Generally, after watching a John Waters movie, I start screaming "JOHN PLEASE MARRY ME ADOPT ME CAN I BE YOUR FAG HAG?" and carry on doing so for a few days. Put it this way, if I watch too many John Waters movies, my neighbours are going to call the police.
The best thing about John Waters is that he also has the best sense of style, which transpires in his films. So without taking it too literally and dressing everyday like Divine, I think a few elements of my wardrobe are directly inspired by his aesthetic.
This is what I found to recreate the general trashy 50s & 60s style from his movies... Add a lot of red lipstick, a crazy bouffant hairdo & some attitude and BOOM!
I don't post really often at the moment, I know. But I decided to slow down a bit and work on exciting new things, instead of bombarding you with daily posts in which I mainly ramble.
Today is different though. Today, I am going to go on about my hair. My new hair to be precise. I spent nearly 2 years growing it, and it had recently got to the point of no return: the hippie hair. It was so long that I felt the only way I could dress was bohemian chic. A style I don't necessarily approve of on me. On saturday night, I found myself dressed like Pocahontas without even trying. This is when I knew something had to be done.
I called my good friend who cut my hair last time and asked her opinion, as I trust it above all opinions. She said "you could cut a little bit to make it healthier - or you could cut a lot so it is not like hippie hair!". Hearing the H word from someone else was the final blow.
So yesterday, she came over, and after having tea & cakes, she cut my hair, and as if by magic, made me myself again.
I was feeling a bit meh, and not so pleased with myself lately, and I can't tell you how much better I feel now. I am sure the lovely spring like weather is also playing a part in this, but I like to think it is pure and simple hair magic.
Yes, I am the girl who wrote a whole post about her hair. Shamelessly so.
Next time, there will be clothes! tips! interviews! woooyaaaa!
I have been a long time listener of Whirlwind Heat, but it was MGG who alerted me to the existence of Folded Light, Steve Damstra's newest project. As if by magic, it seems like I stumbled upon a nest of extremely friendly and talented people in L.A. Steve was nice enough to answer all my questions about style, music and Terry Richardson. He now officially made it into my top 5 favourite people to interview.
❤ Tell me about your current projects.
We finished the Whirlwind Heat album in Michigan and then I moved to L.A. David Swanson is in New York now and Brad Holland is in Chicago. My friend Jaffe Zinn who is in Folded Light with me, is friends with Matthew Gray Gubler. This is how we met. He helped film our music video Reagan that Matthew directed.
I became friends with Jaffe and we found out we had similar musical tastes, so we started exchanging tracks. He had songs that didn't have vocals or drums so I sang & put drums on them. When I moved here, we started working on the album (Folded Light) and finished it in October 2008.
With Jaffe Zinn - Folded Light. Photo by David Swanson
I am also composing music for short films. I had a film at Sundance this year called Our neck of the woods. It was my first time going there.
I have also been composing music for TV commercials and films with Mads Heldtberg, another friend I made here, under the name of House of Hayduk. I have always been interested in that type of things. I made the music for Kimora Simmons Baby Phat perfume commercial.
❤ Why did you move to L.A.?
I knew there were a lot of really nice people here, I met them from touring with Whirlwind Heat. I just really liked L.A. when I came here, and I always knew that if I'd move, I'd definitely come here.
It is warm, that's a big appeal. I am a strong believer that you get your energy from the sun, it is kind of hippie sounding, but there is something about walking outside and feeling the sun on your face! I had too many winters in Michigan, where the first month is fine and then you forget it is winter and once it is over you realize you were a zombie for 4 months! In L.A. there's no gauge of season change which is pretty nice.
❤ In a perfect world, where would you live and why?
I really like it in L.A.. Japan is pretty great, but after a while, the weather would take its toll. I like Japan and New Zealand but I wouldn't live there! I really like L.A. actually!
❤ Are you style conscious at all?
I'd say somewhat. I am not just slapping anything on, but I am not going to be stressing out about it either. With Whirlwind Heat, the whole time, we had stage clothes, so I got used to that routine. From doing that, I became more style conscious I suppose. We designed and screen printed our own tee-shirts. We would try to make a different tee shirt for each tour. We'd have 5 or 7 different designs so we'd have one for every day of the week. One of my new year's resolutions was to start dressing a little nicer. I am trying to step it up a little bit.
