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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Frock Me

The dress of your dreams

Written by Morgan Allen-Oliver

Recently discussing with a fellow fashion blogger the growing interest in the Scandinavian fashion world, information pills treatment she quipped that it was very easy for Scandinavians to be fashionable; after all, link each and every one of them seem to be all long legs and white blonde hair. Her remark seemed to suggest that perhaps the Scandinavians have no street style genius or imaginative flair when it comes to dressing. Indeed, sale the stereotype of beautiful dumb models hailing from the North of Europe is far from rare – but there’s something going on over there that’s worth a bit of investigating.

Taking just one look at street style websites Lookbook or the Face Hunter confronts us with the fresh new faces of Scandinavian fashion. The majority of the most ‘hyped’ looks on Lookbook come from sassy, fashionable (and often very young) North Europeans, hailing from Stockholm, Helsinki and beyond. Indeed, for a clear picture of Swedish success on Lookbook, just look at “Shelley M, 18 year old art student and blogger from Sweden,” with her knack of combining little girl cuteness (headbands and bows) with serious sex appeal (short black skirts and lace) topped off with crazy heels and splashes of kitsch accessories straight out of Tatty Devine.

And she’s not a lone phenomenon. Sporting brave and bold urban prints in vivid colours, these bright young things from Scandinavian meccas of style exude a perfect blend of 90s skate culture with CluelessCher Horowitz, with her high school polished, blonde doll-faced perfection. See Amelia’s Magazine’s recent articles on Daniel Palillo and CTRL for examples of this kind of styling, something that appears to be truly specific to the Scandinavians. The 90s, it seems, are the nostalgic wardrobe reference du jour here, embodying past positivity and youth in a pre-doom and gloom world of the new millennium.

Ever since the Swedish Institute’s exhibition – ‘Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity’ – launched at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum this February, Scandinavian fashion has seen a markedly rising profile in the fashion world. Celebrating a new wave of Swedish design talent, the exhibition questioned the static view that fashion blooms only in the eponymous fashion capitals of Paris, London, New York and Milan. In fact, this collection instead raised the debate over whether globally, we neglect fashion from all four corners of the globe at the cost of fresher and more interesting approaches to design, simply because they have traditionally been ignored by the industry.

Ann-Sofie Back must be considered one of the most influential and successful of these designers, with her place at London Fashion Week and her capsule collection for Topshop, not to mention her collaboration with that uber-successful Swedish brand, Cheap Monday. As seen at her s/s 09 collection, Back is unafraid to incorporate social comment into her shows, holding celebrity obsession with plastic surgery up to ridicule with her bandaged and felt-tipped models.

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But then, there are also the clothes. Back’s most recent collection sported ripped and distressed pieces supposedly representing ‘Ann-Sofie Back goes to Hell’. Striking the balance can be near-impossible, yet she really knows how to shock whilst also providing wearable fashion pieces.

And Back’s not the only one causing a stir. Joining her from the recent exhibition for particular note are Sandra Backlund, Helena Horstedt and Martin Bergström, who showcased similarly effortless Scandinavian cool.

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If you saw our feature on Backlund’s knitwear in recent weeks, you’ll know that it is really something special; with oversize knotting and draping, with the designs exude wooly coziness whilst remaining edgy and thoroughly modern. Alongside Backlund stands Horstedt whose work focuses on intricacy of shape in order to create highly fascinating designs that swirl and envelope the body with draping and fringing detail, all in solid black.

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Indeed, for both designers, it seems that the human body is paramount to their designs, with Backlund quoted as saying the it is her chief inspiration. Finally we have Bergström, who once again predominantly centres on futuristic shapes enveloping the body with volume, but in a more vivid aquamarine colour palette.

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It seems then, that the Finns and the Swedes are well and truly indulging in some kind of sartorial breakthrough at the moment. Whatever it is that’s doing it, there is undoubtedly something linking these North European designers spurring them into a fashion frenzy. Hopefully, the fashion world will take notice, and we will be joining the likes of Shelley M in her fashion credentials all too soon.

