Monday, 30 September 2013

Tokophobia


Another 'let's shove a tutu up my clothes and pretend it's Comme in an attempt to procrastinate packing' post.

Mosaic dress is by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, I made the skirt myself when I was like 14 out of fabric I bought on holiday in Cornwall and the converse are well...they're converse. No cool back story there. Oh and of course the big red tutu underneath is from my attic. Exclusive!

Aside from the obvious lumps and bumps reference, and again Arabelle's recreation of it, I was also thinking about Cher in Clueless, I mean when isn't she a valid reference for an outfit post?! Riddle me that! Rosemary's Baby, trangsty nightmares about being pregnant (gag), the Rave Nana collection for this season's House of Holland, Rookie's Transformation theme and the rainbow girls of Comme S/S 1996.


Freakishly long arms a la Mr Tickle= the formative aesthetic of a/w 2013

My creation had unravelled by this point, tutu trying to escape the womb of my dress. Gross.


Also I watched Tavi's lecture from the Sydney Opera house (which is amazing and you should stop what you're doing and watch it right now) and I was so happy to see my lil art piece included in it! I srsly danced for joy. No lie. 

Hope you guys are having a super duper Monday, or at least not a totally terrible one.

Love always,

Bethany

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Gogo Yubari Fanclub


 Hallo. And a happy Sunday to you my dear. This what I'm wearing today. 


H and M shirt with ribbon bow attached, J.W. Anderson for Topshop jumper,  H and M skirt, Primark creepers, hugeee tutu thing I found in the attic when I was meant to be packing for Oxford. I hate packing, shuddup. All the credit for the Comme inspired composition goes to this post by Arabelle.

I got the H and M eye skirt yesterday, it was only £7.99 and is pretty much the closest I'm gonna get to Kenzo's evil eye range. I lub me some evil eyes, I kinda see them as a lil nod to my Middle Eastern and North African heritage? No? Maybe. Sorta? It's nice to quietly honour my ancestry without pulling some Mother Africa white girl shit.

 Same goes for the plaits coz plaits are the bestest even if my ends are nasty.

Aside from that my influences for this outfit are exclusively Japanese:

 -Comme des Garcons fall 2008 with its marker red netting.

-The lumpy muffin top days of Comme S/S 1997.

-And morbid school girl vibes from Gogo Yubari.

Being inspired by Japanese culture is tricky. It's easy, as a person of color, to cross the line from being interested and inspired by Japanese fashion, film and pop culture (not that Quentin Tarantino is authentic Japanese culture, but y'kno, generally speaking!) and being a fetishising weeaboo creep who perpetuates a particularly ugly brand of double edged racism by denying their own heritage and, instead, appropriating and fetishising a warped, Westernised perception of another person's culture. 

I wanna be mindful of that.



The only modelling work I get is for medical textbooks. That would be a really good insult if it wasn't directed at myself. 


So yeah, that's all folks! 

Hope you're having a brilliant weekend. Or at least a weekend that doesn't involve dressing up in ridiculous outfits to avoid packing for uni. 

Love always,

Bethany

xox

Friday, 27 September 2013

That's so last season!


Me in the J/W Anderson for Topshop bat jumper, Christmas, 2012

So I wore my J.W. Anderson bat jumper the other day. It was on a trip to London and I was so excited to wear it again after a long, hot summer. If this was in Bristol it would be w/ever. Here the focus is on high street fashion, we do love our Primark. And why not? Primark is awesome. I have honestly, genuinely, formed soul connecting bonds over the Christmas jumpers in Primark. But I dunno, ppl in London are more savvy, less body con dresses, more side eye.I started to worry that ppl were gonna think I was a total fashion victim. "Poor dear, twelve months too late." Cos I would have srsly looked Bang on Trend (cringe) if this was 2012. Why? Cos Alexa:



But this isn't 2012. And what happens to Must Have Items come next autumn? Are they packed off to an orphanage a la Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, once their owners have outgrown them with the passing seasons. And what about ppl like me who bought that jumper because they saw it in the Topshop magazine and thought it was the most wonderful jumper they'd ever seen. And promised themselves, if they got the job, they'd buy it as a congratulations to themselves. And they did. And they wore it on their first day. And now me and the bat jumper have a history. I don't wanna start blanking it in the hallways cos now everyone else is sucking up to a pink M and S coat. Sure that coat is lovely, but my jumper is lovely too. I don't see why there can't be room on the popular kids table for the both of them y'kno?

