds in great shape and wearing Elle Macpherson-inspired wardrobes; we’ve accepted that Madonna, aged 50¾, is not giving up on summer’s short lease any time soon (satin horns and AstroTurf miniskirt, anyone?). But sixtysomethings? No one’s making clothes for them. No one wants their money. That’s the perception. No wonder many sixtysomethings loathe shopping and have nothing to wear........
If not, Topshop (yes, really), Zara (sizes are on the small side, though), M&S (tailored separates, swimwear), Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Banana Republic and Gap. And keep an eye on Alexon and Precis – they’ve modernised for autumn.
Sixtysomethings are still not visible enough in fashion shoots, but if stylists have any grasp of shifting demographics, that surely has to change. The only rules: more shape, less naked flesh – and a healthy injection of frivolity.
I agree very much with the main gist of this piece especially keeping it simple but wearing a great piece of jewellery
BUT, and there is always a but with me,
a) I am sick of having Madonna rammed down my throat as an example of positive aging. That lady is HIGH maintenance. I know for a fact she has a full body wax once a week, I think her body image is extreme and not a realistic one for anyone approaching 50 to hope or want to emulate. If you still think she is a role model you have SO got to check out this image of her
b)The list of places Ms Armstrong recommends to shop is dire, seriously Zara WAS cut on the small size, but is now far more generous with trousers up to a size 46. Top Shop is just a jumble sale and I know not one sixty year old that can tolerate the music or layout of that place for more than 5 minutes. M&S DULL, DULL, DULL, Banana Republic, oh, that is on every high street..not
What happened to Jigsaw? A very popular shop with all ages, as is it's sister Kew, which offers a huge range online.
This brings me to my final gripe (or two) This article comes from a national newspaper, why not emphasise the mail order companies such as The White Company or Toast? Both are excellent and hugely popular with this age group. I would also throw into the mix Pure, Great Plains and Saltwater. Oh go on then, COS too oh and Muji too, last years favourite of mine
More importantly I would have thought the best shop to recommend is the local boutique, the one that stocks more esoteric, quirky pieces. Why not build up a relationship with the buyer who can source from a huge range.
I have been in some amazing shops from Narberth in Wales to Dulwich in London. They are fantastic at what they do and in this climate deserve better from the fashion press.
Buy some fold-up flatties (jewelled, preferably) that can slip into a bag so that you have no excuse not to wear a pair of heels now and again.
OVER MY DEAD BODY
If I catch my mother so much as sniff at a pair of heels I will be knocking on Ms Armstrong's door to help me nurse her through her broken hip.
Jesus, my mother is half blind, I do NOT need her toppling over like a house of cards as well.
There is always something to like, and plenty not to like, but that is the nature of curating. Best of all you can snap away with impunity. I get a lot more from looking through a lens. It may seem an irreverent way to view someones work but I promise you fragmenting a piece can give you a whole new perspective, especially Kristin Bakers work. Close up you can really appreciate the layering and richness of colours that gets lost from a distance.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Last week Syma Tariq wrote about the new all-female art exhibition at the Pompidou centre in Paris. We asked you whether female artists have been ignored by the art world and to name your favourite female artist. Here are some of your responses:
As a teacher and writer of art education materials I have struggled for 20 years to show our learners any reproductions of art made by women. I don't stop trying, but so often the books and postcard collections available in schools, and even, surprisingly, Internet image banks, concentrate on what I jokingly refer to as the Ks: O'Keeffe, Cassatt and Kahlo. There is a lot more to see through different times and across cultures.
After 30 years teaching in schools and art colleges I have yet to find an exceptional female painter; I do not understand why. There have been good, skilful women painters in the past – Rosa Bonheur, Angelica Kauffmann, Mary Cassatt and more. However in sculpture there is Barbara Hepworth (less bombastic but surely subtler than Henry Moore?), Elisabeth Frink (erratic but occasionally brilliant and surely a "great" artist), and Germaine Richier (my own personal hero). Sorry ladies – stick to wood and clay.