What I find so fascinating, search bewildering and ultimately beautiful about Japan can all be found in Shu Okada, site and her stunning watercolour illustrations. Perfectly and carefully rendered, aesthetically desirable but with undertones of the dark and unspoken, her work is enchanting and haunting in equal measures. Okada is true to her Japanese roots though she now chooses to reside in the more artistically liberal city of New York from where she not only illustrates, but blogs, photographs and produces animation.

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One of the most important things I think for an artist to do is to take themselves out of their comfort zones and immerse their entire beings in different worlds, different cities, different cultures, and that is exactly what Okada has achieved and she’s still only in her early twenties. Her creative passion has taken her around the globe in search of inspiration; schooling in Switzerland, a spell at St Martins, some time at Parsons New School for Design, and already her work has been recognised and awarded by Bologna Book Fair, New Ink Cover Design and New York Times.

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We talked about Kimonos, moving around the world and where to find inspiration, our conversation follows below.

Hello, how are you today?

Good! August is my birth month, so I am very excited now.

What have you been doing recently?

I just finished my college life this summer, so now I have a lot of time to paint and draw anything I want.

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What materials or mediums do you like to work with best?

I like to experiment with different media such as watercolour, ink, and oil paint. Recently I’ve been using watercolour and colour pencil the most. I like how watercolour shows differently when it is wet and dry.

How is the New York art scene different from the Tokyo art scene? What made you decide to leave Japan?

New York is mix of many different cultures and nationalities. I feel that New York art has more variety than in Japan. Also, the attitude of illustrators is slightly different in New York. Before I came here, I thought illustration was about comics (manga) or animations for young kids. I decided to come to New York to see how other cultures see art.

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What inspires your work?

Knowledge is very important, not just for art, but also for living. So now I am trying to read books and watch different kinds of movies when I have time. It doesn’t necessarily need to connect to my art directly, but I believe it helps my way of thinking. Also, I get inspiration from architecture and I sometimes travel to other countries and like to imagine people’s lives there.

How long do the illustrations usually take you to do?

Watercolour has to be quick, because when it is dry, I can’t fix it. So when I start putting watercolour, it doesn’t take a long time to paint at all…but if I make any mistakes, I have to repaint it all over again.

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At what age did you realise you were creative?

My dream was always related to art. When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a fashion designer, and when I was in junior high school, my dream was to be a trumpeter. However, I knew these dreams were just dreams. The time I decided to follow my creativity was in high school. I went to a high school in Switzerland and the way they thought was different from Japan. After we made something in art class, we had a critique time, which was unusual for a Japanese high school. At that time, I realized how I love to show my art to other people and decided to study art more.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I have no idea where I will be living because I am constantly moving around the world; such as Switzerland, New York, London, Tokyo, and Kanazawa. What I am sure about is that I will have a cute dog and I will name it “Maru the 6th” (my family’s dog is always named “Maru”), and painting everyday.

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Besides art and photography, what are you passions or interests in life?

Kimono is traditional clothing that is still worn in Japan. However, there are many rules about the choice of patterns, colours, and fabric. Because my family works in the Kimono business, I have always wanted to study the Kimono. One of my passions is to study the Kimono and become a Kimono teacher.

Which are your favourite artists/illustrators/photographers?

For now, I like Makoto Aida, a Japanese artist. When I first saw his paintings, I couldn’t move for long time.

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Tell us a secret!

Follow your mind!

Sound advice from a lady who obviously tastes her own medicine.
Emma Puntis

Supplement
31 Temple Street
Bethnal Green
London E2 6QQ

25th July – 16th August
Thursday – Sunday 12 – 6pm

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“Emma Puntis, hospital a Chelsea College of Art and Design graduate, paints strangely intense small-scale portraits. The images which act as inspiration for her work are collected from a wide range of sources, from contemporary family snapshots to historical documents of early photography and traditional landscape painting. In translating these images into paintings she suggests a puzzling connection between these apparently disparate snapshots.”