❤ How would you define your style now?
I am a fan of the tri-blend tee-shirts. I have 7 of the gray one, I have enough of them so I could go for week with a similar shirt! I wear these under shirts too. My style is like "I care but I don't care".
❤ What piece of clothing do you own that makes you feel good?
I have a couple of things. Usually, they are lucky finds. I have a Lacoste hat that might have been my older brother's. I still wear it, I have had it since I was a little kid. I have a pair of Raybans I found at my parents' house a couple of years ago. My dad has this workshop where he keeps all his tools and also lots of stuff. I was looking through it and I found a sunglasses case with a pair of Raybans aviators from the 60s or 70s! My dad said they were my grandpa's. I've always wanted a pair of Raybans aviators. I have a couple of shirts I have had since high school & still wear all the time. I am basically trying to steal my grandpa's style!
Steve in his favourite outfit
❤ What was your style like as a teenager & how did it evolve?
It evolved & may have peaked when I was 16 or 17!
Really early on it was mainly jeans and band tees. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, whatever was cool when I was a teenager. Then it turned into the Levi's polyester Sta Prest. And when I finally got my driver's license, I used to do thrift store runs all day, so it turned more thrifty.
From the time I was a teenager to now, I feel like things have changed in thrift stores. Now you have to really look to find the good stuff, and you have to work a lot harder to come across a true thrift store find. If you go to a thrift store you have to be ready to pay $20 or 25 for a shirt nowadays.
My style started to change when I went on tour with Whirlwind Heat, I tried to make it a little more grown up, more dressy. I try to not always look like a kid, just by mixing in dressy shirts & things like that.
I find interesting that the people I meet now who are my age (note: 27), that I didn't know before, have lived through the same style evolutions since they were teenagers.
❤ What do you wear on dates?
First I start with some chinos from the Gap, then I moved on to... (laughs).
I do it on a case per case basis for dates, it depends what the girl is like. Wow! This is like being on a dating show. Perhaps a nice shirt.
I got a pretty good Lacoste shirt I found at Nordstrom Rack. It is a good fail safe, a kind of neutral date outfit. I am not working out The Game, I am not peacocking. I try to look real nice, I try to smell nice. In the end, I pay closer attention to hygiene!
Here you go kids, hygiene first, make sure you look real nice and don't look like you are homeless!
Steve's hot tip - Nordstrom Rack is the discount center for Nordstrom. The girls' section is a great place to find Vans as they don't buy the bigger sizes so there is a ton left and they fit boys!
❤ How is it to work with Terry Richardson?
Fun! He is a really nice guy and he brings a really unique energy to the shoot. It is just a fun environment, we turn on loud music and have fun taking photos.
I think David really liked Terry's photography & we met him because we ran into him when we were opening for the White Stripes. We chatted to him and he invited us to come over to take photos.
Terry Richardson on the set of the Purple video
❤ Who is your all time favourite musician?
I can give you lots of bass players. It is tough to name just one! I think Beck. His albums cover so much different stuff.
❤ Top 5 artists you'd like to have a tea party with.
I have been fortunate enough to get to meet a few, so I can't really put them on the list!
- Chris Novoselic from Nirvana, it'd be interesting to work with that guy. - Neil Young would be pretty interesting to talk to. - Freddy Mercury would have been pretty cool too. - Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo. - I like Phoenix a lot, they seem like pretty great guys. I like their music. They don't really fit in a tea party though.
I would like to add... - Michael J. Fox, does that count? I'd probably just talk to him! I actually take a lot of style inspiration from Back to the Future & Teenwolf.
Netflix just released a watch instantly section now for Mac, so I have been watching some Family Ties the other day, good Michael J. Fox!
❤ Most stylish band?
I have a couple for you, but I am going to try and think of the best, style wise. For my taste, it goes back to the bands I was listening to growing up. Bands like Nirvana, that kind of stuff. Everybody probably took a page from these guys' book.
There is also this band called Brainiac, they were pretty big for interesting style at the time. Especially in the thrift store vibe.
Arab on Radar, shaved heads, black converse, matching jumpsuits. Like military, scary Devo meets Clockwork Orange.
Sonic Youth, all those types of bands are pretty interesting fashion wise.
❤ Favourite song in the world ever.
Power of Love, Huey Lewis & the News, probably? No.
