So I have finally gotten round to my second interview of real life style icons. This time is the turn of Diana. Diana is a very old friend of mine, and one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. She’s almost disconcertingly gorgeous – but at the same time is so sweet and nice, she can turn even the most hard nosed bitches into doe-eyed, giggling puppies. Quite a useful trait for a fashion photographer, no?
As with Camilla, she happily took the time to answer my questions and has been completely honest. Whether you agree or not, I hope you enjoy!
How would you describe your style and what/who are your biggest style influences?
My style is a bit of a clash – somewhere between supergeek vs glamour. I spend a lot of time in the studio taking photos, where it’s all skinny jeans and robot tees, loud, grungy make-up and statement necklaces. In my head, I’m still a 17 year old jumping around to Hole, and my casual style is defiantly clinging onto those teenage dreams with chipped red nails and smudgy eyes. However when I’m heading out, I like to vamp it up a little more. Red lips, corsets, flowers – I love the opulence of the 1940s and 50s, and try to mix it up with my own touch of grr. It’s all a bit messed up – Daria boots with Bettie hair. But that’s what makes fashion so much fun – there are no rules, no restrictions. If you feel like you can pull it off, do it. Most of the time, even the most offensive outfit can be saved if the person is wearing it with confidence.
With regards to influences, they come from so many different places. There are the obvious ones such as Bettie Paige, Sophie Dahl, Shirley Manson, Karen O and Dita. Then perhaps the less obvious ones like the photography of Cecil Beaton, old movies, even things as silly as colour swatches.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I love trawling through vintage shops – there are so many wonderful ones dotted around Brick Lane, and I could easily lose a whole Sunday afternoon doing just that. On the high street, New Look, Dorothy Perkins and Primark are always good for a budget fashion fix, although I try to make sure that if I’m wearing something from the high street, it’s paired with something brought from a market or a vintage shop with it so that it’s not cookie-cutter couture.
I love finding people who create beautiful one-off curiosities as well – Bink at Pearls and Swine is one such example. She makes the most incredible fascinators and hats, and each one is a miniature work of art. I can’t leave the house wearing one of her pieces without being stopped asking where it came from, and have enough of her bits in my room to start my own shop! Tatty Divine is also wonderful for show stopping jewellery. If it’s bright, chunky and made of plastic, chances are that I will fall in love with it.
What is your number one favourite item of clothing/accessory and why?
My favourite item of clothing would have to be my black waspie. Worn under or over a dress, it feels feminine, and harks back to a more elicit age of decadence and perfection. It’s also amazing when you’re a bit low on self-esteem, and want something to give you that extra confidence boost. Even if you’re wearing something fairly ordinary, you can’t help but feel just that little bit sexier as you tie yourself into it.
Bags are also a great way to finish off an outfit, and I have accidentally created something of a collection over the years. One of my favourites is an old faux-leather camera box-bag from the 1970s, which has lots of compartments to fit all of my bits into, whilst still looking cute. It was brought back from New York by my best friend after he found it in a thrift shop out there, and is always an old-faithful when I don’t have to carry anything too big. My Hello Kitty quilted bag is also another gem, and another vintage item that I always get lots of comments on.
Have you found it more difficult to develop your style because of being a larger size than most stores cater for?
As a teenager, I was a bit of a tomboy because I was scared of fashion. By myself, I enjoyed playing around with make-up and experimenting with colour, but when off to a gig I would always be in baggy jeans, baggy t-shirts with my hair scraped back. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, so dressed accordingly. It wasn’t until I begun to work with make-up artists that I dressed more like I wanted to – feminine and theatrical, and it was a bit of a jump from where I was before. I would take basic dresses and wear them with bright tights and accessories, and over the course of a few years, my style really begun to change into how I like to present myself now. Part of the reason why I distanced myself from fashion when I was younger was because I didn’t know how to dress for my shape. I was a size 14 / 16, but with huge breasts which I didn’t feel comfortable with, and felt like everything either looked too revealing, or hung over them like a tent, doubling my silhouette. I have a waist, and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve discovered the miracle of cinching belts, which balance out my breasts and hips, making my shape look less warped. It’s refreshing to see that shops are starting to cater for the 16+ market, although there is still a long way to go before I’d be tempted into high street retail on a regular basis as although the style details are leaping forward, there is still that element that everyone is the same shape, and I really don’t want to buy a dress that is two sizes too big because it’s the only way that it’ll fit on top. Bring on the summer with it’s stretchy sun dresses, so that I can buy them in the correct size, and layer them with leggings and cardigans in the colder months.
What’s your favourite piece of fashion advice?
Dress for your shape, and make everyday a fashion show.