Saturday, 16 June 2012

Mother of Mine - John Lewis Styling Initiative










Is it possible to suggest that fashion, or personal style, is in the blood – inherited from a parent or far-flung relative; that certain traits are passed through successive generations, regardless of location or circumstance; that my great-aunt’s brief training in the art of pattern cutting has somehow contributed to my own love for well-tailored jackets?
The phrase “in the blood” is odd. It provokes images of white cells in the shape of tip-tapping high heels, or platelets scurrying through arteries like pillbox hats. It suggests somehow that such a passion is something pumped around the body, through veins as intricate as spider’s silk, carried in velvet-red blood. Of course, it’s a figurative trope; a way to imply that we can inherit the same interests as our ancestors thanks to shared DNA.
But perhaps it’s more a matter of environment. I’m not sure whether my collection of silk shirts would be as extensive if it weren’t for the influence of my mum and grandma in bringing well-dressed relatives to light. Certain themes and professions do stitch themselves through families – ours being entwined with the worlds of drama, science, geology, writing and teaching – but these threads have to be brought to attention. I would have little idea of my rich, clothing-related heritage if it weren’t for the boxes of black and white photos of picnics and days out, or for the dresses and accessories that have been passed on to me. These are the links that pin the past to my present. My paternal grandma’s couture Balenciaga dress bought in a NY thrift store (such a favourite that it is mentioned regularly here) or the fur collars rescued from my maternal great-grandma’s house are the evidence needed to prove that my interest is partly genetic. It’s a combination of the innate desire to collect vintage suitcases, and the sources of information that provide details of exactly what role fashion has played in the lives of family members.
My mum, as mentioned above, has had a key role in this uncovering of the past, whilst inspiring me daily with her own looks. She was my first point of contact, the initial example of the potential for self-expression and creativity held within clothes. I can remember the coat appliqued with fabric leaves that she wore to pick me up from primary school, and the long, cream dress that has now been sucked into my wardrobe. My inbuilt ‘charity shop radar’ is entirely thanks to the woman who dives into the nearest Oxfam or Red Cross at every opportunity. She dresses fantastically, and I think that my own immersion in fashion has heightened her interest too. We share clothes regularly, and often look to the other for approval or opinion of an outfit. Of course, we have many other mutual passions – particularly when it comes to literature – but there is a lot of pleasure to be found in a day out at a vintage market, or in the many shoots we do for the blog. It’s very satisfying to reverse the lens once in a while though, and an offer from John Lewis to treat my blog 'other half’ (also known as the resident blog photographer, although I should mention that my dad sometimes takes up this role too) to a selection of clothes sourced online was a perfect opportunity. A voucher duly arrived and although my mum was tempted by things as diverse as these Berties shoes, or this jacket with a vaguely RAF silhouette, she eventually chose two dresses to style with her own mix of second hand and vintage accessories.

As a woman who never shops on the high street, mum enjoyed the prospect of casting her eye across an unfamiliar array of possibilities - with John Lewis claiming that they have "brands to suit all styles". Knowing also that John Lewis carry sustainable/ethical label People Tree, she was particularly enthusiastic about making a purchase from this wonderful company, albeit disappointed that the Orla Kiely diffusion line was not stocked online. However, People Tree's gorgeous 'Amy' poplin boat print dress matched the soft waves of the Welsh coastline beautifully, the organic cotton soaked by evening sun. Ten minutes before taking the photos I was swimming in the sea – a very cold bliss. The second dress is by NW3, and mum appeared to be sailing through the field of barley as I snapped away, the pleats brushing the seed husks. She chose this one for versatility of wear in all seasons. Unfortunately her very impressive balancing act in precarious heels was hidden from the eye of the camera – although watching her climb over a farm gate in them was rather amusing. 


All the accessories are vintage or from charity shops - with special mention going to the clutch in the first set of photos, which is actually the most beautiful pyjama case I have ever found. The silver 'chevron' necklace worn with the first dress was made by my hugely talented friend Esme (she of the 'backbone' brooch in the header). Big thanks to Jo for organising this initiative. 

36 comments:

Bella Q said...

Well you know I have been eagarly awaiting some photos of your gorgeous mum and these do NOT disappoint! What a beauty! I love the dress, and the classic blazer, and her red as red beautiful curly hair. Best yet, I love her stance, the sensitivity that lines her mouth, and her attitude. What a marvelous way to start my day.