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A Tradition I Do Not Mean To Break

176 Gallery
176 Prince of Wales Road
London NW5 3PT

Until 16th August
Thursday & Friday 11am-3pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm
Other times by appointment

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Continuing with the theme of music and folklore at the 176 Gallery, this exhibition promises exciting new audiovisual work including films by David Blandy, Henry Coombes and Tereza Bušková, and will be presented alongside works, by the same artists, from the Zabludowicz Collection.Each artist explores a particular cultural subject with which they strongly identify, using myth, custom and symbolism, delving into gothica, melancholy and opulence.

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Make Do and Mend

V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Rd
London, E2 9PA

Until 8th November
Monday – Sunday 10am to 5:45pm

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“Make Do and Mend combines the work of contemporary designers and local schoolchildren. Jon Male, Lou Rota and Max McMurdo rework salvaged domestic and industrial waste to create stylish, quirky new products. The exhibition is based around a display of objects which have been salvaged and refashioned to make useful new items, with an eye on both the environment and the wallet. Anti-waste wartime tips on cutting excessive consumption have an obvious resonance in today’s economic climate and the campaign to salvage, recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint is also impacting on design.”

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Team Lump: DIY Rapture

Cell Project Space
258 Cambridge Heath Rd
London, E2 9DA

Until 2nd August
Friday – Sunday 12pm – 6pm

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A fascinating discussion on the culture of cults in America lead by native art collective Team Lump, collaborating nicely with drawing, sculpture, painting and film & music. With a focus on the social and political unrest surrounding cults, founder Bill Thelen presents the group who are connected by a DIY aesthetic and a self publishing ethic.
Team Lump Collective, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Leah Bailis, Jerstin Crosby Josh Rickards, Bill Thelen ,Tory Wright

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Village Fete Jubilee

V&A
Cromwell Rd
London SW7 2RL

24th July 6.30-10pm
25th July 1-5pm
Admission: £3
Kids 12 years and under: 50p and must be accompanied by an adult

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This year the V&A’s famous Village Fete goes POP ! with the aid of our fabulous sponsors French Connection and just a few balloons. This balloon popping extravanganza is brought to you by Scarlet Projects and Mark Garside. Once again, we bring you the best and most extraordinary in contemporary British design and creative practice. Never has Splat The Rat, coconut shies and homemade jam seemed so much fun. Many thanks go to all the designers taking part in the Fete for their wonderful ideas, their time and their energy.

Highlights:

Carl Clerkin Goes -BING!
Bada Bingo
Kieron Baroutchi, Carl and Cavan Clerkin, Danny Clarke, Gitta Gschwendtner, Rosie Irvine and Ed Ward do Bada Bingo. This years cultural roulette has a distinct Italian American flavor. Cigars, revolving costumes and plenty of drama and of course everyones a winner at the Bing.

Here’s One I Made Ea rlier Goes -Rustle!
Pick ‘n’ Mix Bags
Make like an eco magpie and delve into our pick ‘n’ mix selection of bits and bobs for you to stamp, stick and style your own unique canvas bag. Perfect for transporting your stash of fete goodies!!

Tatty Devine Goes -hoopla!
Welcome to The Ring Master!
The trusty Tatty team will be handing out giant rings for you to throw onto the giant ring master’s hands. If you manage to get a ring on any finger then you win either a Tatty Devine moustache ring or a limited edition hand shaped ring made especially for the fete. Ready Steady. . .Tatty Hoop la!

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Candy Coated Canvas

London Miles Gallery
212 Kensington Park Road
Notting Hill
London W11 1NR

24th July – 24th August
Tuesday / Wednesday : 10am to 6pm
Thursday : 11am to 8pm
Friday: 10am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 7pm

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“Candy Coated Canvas is a themed group exhibition showcasing unique artworks by various established and emerging international talent. All artists have been asked to take inspiration from the title “Candy Coated Canvas” and create a unique art piece which is visually extremely colourful and playful, whilst sparking up memories of childhood, sweets, fantasy lands and those naughty but nice pleasures in life.”