Female artists have been ignored by the art world for centuries: five and six hundred years ago male artists routinely signed their names to work by the wives, sisters or daughters who worked with them (some of Van Eyck's masterpieces are probably by his sister). Later, unscrupulous dealers forged men's signatures on female artists' work because they would fetch higher prices (Judith Leyster passed off as Frans Hals, for example). We owe a huge debt to the feminist art historians who have been quietly restoring the attribution of these works to their real creators. My favourite female artist? Artemisia Gentileschi – a genius.
Ishvara d'Angelo, Devon
I wrote the following response/ riposte
What saddens me the most, is that the most narrow minded and in my opinion outrageously sexist comments were written not by men but by teachers. It breaks my heart that this profession is still so utterly entrenched with attitudes that would not be out of place in an episode of Mad Men.
Maybe if episodes from that series were shown to today’s students, they would understand why even after 30 years Godfrey Jones has made so little progress from when he first started teaching. He appears to be clinging to the coat tails of yesteryear.
This ignorance will no doubt now permeate our current generation of students, because I am sure the opinions of both Godfrey Jones and Alex Mackenzie shine through their teaching practice. This attitude that even today, female artists are second best is so outmoded and dangerously perpetuates the notion of women as second class citizens, in not just the art world but in all walks of life is just plain wrong.
The reasons for the lack of representation in galleries by female artists is excellently described in Ishvara d'Angelo’s letter which just touches on the obstacles women had to overcome to become recognised.
Women nurture, it is innate in all we do, so of course behind an acknowledged male genius will often be the love, stability and talent of a woman.
Godfrey Jones and Alex Mackenzie also fail to take into account the rich and varied art produced by women from other cultures. The female painters of Madhubani, to aboriginal artists such as Roslyn Karedada.
Further thought led me to think that if Sorry ladies – stick to wood and clay. is to be taken literally, it implies that form and function are the domain of women (and I can imagine such fripperies as decorative art would be included in that jibe) then men are master only of illusion. Hardly something to crow about.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
I recently spent many happy hours sifting through some old American Elle magazines. I prefer the American version because of the styling and that many of the shoots are done in such sunny places. Not sunny like English sunny, but that gorgeous crystal clear sun that creates rich vibrant colours from nothing.
I love the combination of shape and colour in the image above. I have a couple of cardies that colour but have yet to brave a yellow skirt.
The colours in above and below are stunning. I am way past this clash to match but many images like this influence my painting. Not that I have painted all year. How depressing is that?
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
I think it would be a good idea for future reference to avoid any discussion what so ever anywhere of the calorific value of anything within a 3 mile radius of your youngest daughter.
She is fat deal with it, she makes occasional efforts to lose weight, but quite clearly it is not coming off at quite the astonishing speed she put it on.
I realise that none of what you say is in any way remotely or directly related to what she is holding in her hand as a prospective purchase or thinking of choosing from the menu. But again I implore you just think it, do not say it. Politics would be a less volatile subject.
And what ever you do, it is pointless trying to couch it as a joke. You do not do humour, I agree you have the capacity to laugh, but the day you say something even remotely amusing I will put the bunting out. It is, I am sad to say mother, your misfortune to have the inability to say anything that does not sound like cruel and barbarous criticism. This is probably based on the fact that we grew up with that cruel and barbarous tongue of your and so that is what we are programmed to expect.
Ha, I hear you say, if that was the case, why is your youngest daughter so ridiculously sensitive to what you say? Well it is because she is an over sensitive stroppy cow who has not had her patience gene honed like myself by 3 demanding children and a Neanderthal moron who passes himself off as my partner.
Years of solitary confinement have inevitably led to her sadly taking most of what we say at face value. She’s YOUR daughter, learn to zip it up and behave.
Yours (the one with endless patience and slightly less overweight than the others)
Friday, 10 July 2009
As I walked up the hill I went past this stunning house. I LOVE this style of architecture. Inside a couple in their late seventies were getting ready to go out, they looked so comfortable and the house looked so lived in. Just perfect, I started to play that game, you know the one where you imaging what it would be like to live this life?
I then saw a stunning house through the bars of this gate. It opened in half an hour and better still sold a combined ticket to the other place I was waiting to open. Outside were another couple of octogenarians (no different ones) snoozing on a bench, they too were waiting for the place to open, so I wandered some more.
