Sounding Off..., This & That

Interview with the Incomparable Model, Tatiana Chechetova

Blue-eyed beauty, Tatiana Chechtova has featured in reputable magazine editorials like Qvest, GQ Style and I Love You.  She has also worked on a multitude of commercial projects which have included modelling for Vivienne Westwood’s lookbook.  She is represented by M4 Model Management (Germany) and New Madison (France).

Copyright: Anna Burmistrova

I had the pleasure with working with all 5ft 9.5 of her when she worked on the fashion editorial I styled last week.  Having been blown away by her amazing chameleon-like transformations in her projects, I couldn’t resist shoving my rather dated tape recorder in front of her face to ask her a few questions as she got primed for the shoot.

Here is how it went-

My Fashion S/ash Life- How and where, were you discovered as a model?

Tatiana- I was spotted in the small  Russian town, Tambov, where I come from by my neighbour.

http://amagazine2.blog.fc2.com

My Fashion S/ash Life- How does that work, did s/he one day come knocking on your door asking if you wanted to be a model?

Tatiana- No, my neighbour had been watching me for two years and had been observing how I was growing up…

My Fashion S/ash Life- Erm, is this neighbour a man by any chance? As it’s beginning to sound a bit unsavoury!

Tatiana (laughs)- No she was a woman who happened to be a photographer and she recommended that I go to my local model agency for a casting.  It all took off from there.

My Fashion S/ash Life- What would you say are the best aspects of your job?

Tatiana- I love the process of becoming a different character in each modelling job I do.

My FashionS/ash Life- And what do you like the least?

Tatiana- Having to model in freezing weather.

My Fashion S/ash Life- How would you describe your sense of style?

Tatiana- I’m a seasonal dresser, so in summer I tend to wear brighter clothes, but in autumn/winter, I tend to go for darker pieces.

Copyright: Adam Von Mack

My Fashion S/ash Life- What genre or cultural reference inspires you the most when it comes to your style?

Tatiana- I love Japanese street style and designers like Yohji Yamamoto.

My Fashion S/ash Life- You have done a multitude of editorials, campaigns, look books, shows etc.  How has that affected your sense of style?

Tatiana- A lot.  I come from a small town in Russia and growing up I really didn’t have much taste and I feel that was because of the kind of flashy, overdressed style I was exposed to.  However, since entering the industry I can see that it has given me the confidence to develop my own sense of style which is more casual, relaxed and definitely cooler!

http://amagazine2.blog.fc2.com

My Fashion S/ash Life- Which is your favourite city to shop in?

Tatiana- Paris, but to live in, I prefer either London or Berlin.

My Fashion S/ash Life- What are your beauty tips?

Tatiana- Lots of sleep- try to get 8 hours at least.  Also avoid coffee, cigarettes and too much alcohol.

My Fashion S/ash Life- What has been your favourite freebie so far?

Tatiana- A Vivienne Westwood jacket which I got for doing her look book.

http://blog.gutschera-osthoff.com

My Fashion S/ash Life- If you had an unlimited resource of cash, which designers would you spend it on?

Tatiana (laughs)- Well, I’m not sure if I would spend the money on clothes!

My Fashion S/ash Life- That’s a very sensible answer but in this interview you have to!  So imagine someone gives you bucket loads of cash, puts a gun to your head and orders you to shop- which designers would you go for?

Tatiana- Well in that case, Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester.

http://news.agency.com

Press & Promotions

My Dries Van Noten Fall 2011 Review in Husk Magazine’s A/W 2011 issue

Today, the editor of Husk magazine confirmed that the magazine was now ready to send me issues of the latest Vol II, No III, Fall/Winter 2011 issue.  I’m very excited to see how the magazine will display the article I wrote reviewing Dries Van Noten’s (aka The Prints MasterFall women’s wear collection.

I am especially proud of this piece of work because I had a 24 hour deadline to critique a complex collection.  After all, writing about a collection primarily inspired by disparate influences namely- David Bowie’s flamboyant, adrogynous character, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, the Ballet Russes principal dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky and the Japanese art form, Bonsai- is no easy feat.