A song I'd really want to hear over and over again... I am trying to think of something, I listen to a lot of laid back music, soft rock.
10CC, I'm Not In Love. No that's bad sorry.
I can think of a type of songs, but not a particular song.
I recently got my hands (or more exactly Justin's hands) on a French Connection dress I had been drooling over for a few months. I had never bought anything from there, as the few items I had tried on were pretty badly cut and well... cheaply finished. But this one has a vintage feel I liked & was just right. So I patiently waited for the sales to make it mine.
Dress - French Connection Hat - vintage Brooch - Tatty Devine Shoes - Joy Tights - very old H&M Toys - all Mila's
I like that it is a very easy everyday dress that isn't too boring & goes with pretty much everything I already own.
Apart from this dress though, I have to say the shops are pretty boring at the moment. I can't really see anything exciting in high street shops, which is good as I am trying to keep away from them and go back to a mostly vintage or thrifted wardrobe.
Also I can't believe I had never thought of using Mila's room before as the background for my photos!
Coat - vintage
Have you found anything really interesting in the shops recently?
After watching Paris je t'aime last night, I thought a lot about what my life was like in Paris, before I moved to London and changed. The life I can remember living there was much more romantic & magical than my life here has ever been. Maybe because when moving in a new territory, I neglected the magical elements to focus on the very real ones. Or maybe because I had changed and wasn't into the same things anymore.
Five years later, I realize I haven't changed. I just left a part of me disappear under various mundanities. I get inspired by my life in Paris like I would by a dream, or by someone else's life.
Of course Paris is known for being the city of lovers, so it made my day dreaming easy, but London is full of possibilities, it has a river, carrousels, beautiful parks... Many places to go and dream in, court in or enjoy being together in.
Now, I choose to enjoy Paris like a tourist, as the city I remember living in has changed & evolved just like I have. It is pointless to try and make it mine again. I left my husband for my lover & can never go back.
London, you did well when you offered Justin & me a place to sit & chat opposite the HMS Belfast one night in 2005, but it is nothing compared to the many places Paris provided... Steps in Montmartre with star like lights, my favourite place by the Seine, the top of the Eiffel Tower or just a wander around Le Marais at night. So many clichés, but the whole of Paris is a cliché when it comes to romance.
The odd thing is, I didn't find my one true love in Paris, but in London. Maybe in Paris the set was obscuring the actors. Here in London, it is a bit like the Comédie Française. A simple set, and brilliant actors. The actors make the play.
With this in mind, I am taking one of my favourite ladies on a date in London this afternoon, hoping to find in London the magic I left behind. With my parrot by my side, I am sure I will. So maybe it is just this. In London, it is not so much about the places, but about the friends you make.
Thinking about my past life in Paris brought me immense style inspiration for London, as nothing I am thinking about wearing now I would be able to wear in Paris.
I mentioned Bows & Bandits goodies in a previous post, well this is another one. Needless to say they are quickly becoming one of my favourite online vintage shops. I spent the whole of last spring and summer wearing my black blazer with jeans and various sandals, and this Austrian vintage jacket is a perfect jazzed up alternative to my black blazer.
Jacket - Vintage from Bows & Bandits Jeans - Uniqlo Tee - Uniql0 Shoes - Office Bag - Miu Miu Scarf (worn as a necklace) - Céline, thrifted
I wore it in a really simple way with jeans, a white tee-shirt & my home made scarf necklace, wishing I could go out wearing just that. Unfortunately, I still have to add a coat on top.
I did an interview last night with someone in Los Angeles (all I will say is that he is in this band) who was telling me he lost track of seasonal change, and it got me in a trance thinking of the sweet sweet L.A. life. More than ever now, I want to go there this year. Last time I was there was in 2004 and it is about time I went back.
Nickolas Muray is a photographer who "became well known for his celebrity portraits, publishing them regularly in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The New York Times. After 1930, Muray turned away from celebrity and theatrical portraiture, and became a pioneering commercial photographer, famous for establishing many of the conventions of color advertising." (source: George Eastman House).
It is no secret that I am inspired by 40s & 50s styles. I don't wear only vintage anymore, but I like my clothes to always have an element of vintage.
Looking at Muray's photos is just like flicking through the current issue of my favourite fashion magazine.
