Remembering Our Starman

Often is the case with your heroes, you never want to let them go. For years, I’d absolutely dreaded the possibility of David Bowie leaving us; it just could not be. Pure denial is often the safest way with your idols; foolish, yes, but safe.

10th January 2016 marks the grey, weird, sad day that everyone’s favourite starman left this mortal coil and transcended to the other side. And boy, was I unprepared. Shock, disbelief, horror, denial, all washed over me with the might of a tsunami. This couldn’t be real right? Had to be a rumour. Facebook must have been hacked. Then, like wildfire, the news spread through the media, gaining momentum as it was officially confirmed in a tweet from his son, then more credible news sources. Fuck. What on earth would we do now?

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Bowie, as an artist, human, entertainer, as my hero, was everything to me. The bastion of the strange and bawdy, the poster boy for the outsiders, he remained the constant thread that wove though my life, holding together a tapestry of beautiful times, sadness, change and occasional turmoil. His music formed the soundtrack to poignant moments in my life, his lyrics like an open love letter to all who heard them. As an awkward teen struggling with my self-identity, Bowie taught me and countless others that it was OK to be different, that it was alright to lay claim to being outside of the mainstream. It was perfectly cool to shun what society classed as normal and celebrate individuality. I was deeply intrigued by the man, the mythology and of course, his amazing music and flamboyant style. Bowie smashed through cultural barriers in a whirl of glittery, sexually-liberated flamboyance. Through characters such as Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack and Aladdin Sane he embodied the art of transformation, shaking conservative norms to the core and paving the way for gender fluidity and acceptance – after all, it didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl, queer, straight, or from Mars.

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For a time I fantasised that I was somehow related to Bowie, convincing myself for a good year or two that it made perfect, absolute sense that I shared DNA with one of modern music’s greatest innovators. In Bowie, I had found a kindred spirit, as many others had, and that knowledge was divine. Among many fond memories, his performance in Perth in 2004 for the Reality Tour remains as a pinnacle; a show that will forever be emblazoned in my memory as a true life highlight. Being a few rows back in a crowd of thousands, all rising to their feet as they heard the iconic first strains of ‘Rebel Rebel’, was a surreal, astounding experience. Seeing everyone around me reduced to tears and near-hysterical screams of pure joy as we caught our first glimpse of our larger-than-life hero, is something I will never forget. The show was impeccable and I felt electrified seeing and hearing him in the flesh.

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As a makeup artist and creative type, Bowie’s art and iconic, chameleon style has filled my mind and soul with so much fire. The amazing, provocative costumes, the beautifully executed glam stage makeup, those boundary-defying music videos, that effortless individuality. Bowie’s ability to transform and stay relevant, all whilst remaining so true to himself and his art. I had so much respect and gratitude that someone out there just GOT it.

Bowie always just got it. He circled the perimeter of the mainstream, leering at it, taking bites out of it, all the while eschewing what the herd were doing and reinventing his sound and his style into something completely fresh and new. Over the decades, he has remained at the forefront, pushing the envelope, challenging the norm, blazing a trail so fucking huge and bright that it would spellbind and enlighten all that encountered his force. He filled hearts with desire and minds with a myriad of ideas and inspiration. He never stopped exploring and pioneering, reaching out to new audiences and blowing minds with his unique vision and amazing ability to engage, transgress and inspire.

He was completely one of a kind, untouchable, seemingly invincible. A hero for the downtrodden and forgotten; constantly creating such an insanely powerful connection to his fans through words, images, ideas and emotions. The ultimate chameleon who taught us it’s ok to be weird, as long as you own it. He never stopped re-inventing and creating, even up to his last masterpiece Blackstar; the final chapter of an amazing, larger-than-life existence that totally spellbound us all.

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He will always be completely inimitable, a true, multi-talented trail-blazer who created magic, wonder and awe everywhere. I feel grateful and fortunate having lived in the same lifetime as the ultimate chameleon, pioneer and renaissance man.