I saw this house, once lived in by Constable. he described his paintings as Skying "That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition, neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids"
As I finally walked round the corner to visit Fenton House I spied this gorgeous building. I peeked over the wall to see a stunning view and a very clipped and manicure topiary garden.
So here we are, whilst I waited for 2 Willow Road to open, I went round this oasis of calm and tranquility.
Complete with sunken gardens and an orchard.
I was very lucky that quite a few other people were looking around too. They provided an excellent distraction, so that I could take these guerrilla photographs.
Two icons of beauty, that is the ubiquitous Holly Bush Pub on the left and on the right "Yellow Car" do your kids slap each other when they see a yellow car? mine do. This one was cute though.
And so to 2 Willow Road.
- Designed by Modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger for himself and his family
- Complete with original contents including furniture designed by Goldfinger
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
This and the top image from here
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Monday, 6 July 2009
On Friday I went to a beautifully staged production of All's Well That Ends Well at The National. The design lent heavily on the illustration we see for the brothers Grimm fairy tales, very magical. Sadly my theatre partner had high tailed it to Wales on an activity week so my sister came instead, she normally won’t stick her generous arse on a seat costing less than £40 but she was pleasantly surprised at how good the view was for £10, and she bought me supper. Mmm maybe this trade could be permanent!
The following day I was coerced into going to Thorpe Park. Dear God I am way too old for this kind of day out now. I used to take coach loads of students to any number of theme parks and whoop it up on the rides, but now my idea of fun is a gentle stroll round an art gallery.
Emin decided we MUST go as a day out for the au pair before she goes back to Turkey. She absolutely was not keen on the idea, but just as a man will buy his child a remote control car then play with it himself, so this day was really about Emin. The side benefit was Leyla had a wonderful day.
I however got bloody whiplash on the first ride. I will never understand what the pleasure is in queuing for 2 bloody hours, to then be thrown around like a rag doll for 20seconds with my eyes shut. I am all for big swings and sudden drops but this ride was horrible.
I luckily managed to look after Leyla for the next 3 hours whilst he tortured the au pair. I then got to go on lots of more sedate affairs before hooking up for lunch. Sadly I over did it, and fell quite queasy by 5pm!
I did remind him when we got home, as I crawled into bed, that I am pushing 50, and really that will be the last time I do it.
I am now sat nursing a sore neck
Sunday, 5 July 2009
You also need to remember the country is not recognised, by the international community so the only trade comes via Turkey, everything has to be reused and recycled. If we use the washing machine we collect the water to flush the toilet, all plastic has to be washed and reused. There is refuse collection apart from central location in the city. During my first year we had to pasturised the milk, the water arrived every other evening which is piped into a tank on each property. Water is heated via pipes on the roof, electricity was sporadic. No supermarkets, poor roads. Most people are aware of Cuba but Cyprus was in a much worse state physically and economically. Now it has all changed. Saudi Arabia has paid for new roads. A new hospital is being built, they have a number of supermarkets, and they now have their first ambulance!
You can, as one of his cousin's did furnish your house beautifully, however as you see ,the house is at best spartan. When they were young the girls were so good, they shared a bed when temperatures would stay in there 20's during the night. They had no luxuries only a small fan to cool them, yet they kept themselves occupied. We would go to the beach about 3ish when it cooled.
And what a beach, Bafra. We found it via some friends of his who were staying nearby. It is hidden down very pot holed road, past some semi derelict villages. Only a few locals know or knew of its location. Now the beach has been carved up by conglomerates into grotesque hotels and casinos. It is heartbreaking when it was such a beautiful sheltered place, perfect for families, with two local beach cafes. Some families even lived here during the summer, it was so idyllic. Now locals are not even allowed in the hotels.
His cousins house, very rural, my girls have even threaded tobacco leaves here. Not all houses are like this, another cousin lives in a small palace up the road. He made million servicing black cabs.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
This is a page from an old Habitat catalogue. I love the composition, but look closely and the reality is a draughty leaky barn! but I love the lifestyle envy it tries to sell.
I cut this picture from a very old Casa Vogue I have not got a clue who this woman is, but she epitomises everything I want to be.
Lastly a page from American Elle. I have always liked the way this magazine is edited by Giles Bensimon and I also love many of the photo shoots he has done for Elle over the years.