Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Featured Designer: Annelise Michelson

Compellingly dark, dangerous femininity is at the glittering core of rising jewellery icon Annelise Michelson's distinctive pieces. A soft, feminine sensibility with a bewitchingly tough and menacing edge haunts the French fashion darling's work, making Michelson's inimitable necklaces, bracelets and ear adornments popular with high-fashion, often leftfield trendsetters including The Kills Alison Mosshart, Alexa Chung, Rosario Dawson, Eva Green, Adrian Brody, Zelda Williams and Robin Wright-Penn.
Born in Paris to artist parents, Annelise first developed her very own, distinct aesthetic through close relationships with talented artists and craftspeople during her youth and young adulthood. She cites her godfather, a professional tailor, as a crucial influence on her creative development. Surrounded by beauty and inspiration, Michelson seems to have had very little option but to create. She graduated from Paris's Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture before going on to work with high fashion houses Lolita Lempika, Hermes, Paul & Joe and Vanessa Bruno.

It was not until friend and famed stylist Carine Riotford asked her to create one-off, bespoke pieces for a French Vogue shoot, that Michelson uncovered her vocation. Since launching her very first collection in October 2010, Annelise's sensational costume jewellery, made exclusively from French materials, has appeared in countless fashionable publications and has been seen bedecking the glamorous arms, necks and ears of many of the fashion world's elite. Her latest collection, Carnivore, is now available, though only a limited number of pieces have been produced. 
Annelise's Inspirations

Masculinity, femininity, power, danger, softness, sensuality and a glamorous androgyny all contribute to the ultra-desirable, high-contrast aesthetic at play in
http://www.avenue32.com/designers/annelise-michelson Annelise Michelson's quirky designs and perfectly calibrated pieces. This is jewellery which blithely toes the line between the feminine and the butch, the gothic and the girlish; all without ever putting an elegant foot wrong. The designer has her bohemian upbringing and Parisienne haute couture education to thank for her well-developed, articulate aesthetic sensibilities. Faultless Gallic design and craftsmanship, meanwhile, certainly exert their influence on Annelise's entirely French, handmade pieces.

The Carnivore Collection

It is another, rather better established French icon who inspired Michelson's latest Carnivore collection. Marie Antoinette, who the designer describes as “feminine, yet dangerous”, heavily influenced the carnivorous tooth-like, crown-shaped rings, decadent rosary-meets-bondage leather and gold necklaces and stand-out, statement ear wear. The collection has been met with rapturous critical approval and, as each piece is a limited edition, a certain fevered devotee-ism. As Annelise's array of admirers continues to grow and to covet her stunning pieces of jewellery, her reputation as an effortlessly chic, upcoming jewellery maven becomes increasingly concrete.

Trend to Watch: Ear Cuffs

It's rare that a wholly new, wearable jewellery concept comes into existence, yet the ear cuff has been a crucial trend in recent months, decorating the cartilages of many of the most fashionable and fabulous. For a look which lends glamour but not fussiness, try Annelise Michelson's sharply geometric, triangular, gold-plated cuff. Wear with a messy, flyaway updo to expose the prettiest part of the ear.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Black Pinafore Collaboration

Debora Baudoni is the talented dressmaker behind The Black Pinafore
I came across The Black Pinafore on Etsy whilst searching for a 1950s reproduction dress. I wanted something to wear for work and I found exactly what I was looking for in Debora's shop.
My work dress, made by Debora. Photo Rachel Spivey

The Black Pinafore is based in Sarzana, Italy
The beauty of Etsy is that it connects you with talend people from all over the world so it feels like you are corresponding with someone much closer to home. The whole experience was so easy. We decided on suitable fabric and trim and I sent her my measurements. Considering it was a hand-made dress, I received it relatively quickly. I found the whole experience to be a really enjoyable one. Debora was a delight to work with and luckily her English is far better than my Italian which stretches to the total sum of one word 'bella'.
More images of Debora's 'bella' creations can be found here.
From that intial order, I asked Debora if she'd like to collaborate further and we got together on a photoshoot project to showcase our services. I ran a competition and asked entrants to send me their photo with a description of why they would like to be styled vintage. I chose five lovely ladies to take part.
Debora and I corresponded with ideas on outfits, and hair and makeup styles. The winners had their makeup applied by Wendy Donaldson, who is part of the Kitty Wink team and I did their hairstyling. Chris Alty of CJ Shtterspeed did the superb photographs. 
We did the shoot over two days on the Bank Holiday weekend in May. 
We couldn't of asked for better weather. On the Saturday we went to local Duxbury Park with our first two models.
Duxbury Park was so quiet
The following day we went just around the corner to Astley Hall with the remaining three models.
The models received many admiring glances

People approached us to ask questions and we got so many compliments, it was lovely. 

If you are looking for a unique 1940s or 1950s reproduction from an original pattern, I cannot recommend The Black Pinafore highly enough. 
Choose your own fabric and see your ideas come into fruition through Debora's superb dressmaking skills. The Black Pinafore