Thursday, 22 June 2017

#badgirlcrush - Katie-Louise Nicol-Ford

#badgirlcrush - Katie-Louise Nicol-Ford

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?​ Ie. name, what you do, where you live (or ASL in MSN mode, lol!

29/F/Sydney @katielouiseford 

I’m Katie-Louise, I live in Sydney Australia. Like most creatives in my generation I have many job titles.. but I am predominantly a seamstress, working in both fashion and costume. I also run a small business with my husband selling vintage clothing and our own handmade clothing line.

Can you tell us about what life was like growing up for you? How did you discover your style, passions and persuasions?

I grew up in a small beachside town, which never suited me much, and found myself ditching the bikini from an early age. 
I was lucky enough to be raised by an incredibly creative mother who always nurtured the eccentricities in my brother and myself.

I’ve been obsessed with clothing since I was a child and my mother never batted an eyelid when I’d insist on donning a full face of makeup and tutu for church, or when I turned full goth as a teenager and had more metal in my face than the local fisherman’s tackle box. This freedom of expression allowed me to discover so much about myself from such a young age, for which I will always be grateful.

You are ​an extremely​ talented​ ​designer with a strong and unique vision. ​​How did you get ​started in th​e fashion​ industry​?​ Can you outline any challenges you have faced along your journey and how you overcame them?

Thank you so much! I started a clothing label on a whim in my early 20s whilst studying fashion in Melbourne. I was dirt poor, so started making 1950s style dresses out of fabric from op shops and selling them at markets. I had a great response, so opened up an Etsy shop and things really took off.

I have since started a label with my husband, which comprises both handmade and vintage clothing. We strive to find balance in the cost of ethical handmade production in a world which choses “fast fashion”. We make all of our garments in-house, from start to finish, and while we have received a great response and support, we still receive criticism of price points considering that we barely break even. Unfortunately I don’t think our generation is educated in the true cost of quality materials and labour. However it is not all doom and gloom, and as we are so passionate about both our creativity and hand finished clothing we keep striving, both working full time jobs in order to fund our creative baby.

Where do you find yourself most inspired ​- ​or gain inspiration from?​ ​

My brain is such a bizarre rolodex, full of the most abstract references and inspirations, so I find myself constantly jumping between multiple points of inspiration. I also draw a lot of fresh influence from old films, costume exhibitions and beautiful coffee table books full of art and fashion, of which we have a lot! I have found in my study and career that barriers are built up between the worlds of fashion and costume. Thanks to my eclectic taste, I like to break down these walls when it comes to my own style, often taking costumes from all eras as a point of fashion reference. One of my favourite examples would be the French follies costumes of the 1920s. Mash this with Liza’s crazy makeup in the 1972 Cabaret and you have John Galliano 2006 dream!

​Is there a particular era of time (or times) whose values and/or aesthetics you identify with the most?

For me I have been enamoured by 1930s Hollywood since I was a teenager. The Hollywood (often ridiculous) images of opulence, excessiveness and luxury have always struck a cord. After my first trip to France last year, I have also become obsessed with 18th century dress and culture, particularly in France and England. The exaggerated silhouettes, sumptuous fabrics, pompous wigs and excessively ‘feminine’ clothing was so incredibly extreme and exaggerated, I just can’t get enough! I’m an avid history fan and I think that the social climate during each of these time periods provides fascinating context to their aesthetic. The opulence of 1930s Hollywood was pure escapism for a nation suffering through the Great Depression. Similarly, the lives of 18th century nobility was in stark contrast to the masses struggling on the lower rungs of society. Yet the projected imagery from the wealthy exuded such triumph and success that this is often what we remind from these time periods. While my husband and I live a comfortable life, we always joke that we dress far above our means, fake it till you make it!

As a Sydney-sider, are there any places which are a ​'​must see​'​ ​for​ any international ​Bad Girls planning a trip​ to Australia​?

Sydney is undoubtedly a beautiful city to behold! Catching a ferry through the harbour, going for a spin at Luna Park or having a cheeky champas at the Opera House are still things I get giddy about.  As I grew up nine hours drive from Sydney I still often feel like a tourist myself, and I am constantly making new discoveries. I would recommend to any new travellers to meet locals – since lockout laws have been introduced a lot of good venues have shut down, however the underground culture is growing and I’m always happy to show travellers how to have a great time in such a conservative city.

What are your favourite movies, what do you like about them and why do you think are you drawn to them?​

My all time favourite film is Follow the Fleet with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, I first saw it as a midday movie at 14 and it was my gateway into the glamour of the 1930s and my other passion, musicals. I love the escapism of films like this, how for a few hours you are transported into a world of pure imagination.

