Friday, April 27, 2012

Violin purse and celluloid crown












Photos take in: My living room and bedroom (in front of my 1960s vanity)

Photos taken by: Pierre Eymard

Outfit details:

Crown comb:  1920s-1930s (most likely 1920s)Art deco Celluloid wonder 
(I still cant believe I own it..its just one of those magical items!!!)
Jacket and dress: Topshop (One of the outfits you wait an eternity to come into the store)
Purse: Violin from a Chinese manufacturer on ebay

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obsession with Indian culture

I found a comment on My last post so interesting,  and I havent done a research post in a long time since my ermine post here
I decided to make a post out of my response:


I usually love the things you post, but this is just straight up appropriation. Saris mean something to people other than a "costume" to wear for a party. What was the purpose of wearing them? Why take someone's culture and use it as a dress up party? 


Firstly, I would like to thank you for following and enjoying my blog.  I have to wonder though if you really truly have looked at my blog at all, or know what I am about?  I never have and never will claim to be an expert in anything, or exploit cultures.
 I do however, always show my love and devotion to what inspires me.
Appropriation: Appropriation of visual culture, in some form or another, has always been part of human history...Appropriation can be understood as a key component of the way in which humans learn, communicate and progress...Appropriation can be understood as the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work . 
More here

In a way, this word is actually a complament to a designer, artist or stylist.  To be completely honest, this party was about designers, stylists, and artists all coming together, some nostalgically(I will explain later).  But to say that it is just a simple costume party and by asking the two questions you did, Im not so sure you meant to say "appropriation" or you may not understand the way
some artists expressing their inspiration 
or how close a culture can be to someone even being an outsider.

Before you judge the motives of the party, I would like to point out a few personal things that you didnt know:

I have been obsessed with Indian culture since my dad went on bussiness trips to Asia. I was always the most excited when he went to India when I was about 10. He brought back the most glorious treasures. My dad lives and breathes other cultures, studied them, and works with them in a way I haven't experienced anyone do in the same way.  In a way my dad is a genious when speaking or integrating with other cultures.  So becasue of my Dad I know a lot more that I even am aware of about cultures because of how he raised me.  I have always wanted to go to India myself, due to lack of funds it has never happened.  That hasnt stoped me diving into the culture.  Everytime I was invited to an Indian party or I went to an indian shop in London or even when eating Indian food or talking with my Indian friends, I was always and still feel emotionally overwhelmed and I gush at their effortlessness in beauty, grace, and human interaction.

My dad in Bejing

My dad in front of the Taj Mahal 

From: Romatearne

One of the my main reasons for having this particular "themed" party was my best friend Morgan was away on her birthday.  She lived in India, and loved it so much, she misses it dearly, especially the people.  She was actually working as a textile weaver/designer in India, so she was able to see their design and textile culture first hand.  

She and I live close to each other and our area is super mixed, with huge pockets of Indian shops restaurants and other culture.  We both got the idea of the barbie cake from one of the children's cake shops with Indian barbies in sari frosting in a shop window in our area.  Our jewelry was bought  from an amazing shop 5 mins walk away.  The Indian favors again were at a market place 5 mins away as well.  The other decorations, my shoes an Sari are from the little India town far away, that we both trekked all the way to and made a full day out of it.

Morgan in Bangalore, India designing for Zenith Exports see the amazing textiles she created here

Kelly-Marie also has stayed in India, and she too shares a deep devotion to Indian culture.  When we were about to have the party she posted this

Palace Kelly-Marie visited in Bouge (Gujarat region) more pictures here

I also want to remind you that everyone who went to this party is either British, or has lived in England for a long time.  Indian culture is celebrated in today's society all over London!   My neighbors are Indian and had a wedding the week before.  We were talking about our parties etc, and they liked the idea of our party.  Also the week before there was an Indian spice market I attended.

Maybe you meant something else, but, clothing always means something, no matter what culture.  I am a fashion designer (I deeply specialize and pride myself in research, culture references and symbolism in all my work), and I would be an uneducated one, if I didn't know about the symbols and colors of dress, or when something is just beautiful to be beautiful, no matter what the culture is.  

Saris can be everyday clothes, from different regions of India, certain religious celebrations, show how old you are, marital status, trendy or not trendy, Bollywood inspired, weddings, and Royal dress, just to name a few. (As in many cultures) 

My Sari was from a bridal shop, it would be for a guest who would attend a wedding.  My jewelry and heavy makeup (not my exact makeup of course, but "heavy" makeup) would be for a celebration, probably of a god.  And since my hair is red and curly,  I took those two elements and wore them as a preraphaelite would (art nouveau and arts & crafts movements took a lot from Indian culture and others...)

From fashion era, a little antidote on Indian dress in liberty clothing here

As you can see, its all about reference upon reference upon reference.  Kelly-Marie and I have talked before about how people can view us:  They see a silly white person with tones of offensive invalid ideas and references exploding all over at first, but in a couple of years people will see a relevant valid and non-ofencive fashion trend or design, that is relevant in societies all around the world.

We were reverently celebrating saris and indian culture by keeping it as something special in a special gathering.  Others in the media are almost grotesquely trying to make Saris mainstream in the everyday woman's closet, which I find both oddly negative and positively interesting at the same time. 
You can read about this here, here and here

Oprah Winfrey drapes a sari!<br>

Someone said to me that even though this party is themed, and it is about a culture that is not my own, it still was very me, especially aesthetically.  They said that this party was similar to what I do with fashion or vintage in my outfits and collections. When they said this, I have to say it mean a lot, because if someone else sees what I do that way I have successfully integrated something otherwise outside of myself into my aesthetic.  

You can get an accurate and immediate visual of my aesthetic here

Nicole Eymard-1441

I always say:
 "Love something, but only share with others when you make is your own, share how it speaks to you, not just an exact replica."

I do not see anything wrong with celebrating a culture and making it your own, whether its just visually or any other way...

What does everyone think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Indian Princess party








































London Bloggers:

All in their best Indian princess attire attended a party I had the honor of hosting at my flat...

We watched and listened to Bollywood circa 1960 
Draped ourselves in vintage dead stock flower garlands
Guests chose various Indian beauty products
Drinks, cake, and incense were all rose flavored/scented

I found all my Indian goodies 
(even my Sari and shoes) 
in Southall 
Which is a Party in itself 
(Especially if you are as into Indian textiles and culture as I am BIG TIME!)

The two indian dollies are antique!
Indian barbie stuck in the gluten free cake made by Morgan
 is dead stock from the 1960s


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