It makes me think of this interview in Dazed, a conversation piece between Simone Rocha and Simone Bourgeois' assistant Jerry Gorovoy. This extract in particular:


Simone Rocha: I hope it does transcend time because fashion is something I don’t feel should be disposable. It’s about having a relationship to it, whether it’s how it makes them feel, or how they feel when they’re in it with somebody else. Things should be made in a beautiful way even if it is taken from a dark place; even if you’re designing a t-shirt, it should have a soul. If you treat it with sensitivity it should have longevity.

Dazed: I think it has a lot to do with memories: this idea that garments can hold memories and they become specific to a certain time and emotional connection.

Louise Bourgeois never threw anything out, instead turning her old clothes into art works:
  


Louise Bourgeois - PINK DAYS AND BLUE DAYS, 1997 Steel, fabric, bone, wood, glass, rubber and mixed media 297.1 x 220.9 x 220.9 cm.Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Photo: Peter Bellamy, © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by DACS

Our most recent histories so often seem the most alien, the most embarrassing. I am much kinder to seventeen-year-old Bethany than I am to twenty-year-old Bethany. And applying that same logic to fashion I totally get how tripping out in 2012 fashion is seen as a bit of a dick move.





Louise Bourgeois - COUPLE I, 1996. Fabric, hanging piece 203.2 x 68.6 x 71.1 cm.Photo: Christopher Burke, © The Easton FoundationARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by the Artist Rooms Foundation 2013

But I am tied to the twenty-one winters that come before me. Twenty-one Christmases, twenty-two birthdays, twenty-one jumpers. There are sad things in those years. There is trauma and ill health. But there is also some really cute clothes. Why must I honour the former and not the latter? Perhaps we should not be so quick to forget the beautiful things of last season. The items that filled us with childlike wonder and turned brown paper shopping bags into Christmas stockings. There are ugly things in fashions' past, and I am not ordering you to wear your shameful soft grunge history like a scarlet letter. But if there is something magical in your wardrobe, that makes you feel lovely and special when it cradles your body. Treasure it. I have no time for deprivation. No time at all.           

 

Sore.

Sister to this post. 




1945, College age girl trying out lipstick colors (Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures), “Reclining Bacchante" by Félix Trutat, Allen Grubesic, I was Young... (2007)



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

"I Suppose it doesn't help that underneath our clothes, our entire bodies are covered in scales."




“Clothes are about what you want to hide.” 
-Louise Bourgeois 




Man Ray, l'enigme d'isidore ducasse, Audition, Dorothy Tanning, Pincushion to serve as fetish, Audition

A Trip to the British Museum

I went to the British Museum last Saturday. The Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition gave me nightmares. And the African art lives in the basement so I dunno.





The Coronation Of Haile Selassie, 1930, The Pugilist, George Libarga,  Hogaku-za naikei (Inside the Hogakuza Cinema) / Ichimokushu (First Thursday Collection

    Sunday, 22 September 2013

    Cherry Bomb


      

    Hi! Hello! This is the outfit I wore yesterday.



    Weird knees, unladylike posture, vacant expression. 

    I bought this necklace from the Christian festival Green Belt (I never said I was cool ok) years and years ago. Last time I wore it a girl I used to go to church group with told me it looked like boiled sweets that had gone all hairy and sticky from sitting at the back of the sofa for months and months. That's one of the nice things about dressing up, people come up to you and say the most unexpected, delightful things.