Beauty secrets time: are there any particular products you regularly use in your makeup/hair routine that ​you recommend to bad girls?

I often get asked to do tutorials for my hair sets, but its really just years of trial and error and figuring out how to transform it into something else when an overnight set falls short of fabulous (instead of crying and throwing foam rollers round the room.. ahem) For fellow bleached gals, I can’t recommend Olaplex treatments enough, it has taken my hair from straw to silk. Also invest in a professional colourist…  I’ve learnt that the hard way.

For my face - I’m obsessed with this dirt cheap brand at Chemist Warehouse W7 that do a great white sparkly baked eyeshadow. I also love Besame cheek tints and lipstick - Cherry Red is my everyday poison, and sparkly, bright eye dust in every colour from The Makeup Wardrobe in Newtown, Sydney.

Who are some of your favourite musicians? What is your favourite era of music?

I am a diehard Morrissey fan, so I seriously listen to the Smiths everyday. I still remember flicking through Rolling Stone at a friends house when I was 15 and seeing an article on the Libertines. It read -  “If you’re into The Cure and The Smiths, than you’ll love the Libertines”. I’d already loved the Cure since I heard Boys Don’t Cry in the Wedding Singer as a kid, but who were this other mysterious band? As soon as I got home I downloaded ‘This Charming Man’ on Napster (haha) and that was it.
I also have never shaken my teenage days in musical theatre so am always listening to so many musicals. I can often be found howling along at my sewing machine to Gypsy, Cabaret, Wicked, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Annie and of course Les Miserables.

If you could pick one, who would your Ultimate Bad Girl be and why?

Ugh so many. Celebrity wise, I’d have to say Bette Davis. In an industry that was based on looks and often involved off screen favours, she managed to succeed based on intellect and talent. I have so much respect for that. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredibly talented and passionate women who laugh in the face of society’s expectations of them and are absolutely thriving as a result. That to me is bad in the best kind of way.

From top to bottom, Katie- Louise wears The Original bad Girl ' Bella' One shoulder ruffle crop top, The 40s style 'Diamond' twist top and The ' Gwen ' Wrap Top, available here

What do you love about The Original Bad Girl?

I love the versatility of the designs! They can so easily be worn in a super contemporary or fierce vintage fashion. For me most importantly as a seamstress, I love seeing good quality manufacturing, and The Original Bad Girl is flawless!

What does being 'bad' mean to to you?

For me, ‘bad’ is figuring out who and what you are and sticking to your guns, even when people judge you for it. Allowing yourself to be ruled by your own passions. I know it sounds so naff but live life your own way bad gals, because to quote my dear friend Liza Minnelli:

Start by admitting,
From cradle to tomb,
It isn’t that long a stay.

If you want to pop a bottle of champas and go out dancing on a Tuesday, or take a mental health day and curl up in bed eating pad thai and watching Call the Midwife reruns, then do it! Being bad is doing things for yourself, simply because they make you happy.

What are your goals for 2017?

After getting married in March, life is finally calming down and I’m starting to feel in control of my time again. After an unintentional hiatus, my husband and I will finally be releasing a new collection for our clothing label in the next few months! We’ve had a few bumps in the road, so this is a long time coming, we are both very excited. We have recently moved into a new apartment, so hope to transform it from drab to fab by the end of the year! As I mentioned before, Sydney is going through a weird time at the moment, so to create a unique haven for ourselves and fellow weirdos would make us very proud.

Follow Katie- Louise on instagram here

Sunday, 12 March 2017

#badgirlcrush -Tiffany Cadillac

#badgirlcrush -Tiffany Cadillac

Q: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

A: I'm Tiffany Cadillac, 27 years old, an island gyal who lives in Tokyo.
I love vintage style and music, I pose for clothing labels once in a while and I'm starting to make music now.

Q: Where did you grow up?

​A: A few years after I was born in Tokyo, my family relocated in Jamaica which my father is from. I was running around barefooted, picking mangoes and guava, always lurking on the beach, and surrounded by Jamaican music. I lived there until I was around 11 years old, and came back to Japan. I visit occasionally and since it's my second home.

Q: Where do you find yourself most inspired or gain inspiration from?

A: My pot of inspiration is from so many things, film, photography, art, music etc.. But for style wise I like to look at vintage pictures of real people in everyday life, and also backstage pictures of showgirls and vintage girly magazines.

Q: Is there a particular era of time you identify with the most? 

A: I love everything from the late 40's - early 60's! My style will change 360' every time, I would feel 50's glam one day, then the next day I'd be wearing a mini dress tied with a beehive like a 60's girl group.

Q: Can you recommend your favourite clothes shops, record shops, bars and art galleries in Tokyo?

