BYRD & SPRY Exhibition and Workshop

16 - 5 - 2013

Byrd & Spry is a new floral design company offering a fresh take on the art of flower arranging. With designs which are always tactile and believable, their collaboration is the perfect fit as it mirrors the SALAKO approach to hair. 

Their forthcoming flower workshop, to be held at SALAKO
on 1st June, will not only look at floral design but integrate various blooms into the hair, creating bespoke pieces constructed from fresh flowers. With the trend for flower garlands and hair accessories at its peak in the coming summer months as the festival season starts, attendees will not only be leaving SALAKO looking beautiful but smelling divine.

We spoke to Ella, founder of Byrd & Spry, prior to her exhibition opening at SALAKO on 25th May.


The creation of your muses 'Byrd' and 'Spry' is very interesting as it references the different aspects of women: Byrd as sophisticate and Spry as more wild and natural, and embraces both. How did you come up with this concept?

 

It’s about how the flowers fit what you are trying to express on any given day. I enjoy how we can use our clothes, hair, flowers, interiors to express different aspects of our personality. Flowers are great because there’s no permanent commitment so we can play around and create different looks for our events. Sometimes the occasion calls for something a bit glam and other times something beautiful and more wild is what’s needed.



Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan

I think anything that’s visually interesting has ideas behind it that add layers to the meaning. So I enjoy the fact that an arrangement of perfect orchids can secretly be referencing Daisy Buchanan or Anjelica Huston in Studio 54 (definitely Byrd!) or a spring wedding can be full of blossom and catkins that evoke a sense of freedom and new beginnings. It’s fun for me and it’s a great way to have a creative conversation with my clients about their reference points and inspiration.



Jack Nicholson & Anjelica Houston

 

 

Apart from beautiful flowers, what inspires you?

I really love seeing the creative process behind art and film – hearing about the inspiration for the set, the art direction, the production design. I love behind-the-scenes things like ‘The September Issue’ or making-of documentaries. I just loved hearing about the making of the animated film Coraline. Every single thing in that movie was hand made. Completely awe-inspiring.

We are very excited about the collaboration between Byrd and Spry and Salako and exploring the parallels between hair and flowers. Have you found this connection a useful starting point for thinking about your exhibition? And could you tell us a few ideas you have for the forthcoming display?

I love it! SALAKO is all about art and learning and ideas as well as beauty and those are interests and values I completely share. Both our businesses are about collaboration with creative clients and coming up with something just right for them. It’s a great fit and I’m so pleased to be working together. Hair and flowers are about self-expression and beauty and looking after yourself, which is easy to neglect when life is so busy.



 Byrd & Spry


The installation is about a celebration of this lovely time in late spring and early summer when the trees are full of brand new leaves and the summer flowers are coming into season. It’s about colour and contrasts in texture and materials.

The workshop is going to be a chance to get creative and make your own arrangements, one for the home and one for your hair. I’m really looking forward to sharing some techniques and principles and using some really gorgeous summer flowers and leaves. It’s going to be a really fun day.



Byrd & Spry

 

Your approach is informed by a real understanding of the power of flowers to create a mood in a room, demonstrating their transformative effect. How did you start in floral design?

It’s an extension of my interest in design and interiors styling. My skills are in putting together elements that work together and mean something in the space. Flowers are just one medium but one that I love because they are such a universal way of expressing our feelings and marking significant moments in our lives.

I started the Byrd & Spry blog as a way of expressing myself and connecting with the natural world in a way I had felt was lacking in my life. I was doing flower arrangements for friends’ weddings on the side and teaching in the day and it grew from there. Working with flowers is perfect for me because it is beautiful and sculptural but also it’s so ephemeral and changes with the seasons so there’s always some new enthusiasm to get excited about, “Ooh, blossom time…. Woah, look at those peonies…..”

 

The subtitle to Constance Spry's 1957 book 'Simple Flowers' is 'A Millionaire for a Few Pence'. Is this a sentiment that you would echo?

It really is.  Constance Spry has a reputation as a high society florist, and she certainly was that, but she was also a passionate social reformer, starting her career in public health education and then teaching in East London. She knew that everyone’s lives are enriched by a little everyday beauty. She saw the transformative effect of flowers in the Homerton & Hackney School where she was headmistress in the 1920s and was touched by the reaction to the flowers she would bring in. 