Bright colour block clothes & muted shoes
Red lipstick & overdone hair
I want to say a massive thank you to Flickr for making all The Commons photos available for us mortals to browse, it is an endless source of amazement for me.
I haven't been back to Paris since this summer, so I thought I should celebrate by dressing patriotic. There is no way on Earth I could actually get away with wearing this in Paris without getting crap from people in the street, so I decided to wear it in London instead. A mental help if you will. This way, I can pretend I am going to dream Paris, where everything is as it was when I left.
This is of course the indoors version of this look. Add 7 layers on top and you get an idea of the outdoors version.
Bébé - Handmade by ME
By the time you are reading this, I am actually already in Paris, so you can pretend I am really wearing this. Ah the joys of post scheduling!
Since you are here, I would like to talk to you about the online vintage boutique where this dress came from, Bows & Bandits, as I have other goodies from there to show you in future outfits. This cute little website it maintained by two sisters, Eva & Sophie. They specialize in Austrian vintage clothing - which is completely new to me, but got me hooked immediately!
They contacted me a few weeks ago asking me for some feedback about the newly launched website. I had a look, loved it straight away, and a few emails later, we decided I would do a little photo shoot to show you some of their items. With the help of my genius photographer friend Federica, I am finally pleased to show you my polka dot dress!
When I was 13, I saw a film that made me unbearably sad for days. It was the Man in the Moon by Robert Mulligan. Possibly the ultimate teenage girl drama. Set in Louisiana in the 50s, it tells the story of two sisters and their summer loves.
Watching it again now, I don't find it as unbearably sad, it just makes me feel melancholic... and it makes me yearn to live in rural Louisiana, in the 50s if possible. I am not a country girl at heart at all, but this film makes me want to run in the fields and swim in a lake during a storm.
Also, after second viewing, I noticed something I hadn't noticed when I was 13... The clothes. They are not beautiful, they are not especially well chosen to illustrate the era, but they do it for me. Very simple muted colours & really good defined shapes:
high-waisted chino shorts full skirts ribbons in the hair white tee-shirts peter pan collars boys shirts moccasins girly-girl dresses
The girls in the film show a real wardrobe, or what could be the basis of a real wardrobe. They wear the same item several times, in different ways, they wear the same shoes with everything etc...
It would be very easy to use this film as a guide for a good simple Spring / Summer wardrobe and I think I definitely will!
I know I should be thinking about snow boots right now, but I can't help daydreaming about the summer already...
ps - I am off to Paris till Monday, so I will be properly back to posting regularly next week!
When I discovered Matthew's website, I knew I had to speak to him about stuff, a lot of stuff. And I was right. After an hour and a half phone conversation revolving around the questions in this interview and a lot of digressions about a common love of squirrels & John Waters, I was loving my life thinking that apart from my amazing friends, there are some super talented, funny & nice people out there.
❤ What are you wearing?
I just woke up, so I am wearing my pyjamas. It is a weird set of pyjamas, with Red Rider BB gun, cowboys shooting & horses. They are my favourite pyjamas for sure.
❤ What is your personal style like?
Not so pyjama-y, I guess three steps above looking homeless. I don't own many new clothes, I have had most my clothes since high school and I was on the chubbier side then, so most of them don't fit that well & they are a bit ragged but I get them repaired from time to time. I use my dad's tailor to make me suits because there's nothing like a suit made to measure.
❤ Where are your glasses from?
I never wanted to wear my glasses on Criminal Minds but sadly I had this weird problem with my eyes and couldn't wear contacts for six months so I had to wear them. They are my uncle's from high school. They have a real Norman Rockwell style. I have several other pairs.
❤ Best sock colour combination ever?
(note - he never wears matching socks as it is bad luck) If I am going somewhere nice I try to make a good combination. Once I wore one sock with pink stripes and the other one teal argyle. It looked like Bill Cosby's sweaters having a fight! Good disgusting combination.
❤ Describe your dream date.
There would be a museum involved. In New York. Hopefully in the Fall because I love the Fall. It would also involve a dried leaves fight, hot apple cider and a pumpkin patch.
❤ Worst date?
If she turned out to be a man... although that would be funny. Or if she tried to murder me during the night. Also it would be horrible if it was somewhere loud, and she was trying to get me to dance to R&B music slowly with a crazy look in her eyes. A bit like the bar scene in Ghost World, with Steve Buscemi.