A: There are a lot of stores I like in Tokyo but for vintage I would check out Boop Poop a Doop in Ebisu/Daikanyama and Fizz vintage in Kouenji. If it's outside on Tokyo, I like Samantha's vintage in Osaka. My friends and I always go out to see local bands play at a bar/venue called Heavy Sick in Hatagaya. I'm not a deep vinyl collector but For killer records I would check Anchor records in Shinjuku and of course I'd hop in any Disk Union if I'd pass by one.

Q: What do you love about living in Tokyo?

A: Tokyo is a busy, safe, and compact city, and it's so easy to travel. Although everything is modernized, tradition still exists, and I love to see traditional architecture and old atmosphere neighbourhoods.
Tokyo is the nearest city to my heart, But who knows, maybe  I would be living in a different city in a different country!

Q: What are your favourite movies? 

A: Usually I would watch a lot of documentaries but I grew up watching a lot of Audrey Hepburn movies and 50's romcoms are what I tend to go to for style inspirations.
I also love Teen B movies and 70's Blaxploitation films, I just love seeing bad girls misbehaving!

Q: Tell us about your favourite beauty products? Why you love them?

A: For skincare I go for natural things, like coconut oil to remove makeup and moisturize. I absolutely love MUJI beauty products and have using them for years. From toners to moisturizers and serums, their products are simple and ethical, and have a range of lines for every skin type.
My go to red lipstick would be everyone's favorite - Ruby woo. My favorite coral pink - Pink in the afternoon, very much like what Holly Golightly wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

For my brows, Shu Uemura hard formula eyebrow pencil is a staple in my beauty kit, I'm so used to it that I'm afraid that I can't use anything else!
I also love perfumes, more on the sweet, heavy and sensual notes are my jam. Black Orchid - Tom Ford, J'adore -  Dior,  Amber and Patchouli - Jo Malone is my mostly beloved scents.

Q: Who are some of your favourite musicians? 

Such a difficult question, as I love all kinds of music, I would play anything from Vocal jazz, old R&B, authentic ska, early reggae, 70's punk and 80's hardcore, fuzzy funk, Latin soul, all the way to conscious hip hop, you name it! The list will go on...but I adore Billie Holiday and I relate to her a lot. If we're talking about modern artists, my album pick would be... : Never twice - Nick Waterhouse, We're Rollin' - Soul Crap, Shrunken head familia - Bobby's Bar, Twice - Hollie Cook, Coming Home - Leon Bridges.

Q: If you could pick one, who would be your Ultimate Bad Girl? Why?

A: It's so hard to pick one, i can't choose from Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone or Pam Grier but Ugh, cannot be said enough, Pam Grier! The looks, the sauciness, she kick ass and be flaming hot at the same time who wouldn't want to be a fox like Pam, although Eartha taught me how to be a wild kitten and Nina is my true hero.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A:  I'm actively working on my own music project, been recording and writing songs for a while now. I hope to share an EP really soon, and a set of covers with a few of my favourite tunes by the end of the year!

Tiffany wears our Anita Turtleneck, you can find it here 

Q: What do you love about The Original Bad Girl? 

A: First of all I love the prints and the cut, it's form fitting and beautiful. You can pair it with anything. For a girly girl but tom boy at heart like me, I need styles that can play both parts, It's easy to dress it up and down, became such an important label for my wardrobe!

Tiffany wears The Original Bad girl T and our Bella Top

Q: What does being 'bad' mean to you? 

A: To be ambitious and empowering, ready for everything, knows what to do and what to get, and doesn't give a bloody shit about what ppl might say!

Q: What are your goals for 2017?

A: 2017 is for a lot of changes and new encounters. I've met so many beautiful individuals already and I hope for more, plus I have my music cooking, so that's pretty exciting for me and I hope for a successful recording so I can get to share soon.

You can find out more about Tiffany Cadillac here

Sunday, 19 February 2017

#badgirlcrush – Dorothy Dandridge

#badgirlcrush – Dorothy Dandridge

This month’s #badgirlcrush is the beautiful and talented actress, singer, dancer and all-round glamour siren, Dorothy Jean Dandridge.

From her early beginnings as a vaudevillian child performer, Dorothy rose through the club circuits of New York and LA to become a box office star of Beyonce proportions during the mid 1950s.

The first American woman of African descent to be nominated for an Oscar, Dorothy carved out a successful – yet ultimately short-lived - movie career against many odds, making her a true Hollywood trailblazer and bad girl to the core.

Born in 1922 in Cleveland, USA, Dorothy Daindridge and her sister Vivian started singing and dancing from a young age, encouraged by their aspiring-performer mother Ruby who dubbed them, ‘The Wonder Children’.

