Fashion Faves – Saskia De Brauw
Nov30

Fashion Faves – Saskia De Brauw

I’m not a fashion photographer – or a photographer at all if I’m brutally honest – but if I were and I wanted a photoshoot with someone who could convey “mad as a bag of frogs” in her poses then it’s probably Dutch model Saskia de Brauw who I’d turn to. Here’s why. “Er… Saskia? Saskia?” “Uh huh? What?” “Just… wondering… er… what are you doing?” “It’s called a fashion pose.” “Is it now? And what, er, is it supposed to be?” “I’m miming. I’m trapped in a glass box scratching some records on the wheels of steel.” “Right. I see. Only… it’s just that… well, I just really wanted stern for this shot.” “Right, if you can just take a seat on the rock over there and HOLY SHIT! Sorry! You scared the crap out of me. What the hell are you wearing?” “Versace.” “What? No, no, I know it’s Versace. I meant that thing around your neck. What? Why?” “You said you were after a classical look for these shots, right?” “Yes.” “Elizabethan ruff. It really doesn’t get more classical than that.” “…” “I’m here for the punk spread.” “I… get that. Your hair, very punk. Just what I was after. Just one question?” “Shoot.” “What are you wearing?” “I killed a leopard and a bear at the zoo.” “Did you now?” “Yes. And I keep what I kill so I’m wearing their skins.” “Right you are then. John? John, there you are. Make a note: no more Necromongers. Thanks John. Okay Saskia, let’s make the best of this then before the police take you...

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The Hairstyles Of Adolf Hitler
Oct25

The Hairstyles Of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler – you’ve probably heard of him – had a style all his own. The Hitler moustache, of course, was fashioned after the comic actor Charlie Chaplin’s, whose movies were Hitler’s favourites; Chaplin, it has to be said, was not so fond of the films featuring the German leader. But when it came to hair only Hitler could get away with the slicked side parting. It was smart. It looked sharp, clean, leaderly. However, Hitler wasn’t always quite so dapper in the hair department. Despite attempts to remove from history all evidence of his previous dalliances with hair fashions in much the same way he tried to eradicate his occult connections during the Night of the Long Knives some previously unseen pictures have emerged from the darkness in recent years. Hitler was a massive fan of African and Caribbean music and a typical rally during his early political career would always start with something a little reggae, calypso, or Ghanaian polyrhythmical. Embracing those cultures led to the future despot sporting dreadlocks for a period. It wasn’t a massive leap of hairstyle logic to shift from dreadlocks – considered (rightly) by some of Hitler’s supporters as “looking like you haven’t washed in ages” – to the afro so that’s what the German leader did next. This move created such a backlash in Europe’s black communities who felt the charismatic chancellor was insulting them that Hitler retaliated by embarking on a white supremacy political and ideological platform. To appeal to the Nazi youth Hitler briefly employed a young stylist who transformed his look with lighter colours and soft curls. The style was mocked mercilessly and the stylist was forced to flee for her life. She survived and continued her styling career for decades to come. Her clients included Weird Al Yankovic and Kenny G. Towards the latter years of the nineteen thirties Hitler finally started to close in on what would become his trademark look. This final photo shows the penultimate transformation in the many hairstyles of historical madman Adolf Hitler. Robert Cesareo DeCicco, Todd Brent Schaus, Dave Johnson, Jesus Izquierdo liked this...

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Ridgid Tools Calendars
Oct18

Ridgid Tools Calendars

I’m not sure what route I took while clicking along the information superhighway (are all the kids still calling it that these days?) but I ended up in a little town of George Petty pin up girl artwork, liked what I saw, asked around, and then stumbled upon a calendar he’d produced for a company called Ridgid. You know how it is then; you have a few drinks and before you know it you’re staring at another calendar, only this one’s from the 1970s, not the 1950s, and you’re quite impressed by just how things have changed, yet stayed the same. All of which is a poorly prosaic way of saying I’d like to showcase some of those images from the calendars right here. It’s the sort of thing I do. These images came from these two Flickr albums: 1975-6 Ridgid Tools Calendar and Blog Photos but there are plenty of other sources. 1953 Calendar The 1953 calendar for Ridgid Tools is the one by artist George Petty. The 1950s was a time of innuendo. Why look! It’s a small woman with a large tool between her legs! This woman is touching a knob at the end of a long shaft. What can the underlying message be? Astride a tool, ready to get it all lubricated while a knob is pressed up against her backside. Filth! Well now, that posture can’t be good for her back. Health and safety rules were clearly different back then. And working with machinery in ballet shoes? Things really have changed. 1975-76 Calendar The two year calendar for Ridgid Tools was photographed by Peter Gowland. Gone was the subtle innuendo of earlier years; in the 1970s the important thing was to show some skin and encourage blue collar workers to pin the calendar on the wall and get that brand name screwed into the brain. Of course, if you could get a woman to get her hands gripping the rod of some tool then that was good too. The challenge with the 1970s photos is guessing just what the actual tool is that’s being promoted. Take this one, for example: if I didn’t know any better I’d assume it was some kind of plasma weapon as used by warrior women of some pretty awesome bikini planet. “I need to measure something curved, something that would easily cover a person, but is there such a tool? Hang on! Didn’t I see the perfect thing on my Ridgid Tools calendar? I did!” Another mystery tool that I’m going to assume is a high tech bit of equipment for clubbing fish to death because why else would...