❤ What would you wear on a date?
A grey wool suit, nothing too dressy. I would probably also wear a bow tie, it is good to be sharp on a first date. Definitely a hat of some sort.
❤ When did you start drawing?
Quite recently. Pretty much right when Criminal Minds started. I was in film school, and all of a sudden I was "trapped" on set and couldn't help out with the technical stuff, so because of sitting around so much, I started doing some kind of lame drawings and the producer said they were great so I kept on doing them. I think it is the best thing that came out of being on the show.
❤ What is your main inspiration for drawings?
Occasionally some people are slightly offended by my portraits of them because they think they technically look "ugly" in them but to me they all look beautiful. Those people don't realize that I'm not photographing them or trying to render some sort of super exact renaissance portrait (not to sound like a hippie or anything) but I am trying to trap their energy and it's usually because I think they are unique and wonderful people, not because I am trying to make fun of them.
My inspiration often comes from something I really like or can't imagine not drawing. I always draw people I admire. It also comes from a real intense desire to own a piece of someone or something. When I started, I was obsessed with Charles Bukowski & Vincent Gallo I wanted to know them better, so I tried to create my own version of them that I could "own". I feel like I can really draw my mum and dad and some specific friends very well now.
❤ Who is your favourite director?
My favourite living director would be Wes Anderson, I think he is pretty great. A dead one would be Alfred Hitchcock, he made so many incredible films.
I also love Roman Polanski, the Coen brothers... I like every single film, it is so hard to make a movie so I have a lot of respect for anyone who makes something that is watchable!
❤ How was it to work with Wes Anderson?
A dream come true. I got to be his real intern for school credit. And I still can't believe I was in one of his movies. I was watching The Royal Tenenbaums the other day and suddenly thought "I can't believe I was in a Wes Anderson movie!". There's nobody like him. It gave me a bizarre first impression about being an actor. He does many things unconventionally. It is the exact opposite of working on a TV show. He is a very measured and precise director who tries to make perfection.
On TV we shoot an episode in days.
❤ Which directors would you like to work with in the future? As an actor / intern?
I would love to work with John Waters (definitely top of the list). David Lynch, Tim Burton, the Cohen brothers. I was in an independent film called How to be a Serial Killer directed by Luke Ricci. Working with him was good. I like directors with a unique and specific vision. It is a lot of fun to work with first time directors.
I still feel really naive in the world of entertainment!
❤ How does it feel to be part of a true crime show like Criminal Minds? Do you have any interest in true crime?
I have an interest in horror movies, not really in true crime. I like the fantasy aspect of Criminal Minds, the magical side. I don't like serial killers, I was never really into that genre. It is a shocker that I am in a show like this. It is a bizarre pairing, but I have been lucky. I would have never thought I'd be in a true crime show.
❤ Any advice for someone who wants to get into film making?
Keep making movies, do things instead of talking about them. If you want to make movies, make movies.
It is easier now with accessible technology. The internet is amazing! I am so happy to be alive in this age!
❤ Top 5 Halloween costumes you wore?
- Cindy Sherman covered in dolls. I glued the dolls to a dress, I wore a wig. - I did a good Patrick Bateman this year, Steve (Damstra) made me Patrick Bateman business cards that I was giving to people.
- Kurt Cobain right after he shot himself. The hipsters were really offended, and kept saying "too soon too soon".
-I was a really simple skeleton once too. This costume was more about the make up. -I went as The Birds. I covered myself in birds.
❤ And your dream costume?
If I could take away my skin and be a skeleton for a day, a real human skeleton.
❤ What are your New Year's resolutions?
I just make sure I make a lot of things every year, creatively. I make an effort to paint more, direct more, edit more etc.
❤ What is your favourite animal?
The African Giraffe Gazelle, it looks like a deer with a really long giraffe neck. It is a really elegant animal.
I am in a bit of a style pickle at the moment and feel like change is coming, so I am having a huuuuge wardrobe clear out. I decided not to sell on eBay and instead to give you a chance to buy the items you want for a low price. Think of it like an online jumble sale! You can find the site for the sale here.
Keep checking as I will be adding things slowly over the next few days / weeks. I will keep you updated every time I add something new.
Soon, I will also feature some bespoke pieces from independent designers I like, as well as super special Mademoiselle Robot goodies & toys & accessories made by my loving hands.