The two young Dandridge sisters travelled their song-and-dance-act in churches throughout southern American for five years, before the family moved to Los Angeles in 1929 in search of stable work and stardom during the Great Depression.

Following the success of ‘The Wonder Children’ in 1934, Ruby Daindridge renamed her daughters’ act ‘The Dandridge Sisters’, including a third member into the group named Etta James (not to be confused with legendary jazz singer, Etta James).

Steadily growing in popularity, the trio began touring across high profile nightclubs, such as the Apollo Theatre and Cotton Club, where they were given a regular show thanks to their steady fan base.

The Dandridge Sisters regularly drew comparisons with another famous all-girl singing trio - The Andrew Sisters - but after rigorously performing in clubs across the country, the group disbanded in 1940.

Living and working in LA, Dorothy naturally found her way into the motion picture business. The roles she was offered over the next 13 years were stock-standard racial stereotypes that did little to showcase her extraordinary singing and dancing ability.

Dorothy continued to perform in clubs and was famously ‘discovered’ by an MGM producer whilst singing at legendary Hollywood hotspot, the Mocambo, who promptly invited her to audition for the supporting female lead in a musical called Carmen Jones.

Not only did she land the leading role by storming the office of director Otto Preminger, Dorothy Dandridge was nominated for the 1954 Best Actress Oscar alongside Grace Kelly, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Jane Wyman.

The golden statue went to Grace Kelly, but Dorothy’s star status was cemented as a bonafide motion picture sex symbol. The hard-working girl from Cleveland with stars in her eyes finally became a star at 32 years old.

Here are some publicity photos and clips from Carmen Jones. Babetown!

'Carmen Jones was the best break I’ve ever had. But no producer ever knocked on my door, there just aren’t that many parts for a black actress' - Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy’s journey to stardom was fraught with obstacles, thanks to the racism and racial segregation rife in America at the time.

After her star turn in Carmen Jones, a leading tabloid published an article stating that Dorothy had casual sex with a white bandleader in Nevada back in 1950. Back then, it was common for gossip publications to pay off hotel staff for seemingly juicy information that could become a trusted ‘source’ of their mostly untrue articles.

Dorothy fought the magazine in a much-publicised court hearing, sued and won a large settlement; however, the salubrious publicity from the fall out did nothing but amplify her public persona as a seductress.

Her personal life was equally as trying. After an unsuccessful first marriage to entertainer Harold Nicholas in 1942, Dorothy gave birth to her only daughter Harolyn in 1943, who was born with brain damage and required around-the-clock care. When the medical care bills for Harolyn started to mount, Dorothy was forced to accept bit parts in movies and tour the nightclub circuit, in addition to caring for her daughter.

Dorothy and Harold Nicholas divorced in 1951 and in 1959, she married Jack Denison, a man disposed to domestic violence. They divorced in 1962 at a time when Dorothy was broke and forced to sell her Hollywood apartment – and perhaps most tragically - give up Harolyn to the authorities at a mental institution in Ventura, California. At the age of 42 years old, Dorothy Dandridge died of an overdose of anti-depressants in highly mysterious surroundings.

Although Dorothy Dandridge acted in a slew of movies, from the highs of her star turn in Carmen Jones to the low-budget thriller Malaga in 1962 that was to be her final film, she struggled to shrug off the ‘exotic temptress’ stereotype that had plagued the majority of her career. 

Character roles that didn’t rely on ethnic clichés for Americans of African Descent - especially women - were few and far between. Dorothy actively challenged directors on movie roles and ultimately chose to retire from the film industry, in face of the lack of work and insulting roles she was offered. Dorothy went on to resume her night club career as she was left in debt from her previous marriage and continuous medical bills for her daughter. 

Since her untimely death, the life, work and legacy of Dorothy Dandridge has found a new audience in celebrities like Halle Berry, who played her in the 1999 biopic, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

Below you will find our most favourite DD outfits, Dorothy's style was very modern, elegant and classic for the time, you could even say that most of her outfits are the 'trends' of today's generation. From her stunning one of a kinda stage gowns, to her everyday classic wear, Dorothy certainly knew how to wear outfits that exuded a confident, lady-like, with a hint of bad girl quality that accentuated her knock out curves! Some of Dorothy's favourite methods and finishing touches, were to use scarves and wide belts to show off her hourglass shape, she was also a fan of adding bold gold jewellery to dress up a casual out fit and sparkling diamond pieces for her stage performances to add an extra Va va voom!

 We salute Dorothy for being an original bad girl of talent, integrity, style and substance. 

Patsy @patsypbl

(Columnist for The Original Bad Girl Blog)