Let’s never let him go.

Brilliant Campaign Spoofs | AnOther

Brilliant Campaign Spoofs via AnOther Magazine.

Nathalie Croquet,  former fashion editor of Biba and the photo director of Jean Paul Gaultier, has a new project – creating amazing spoofs of some of fashion’s biggest ad campaigns.

Croquet offers a selection of images via her Instagram from her series Spoof,  recreating the images to a tee: there’s the pout of Edie Campbell (in the Lanvin campaign), Maria-Carla Boscono‘s sultry stare (Givenchy) and Gisele Bunchen‘s casual posturing (Sonia Rykiel) before positioning her portraits next to the original campaign imagery. Fantastic!

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MUSIC: Best Music Videos of 2014 for Makeup and Visual junkies!

Happy New Year lovelies! I hope the new year is treating you grandly indeed, and that however you rang it in, you did so with a smile.

So I’m back at work this week (blergh), but that’s OK, as I’m still on a bit of a buzz from my magnificent, albeit short-lived holidays, which I spent doing lots of smiley, happy things, and a whole lotta well-deserved relaxing also. During my time off, in between lounging and overindulging in chocolate, cheese and cocktails, I planned lots of new projects, dwelled on desire, basked in the glow of goal creation, and looked ahead at the glorious blank canvas that is 2015. And of course, reflected on the year that had been.

Creatively, there were many amazing things that inspired me over the past year and helped those little Sunshyne cogs tick; igniting the spark and making my creative wheels spin.

On the music video front, we saw some next level creativity, with some absolutely mind-boggling work shooting out from every corner of the cosmos!  There were so many stimulating, creatively engaging music videos that surfaced during the year that was 2014. In no particular order and without prejudice for genre, to follow are some of the videos that made my heart swell for this amazing art form, combining my two huge loves – music and art. These videos inspire me to dream BIG that one day I may be involved in work of this calibre.  Here’s wishing!

Die Antwoord- ‘Pitbull Terrier’

Everyone’s favourite zef rap crew released two memorable vids from their ‘Donker Mag’ release last year- this, and the equally insane and infectious ‘Ugly Boy’. No round up of crazy-assed clips would ever be complete without the inclusion of Die Antwoord, who have dominated the art form. Its pleasing to see that with each release they step it up a notch and ‘Pitbull Terrier’ certainly doesn’t disappoint; it’s a gruesome and vicious romp that captures the attention and leaves an indelible mark on the consciousness.

Directed by Ninja, it features the frontman decked in a terrifying prosthetic canine mask, and follows the man-dog as he escapes from his owner and runs around town mauling and humping unsuspecting victims. After scaling a wall he faces off with Yolandi as a cat-woman,  before jumping out of a window, dying, and being brought back to life by her spit. Yep. It’s THAT nuts. If you have yet to see this gory, scary ride along the edge of insanity, check it out below.

FKA Twigs- ‘Two Weeks’

FKA Twigs has become known for her stunning, outlandish, and ultra artistic music videos. Such is her stranglehold on imagery as an artist she would have had many contenders for this list, including the completely arresting ‘Video Girl’.  In her pairing with Nabil for the ‘Two Weeks’ clip, we sweep through a golden, pillared room featuring the goddess-like FKA Twigs singing seductively to the camera.

In the background we see mini Twigs dance, and at one point Twigs extends her finger and waters one of them, a play on the line, “I’ll quench your thirst.”  The slowly-revealing zoom is a work of art in itself. Engulfed in gold, its ambitious, decadent and extravagant.

Lorde- ‘Team’

Lorde’s darkly enchanting music video for ‘Team’ is a strong contender on the list, not only for its strength musically but for the epic hairstyle and makeup Lorde sports throughout! For makeup fiends, Lorde’s look in this clip cements her status as our Lady of Lipstick; our Princess of the Pronounced Pout.

