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Resize and Revamp

The world can be divided into two groups: If one finds something splendid in a thrift shop for $2 but it is broken or doesn’t fit, do you buy it or not? I am definitely of the purchase variety of person. Clothes I wear gets holes in, buttons fall off, wine gets spilt… I have always had a large pile of clothes that need alteration.

Part of the plan in buying a sewing machine was to teach myself how to do simple alterations. I am relatively slim, so often clothes might be too big. After sewing a few fancy dress items, I felt confident enough to start on “real” clothes. 

I forgot to take a picture of the lovely knitted tank top I took in. It was a very basic alteration down the side seams. It now fits perfectly and I have a classy new top that cost $5 to wear to castings. Win! 

The next project was a silk shirt I’ve had for at least 4 years. It’s an ugly (for me to wear!) brown, and a size large, but has a fun print of shoes, backpacks and sunglasses.

  
  So, to find the right fit I laid it flat and placed a shirt I liked the fit of over the top and marked where I should cut with chalk.

  
 I then moved the other shirt away, and measured the markings. They had to be equal otherwise the shirt would be wonky… I am not good at the precise things! I went over the marks with the tape measure and started to cut. (Always iron first… I didn’t…)

  

I then sewed up the side seams and hemmed the arm holes and boom!

  

But….when I tried it on, it was too small!! So frustrating. I have DD boobs and this would fit a B cup, and the buttons across my tummy were lopsided. So I had fucked it up big time.

I had plenty of the fabric left though, so figured I would play around and see if I could fix it. I was planning on using the cuffs for some sort of embellishment, but they seemed more useful….ah! I could use them to widen the seams on the side and make the shirt bigger! 
After unpicking it and carefully sewing at all back together, it was pretty nerve wracking trying it on. It fit! Slliiggghtly small still, but acceptable with the right bra. Yay! 
  
I still had all the sleeve fabric left, so thought I would further experiment with the remains. Using the shape of the sleeves, I made a cape (of sorts) that hangs over your shoulders. It fastens around the neck, and because I was feeling extravagant I added tassels. 

  
  Behold the finished garment! 

(I will get someone to take a proper picture and post it soon… And I will wear trousers this time) 

It is far from perfect. I didn’t have enough of the tassels to go all around the cape. Might buy more and add at some point. Its still a bit small too, but not bad. All in all a very good learning experience! Silk is different to sew than the other fabrics I have tried. It puckers easily and slips. So this was a great practice piece! 

Peace, love and unicorns,

VSB xx

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All Aboard 

  

Here is another post about the story behind the images. This was such a fun shoot! I’d just arrived in NYC, and was keen to get shooting. I was delighted to find out I would be shooting an editorial on location. I love location work, it is so interesting and I have visited some stunning places. This was no exception! 

We travelled by train to Conneticut. I forget exactly where, but it was a very posh area with beautiful houses, country clubs and the boat club that we used. Hair and make-up was done in the club house, accompanied by a few glasses of bubbly. A great start to the day! 

We then moved onto the boat. The boats owner was with us, and was clearly delighted that there would be a half naked woman draping herself all over his boat. It was a very small boat, so we all got to know each other pretty well.  

 

I absolutley loved some of the outfits we shot. Really nice styling too, I definitely felt like a rich bitch lounging around waiting for my handsome lover…

We continued to enjoy the champagne, and then someone brought out a joint. Naturally I was delighted to partake, and there aren’t many better things than getting high, on a boat, with lovely people (even if you have just met them!)

  
As you can see from the above two shots, the weed didn’t really help the expression on my face. Mainly because I can’t seem to open my eyes properly! But I love how they turned out regardless. 

Everything takes longer than expected on location. We were hoping to dock on a small island, and take the final few shots there. Unfortunately the boat owner was worried it would end up being dark before we started back, and he didn’t want anything to happen to us. So we did the whole shoot on the boat. Fine by me! I hate water, but it’s just about acceptable on a boat.