Exhibiting artists include:
D’ Holbachie Yoko, Matthew Bone, Zoe Lacchei, Tadaomi Shibuya, Mike Bilz, Lost Fish, Ryan Myers, Sebastian Otto, Scrumptious Delight, Robert Tirado, Rudi Fig, Natalie Shau, Jade Klara, David Palumbo, Luke Kopycinski, Amanda Riley, KuKula,
Tiffany Liu
For me, sildenafil albums by bands I love leaking pre-release onto the internet is not dissimilar to that childhood dilemma of deciding whether to peek at your birthday presents too early ( I say “childhood”-I’m 23 and I still do it), advice you can’t really imagine not doing it but you always feel guilty for the gift-giver afterwards.
Extended metaphors aside, I personally have fallen both sides of the download/ not download leaks even though I always buy the album when it comes out. I always seem to be sitting on my hands trying not to click ‘download’ (Veckatimest, Spring 2009) or staring down at them in shame whilst I enjoy the album guiltily like you would a 5-7 love affair in a seedy hotel after 20 years of separate bed pious marriage (Merriweather Post Pavillion, Christmas Eve 2008).

So this is why when news of the Dodos‘ Time to Die reached my beady music geek eyes, I abstained from scouring Rapidshare links in a darkened room. I’ve turned over a new leaf and besides the Dodos’ fun jingle-jangle psychedelic folk pop offerings; ‘Beware of the Maniacs’ and ‘Visiter’ were pretty much my go-to albums of last summer; we danced at parties and took many a long train journey together so I pretty much owed them some of my very low self-restraint levels.

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Imagine my relief when I got the golden tickets of emails from the Dodos’ PR and all round good- guys; Radar Maker heralding (in what I imagine to be a peeling of bells and rippling fanfares) that the Dodos have embraced the leak of Time to Die, that the band have even released a high quality stream of the album on the website and a video of the band telling me it’s OK to listen to it as long as I buy the album when it’s released. My palms sweaty at the anticipation of revisiting last summer’s aural romance I click the link to listen.

‘Small Deaths’ opens the album in typical Dodos foot-stomping fashion and I’m reminded of just how rousing their drums are as my toes begin a-tapping under my desk and of their happy/sad blend that I vibed last summer; how heartbreakingly nostalgic their lyrics are, and how they contrast so nicely with the childlike simple happiness of their melodies. It also ends with a nice shoegaze noise which is exciting.

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The album continues with all the best parts of the previous two albums, their awesome guitar strumming/ danceable drums that sound like this is going to be the soundtrack to the best day of your life, noticeable on ‘Fables’ and ‘Longform’. Yet there is a definite sense of new things being tried out; there is a definite nod to shoegaze and ‘Time to Die’ is more electric sounding than it’s predecessors; ‘This is the Business’ starts of sounding like Simon and Garfunkel moving into some Pavement-esque riffs and ending somewhere totally new. Two Medicines is a stand out track for me; it starts of with, and is held together by an acapella harmonious chant; like if Brian Wilson was in a Barbershop quartet with Animal Collective circa Sung Tongs; then add some 90s guitar riffs again contrasting with a lush sounding xylophones and glockenspiels slipping and sliding away in the background.

‘Troll Nacht’ starts with the most intense xylophone solo not unlike the music they’d play whilst someone was trying to answer an important question on a quiz show melting into some gentle guitar plucking loops and sad quiet vocals, then it explodes into something bigger and exciting, I can feel my year-old summer romance with the Dodos warming up again. ‘Acorn Factory’ follows on seamlessly in it’s folky simplicity. Time to Die ends the album in a grandiose fashion, it kind of sounds like if My Bloody Valentine swapped black for plaid, moved to the country and developed a penchant for folk, which lets’ face it is always going to sound awesome. Dare I name their new exciting tryst with shoegaze mixed with their old folky, psychedelic ways; Birkenstock-gaze? I think so.

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Time to Die is everything you could want in a new album from a band you love; enough of the things you loved about them before with a definite sense of new things being tried out.

