WHISTLE AND FLUTE

Sonia Leong

An artist, illustrator in cartoons and Manga style characters, a published author of many books. There’s pretty much nothing this woman can’t do.
If she’s not teaching children at schools how to draw Manga style,
or showcasing her books at Comic Conventions, a wizard at story telling, dressing up in Cosplay, Guest Speaking at events, dressing up with her frilly friends in Gothic Lolita style at a meet up or tea party. Just an average day for her. Give her some 17th century pistols, or a hand crossbow and she’ll feel right at home with a smile on her face, and she even has time to fit in a husband and children, as a wife and mother. Clearly a Wonder Woman.

Sonia has been on the scene as a well known figure in her own right,
for around 20 years or more. I have known her for at least 15 of those.

This formidable woman is one of my favourite women to style and photograph. Like a great wine, she’s got even better with age.

In this recent photo-shoot, Sonia wears bespoke tailored jackets from Mochee Kent along with men’s tailored trousers, and high heel pumps from Christian Louboutin.

Sonia can do girly and frilliness like any woman can, but is equally at home in the power seat of a business meeting or event, rocking a bespoke three piece suit and brogues. These days, this is very much her go to and signature look, and why not ?
A man can look great in a suit, but a woman will always wear it better.

This set of images in the above post, ended up being featured in
Mob Journal magazine, issue 8, 2020 and makes all involved very happy.

NO STREET STYLE FOR A WHILE

That’s right, there’s been no style action on the street, in a long while you may have noticed from me. On this and my other blog JSTREETSTYLE.

After London Fashion Week back in September my dad went into hospital for a simple straight forward operation. After three months of visiting this gentle giant and caring man of 80 years, with a kind constitution to the world, he sadly passed away before Christmas. After his funeral in January, the illness and condition I have been poorly managing over the last year, mentioned in my last post, decided to speak up for itself, and make its voice heard loud and clear.

And so to hospital it was for myself, and pretty much have been there most of this year.
After leaving intensive care where a friend Savitri, and the amazing NHS staff helped to save my life, I have been in recovery and in self isolation, in this unprecedented UK lockdown in the Covid 19 global virus situation.

This has been my lot for some time, yet somehow early on this year, I managed to pick up some random street style shots around London while ill with a catheter and bag. What was I thinking? I must of been mad.
But with 25 years in my archive of street style, documenting youth culture, fashions, fashion tribes, trends, public feeling expressions, fealt through clothing. I guess its in my blood and in my heart. It is my go to action when I have a moment, where others would light up a cigarette, or have a drink.
I get my camera out and hit the streets, to see what I can find for you.

As I missed LFW being ill, this is all that I have for you. It may well be the last that I shoot, and that we all see for a while.

Enjoy.

A SCOOP OF FASHION KINDNESS

The much anticipated SCOOP International Fashion event for AW 2020, took place at London’s Old Billingsgate Market building in the heart of the city on Feb 9th – 11th.

The event showcases international designer brands from near and far, with a variety products from, luxury footwear, bags and other accessories, even perfumes as well as exciting clothing, encompassing more than 180 designer brands.

Due to my poor health, I was not able to fully enjoy and bring to you an in depth round up of the first day’s proceedings, but I do hope this account will do enough to interest you, and hopefully seek out your own journey either to the event itself, or to investigate not only the designers and brands I’ve featured, but many others that peak your own interest.

At the top of my list of interesting brands, are the lovely folks from Syra J.
A Hong Kong based fashion brand with some pretty cool and exciting designs.
Their collection pieces very much reflect the energy and passion of its creative director.
lots of deep, vivid colours, but with a fun, bright and playful feel. Spend a minute in her presence and you’ll understand that “where’s the party at? I wanna dance” feel she infuses into her designs.

Next I spotted a beaming smile against a sea of very exciting and pretty shoes.
Naturally I was drawn to both her and to them. Both smile and very desirable objects surrounding her, belonged to a lovely UK based luxury footwear brand, who’s creative director and owner is Mary Ching.
A Chinese woman and pretty shoes. Surly life doesn’t get any better, does it?