The best part of the story is the return home. It was getting pretty dark, and we all sat around eating bread and cheese, and drinking some more wine. When we got back to the country club, we realised that the dingy (I’m in it in the top photo) had somehow become detached and we had left it behind. Oops!! The owner was not impressed. He went back out to look for it, but had no luck. 

  
All in all, it was a fun day and I think the shots look great. I’m not sure if it got published in the end, but the shots made it into my portfolio. 

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Fancy Dress

I’m often asked: what’s the best thing about being a model? I usually joke that “it’s the free food” which is usually delicious, even though I can’t eat as much as I’d like of it. Honestly though there are many plus points. The lifestyle is exciting (if tiring), the people I meet every day are interesting and frequently inspiring, and of course the money is a major incentive. But personally, the best thing about it is that everyday I get to play dress up- sometimes with beautiful clothes, sometimes not. I like to think of my day job as a saleswoman of ugly garments, and the creative days with gorgeous clothing and accessories are the bonus that makes me happy to say I’m a model.

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I haven’t posted anything in a while, so thought I’d share some shots and stories from the more creative shoots I’ve done. The first is a shoot for Cosmopolitan India, with some fabulous western dresses from Indian designers. It was a great, young team that were all on their first shoot for Cosmo and keen to impress. We shot in Thailand, and stayed in the Shangri La in Bangkok. This was probably the best hotel I’ve stayed in, with such an amazing buffet that I could barely contain myself. We shot over two evenings in various locations across the city. There were awkward changes in the back of a minivan, samples of yummy street food and fresh coconut waters, and a chance to see places in Bangkok that I’d not been to before.

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After we wrapped on the second night, I met up with my ex who has lived there for sometime. This was a crazy night through various bars in the city, ending in a dawn trip to a pharmacy to secure me some much needed Valium for my flight back to Mumbai. All in all a very eventful shoot!

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Basket Case

I’ve noticed the last few posts have been about my terrible consumerist tendencies. I wish I wasn’t such a shopping addict, but dammit I love clothes so, so much. Too much, probably…
I’m happy to find that the thrill of finding, deliberating upon, and then buying something beautiful, can be matched, (possibly even bettered) with the satisfaction of creating something unique and precisely to my taste.
In this case, it’s more of an alteration. I saw this great plastic basket bag in H&M this summer. Deciding between black and pink was too hard, so I ended up getting both; and at $7.99 who could blame me. I had the intention of weaving ribbon through one, and possibly covering the other with flowers. Naturally my laziness meant that nothing was done until last week, when I found I should have enough tartan ribbon to weave through the black bag. It took a while to get it symmetrical but I am pleased with how it has turned out.IMG_1894-0.JPG

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BLACK SHEEP

I had a small emo/goth phase as a teenager. The music stayed with me, but the black clothing and eyeliner were ditched in favour of vintage as soon as I arrived at university in Glasgow. I remember going to Starry Starry Night, freshly cashed up with my student loan, and buying the most beautiful clothes I’d ever seen. A groovy pastel 70’s blouse with big puffy sleeves, a champagne rabbit fur stole that was completely useless but still made me feel like a princess, a 50’s corduroy skirt in a dusky raspberry colour. Clothes I still love and wear 10 years later. Actually, that’s a lie as the fur stole has only ever been worn to fancy dress parties. Very useful nonetheless.

Moving to New York has made me realise how influenced I am by street style. In Sydney I was super casual, and all about white T-shirts, ripped denim and colourful jackets. Now I find myself gravitating towards sporty styles: wearing baseball caps and sneakers for the first time in my life. I suppose I am a follower and not the trendsetter I would like to be…

Which brings me to black. I’m not keen on wearing black at all and in the past have avoided it at all costs, though black jeans are a massive exception. Black is boring when there are so many fun colours to wear, preferably all worn together with clashing prints!! I haven’t ever owned a decent black handbag, as my love for a gorgeous warm tan is too overwhelming. And shoes are so much more interesting in holographic silver than they are in black.