So say thank you to the Dodos (Thank You The Dodos!) for their infinite talent and the good vibes to streaming the album by buying/ downloading Time to Die when it comes out; I can promise you that it is worth it, it will be the soundtrack to the best summer you could have, with none of the sweaty guilt of illicit downloading!
In the mean time kids: Just Say No (and stream instead)…and ermm…Stay In School.

You can stream the album here.
Time to Die will be available physically on 31st August in the UK on Wichita Recordings
and metaphysically (to download) on 27th July.

Monday 20th July

The Truth about Climate Change by Sir David Attenborough

A film screening of Sir David Attenborough’s personal journey to discover how global warming is changing the planet he knows so well. Examining the evidence for this confusing phenomenon, cost Sir David find out what’s causing it and whether mankind is to blame. From Hurricane Katrina to the glacier ice crashing into the sea, visit this site Attenborough discovers it’s a race against time. Starving polar bears and the first direct victims of global warming, the recently extinct golden toad, demonstrates that the danger for humanity may not be far behind. David explores the personal and technological changes we can make to avert catastrophe.

7.30pm – upstairs at the Arcola Theatre.

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DIY Solar Hot Water Course in Spain

Over five mornings course attendees will construct two clip fin solar hot water panels. Attendees will learn how to solder copper piping, basic plumbing, how to install solar hot water collectors and be given an introduction to system design and sizing. 280 euros high waged, 230 euros medium waged, 180 euros low waged. Courses attendees are eligible to a 20% reduction in the normal Sunseed rates for a period of 1-3 weeks before or after the course.

Contact: Sunseed Apdo 9 04270 Sorbas Almería Spain (0034) 950 525 770 www.sunseed.org.uk
E-mail: sunseedspain@arrakis.es
www.sunseed.org.uk

Tuesday 21st July

From ‘me’ to ‘we’

Mark Earls discusses the emergence of the “social revolution” in marketing management and social policy, the changing focus from individual, narrow, goals-oriented thinking to a broader, community-led approach.

Contact: lectures@rsa.org.uk
1pm – RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2

Wednesday 22nd July

Demonstration to save Vestas Wind Turbine factory

Take to the streets to protest the imminent closure of the only wind turbine factory in the UK.

Contact: info@campaigncc.org
6pm – outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London

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Vestas-built wind farm, Black Banks, Ireland

Thursday 23rd July

Resurgence Readers Weekend & Camp

A unique event bringing together Resurgence readers, speakers and supporters. Share four days of stimulating discussion, music, dance, crafts and walks with fellow readers and contributors to the magazine at this year’s camp. The Resurgence Summer Camp is hosted by Green and Away – Europe’s only tented conference centre situated on an idyllic site near Malvern, Worcestershire. Organic food, wood-burning showers, crafts, electricity from the sun and wind, and saunas.

Contact: Resurgence, Ford House, Hartland, Bideford, Devon EX39 – info@resurgence.org
Dates: Thursday 23 Jul 2009 to Sunday 26 Jul 2009 – Green and Away, Worcester

Friday 24th July

Peace News Summer Camp

Come to the Peace News Summer Camp and join people from across the broad spectrum of the British peace movement for five days of exploration, celebration and empowerment. Bring your contribution to a hothouse of creativity, a small self-governed society run by democratic camp meetings, a viable example of the kind of world we are trying to bring about. The Peace News Summer Camp helps build a radical movement for the future by building a living community today.

from Thursday 23rd to Monday 27th July – Faringdon, Oxfordshire
Find out all about it, here.

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Saturday 25th July

Furniture Conservation

Bring your own furniture and repair/re-polish/refurbish it with the help of Anne Holden, a former professional furniture restorer. Suitable work would be small repairs, French polishing, stripping and re-polishing, surface cleaning and revival, replacing missing bits of veneer etc. Bring several pieces if possible as it may be necessary to leave stripped or glued furniture to dry for a period.

No previous experience necessary. Tools are available for loan but bring your own if you have them and learn how to sharpen them. Materials will be provided, but a small charge will be made if large quantities are used.