M.A.C. Senior Artist Amber Dreadon was responsible for the dark lip, playing on Lorde’s signature pout and amping it up with a mixture of M.A.C Pro Lipmixes to create a custom shade. “We knew it was going to look dark and steamy, so we wanted to juxtapose the textures in the makeup—metallic and a little shiny against super matte.” Dreadon’s aim was to strengthen the star’s look by adding a little depth, ensuring that the makeup was powerful but not heavy. The makeup is matched with an equally bold and strong hair style; Lorde sporting a handful of cornrows in a departure from her signature undone curls.

Peking Duk ft. Nicole Millar – ‘High’

Hailing from our nation’s capital, electronic duo Peking Duk have been creating a high level of interest on the EDM scene.  Their 2014 single ‘High’ achieved double platinum status in Australia, and is a lush production that hints of the redemption found in nature.

Full of sweeping melodies, ‘High’ combines all the elements of a big room anthem with the nuances of a radio friendly hit.  The styling of the ‘High’ clip reflects nature with smudges of camo-inspired colour and textured elements all hinting at stylistic harmony with the surrounding elements. Paired with wild animal costumes and shot in a mystical blue-and green-tinged forest, the clip is a lush-looking production. There’s even some sfx in the form of some faux blood when anger gets the better of some of the characters. Which makes any clip great in my book.

Dum Dum Girls – ‘Rimbaud Eyes’

One of my faves, the dreamy Dum Dum girls pay tribute to the late 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud on this driving goth-pop number. There’s a certain darkness apparent that marks a shift away from their regular ‘60s girl group influences and a step closer to the likes of Siouxie, and it’s a good thing indeed.

The shiny set of visuals that accompany the vixenish  ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ were supplied courtesy of director, musician and visual artist Tamaryn, and the clip features lead singer Dee Dee Penny waltzing through a sex shop-lined alleyway looking like a neon siren. She’s joined by the rest of her pastel-clad bandmates in a pink-hued cartoon-like, kaleidoscopic performance on a floating heart. Bleached out, gauzy, saturated and dreamy, the clip is ultra surreal with a 90s dream-pop-shoegaze aesthetic. Divine.

Gotye- ‘Easy Way Out’

Another fellow Australian Gotye, best known for his 2012 track ‘Someone I Used to Know’ (itself a visual masterpiece), again shows off his creative merit with this superbly edited video for ‘Easy Way Out’ by Melbourne design agency Oh Yeah Wow.

Reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie, the revolving camera documents a day that begins mundane, deteriorating into morbid. I chose this video not because of the makeup, as its pretty minimal, but because I just love the creativity of the shoot and the overall tone of the clip. Its grandly creative and quirkily styled, a darkly superb example of stop motion graphics with an cartoon-like feel.

Tricky- ‘Hey Love’

The stunning visuals for Tricky‘s ‘Hey Love’ will definitely capture your attention- and possibly make your skin crawl.  The clip intricately fixates on model Nella Ngingo‘s gorgeous attributes- and some slithery aquatic creatures as well.  It’s all very molluscy; sensual, intimate, a little creepy, a little slimy.

Dutch director Hugo Goudswaard submitted the video through a competition hosted by filmmaker website Genero, and says that the song stimulated his mind and inspired him to create a surreal trip into the darkness. “I visualised a woman on a bench in a park undergoing different stages within a relationship. A snail being her counterpart.” he says.  The dark, minimal track is lifted from the English trip-hop pioneer’s tenth studio album False Idols, and features elements from “Ghosts” by Japan. It’s unique and fascinating viewing.

Katy Perry- ‘Dark Horse’

The music video for Perry’s smash ‘Dark Horse’ was directed by Mathew Cullen, who previously worked with her on her amazing hyper-pop “California Gurls” clip. Perry’s idea for the ‘Dark Horse’ clip was to combine Ancient Egyptian culture with Memphis, Tennessee hip hop, with Perry channelling her inner Egyptian queen with fantasy hair and makeup, making for a jaw dropping and much-imitated look.