But now I need to smarten up my look a little, especially for clothes I wear to castings. My clients tend to be rather conservative; neither the sneaker-clad me, nor the scruffy vintage me, fit very well with the brands I’m selling. I observe other models, and New Yorkers generally, looking very cool dressed entirely in black. So naturally I decide I need a little more of the dark side in my wardrobe. It might not be as joyful as acid brights but it is certainly more practical in this grubby city.

Black things I have recently bought and LOVE include these amazing vinyl boots by MM6 Maison Martin Margiela (top left). I was worried about these steaming up on sweaty feet which is why I opted for black and not completely transparent. I also treated myself to another vinyl piece in the form of this KTZ lace skirt. Haven’t worn it yet so will have to report on sweaty crotch when I have… (Gross, sorry). On the wish list is a Givenchy Nightingale, and these fabulous Alexander Wang boots. In fact this entire Alexander Wang look is very cool- I think texture is the key to making black interesting. Just realised the black things I have bought are all sheer in some way, so maybe texture+flesh is the way to stop black being boring. Or to wear black with bubble gum pink as I’ve done in this terrible selfie with a BCBGMAXAZRIA shirt.

Black, welcome back to my dark soul but Colour, I will never leave you.

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Raved By the Bell

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Shopping online can be very useful. It can also be a very effective masochistic torture device, if you like that sort of thing. As I’ve promised myself not to buy anything, (other than basic requirements like food and transport. And wine, obviously) I naturally find myself spending my free time looking at expensive beautiful clothes, on screens.

I usually only buy basic items online, or stuff that’s so cheap it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit. Most of my wardrobe is vintage/thrift, and buying old clothes without seeing them is quite hard. Sizing has changed, growing as we have, so unless precise measurements are given it’s impossible to tell how something might fit.

Of course, this isn’t true for brand new shiny things! I collected some of my favourites above. Clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs in the best thing Prada has ever done, Burberry bringing together my obsession with plastic (to wear, not horrible bottles etc. I’m totally ok with horrible bottles being made into amazing jackets!) and sparkles, Jeremy Scott for Moschino and Ronald MacDonald, 1938 Ferragamo Rainbow Platform*, Gucci scarf, and Ashish smiley face jacket in the middle.

*A sandal from 1938 isn’t that brand new, but look at it!! And, Salvatore created it for Judy Garland!!! This is everything.

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Pennywise

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I’m really, really good at spending money. I love advertising, I love going to shops (even the supermarket), I love being persuaded to buy more than I intended, and I hate returning things and complaining. The perfect consumer.
But it’s one thing to enjoy the fruits of your labour, and another to spend just for the sake of it. So I’ve decided to leave my cards at home. A daily cash allowance covering basic food and transport definitely limits the shopping potential, but if there is a will, there is a way… I now pop in to cheaper places that I’d usually overlook, and hunt down new thrift stores.
Thrifting isn’t for everyone. People often say they can’t be bothered looking through racks and racks in a charity shop with a vague hope of finding a Chanel jacket. It really depends whether you have money, or time, to spare. I always find beautiful things for a few dollars, so this is my mission plan when faced with endless racks of delight:
1. Scan the room, view target, focus. If you want a pair of shoes, don’t get distracted by that beautiful dress.
2. If you are just browsing, scan the rails for colours you like.
3. As you walk towards something that catches your eye, glance and brush your fingers along everything on your way.
4. Take the time to check anything that grabs your attention. I rely on my fingers more than my eyes to detect quality, as polyester can look like silk, wool or cotton quite easily.
5. When you find something you like, concentrate. Inspect and feel the item closely to check for quality.
6. Try it on, move around. There is a good chance there may be some hidden defect. Missing buttons, broken zips and fastenings, bad mending, etc. I’ve bought jeans to discover a sewn-up crotch…(which didn’t last long of course!)
7. If the fit isn’t perfect, don’t buy it. I’ve bought many beautiful things that need adjustment, and they all sit in a bag waiting for the day I’m organised enough to go to the tailor.
8. If the price is right, hold onto it with your life.
9. Head to the cashier guilt free!!!