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1970s Porno Style
Oct05

1970s Porno Style

If you ever take a look at the pictures of a pornographic magazine from the 1970s – and if I know you half as well as I think I do then I know you do – then you’ll no doubt have been blown away by the awesome pre-sex fashions and sex-location styling on display. Let’s take a quick look at some truly amazing displays from the golden age of porno publications. It’s a party – you can tell from that one decoration on the wall – in a time when it was perfectly okay to expose your fellow diners to cigarette smoke, with a mix of casual and smart casual wear on display, and the two stand out things for me are the gentleman’s shirt in the second photo (he’s clearly taken off his jacket sometime between the first and second ones, a sure indication things are warming up) and the candles. Look how thin they are! Who uses those candles these days? Aren’t you supposed to use those candles to light other candles? Oh well. And I’m not even going to guess what he’s trying to do in that second picture either. Some things just don’t have a modern equivalence. One man and three women has to mean sexy sex is mere moments away but cast that thought aside for one moment and let your eyes gaze lovingly on the half-height wood paneling. Heavenly. And yet even that beauty of 1970s design is overshadowed by our male protagonist’s suit. When you combine a suit of that colour and that apparent fabric with sideburns of that majesty you know you’re looking at a sex god in human form. Notice too that all the women are sporting bold necklaces. In the 1970s that was a sure sign that women were up for a little bit of how’s your father. Or that they really liked necklaces. One of those two. “Oh, Marjorie, Marjorie, Marjorie!” laughed the blonde as she perused the photo album of a recent trip to Amsterdam on her friend’s lap. “See, now I love your green dress – I really do – but it’s just a little plain for this era. You need to find yourself something with a little more daring; a little more wow!; a little more horrific clashing of patterns with each and every thing around you. Something like I’ve got on. Hey! Is that Ted’s arse in the corner by the canal? Great necklace, by the way! Fancy a bit of how’s your father?” It’s the same setting and the same brunette (admittedly sporting something a little more suitable for the period; I’m so...

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Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Defy Them Poster
Aug02

Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Defy Them Poster

We’ve already seen that one way in which the citizens of Portsmouth kept their spirits up during the alien invasion by the Squirmy Munge of the early part of the twentieth century was through comics, and in particular the well-received Commander Pompey publication. Another way, and one common with most of the greater wars in recent centuries, was through motivational posters, the most famous of which was the Defy Them poster that first started appearing on walls in and around the city in late 1919. Present day Portsmouth has a thriving local art scene and it can clearly be seen that this talent was alive and well in 1919 too. However, it’s not just the wonderful example of art deco design that made this particular war poster so famous. It happens to have a rather bizarre history to it too. A tale started circulating in the city of a young woman named Abigail Ball. Abigail – it was claimed – had been walking through the Baffins area of Portsmouth when a Squirmy Munge landing craft dropped onto the ground in front of her. As the hatch on the craft hissed open and too afraid to run or scream Abigail did the first thing she could think of and performed an interpretive dance routine. The hatch closed up, the craft lifted off, and Abigail lived to tell her tale. Quite a fanciful story but it proved popular among the locals. The posters started to appear not long after and dancing to defy became a regular pastime for the people of Portsmouth. It was believed that the elusive and mysterious Abigail herself had designed, printed, and put up the posters as each one had the signature “Ball, A” on the back in fine print. However, in 1927 – long after the alien invasion had been repelled – in an interview with the local newspaper a Mrs Jenny Smith of Buckland admitted that she had invented the Abigail story and had produced the posters not because of any fighting spirit but rather to drum up trade for her ballet school which had been on the verge of financial collapse owing to the war. As is the nature of these things most people decided to disbelieve this version of the events and the legend of Abigail Ball and the Defy Them poster lives on to this...

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Fashion Faves – Ribbons
Jul30

Fashion Faves – Ribbons

Via Fashion Copious… Styled by Panos Yiapanis, photographed by Inez and Vinoodh, and featuring models Christy Turlington and Adriana Lima is this photo shoot for Love magazine called Ribbons. With a title like Ribbons you know the photoshoot is going to feature sardines. I mean ribbons. What you might not expect is a series of increasingly bizarre acting and styling demands from the photographers. Take this first photo, for instance, where Adriana has been instructed to channel the spirit of fashion known to haunt the corpse of King Louis XIV of France. Adriana conveys the haughty demeanour of French royalty wonderfully although the five-sizes-too-large suit jacket she’s sporting probably wouldn’t have been in favour in the palaces of 17th century France. “Adriana, I want to see Brian May.” “I might know some people who can get hold of some tickets…” “No, no, no. I want you to be Brian May.” “Oh! Okay.” “Brian May standing as if a cockerel were about to leap through a gap in his legs.” “Oh. Kay.” “And put this cape on.” “Is Brian May famous for wearing capes? I thought that was Dracula.” “It’s a pun.” “And I’m sure it’s a very good one.” Christy hasn’t been spared the bizarre treatment either in this final example from the shoot. Rather than anyone famous Christy has been asked to act the part of a mime artist leaning against an invisible wall to help support the fact that one of her legs has popped out of her hip socket. Ever the professional, Christy hasn’t just acted a dislocated leg she’s clearly dislocated it for real. The blend of dedication to reality mixed with miming fantasy produces a great image. View the rest of the photos...

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