Copies of the latest issue can be bought online, please see here for details-http://huskmagazine.de/shop-2/

To read the full article please go to www.bikijohn.com

Picture courtesy of style.com

Personal Style

Berlin Tattoo Ink Lovn’

When I first came to Berlin a few years back, it didn’t take me long to work out that Berlin women love their ink.  What I found particularly interesting was the more petite and ‘innocent looking’ the woman looked, the more ‘in your face’ her tattoo was.  I’m aware that London girls fly their tattoo flags high as well, but now I live in Berlin, from the considerable artful displays I’ve seen adorn the bodies of their female population, I think that Berlin girls fly theirs a tad higher.

When I’ve been out and about, I’ve always wanted to stop the Berliners I see with the most interesting tattoos, but so far, I haven’t had the guts.  For some reason, I find it easier to stop randoms on the street to take street style pics.  So I got very excited when during my fashion editorial shoot last week, I saw that the photographer’s assistant- Tintin Jonsson– had a mighty fine artistic display creeping up her arm, and I decided to pry into each one-

My Fashion S/ash Life- Talk me through your tattoos, which is the first one you got?

Tintin- That would be this old Irish-pattern tattoo I got when I was 16-

Tintin- I really wanted to get a tattoo at 16 and when I asked for my parents’ permission, my dad gave me his blessing- he is actually covered in tattoos, so he was like ‘Yeah, for sure, do it!’

My Fashion S/ash Life- What came next?

Tintin-  Then I got this roses friendship tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life (laughs)- Wow, that must have been some friendship!  What came next?

Tintin- My whole family is Catholic, so I got this Virgin Mary tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life- Well, you certainly found a more visually arresting alternative to going to church! Who out there inspires you when it comes to getting tattoos- apart from your father ofcourse!

Tintiin (laughs)- Actually, my dad has awful tattoos! I’m really inspired by the French tattoo artist called Guy Le Tatooer and he comes to Berlin every second month to do tattoos at the AKA shop.  The shop often has guest tattoo artists and it also doubles up as an art gallery.

I think Guy is amazing and he is famous for doing these Mandala, super detailed black and white tattoos and this is the Mandala tattoo he did for me-

My Fashion S/ash Life- What’s a Mandala tattoo?

Tintin- I think it has its roots in Hinduism/Buddhism and it’s when the tattoo starts at the centre and then goes out in shit-loads of detailed, repeated patterns.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Any plans to get more tattoos done?

Tintin- Yes, but although I love colour in general, I really want to focus on super-detailed black and white tattoos.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Do you plan to get these tattoos to follow-up your arm?

Tintin- Yes, I’m going to continue on my arm that already has tattoos and then I’m done.  I think!

Personal Style

Ask Biki

Question

Hi Biki

I have an event next week in New York, the dress code is ‘Fashion Week Chic’ and the party is happening in the evening.  Please advise on which of the below outfits is best?

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

From Chichi.

My Response

Dear Chichi

The event’s dress code imply that you are to look fashionable and chic, so the second outfit best fits the theme of the night.  Reason being, the low neckline and length of the romper, make it more youthful than the other options(and as we all know fashion favours the young!)whilst the olive-green hue and silk texture still make it chic.
In my opinion, the first and third outfit are far too formal for a fashion event and most importantly they hide your best assets!
As New York is still mildly warm at the moment, you can afford to show your fabulous pins in their full glory.  For this ensemble I would like your prominent colour themes to be olive-green and gold, because I believe the two tones really compliment each other.  Furthermore, with your skin tone the combination will make you glow and gleam like a Greek goddess. 
Your accessories– namely,your jewellery, shoes or bag– will be a great way to incorporate a golden hue into your ensemble.
I would especially love to see a vintage-inspired gold and black belt cinching your waist.
I would also advise on using soft golden hues, olive-green and earth brown hues with your eye-makeup.
Lastly, I would say that to really show you know your ‘Fashion A. B, C’s’, accessorize your outfit with statement accessories, because with fashion it’s all in the detailing.
Sounding Off..., This & That

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

I hope all is well.  This week for my blog I flirted with several fashion ideas namely, giving my take on New York Fashion Week, commenting on the start of LFW, A/W 2011 Colour trends, accessory trends, style tips and the like.  However for this post, I feel I am more inspired to delve into underbelly of fashion- to speak of what most creatives whisper about in fear of being ‘outed’ and their work drying up.  The topic kind Sir/Madam is money and when it comes to (most) fashion and art magazines, the extreme lack thereof.