There wear other footwear designers there. The folks from United Nude put in a good appearance, with their cool, edgy architecturally influenced deigns.
Remember that insane Zaha Hadid collaboration they did a few years back? Sadly it didn’t make an appearance this time. At just under £4K a pair, I would say their excitement is a touch dialled down these days, but is very much present.

There was a brand there that made quite beautiful women’s brogues and chelsea boots.
Its owner declined to allow a skilled fashion based photo journalist, attending in capacity of press, to shoot a single frame, opting to wand to send me safely shot press pack images, after viewing my artistically shot instagram images.
I have a very high end luxury brand editorial upcoming to style and shoot, and have the need for brogues to very much feature. I will not be contacting this non mentioned guy and his brand.

I bumped into this very quiet unassuming Italian woman from Umbria. She made this very exciting and highly desirable item of knitwear you see her wearing, and that I so want to have.
Her brand is Barna and it specialises in Cashmere knitwear, like the blue one I’m still coveting by the way. Isn’t its neckline exciting, as is the particular shade of colour blue?

Another brand I can bring to you is Patricia Forgeal of Amuse Paris. A very stylish and lovely French woman, who told me about her brand and designs, where were very exciting. Very much the flavour of visually strong editorials. French style at its best.

I met the lovely Moira Niu of fashion PR brand Crescent Fashion.
She was chatty and passionate about her brand, and what it stood for.
I liked her enthusiasm.

I want to thank the organisers at SCOOP for your help and assistance. I was in poor health, off an operating table days earlier, and almost put myself back on one. Because of my poor health, I required specific assistance from security staff, direct access to toilets, emergency help if needed. I received all of this, even if I did end up back in hospital within minutes of leaving. See you all at the next big SCOOP.

THE FASHION AWARDS 2019

It’s that time of the year once again where to finalise and round up just like in a trend report, all the goings on in the world of fashion within the UK, in celebration of the industry and its accomplishments. Nothing better to celebrate at this time of the year than a grand awards ceremony with a big pat on the back for a few, and a good old jolly going on for all, well at least those who could afford the ticket price and its availability being scarce to such an event. The images from this post are all shot as usual by myself, and depict the sense of style captured on and during the red carper arrivals, at The Fashion Awards 2019, which took place at The Royal Albert Hall in London, on December 2nd 2019.

There were many celebrities in attendance. You know I am not swayed by celebrities so to me there are few here in image. My focus as always is about individuality of style and those who celebrate, or exhibit it. Granted this event is an industry event put on by the BFC The British Fashion Council, you are not going to see the most radical in thinking and designs on the red carpet.
That said, my eyebrows were raised on a few occasions.

As usual there were so many people I wished and wanted to photograph, but as always at these events, the usual takes place. A sea of security and staff obstructing the view of the people that stood up to 5 hours in order to watch as a member of the public, and hopefully get a selfie, a photograph like myself, and some still into autographs. Remember those things, way way before Social Media was even a thought. Apparently yes, those folks still and do exist, and believe me attended on mass at the awards outside.
Well back to my point. I counted over 30 people at one point in the way of the guests arriving, serving no logical function. Chronic obstructors so in narcissistic mode especially one, were in their element, as later on social media, they can look at themselves a hundred times, and on other peoples images. Point being stunning images were lost in opportunity, because of of this classic situation, not to mention the bottleneck of back to back celebrities waiting to move towards the press side of the red carpet to be photographed.
Oh for a gang of wise pre teen school kids, to organise things efficiently without the narcissistic egos.
Craziness aside, The Fashion Awards is always a fashion lover’s dream come true.
To be in one place, and have the industry descend upon them in a singular moment, more so than at a fashion week event.

Please enjoy the images I managed to capture for you. Hope they can convey the sense of the atmosphere the red carpet arrivals have at such an event.

NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD X CLOS19 EVENT

Are these not the best decorative Christmas tree accessories baubles in the world ever!
Forget your bland spherical glass whatever’s. What you need are heels on your tree, preferably from award winning master luxury shoe designer Nicholas kirkwood, with his signature giant pearl, for added sexiness. Yes I did use that word. I will not and never will apologise for its use. Remember when all footwear was about the S words and suggestiveness and sensuality and visual excitement? Why did that all stop? When did it all stop? Last night along with many others, I got a taste of the seductive sexy style very much still in place on shelves as works of art, and actually being worn.

Nicholas Kirkwood is an important name in the world of luxury footwear design.
Most of what we find exciting and take for granted today, in some seriously visual excitement and foot candy, as it is affectionately known, can be chalked down to this man, as the instigator of most of what you like about a shoe.
Sculptured heels, an architectural approach in design, visual excitement, easy access with that rear heel zip, reverse platform soles, pearl heels, mini disco balls, Swarovski crystal embellishments, solid metal finishings, and the list goes on and on.

In celebration of the man and his work, an event was held at his London showroom, showcasing his latest season collection pieces, celebrating the festive season with an all round good old jolly, over a glass of special sparkling champagne from the folks at Clos19. Well it is Christmas after all.

The showroom is situated in the heart of London’t historic Mayfair, and on a fabulous night where the heaven’s gifted us a fine dusting of moist sprinkles, instead of the regular deluge of biblical weather. The doors were open to a fine jolly indeed. A few steps inside saw a multitude of guests packed throughout the showroom, filing it with a cheery festive atmosphere. Some tried on new styles, some rocked up in the same styles as others, and wanted to compare them with selfie shots, while others wanted their shoes customised or initialed with a monogram or whatever, with the store’s on site artist and gifted scribe, with her set of inks, paints stencils, and typography and a cheery smile.
Staff whisked around to assist elegant and dainty feet and legs stretched out in need and want of attention, all saying “feed me new and exciting Kirkwood’s please”.

Guests that I noticed included the beautiful, the stylish and the famed. Featured here in this blog post are designer Tracy Rose, possibly the most photographed woman in a hat in the world, and the mesmerising model and media artist Yiling Zhao,
turning everyone’s heads with her presence.

All in all, it was a lovely few hours away from your TV or computer games, out in the heart of what really matters in life, the excitement of a well designed pair of shoes to adorn ones feet, from the man who’s creations we all love, and know as
Nicholas Kirkwood.

THE NATIONAL WEDDING SHOW & INDIA FASHION WEEK LONDON 2019

This post is in celebration of an event that took place at the Novotel in Hammersmith, November 16th & 17th 2019.

An event showcasing many components of bridal attire with vendors from all over the UK. Everything you could ever wish for in order to plan your perfect Indian, or Indian style wedding.

There were several stands displaying traditional Indian bridal jewellery dress, with models showcasing the various styles. Please see the images I shot for examples of how a Maang Tikka, a Rani Haar, Chokers, Bangles and Earrings were worn.
Sadly I did not spot any hand or foot harnesses worn.

There was one vendor that for me truly stood out. A luxury brand called IJAAZAT.
They do high end custom and bespoke offerings to both women and men, of some of the finest Indian wedding clothing I have ever seen. I was particularly excited by a specific garment. A gentlemen’s wedding dress, or (Kurta), with impressive tailoring, elegant silhouette and exceptional beading and appliqué work. An object of much desire and, one to add to my ever growing list of most coveted.
This garment for me represented everything it is meant to symbolise. Fineries for Indian Royalty.

For more, check out the National Wedding Show and their Instagram

VINTAGE MAIDENS VISIT PAT’S PLACE

During September I had the chance to do my fashion thing, and in doing so I meet various interesting people. However I met two very interesting aliens as they like to call themselves, rather than be locked down to territory. Two amazing creative sisters called Gabin and Gayon Lee.

I met them randomly at an event on the street outside. Two humble young women.
I took a chance and offered them a chance to visit me a STylist specialising in Vintage style, and to see my vintage fashion collection.
I am so glad I did that, because I otherwise never would have met these two very lovely women, that now are friends.