Great pictures and wonderful model!

SACRAMENTO said...

I am so glad to see your mother. I am sure a very proud and beautiful woman in her own right.
Love each arty photo. Such a delight for a really heavy and hot Saturday afternoon ( reaching 40ºc at the moment).
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Megan June said...

Your mom is gorgeous. And your writing is beautiful, as usual.

--Megan
www.immeganjune.com

alexandratherese said...

I can see the fourth shot being easily incorporated into a John Lewis advertising campaign Roz; these photos are remarkable. Your mum's clothing choices are timeless and she looks wonderful - confident and assured and beyond a flimsy definition of 'style'. I have voiced my admiration for her hair before but it is brilliant, or as I wrote in my chemistry exam yesterday "aesthetically pleasing" (and yes I think I am the first person to ever use that phrase in reference to food colouring!" It is transparent that your mum is such a creative inspiration and it is lovely to hear how appreciative of her influence you are.

Alexandra xx

ps Promise I will reply to your email this weekend!

Kate said...

It looks like you had so much fun doing this shoot, and it is such a lovely idea! She looks stunning, and there is so much of you in her, from her poise to her poses!

Penny Dreadful Vintage said...

The NW3 dress is gorgeous, she made a great choice. Beautiful pics, and a beautiful lady :)

Penny Dreadful Vintage

BaiLing said...

Wonderful mom!
I like very much her red hair :-)

BaiLing
www.inthemoodforlove.it

Thrifted Shift said...

Your mother seems like a force to be reckoned with. I like the image you conjured of cells, shoes, and hats. I absolutely believe many of my style tendencies are inherited from my mother, grandmother, and aunts. However, I also believe some of it is inherently my own: my father has a story about me at 4 years old absolutely insisting I needed to own a certain pink dress in a shop closed for the night!
--TS

Katia Pellicciotta said...

Your mother is beautiful, and you capture her so lovingly. Your writing is so captivating.
I'm running a series on females & rights this week on my blog if you're interested, I'd love if you took a look.
x Katia
www.katiapellicciotta.blogspot.com

Highland Fashionista said...

There is no doubt that style is genetic. Or perhaps it is that old nature vs. nurture argument that we are simply exposed to it via environment....either way, the tailored jacket must be a hallmark of having a stylish mum, because I have one too and it is all. about. the. jacket. Thanks for the lovely post.

Vix said...

Your Mother is a joy to look at, you can tell she's having the most wonderful time with her photographer.
Love the inspired use of a pyjama case! x

Maria said...

Your mom has a very graceful pose. Her dresses are beautiful.

Not Just A Pretty Dress said...

As I told you in my tweet yesterday, I think that, as for many things, family can play a big role in the 'education' of our style and taste. My paternal grandma was a tailor and my dad has a unique sense of fashion and attention to details that I'm sure was inherited from her. When I picked my bridal gown, I wanted both my mom and dad with me as I love both my dad's tailoring penchant and my mom's eye for original pieces. I'm sure that my love comes from them...Anyway, your mom looks absolutely stunning in both outfits and it's so nice to see this collaboration!

Estilo Hedónico said...

Amazing!!!!

http://estilohedonico.blogspot.pt/

xoxo

India Harlow said...

I love the shoes she is wearing in the first photo! I think its really great that you can share and involve your mum in your blogging. She must be really proud of you. Looks like you had fun going out and photographing her. It looks like you have a really special relationship!

India
x

lola said...

Amazing photos! Your mother looks so graceful! x

Closet Fashionista said...

Wow your mom looks amazing!!
And yes, I know what you mean about being in our DNA. A lot of my Dad's side of the family were artists of some kind, and my sister and I are both into art, but different kinds. I do think that some of the talent is inherited but the love for it is just from seeing everyone you love doing it :D
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

Tara said...

Beautiful post - once again!
I think your mother's style is wonderful and slightly avant garde.
Also, fantastic photos!

Tara
http://dandelionden.blogspot.co.uk/

daisychain said...

Your mother is stunning!

ana maria bruno said...

Fantástico espacio de moda, me alegro de haber llegado a ti, las imágenes son muy buenas, un beso para tí, ana, desde España.

vintagevixenarts said...

Your mama's poses show a strong, and lovely red haired beauty,with yet again amazing scenery! And then I enjoy the last shot showing her easy fun side.Lucky girl!:)

Lacey said...