Jake Bailey, Perry’s makeup artist, created striking and colorful Egyptian-inspired makeup, lining her eyes with thick eyeliner, adding a pop of bold berry color to her lips, an OTT jeweled grill in her mouth, and a dramatic braided-front wig with beads and bangs.  “The central element to this look is definitely the intricate liner, based on the Egyptian ‘Eye of Horus’, an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health.” An appropriate look for Katy’s regal character in this video.

The Ramona Flowers – ‘Tokyo’

A mysterious masked stranger and a boy form the centrepiece of a gathering of elderly society women who yearn for their youth and the exquisite command of their lure.

Its a dark, luscious production with a little nod to Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”.  The costuming and makeup are amazing, detailed and graceful. I’m entranced by its dark and mystical beauty!

Beyonce- ‘Haunted’

Beyonce is always one to step up a level with each and every video release. In this clip Bey’s upgraded to a mansion, arriving dressed to kill with flawless, bold 20s- inspired makeup and hair.  Hairstylist Kim Kimble played with an androgynous look for the hair, playing up the masculine elements of Bey’s short crop, and adding finger waves for a feminine touch. Looking to Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker for inspiration, the 20s inspired ‘do perfectly matches the sultry dark makeup.

Director Jonas Åkerlund explains that this video is a little unique, because it was less choreography and performance than Beyonce usually goes for. “It’s like a different tone than what she usually does,” he says. “Part of my challenge with her is to take her to places that maybe she hasn’t been. And, maybe take a step out her comfort zone.”

Demi Lovato- ‘Neon Lights’

While I’m not a regular member of her listening demographic, there’s no disputing the visual appeal of the ‘Neon Lights’ clip which dropped last year to the delight of Lovato fans.

Her wild, fluorescent makeup is simply stunning and was created by Jill Powell, who combined a strong winged liner with the perfect strong shade of pink neon lip. “I wanted her lips to be the focal point”.  Powell mixed different pink lipstick colors until she’d created the perfect colour, and used Make Up For Ever Fluo Nite Pigments and Wolfe Brothers UV makeup to create the striking, black light-friendly look. “I kept the sling glowing and contoured to balance out the rest of the makeup, and added subtle neon on the bottom lash line.”

Nicki Minaj- ‘Pills N Potions’

Nicki Minaj usually likes to thrill and shock in her hyper-colour clips, and viewers are conditioned to expect the quirky, the extravagant, and the just downright weird from this rap queen. She definitely lives up to that with her clip for ‘Pills N Potions’.  Director Diane Martel led the creative charge in this new video featuring bright background colors, floating animations of pill bottles and PEZ dispensers, a twisted airplane, a melting house, and bunnies, bunnies, and more bunnies.

The clip offers a slightly softer side of Minaj while still maintaining her quirk throughout the psyched-out cartoon trip. Gone are the wacky wigs and crazy personas of past vids, in their place is Minaj in simple makeup, crying silver tears, shining a grill and wearing Playboy bunny ears.

Seinabo Sey – ‘Pistols At Dawn’

Seinabo Sey (pronounced Say-na-bo Sea) is a 24-year old artist who grew up in Gambia and sings with a brassy timbre and world-weary swagger; defying both her age and easy artist comparisons.

‘Pistols at Dawn’ is the spellbinding the battle cry-like third track from her debut EP, ‘For Madeline’.  It seems the sort of song where love is on par with life and death.  Adding to the ambience are director Christian Larson and producer Hampus Gunnarsson, who create a stirring winter wilderness scene for Sey and her blood red gown.

In the stark yet alluring video, two red-garbed accomplices trek through a vast forest as a masked gunman chases after them, effectively bringing Sey’s statement into thrilling, and ultimately shocking, life. Cinematic and haunting are certainly words that spring to mind.