When I was younger, like the creative genius Natalie Massanet (Founder of Net-a-Porter), I too wanted to be Editor-In-Chief of my own magazine, however several internships working in the esteemed fashion cupboards of magazines like In Style and Tatler, made me reconsider.  Why, I hear you ask, because after doing some press pick ups and learning how much particular magazines owed stores and showrooms due to not returning press pieces, I (for lack of a better word) got pretty freaked out.  Also after befriending a certain Editor-In-Chief who had started up a fashion and art magazine that was continuously praised in the media, but could barely make his rent, like Fagin (Oliver Twist), I told myself, ‘I think I better think it out again’.

As of late, I have seen a sharp rise in fashion and art magazines finding new ways to get creatives to work for free.  In fact one such magazine who of course is trying to sell itself as ‘more than a fashion magazine’ has this written on their Facebook Information page-‘Should you be brave enough to join us in our adventure…we want to hear from you!’  When I got in touch to see if this ‘more than a fashion magazine’ would be funding creatives to go on this ‘adventure’, as usual the response was negative.

Just this week, I read the blog of one my favourite fashion editors, Vanessa Friedman, Financial Times (Material World), and she too seemed to be showing her ‘astonishment’ at a certain fashion and arts magazine that has just started up, who instead of paying creatives for submitting their work insists that the payment is the world-wide exposure they give that creative through publishing their work.  Now this is one hymn I am tired of hearing being sung, in fact, I’d very much like to throw the book at all ‘choir conductors’ who orchestrate this hymn.  However, violence is never the answer.

I am so tired of seeing magazines use the ’emerging creative’ loop-hole to skirt away from financial remuneration for services rendered.  If most of these magazines were publishing the work of fashion students, then maybe, just maybe that reasoning would fly.  As it stands, having studied magazines like ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ that insist that they are all about ‘new talent’- a few issues in, most of these magazines begin to use much ‘older talent’ to raise the profile of their magazines.  Despite doing this, because they remain hidden under their ‘doing it for the new creatives umbrella’, they manage to avoid payment.

I have also noticed a trend of new magazines avoiding to pay for editorials by setting themselves up as pure submission (as opposed to commission)-based magazines.   By doing this they are saying, ‘Hey, for our next issue, the ‘edgy’ theme is ‘Sex,Drugs & Rock n Roll’, we won’t be paying you but here are all the rules and high standards we have set which you have to adhere to, to  be published. Furthermore, due to the large scale of submissions we get, we will only be in contact with you if we want to publish your work.  BTW we won’t be giving you a commissioning letter for this shoot either as the less contact we have with you before the shoot, the less likely issues of fees are likely to be raised.’

Some might argue that most magazines are pretty upfront about non-payment and that creatives have a choice on whether to work for free or not.  But here’s the thing, they don’t.  Emerging photographer’s, stylists, hair and make-up artists need portfolios (be it online or printed) to get jobs, and the more published work they have to show potential clients,  agencies and so on, the higher the chances are of them landing a job.  This is the way the industry works, so in fact, creatives have no choice in the matter- they need to be published, if only to get the ‘golden tear sheet’.  It is my belief that many an Editor-In-Chief realises this and exploits it.  They base their ‘business idea’ on exploiting the fact that there will always be creatives out there who will do ‘anything’ to be published, in time these magazines always crash and burn (Wig, Anglomania, Colures, War, Panther Style, Random-anyone??!!) and then from their ashes rise more non-paying magazines and so the vicious cycle continues.

Here’s an idea Fashion Editor-In-Chief, if you really want to support fashion, art and new talent, why don’t you treat setting up a magazine as a business and leave of starting up your fashion magazine until you have the necessary financial investors?  Why don’t you spend more time seeing how you can pay the people that you commision?  When will you realise that ‘exposure’ can never, ever compensate for lack of payment, as one cannot use ‘exposure’ to pay the bills.  When will you stop taking the more lazy option of setting up a business where from the get-go you are content with the fact that the people who work (really, slave) for you are never going to get paid?  And if you cannot pay for the editorials you crave and commission, can’t you at least work out how you will pay for the basic expenses needed to execute these editorials?

I fully admit that although I am well-versed in the creative aspects of fashion, I still have a lot to learn about the commercial side and I am more than willing to learn. So maybe your response to the above questions will help shed some light on why ‘non-payment’ has scarily become the norm for (a lot of) new fashion and art magazines.

I look forward to your response.

Many thanks

My Fashion S/ash Life

www.bikijohn.com

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