Colossal Jumpers, Pastel Period Dramas, Elusive Illustrations & More.
Welcome to 'The Love List.'
A series featuring fashion, art, and media that has left a positive impression on me as of late. Maybe you'll fall in love with something listed here too.
So, cozy yourself up indoors, keep away from the Coronavirus, and escape with me for a little while.
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At photo shoots it’s not uncommon for me to get given the ‘edgy’ looks. Harsh eye make-up, an anarchy of wet-look hair, alternative styling, you name it. Now, I do appreciate the power of the transformation, but that style of clothing is far from how I present myself in my everyday life.
At a recent test shoot, I welcomed a vibrant stream of clothing that was both colourful and comfortable. One of the pieces included was a gigantic knit!
I encased myself into this cheerful cardigan of green, yellow, and two shades of stunning pink. Needless to say, I felt much more like myself. The stylist had put me in the cutest piece of knitwear I'd ever seen.
For weeks and weeks, this was a cardigan I kept seeing on my Instagram explore page. It would pop up every so often and float around in my hazy daydreams.
That was until shoot day. My time had come. The pastel-coloured coziness was mine; even if only for a few moments.
Introducing: The Alice Chunky Knit Cardigan!
The cardigan in question was made by the independent fashion brand Hope Macaulay. Known for her signature colossal knits, the Northern-Irish designer uses her fantastical imagination to create wearable pieces of art. A magnificent blend of creativity, practicality, and a strong knowledge of textile craft.
It’s important to mention that these knits are made from jumbo Merino wool; a material both durable and biodegradable. If you don’t want to wear wool for personal reasons, you’d be happy to hear that they also have vegan options on their website.
Here are a few of my favourite items from her collections:
This is such a colourful but wearable piece. Pair it with wide leg trousers and neutral trainers for a casual cool look.
For the brave: a cuddly monster of a jumper! Kudos to the ones who can pull it off.
You can find more about this brand on: https://hopemacaulay.com/
Their Instagram: @hope.macaulay
A solid period drama is my go-to when I need emotional support.
There is nothing better than indulging in a rose-tinted fantasy from the past when you're stressed out. Elizabethan, Rococo, Edwardian. Any of those eras will do. But, I must say, a regency era tale from Jane Austen is what I love the most.
Want to embrace nature and gaze at sunlit fields without going outside? Put on the 2005 Pride & Prejudice and soak up the mesmerising outdoor scenes.
Need a film with the exact running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes to help you forget about your problems? The 1995 Sense and Sensibility is the antidote for you! (Also, Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon. Huge yes.)
This year, Director Autumn de Wilde was at the helm of the newest Austen film adaptation. The classic tale of Emma was back on the big screen. As soon as I saw the trailer for this new version, I knew I had to see it.
Now, I haven’t actually read Emma before. I did tell myself I’d speed read the novel beforehand - like I did for the 2019 Little Women - but this time that wasn't the case. All the copies had been taken out from the library. Not surprising really.
The film itself is a visually spellbinding watch. Mix together Coppola’s pastel paradise in Marie Antoinette with Kubrick’s painterly, establishing shots in Barry Lyndon, and there you have the artistic direction for Emma.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular character with charisma and a haughty expression.
When Austen created the ‘handsome, clever, and rich’ Emma, she never intended for the character to be likeable. At times, Emma’s superiority complex is frustrating to watch. But, this does make her character development throughout the film all the more impactful.
Expect an endearing performance from Mia Goth as Emma’s best friend Harriet Smith. You'll also appreciate Johnny Flynn’s charming portrayal of Mr Knightly. And, last but not least, I’ve got to mention that Bill Nighy plays Mr Woodhouse - a hilarious addition to the cast.
Style-wise, I must point out that I’ve never been a fan of regency period fashion. Those high empire waistlines are great if you want to look pregnant, and I can’t help think that those tiny curls look silly.
However, Emma's delicate and detailed costume design was enough to make these garments look tolerable without straying from historical accuracy. Just look at the images below. The colours are gorgeous, the coats are structured to perfection, and the hats show remarkable attention to detail:
Photographs found on @periodcorset
A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed and came across a beautiful Vogue Italia cover. There was no celebrity gracing the spotlight, but a mesmerising fashion illustration instead.
An atmospheric portrait of a woman. Her eyes blue and ethereal. She stares deep into your soul whilst her hands are pressed together as if she is praying. Flower petals are formed from her breath.
This striking image felt so familiar, yet I didn't figure out why until a few weeks later.
I soon learnt that it was created by Yoshitaka Amano! A legendary artistic director for games like the Final Fantasy franchise and anime like Vampire Hunter D. This was an artist I had subconsciously admired for years.
Just a few of Amano's illustrations.
His contribution to the January 2020 Vogue Italia was part of a sustainability project. In a special issue, the famous fashion magazine replaced all photographs with illustrations.
Large numbers of staff like photographers, stylists, and hair or make-up artists were not needed. Resources were saved.
They went back to basics by showcasing this elegant and elusive woman. Her gaze is penetrating. She stares at you and questions how you’re spending your precious time on this planet.
I’ll always remember Yoshitaka Amano’s art design for Angel’s egg.
Directed by Mamoru Oshii, the animated film follows a mysterious little girl who roams an eerie, dystopian landscape. She carries an egg. The film has minimal dialogue whilst the cinematic narrative unravels like a painting coming to life. It's art on the run, piercing into the depths of your subconscious.
Amano’s art is permeated with winding lines, mysterious figures that have long and wispy bodies, and an ethereal colour palette. The illustrations he created for Angel’s Egg are equally enchanting. Intense. Searching. Desolate.
For those who are interested in watching Angel’s Egg, you can find the full film on Youtube:
You can also see more of Yoshitaka Amano’s artwork here: https://www.yoshitakaamano.com/work
(Do have a look. It's amazing!)
I know it’s unhealthy to indulge in melancholic thoughts for too long, but there are times when it is more cathartic than harmful.
I’ve told myself that there are certain songs I should never listen to again because I fear they’ll remind me of difficult times. No one wants to open the floodgate to rumination.
But, I’ve found it within myself to listen to those songs again. To love them even.
Some musicians are healers. Rather than dragging you further into melancholy, their rawness slowly guides you out of a rough mental state - even when you don't realise it.
Sparklehorse is one of those bands.
It felt so right listening to them again. I've been going through their 2001 album: It’s a Wonderful life lately. Mark Linkous - the founder and lead songwriter of the band - conjures up a dark and distorted sound. Don't fret though. There are lighter moments too.
Imagine rummaging through an antique store and stumbling across an old portrait photograph from years long gone. Chances are you never knew the person in the photo. Possibly, you weren't even alive when it was taken! Yet, you still feel a sense of longing; a sense of nostalgia for a time you never knew. That’s what Sparklehorse sounds like.
Linkous sings with a wavering voice. It’s transient. You never know if he’s going to finish a note or give up halfway. His voice might sound delicate, but it holds the inner strength of a man making his way through a turbulent life - one filled with a history of mental health issues and drug addictions. Surviving.
I don’t have a favourite song from the album.
I do find myself listening to Gold Day often. Gentle and airy. The perfect song for zoning out on a long walk and forgetting about your worries:
Mark is no longer with us. Thank you for the music.
Have a listen if you can.
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