The Acid – ‘Basic Instinct’

The Acid’s synaesthetic music video for ‘Basic Instinct’ is a stunning and hypnotically creative visual delight,  captured against the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains at the end of 2013. The video, a collab between filmmaker Dugan O’ Neal and the band’s Ry X, was birthed in the first days of being in the studio together. “I have always felt very connected to aesthetics in line with music—they are part of each other and the whole,” says Ry X of the vision for the musical collaboration.

The otherworldly movements of Los Angeles dance outfit WIFE was a defining central concept, and in the clip the outfit star as the choreographers, performers and costume designers. “When we came up with the idea for the video, we brought WIFE into the fold before all else.”

What are your favourites from this list? Do you have any amazing videos from 2014 that you’d like to share that I’ve forgotten? Please share in the comments below!

xDS

ICONICA : Iris Van Herpen

Happy Friday beloveds! What better way to spend the morning than thoroughly immersing myself in the world of one of my absolute favourite artisans of couture, the stunning and talented Iris Van Herpen.
4The talented Dutch designer has an innovative take on avant-garde fashion- taking it to the max! Iris van Herpen represents to me everything a great couture designer should: flamboyant, artistic and meticulously constructed garments that contain a myriad of elements that are, to put it simply, out-of-this-world: the stuff of dreams (or maybe a beautiful nightmare), turned into a tangible reality.
“For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting”
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Van Herpen was born in the Netherlands in the early 80s. Studying ballet at a young age started her relationship with movement and the body. While in school, her passions transformed from dance into a more tangible artistic outlet and she began to create hand-made wearable art.

The designer studied at the prominent Artez Institute of the Arts, Arnhem, and interned at Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Their influences pervade throughout in her style and techniques. For her first few years as a designer she worked solely with her hands, shying away from even a sewing machine.

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In 2007, she started her own label and has sky-rocketed since with her truly individual and jaw-dropping style. Having shown her collections at Paris, London and Amsterdam fashion weeks, she last year won the Golden Eye Award at the Dutch Design Awards 2013 for her collection Voltage –  focusing on the body’s tangible movement and strength and exploring the ‘electricity of the body’.

She is known for her exceptional use of material and renewing forms. The avant-garde spirit of her designs combines raw and technologically-produced materials, fused with amazing, highly detailed craftsmanship and innovative techniques, such as 3D printing and plastics. The combination of quality hand-worked materials – burnt metal weaving, laser cutting and metal silk – and the sublime effect of digital technology give her unique couture a complex, sculptured effect with an astonishing visual impact.

As her work began to embrace technology at a deeper level, Van Herpen discovered she could push the boundaries of what fashion can do. She crafts an absolutely enchanting and unique world full of complexity structure and elegance. The designs seem to me to be biomorphic; infused with some sort of magical Geiger-like essence; at once flowing and organic on the other hand exacting, architectural, complex, detailed and angular.

“In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art”

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Here’s to the great Iris ven Herpen! I hope to see much more of your truly inspiring work over the years to come- truly amazing.

xxDS

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni is an Indian photographer and filmmaker who works out of Dubai.

As a master photographer, the artist creates drama, theater and beauty with every click.  He creates stunning, vibrant multi-hued explosions of imagery, particularly evident in his series of calendars for Dubai-based retail giant, Splash.

Having worked with the brand before, Patni was charged again with the role of bringing the Middle East’s largest fashion retailer to life in a stunning and visually compelling way for their 2014 calendar, called ‘In Love with Fashion’.

The beautiful and meticulously conceived pics take bold, bright colour and extravagant, excessive patterns to a whole new level – one that works extraordinarily well to convey a rich, multi-hued other world.

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

Tejal Patni

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woman with dog ceramic, splash calendar by Tejal Patni

All photos © Tejal Patni