    The kilt and teddy jumper is from this season's Topshop range, I went to the mall on Friday to get it and they have some really sweet pieces. A combination of Clueless poptones and pastel hued Hitchcock dead girls. I think one of my favourite things about this season's candy colored sweetness is the nasty stickiness that undercuts it. Like Prada's fall campaign all gingham and greasy hair. Or how Sessilee Lopez turns cosy cuteness on its head with a leather dungaree dress and a grey wooly jumper for September's Italian Marie Claire. 

    The polkadot satchel is from Primark and is my official back to skool bag. The knee high socks are from Primark too and act as further fodder for this Alicia Silverstone appreciation post. The hair clip is from Camden and contributes to the cloying cuteness of this outfit. 


    I've been thinking a lot about cuteness actually.



    Cuteness is complicated. Girlhood is complicated. It's not as simple as fashion writers like Hadley Freeman make out. I should note I do really respect Hadley, but when it comes to certain topics, like animal hats and Beyonce, I totally disagree with her!  Sure we can cut up trends, start conversations, think about how certain aesthetics enforce the idea of white women as precious bluest eye dolls. This stuff is important! But when it comes to the 'individual' things get blobby and blurry and hard, fast do's and don'ts no longer apply. They no longer apply because you do not know the history of that adult woman in an animal hat or pastel mittens. The adult woman who you sneer at in your big newspaper has a history. And you do not know one bit of that history.



    Clothes are more than fashion. One of the reasons I chose this jumper was because I knew I would find the fleece fabric comforting and the teddy bear reassuring when anxiety was pressing hard against my chest. I am on the 'learning difficulties' spectrum myself and it saddens me that so few people consider that, hey, maybe a smiling animal face, or a brightly coloured fabric, might bring comfort to a vulnerable person. Going out is scary to a lot of people. And the simple act of putting on a warm, bunny eared hat can make all the difference. That way you can bring a part of yourself into an alien and unfriendly world. Whether this may seem 'childish' to a fashion critic is neither here nor there. And the hierarchy of what a functional adult 'should' be, 'should' wear is ableist and gross. 



    The piled up jewellery  with its happy rainbow colours and cartoon animal rings owes all the debts to FRUiTS magazine. 


    Photographing jewellery is hard so I resorted to the scanner! Pink Catholic bracelet from Madrid, Mickey Mouse bracelet was a gift from my Grandparent's visit to Disneyland, fimo liquorice allsorts bracelets and fimo cream puff bracelet from jominxcats on Ebay.


    Creme egg ring and iced gem ring also from jominxcats, bear ring from Accessorize, panda ring from irregular choice.

    Also I like how my fingers look like they're been broken in multiple points in this image. That's a nice touch. I guess. 

    And some random shots of my room, Elle Woods cheeriness, grotty neopet toy found in the back of my bed and Comme des Garcons ad in LOVE issue 7-





    I hope you guys are well and happy and are having the best weekend. It's pretty gloomy here, but I kind of like it y'kno?

    Love always,

    Bethany

    Friday, 20 September 2013

    Ugly Pretty Girls




    My new fun thing layering up all my old crappy clothes in the attempt of creating the illusion of one non-crappy outfit. Like 10 pieces of cheap-y high street tat piled on top of each other oh so carefully=one nice thing? Maybe? If you squint, take three steps back, turn round three times and then wander off and look at pretty LOVE editorials?

    Also, on a side note, I swear my skin colour looks different in every photo? What's with that? :S

    Lol. I have no idea if this outfit 'works' or not. But putting it together, all hopeful like, is most of the fun really! I don't have the nicest wardrobe and I'm bad at figuring out what goes with what. But that's okay. I worry too much about my uni work being 'perfect' or whatever. So it's nice to embrace my flaws, my failings, the uncomfortable outfits that don't quite work.



    Uniqlo t-shirt, shirt bought from Leather Lane Market in Farringdon, pleather topshop skirt, netted dress from Miss Selfridge, Primark bag and New Look boots.