What is not to like? The history is also lovely. The picture that accompanies this is of a note I found in the pocket of this gorgeous fur trimmed coat.

My dear mother bought me this coat,
Some time in the 60’s,
So it’s quite old,
Very warm.
Wanda

Adorable! Almost poetic. I’m pulling a silly face for Instagram because I was worried about how upset Wanda (and her mother) would be if they knew I’d be using the coat to smuggle booze into parties with.

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High and Dry

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I’m on a plane to LA to shoot the campaign for a new hair oil. The last time I travelled through LAX was interesting to say the least. I was flying from Sydney, so LA was just a stopover. I’d only just made the flight (refused duty free as the departure time was too soon…) and was really hoping for a stress-free changeover.

I’m coming through the metal detectors at security and the red light flashes… I can see on the screen where they have detected metal, and it’s all over my upper body, and my feet… Weird. Because of this result, the security are obliged to perform a skin swab test, which shows up : EXPLOSIVES DETECTED.

I try to remain calm as they take me off for more tests. I know I don’t have any explosives, but a thorough searching could easily show up traces of other prohibited substances… They take swabs from my shoes, bags, electrical items, and then several swabs over my clothing.
EXPLOSIVES DETECTED is still coming up, for nearly all the swabs.

There were 2 guards with me during this process, and the chattier of the two said the reason I got stopped in the first place was because of my metallic jumper and socks. I’m now surprised this is the first time I’ve been stopped, considering the percentage of my clothing that has metallic fibres. She also started to question what products I had been using on my skin, telling me that high potency formulas, especially those including organic oils, are so thick that the swab test can’t read past them.

As I appear to be covered in explosives, they have to call the manager down. I’m kept in a room with the guard, who is continuing conversation with me. The conversation is repeated to the manager, and he asks to see my toiletry case and which products I’ve used in the last few hours.

I’d been slathering myself in vitamin E oil, as well as an organic moisturiser and lip balm. The vitamin E oil had leaked in my bag, meaning I wiped my oily hands on my jeans. As soon as I said that, he was pretty certain that the oil was the culprit. A further swab on the products I’d been using proved him right.

Lesson learnt- Save the shiny things for the street, and drink shitloads of water.

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The most amazing item of clothing ever made!!!

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This is ridiculous, and amazing. I think it was £700 which is more than I usually spend on hi-vis. All of Ashish Gupta’s designs are fantastic in my opinion. They are fun, sparkly and beautifully made, and it is definitely the designer I am most keen to get my hands on. As keen as hundreds of rainbow sequins make a magpie.

Here is a link to a another fabulous piece, a sequinned plastic bag: http://www.farfetch.com/shopping/women/ashish-sequined-grocery-bag-item-10690806.aspx?storeid=9631&ffref=lp_2

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Time for T-shirts

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Well here it is, my thrown together super simple t-shirt. I just cut a ‘t’ shape in the fabric by following the size of a top that fits nicely. Sewed it up and boom! One ‘unfinished’ looking and fairly useful top. The fabric was only $3 for the yard which was all I needed.
I wore this to a casting the other day and received a compliment on it from the casting director… At least I think it was a compliment. I’m pleased with it anyway, and will be interested to see how it holds up to washing. I get through a lot of white t-shirts (red wine is usually to blame) so making them would save a fortune. It’s not just the saving, but the quality of the garments that appeals here. I can buy expensive fabric and make stuff myself, that’s well sewn together and fits me perfectly. What’s not to love?
My next project is the first of several capes I have sketched. The first one is metallic stripes and the second is lime green leopard print lace. I won’t be wearing these to castings (though it would make them remember me!) but in the desert at Burning Man. I’m very excited to return for a second year to Black Rock City, and will be making as many costumes as I can.
P.s. Yes I very badly photoshopped my messy room out of my selfie and replaced it with Lisa Frank unicorns. Not ashamed.