Contact: Anne Holden – 01787 229955 – info@assingtonmill.com
9.30am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday – Assington Mill, Suffolk

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Photo : Brenda Hochachka

Sunday 26th July

Annual Bug Hunt at RSPB Rainham Marshes

If you like bugs then our expert ‘Spiderman’ will show you the small wonders of the natural world. From Wasp Spiders to Devils Coachman – we hope to find them all. Bring a packed lunch as this will be a fun packed day. Booking Essential.

RSPB Members: £3.50, WEX members: £1.50, Adult non members: £7, child non members: £3

11am – 4pm – RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet. RM19 1SZ

Contact: RSPB Rainham Marshes – 01708 899840 – Rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Summer is here in a crashing bundle of thunderclouds- check out this weeks music listings- there more electrifying than the lightening we’ve been having. Prepared to be shocked (in the good way).

Monday 20th July 2009
DM Stith, and Hoxton Bar and Grill, patient London

DM Stith comes to our humble shores on a swell of strings and a flicker of guitar plucking. There is something creepy and beautiful about his whispering lilting voice on Heavy Ghost debut LP (Asthmatic Kitty), sickness and indeed he sounds like a ghostly take on the man with the guitar type. If you like Bon Iver and being slightly frightened then this is for you.

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Tuesday 21st July 2009
Hjaltalin, The Lexington, London

After last week’s epic and magical múm gig, I’m hungry for more Icelandic music (and accents). Hjaltalin make lovely orchestral pop in the vein of Sufjan Stevens, complete with brass, woodwinds and magic! If anyone knows how to pronounce Hjaltalin- answers on a postcard to P.O BOX- Amelia’s Towers.

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Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Oh Minnows, Pure Groove, London

Oh Minnows, apart from having an awesome name, play the kind of synth heavy creepy pop that would fit oh-so perfectly into a David Lynch film, making me immeasurably happy and just slightly creeped out. Not to be missed for Twin Peaks geeks!

Thursday 23rd July 2009
Koko Von Napoo and Eugene Mc Guiness Buffalo Bar, London

Paris’ Koko Von Napoo do boy/girl, chic/spacey in equal measures. Fun pop that aims towards ESG mixed with John Maus. Eugene McGuinness shares the bill with his fun lo-fi folk that leans towards a vintage 50s vibe at times. He also has a song called “Fonz” which begs the question how could he possibly not be good?
DJs from both sides of the Channel follow.

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Friday 24th July 2009
Yacht, Pure Groove, London

Given the current economic climate, here is the 2nd free gig at Pure Groove I’ve included this week. Oregon’s finest electronica outfit and general heroes Yacht will blow your mind and your socks off. If you come, I’ll save you a dance and a high five.

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Saturday 25th July 2009
Au Revoir Simone, Proud Galleries, London

You may remember a few months ago a lucky member of the Amelia’s Magazine team got to interview Au Revoir Simone, and see them live afterwards, ok, she did an excellent job but since that point my resentment and jealousy have been festering in secret, but now I breathe a sigh of relief and jump for joy as they’re playing again and I pipped the other interns to the post at the chance to see them. Not only do they have the best legs in music, they continue to make beautiful and melodic pop music.
Support from Swedish Those Dancing Days who play organ-tinged girly Northern Soul .

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What does a girl look for after finding the perfect pair of shoes? I might have hazarded a guess at the perfect man, there but in this post- Sex and the City and post-feminist world, the general consensus amongst my female friends seemed to be that more important than having a man about to put up shelves (etc) was having the most beautiful dress, made to fit them perfectly.

And I know of just the place to look.Makemeadress.com is the brainchild of Alexandra King, a fashion designer with a love of all things pretty, vintage and girly. Customers get to choose every part of the dress to create a one off, unique garment. There is a choice of ten top halves and six bottom halves, so you simply flick through the sketches to find your perfect match. Then there is the huge choice of fabrics, with everything ranging from stunning silks and satins to practical cottons and gorgeous assortment of vintage fabrics for the true, one-of-a-kind look.

