Acting out for Flipper

Flipper

A really small town, with a really big secret.

Approximately 20,000 dolphins are killed legally each year in Taiji, Japan.

Disguised as a town thriving off the love of dolphins and whales, where statues are erected, fish shops boast and ‘National Park’ signage hang proudly around the small area, now famously known as ‘The Cove’. Surrounded by steep cliffs and forest floor that makes its way down to the waters edge, the cove- hidden from road view, became the stage for the biggest mass dolphin culling the world has ever seen.

After weeks of stories, recounts and pressure from my younger sister, I sat down and watched, tears rolling and in shock horror of this tragedy. While i’m not a vegan, nor a vego, and admittedly never going that one step past signing a few online petitions or contributing to conversations with my friends- I can’t wipe that picture out of my mind.

Each year, japanese fisherman from the town of Taiji embark on the not-so-casual fishing trip, where steel rods are inserted into the ocean, herding thousands of these beautiful mammals of the sea into a secluded cove. There, Seaworld representatives from far and wide come to view and pick the creme de la creme of bottlenose dolphins which are dispersed worldwide to be caged, domesticated and put on show for those who rank ‘higher’ in this some-what warped food chain…humans. Over half of all captured dolphins will die within 2 years of their captivity, sadly, a better reality for those who remain.

 As the afternoon closes in, and the protection of sunlight disappears, the dolphins are dragged tails first, behind the rocks and out of site. It’s here, that an unprecedented ecological crime is undertaken, authorised and legalised by Japanese authority, monitored by Richard O’Barry’s team of free-divers, cameramen and prop makers, and ignored for too long by the rest of us.

Dolphins are arguably just as smart as us humans, yet still we stand on our pedestal at Seaworld clapping, signing, and whistling at them, rather than trying to grasp what they are communicating to us. While i’m not preaching they are deserving of anything more than other animals (or humans for that matter), it’s more these wicked acts of humanity that are blinded by authorities and forgotten by the people, because yes, ignorance is bliss. It’s always easier to blame those next to you, and in this case label the Japanese as the ‘baddies’, but we are link in the chain reaction, and therefore have a responsibility. As Richard O’Barry says, “natures biggest deception is the Dolphin’s smile” so next time you come face to face with a ticket to Seaworld, or a trip to the Zoo, think beyond the glass casing, the situation isn’t as transparent as it seems.

If it’s not The Cove, or the dolphins, it can be something much simpler than that- a Tuna-free-Tuesday, sharing activists posts, simply talking about it with friends, or even watching The Cove tonight. Do something. 

Not only winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove more importantly, embodies the mix of people who are fighting their own species, in a battle that is far from over.

How can you help?

Take action by signing the petition


Boulevard Chanel

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It comes that time of year once again, paparazzi flock, models strut, and Lagerfeld bows.

The Chanel parade, the most sought after seat in the annual fashion event calendar, brings together fashion royalty, A-list celebrities, and a worldwide audience waiting to see what Karl can make possible, year in and year out. His vision is assembled once a year, with the Grand Palais his canvas, and each season’s garments his paints- from the mundane antics of a (Chanel) supermarket, to the icebergs from the Arctic, and a hay-ridden ranch filled with Lily Allen’s voice- it’s the show that stops an industry. Blogger’s Instagram posts can’t do it justice, nor can Wintour resist a smirk, while Lagerfeld gets up out of his seat, almost too dazed to care, walking next to his Chanel-girl pack of protesters as if it happens every day.

It’s hard not to envy those blessed with an invitation, this year in it’s simplest form, inviting each guest to view the Spring-Summer 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection down the  ‘Boulevard Chanel’, a street erected in the heart of the Grand Palais’s famous glass dome, where models walked casually down the footpaths, over pedestrian crossing and beneath apartment balcony’s on their way to, well…a protest. It wasn’t until the calm had passed, when Delevingne led all fifty Chanel-draped models down the Boulevard for the final time. Posters in arm, tweed in stride, and Lagerfeld by their side.

While the show was obvious in it’s purpose, (and cemented later by Lagerfeld himself) the Chanel girls took a stroll down the Boulevard, epitomising the free-spirited, active and modern young women that Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel herself, envisioned wearing her suits nearly seven decades before. With feminist hype in the air well before the show went on, the flared suit pants and padded jackets embody the masculinity that the world wants to see, yet embellished with jewels, sequins and silk neckties, reminding us that yes, they are still women. While there were classic Chanel A-lines, black-and-white tweed, and enough flat boots to put in goodies bags, the vibrance of colour and flamboyant prints were a reminder of freedom, equality and from what I saw, a 1960’s cluster of hippies on their way to Woodstock (wearing Chanel).