Beautiful :)
LaceyLoves

SabinePsynopsis said...

As the most amazing looking and stylish mum she's the perfect model (and why am I not surprised she's no high-street shopper...)and your pictures are just stunning. No one in my family is interested in fashion, but they're all artistic - so I guess there is the shared experience of aesthetics and creativity. xoxo

Willow said...

These are beautiful photos, your mum has a gorgeous, very contagious smile - as when I saw these photos (especially the last one) I couldn't help but smile for no reason.

A lot of family members have influenced my interests - my grandma is an artist, my 99 year old great grandma is an author, and my mum makes clothing and jewellery.
And thanks to my mum, I have been rummaging through charity shops since I was about six, which also gave me a bit of a'charity shop radar.' Due to a fetish for vintage, there's a lot of stuff that I - ah, *borrow* from my mum's wardrobe.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

You and your mother certainly share more than an impeccable sense of style. We see the source of your glorious titian hair! The grey Welsh sky is a fitting backdrop for such a dramatic mane. I enjoyed the shot of her climbing over the fence too!

I think we girls never really grow out of raiding our mums' closets and accessory boxes. The genetic threads carry over into our aesthetic tastes and are never quite severed. For me, that even includes architecture and interior design. I used to see my mother sit all over the house -- which made us wonder why she was always "resting"! -- and she explained it was to think and see the spaces with a fresh eye. I've now adopted that to ensure my eye looks at something pleasing or thought provoking from any vantage point of the house. At any rate, it gives me an excuse to "rest" in various corners of the house! -- J xxx

Fashion Tales.... said...

I love the influence she's had on you, and how you both seem to inspire each other. Your mum is definitely a beauty and the camera loves her immensely. I do love that dress, it's a great choice!

Melanie said...

Both you and your mother have the most beautiful manes of hair! It's interesting to ponder where style comes from, the blood, the environment? Sometimes maybe it comes from declaring one's separateness from family and environment, as a breakaway from dulled expectations in closed circles. In your case, clearly your mother/daughter style line is something to be rejoiced!! You mother looks utterly fabulous. I love the fence-climbing photo and the shots in the field. Stunning. The fashion industry could definitely use more models like your mother, and kudos to John Lewis for facilitating this shoot.

vintage process said...

Great pictures! I love it!!

awishisarainbow said...

I can relate so much to the first half of this post - I feel I owe so much of my love for clothes and accessories and fashion to my Mother and Grandmother. If not for them I wouldn't have a huge collection of gloves, I wouldn't have way too much jewellery and I wouldn't have vintage stage and dance costumes!
Btw, love the last photo :P

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

An exquisite post, rich in content. I reflect on the legacy of my paternal grandmother and my mom relative to my love of textiles. I reflect on the style impact I may have had on my children, although it's not apparent at first glance. I adore this glimpse of your gorgeous mom and her sartorial choices. The last photo was my favorite.

Izzy/Bella said...

"It suggests somehow that such a passion is something pumped around the body, through veins as intricate as spider’s silk, carried in velvet-red blood.

Just wonderful. Really well-written and your mum is lovely. My mom's my best friend, too, but we don't have as much in common aside from books, which we do as well! I do also love photos of her from her younger days when she was more interested in wild fashions. She lost interest in that after having children. Besides books my sister and I are her biggest hobby. Jewish mothers, ha ;)

Oh, and if you didn't see my reply to your incredibly supportive comment, I'd be delighted and honored to be interviewed. If it's easier here's my email: izzydavid@gmail.com

Your blog inspires me to make a greater effort with my own blog-writing. I don't know why I tend to think of blog-writing where I can be lazy, because that's silly. I love how you've elevated the blog to an art form!

xx
Izzy
www.misadventuresofme.com

DESIGNER said...

What a gorgeous woman your mother is!
Inside and out!
X

Tela de Araña said...

You make a wonderful team !!! I like very much the pieces you have choosen.

Fashionistable said...

So wonderful to see you turn the lens on your brilliant Mum. What a great initiative indeed. Looks like you both had fun. Beautiful pictures as always from you both. Xxxx

Soccer Mom Style said...

Absolutely love your Mom especially the last photo!
xx
maya

styleodyssey said...

She is such a beauty. Like mother, like daughter! xo