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With a studio next door to her house by a Somerset river, Alexi’s surroundings are a far cry from the harsh edges of the London catwalks, instead infusing fashion and dressmaking with that that often elusive sense of warmth and romance. Dropping by her house for tea, I somehow always make sure to find the time to rummage through her extensive archive of the very best pieces she has collected over the years. Being a lifelong friend I know the sheer number of pies this fashionista has her delicate little fingers in! There is the mothership, www.alexandra-king.com: simply reading the glowing testimonials from grateful clients it is not hard to see that this is a designer definitely worth her salt. This is the place to find bespoke wedding dresses (again made to measure) lingerie and key pieces from past and present collections. Then there is the eBay shop, a mecca for vintage lovers to pick up carefully selected on off pieces. And it is not just e-commerce that Mrs King deals in. Alexandra also works for St. Peters Hospice in Bristol, sorting through donations to help the charity with her fashionable eye. Finally, jewellery is another passion, with Alexi creating statement pieces to perfectly set off an outfit and hats for any occasion.

Multitalented? Yes ma’am.

What inspired you to set up the site?

I graduated in fashion design in 2005 and had to choose whether I moved to London to find a job or to stay in the countryside to work for myself. I chose the latter and have been designing my own vintage range for boutiques since then, along with running my vintage store. Makemeadress came along when I wanted to combine the individuality of the one off vintage dresses with my own designs. It needed to compete in the fashion market against the likes of Topshop and boutiques by offering the customer a unique service that they couldn’t get on the high street .

What is it you love about vintage dresses?

Everything! They are usually so beautifully made and the fabrics are just so exciting. I’m a collector also and you can get quite addicted to finding specific pieces by designers, especially after you have read their books! It’s lovely to own a little piece of fashion history before we had such mass- produced garments.

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Who makes and designs the dress once the order has been processed & where, are they made at home?

At the moment I design and do a little bit of making at my studio. I also have a small group seamstresses local to me who are fabulous at what they do. I’m hoping to bring some other designers in on the project in the future so that there is a wider range of styles.

How much input can the customer have with regards to colour, fabric and style?

With MMaD the customer can really create whatever they want. If they can’t see something they like, they can always send a photo in and we’ll make up the dress for them. I would really like to expand the range of colours and fabrics and hopefully this will be achieved on the upcoming website.

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Is £97 your set price…or do the prices vary?

I wanted to keep the dresses under £100 to make them accessible to all, and it’s the set price for all the MMaD dresses. The website will be offering one off ready to wear dresses which may be a little more expensive depending on the work that has gone into them. I believe in paying the seamstresses a fair price for thier work, not cutting corners by using poor quality fabrics and being sensible about profits which go straight back into the buisness.

How do you deal with problem of measuring the customer, if orders are processed over eBay?

This was one of the initial problems I was most aware of. The website will have a clear size guide, a guide on how to measure yourself and we do also offer an alteration service free of charge if the dress doesn’t fit first time. The customers have been quite good so far at measuring themselves and getting it right. Only a couple of blips like when a bridesmaid ate too much for lunch and then couldn’t fit into her dress when it arrived. Luckily it was fine the next day! Selling vintage clothing has given me a lot of experience in measuring and fitting for the cutomers.

How long does it take to make and dispatch the dress to the customer?

Each MMaD dress is cut once we have the order, nothing can be pre-made. Once it’s cut, the dress is sewn by the seamstress and then packed and delivered within two weeks to the customer. All produced in the local area.

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Are you finding that’s there is a high demand for vintage style dresses at the moment?

It’s huge and I think it always will be. Sites like eBay and etsy have just made buying vintage clothing more accessible and people who are interested in fashion in any way, will always love it. The only worry is that all those vintage dresses will run out, but then hopefully you will have MMaD!

If you could describe your service in a few sentences what would you say?

Create the dress of your dreams…. your style, your colour, your dress. It’s all about you! And if you’re not sure, you can have one of the fabulous dresses we made earlier!

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