They have such a good calming aura and vibe about them. Wish I could keep them forever, but that’s too weird, plus I have to give them back to their mother who brought them here on a UK visit from Korea, where the little aliens reside.

Until now I have never offered my services as a Stylist to complete strangers.Trust works both ways remember. I have to welcome you to my home. People bring with them all their baggage of their race issues, self importance and their me me me attitude, saying the usual, we don’t think it’s appropriate to visit your place, so I must transport an archive of 20 years worth of fashion, to a location of their bidding to suit their ego.

None of that time wasting me me me me nonsense with these two.

These two crazy cats are beautifully bonkers, in the most delightful way. They dressed up and visited a vintage fashion fair, huge fans of vintage style and all things old, and also attended London Fashion Week, and got snapped street style by heaps of fashion press.

You got none of theta from these amazing two women. Kind beings that loved vintage style on their holiday, and am so glad they tok that leap of faith.

Here are some of the images I was able to create with these lovely aliens, and their calming aura.

Thank you Gabin and Gayon. You are most welcome always.

 

LONDON FASHION WEEK SS 2020 Post 2

It’s that time of the year again where everyone into fashion, industry or other, come together on a visit to London, to catch up, get some work in, and set the scene for cool and exciting creative things to happen. Not just for themselves, but mostly for others.
It’s that event we call London Fashion Week. A celebration of style that showcases the upcoming collections of exceptional and exciting clothing, various designers, new or well established, believe we will all be interested in next simmer season.

is like a Fashion Mecca, because its the one on the fashion week circuit, that many believe is the coolest, with the most outrageous, avant-garde, cutting edge and eclectic designs, supposedly reflective of the cool edgy crazy cats that dwell within the UK.
Oh if only they knew the real truth.

Attending shows, meeting and greeting, networking, procuring business and future collaborations, building new connections, its all a part of the events that is ground zero for fashion throughout the UK.

Some amazing shows were attended with very exciting creations. Wish I could covet many of them, just not today, but eventually I’ll work on that.  Shows like Light & Shadow X Punk Rave. The first group from the collection was truly exciting with Elizabethan collars, ruffs, bodices, framework and bustles, light Gothic influenced and beautifully crafted. Another show i really enjoyed was by Jamie Wei Huang, with its high turn out of stars, influencers and personalitiies attending from all across Asia,. Loved that show with its tags and chain linked pieces.

Her is a brief snapshot of some of the amazing action I’ve been able to capture and share with you.
Enjoy.

LONDON FASHION WEEK SS 2020 POST 1

So it’s that time of the year once more, where all into the world of, industry or other revolving around the F word. No not that one. I’m talking about Fashion. You can think of the other one after you’re checked out this post.

So this is the first post encompassing the goings on from day one of
London Fashion Week SS 2019.
What took place late evening was a gathering for the first major event at Canada House, the Canadian Embassy in Trafalgar Square in the evening.
A gathering of various Canadian dwelling designers like Melissa Chung, and her amazing cool product, that protects the heels of your pretty high heel shoes. There are several of these products that I’ve seen on the market, but her Krippit was by far the best I have seen. Added support and beauty, came from the designer’s super stylish and elegant mother.

Other cool designs came from Pranga & Co. Novel interchangeable cufflinks from men or should they so increasingly wish, women also. There are many many fine details, finishing and accents if you will, to a woman’s attire. There are very few for a man, and the most well known of them is the cufflink, followed possibly by a tie pin. These cufflinks were stylish, innovative, and really impressed me with out of the box thinking. Sustainable materials, like wood, clear glass like resin with butterfly wings to provide a natural colour pallet that changes as light hits. There was even a pair fashioned from a piece of coal, with the most beautiful carvings.

Outside I endeavoured to bring to you what I could find in terms of style on the street. Though in failing evening light and a shaky hand, images were still captured that show what London is all about during Fashion Week. Individuality of style with an edge to it.
This is just from day one. It can only get better and better. So keep it here to be informed and updated with the goings on from London Fashion Week

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