As i’m half way across the other side of the world, and a million miles both in time and space from the show itself, I sit replaying the video, reading every article and admittedly, envying each guest. Despite the fashion F.O.M.O and a frustration of viewing the chaos from behind a computer screen, when my time comes, i’ll be the most prepared guest Lagerfeld has ever invited- with Chanel boy bag in arm, my invitation framed and most probably the iphone10S ready to snap the next tweed ensemble- hopefully the Palais remains packed and at the edge of their seat to see what this fashion house genius still has in stall for them, ten (plus) years down the track.

Watch the full video here

Spring-Summer 2015 Ready-to-Wear

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Paris Fashion Week Fall 2014


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Paris Fashion Week 2008 Winter/Fall

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Paris Fashion Week Spring 2011

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Paris Fashion Week Winter 2010/2011

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Paris-Bombay 2011/2012

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Paris Fashion Week Winter 2012

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Models present creations by German desig

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Pool side with Slim Aarons

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I have a crush on Slim Aarons.

The man who gained access into exclusive precincts of the beau monde, essentially achieving the status as ‘court side photographer’. Where the glittering class and all their grandeur are captured and framed within each 35mm print, from starlets to princesses, moguls and mavens, aristocrats and arrivistes. He joined them on yearly Verbier ski getaways, and too quickly juxtaposed to their bougainvillea-festooned villas, speckled across the Riviera, the smells of the summers long ago still seeping through each photo.

 It wasn’t until three days until an artwork was due, that I found myself staring at a blank drawing pad, my Tumblr archive open for inspiration, and pencil in hand. This artwork I thought would be snatched out of thin air, was proving more difficult, and as a fully-trained perfectionist I wasn’t settling with the bare minimum.

When it comes to originality, my younger sister knows what’s up- and once realising my creative juices were not flowing for this particular project I went to her for back up. Known as ‘Nasteh’ in the cyber world, her loyal followers watch as she chooses to post on a not-so-regular basis, claiming (what I think) is the most humble curation of Purienne-inspired posts to grace social media. While our creative style is often at odds with one another, she never fails to give me the tips and tricks to spark my own ideas- this time it was Sammy Slabbinck. An artist working with mixed media collages, superimposing mundane objects or landscapes, each in careful placement to suggest something almost surreal.

With her unique style in mind, I created my own by appropriating the infamous Slim Aarons photographs epitomising the LA pool-side culture of the 60s. The scale of architecture and the human energy within his photos have always informed Aarons’s works, noted for his socialites, jet-setters and celebrity subjects. He claimed his career was made by “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” but somehow ridding each frame of the naff and over-indulgent, only revealing the subtle beauty of fame and fortune. Clipping photos from his book Slim Aarons: A Place in the Sun (2005), a new meaning was given to each photo as I deconstructed, rearranged and added in my own adaptations. While replacing the perfect pool water with overflowing popcorn didn’t do the photograph justice, there is something grotesquely beautiful about a fast-food symbol finding its way into the poolside serenity.

The ‘Rockpools’ were born from the idea of diamond clippings from glossy magazines, where every second page sported yet another big-name brand and their jewelry products, whether Cartier, Tiffany’s or the ‘perfect gift’ from Bvulgari- why does it matter? Once carefully removed from their context and stuck down amongst the rocks of the photo, even Aarons’s celebrity subjects couldn’t tell the difference. In another, the mundane European beach scene embedded within the pool, and a milkyway encrusted with beads painting the sky, the two ladies sit unaware of any change, subtlety depicting the reality of what Aaron’s captured almost 50 years ago.

In my eyes, Aaron’s works epitomise photographic perfection, being an artist in his own right, and in doing so, he constantly defined the image of the ‘Beautiful People’, the Hollywood jet setters and those who strode the world’s stage in the postwar decades like young gods.

Despite deconstructing Aaron’s best, or creating my own from scratch, an original print from this photography god has most definitely cemented itself at the top of my art lust list, dreaming about the day I can sit poolside with Slim Aaron’s himself in company.

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“Poolside with Slim Aarons” series, 2014 1/3

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“Poolside with Slim Aarons” series, 2014 2/3

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“Poolside with Slim Aarons” series, 2014 3/3

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