    When I put this outfit together I was thinking about Comme Des Garcons bad fitting awkwardness, Tavi's wonderful skill for layering, Mi-na in the movie Doll Master, Asami in Audition, Klaus Nomi and Daphne Guiness. Whether I succeeded is another matter but I had fun so who cares really?







    I hope you've all been having a brilliant week, and as always, thank you for being here.

    Love always,

    Bethany

    Thursday, 19 September 2013

    Against Authenticity




    Pompeii Knoob. Third Wurld Tourist spies on Dead Europeans. 

    I am tired of being a good little yellow house elf for liberal whites. Offering up sad, sad stories like canapés at a dinner party. I think of how disappointed they must be if they saw this blog, with its stupid Primark outfits, valley girl tics and mac book selfies. And I start to smile.

    I've been thinking a bunch about ideas of the 'authentic' 'third world' person. The 'authentic' person of color. A construction so elaborate, so important they wouldn't trust someone like me to do the job right.  Well meaning white bbs have to wear my skin like a costume. Quite right too. I'd only mess it up, I mean I didn't even finish Edward Said's 'Orientalism'. I think of spammy emails in my junk mail, telling me I've won the lottery, email addresses with Arab and African names.



    This inevitably brings me back to the Gay Girl in Damscus blog, ick, ick, which I previously wrote about here


    I read this quote and it makes me feel weird:


    "In June 2011, it was revealed that Amina Abdallah Araf – the woman behind the A Gay Girl in Damascus blog – did not exist. The person behind it was revealed to be an American student at Edinburgh University, Tom McMaster. The disappointment was palpable; authenticity – on the web, and elsewhere – is a prized attribute, and when it is eroded, people understandably get angry."

    Amina was the perfect third wurld narrative. She was exactly what a Syrian girl should be, a photogenic fairytale, a middle aged dude living in Scotland. My blog will never be as authentic as hers. It will never be as authentic because I am a real person. That's why the Guardian was so ticked off. 


    I think of so called 'outsider' artists like Bill Traylor and Horace Pippin and am reminded of the "Pippin paradox". 

    "Is a black artist like Pippin caught in a dilemma in which he may be excluded because he is black (and therefore 'inferior') or be included because he is black (and therefor 'primitive')?"
    -Cornel West

    What do you think? By all means you can disagree. Unlike Amina this blog isn't gospel.



    And there is Meschac Gaba whose art originally wasn't accepted by the 'West'. Why? Cos the Benin born artist was not 'authentically' African. He wasn't self taught. And he lived in a city. Because urban life is contained to the civilised, self deprecating #firstworldproblems. I mean duh. 


    The artwork above is fabricated bank notes of European artists who appropriated African art. Picasso is shown as the President of Ghana. The bank notes are hanging from the money tree.



    But when I'm getting glum I remember Jenny Zhang's beautiful, beautiful piece for Rookie. Looking at how a single story drops dead when faced with a really cute outfit

    The piece itself is from the November 2011 Girl Gang issue. I should say that I'm not really into the whole 'girl gang' internet vibes. But, hey, that's another story for another day.

    The essay explains the fashion histories of American women of colour and the photographs of the internment camp Manzanar are the most dear to me. 

    Famous photographers came to the camp to capture bad things and pin them in their photo albums like dead butterflies. They wanted to get real sad pictures of sad girls in sad places. I wonder if they were more horrified to see the camps, or if it was the girls themselves that freaked them out. Girls with curled hair and confident smiling faces. Girls who were doing tragedy all wrong.  

    To quote Jenny again "we contain multitudes". And that doesn't mean real deep shit. Like that I'm secretly composing a tragic violin solo on Syria stuff, or whatever it is people expect me to be doing in my free time. It means after I publish this post and shut my laptop I'm gonna watch Dynamo: Magician Impossible and eat honeycomb. It may not be 'authentic' but it's the real, honest truth.