Constance Spry

She writes about giving away a flower here and there on her way into school – a violet to the bus driver or a rose to a scruffy kid on the street. I think that’s what the subtitle of that book refers to: the happiness you can get from a single flower, or a little bunch of wild flowers. Sometimes there’s a purity to a single flower or sprig of something that’s more powerful than a big old spectacular arrangement. They both have their place.



 Constance Spry


Constance Spry writes about how life enhancing it is to appreciate the beauty around us, whether it be the changing seasons as we walk through the park or the buddleia growing out of a wall under a railway bridge. That’s certainly been my experience and I think it’s something that speaks powerfully to us in our modern, urban lives.




Constance Spry


 My work, inspired by Constance Spry, is full of local wild plants - seasonal branches, leaves cut from scruffy patches of wasteland, artichoke leaves from the allotment. Those are things that anyone can gather and they add so much to flower arrangements. They often add a strong dynamic form but also they remind us of the wilder natural world and bring a bit of that nature to our homes.



 Byrd & Spry


To book a place on the floral workshop at SALAKO, go to: http://www.byrdandspry.co.uk/ 

Byrd & Spry's exhibition will be at SALAKO during June, as part of the Chelsea Fringe



The Blow Dry

08 - 5 - 2013


What makes the perfect blow dry? Volume? Smoothness?

We would say all of the above but also a relaxed attitude and a sensual look and feel - as perfected by Catherine Deneuve, Anouk Aimee

and Claudia Schiffer.


Ph: Katja Rahlwes. Hair: Jimo Salako


If you would like to learn how to achieve the perfect blow dry, then book in for a masterclass with Kristal and Zeila.

http://www.salakolondon.com/education.html 

All you need are some brushes, a hairdryer and that relaxed attitude...


Brush and Ink: The Art of Ruth Marten

02 - 5 - 2013

Marcel, 2001

Ruth Marten is an artist who refined her drawing of fine lines and delicate brush work whilst working as a tattooist in New York in the ‘70s.

Her studies of hair show her amazing draughtsmanship to best effect – fine tendrils loop around each other taking on a life of their own in her work ‘Fire’(2003).


The intricate plaiting of ‘Clothilde’ (1998) teeters between the sublime and ridiculous, as though she was physically plaiting this two-dimensional work and didn’t know when to stop. 




And different textures are explored in work such as ‘Fuquanda’(1999) which playfully combines Afro and European hair.


Marten’s long-running fascination with hair - it even has its own subsection on her website –has extended into her recent work with found 18th and 19th century prints, scoured from flea markets. 


She seamlessly works her own illustration using brush, pen and ink into the pre-existing printed image. The result is a delicate, surreal study of the power of hair to seduce, shock and mesmerise.


All work © Ruth Marten

www.ruthmarten.com

Represented in the UK by Isis Gallery www.isisgallery.org

The Nape

26 - 4 - 2013

The nape of the neck is to be found at the top of the spine, the base of the skull. It has a vulnerable beauty celebrated by artists, filmmakers and hairdressers. It is also a focal point for geisha, who leave the unaji as one of the places on the body uncovered by make up or clothing. As the weather gets warmer, enjoy this elusive area which emerges in spring and summer.

Here are some of the nape's finest moments.


Grigory Gluckmann - Nuque (c.1950)


Gerhard Richter - Betty, 1988




Jimo Salako - The Yasmin, 2012


Vidal Sassoon and Mary Quant, 1964
Vuilliard - Nape of Misia's Neck, 1897


Chris Marker - still from La Jetee, 1962

Two Looks

22 - 4 - 2013
© Danilo Guiliani

Here are two hair looks created by Jimo Salako: one for an editorial shoot and one as personal photographic work.



© Jimo Salako


With such a variety of different moods and approaches created for shoots and on the street, the boundaries between the two looks become blurred.

Much inspiration for Jimo and the SALAKO team comes from people seen in 'real life' which is then translated onto the pages of a fashion magazine. 

Come and learn about how this process takes place at SALAKO's specially-designed Editorial Hair workshops on 10th + 11th June. For more information please visit: http://www.salakolondon.com/education.html



'The act of representation seems to have taken over what is real.'

19 - 4 - 2013

Bruno Metra and Laurence Jeanson are both photographers working in the fields of fashion and advertising, so this project is a particularly brave critique from within. 

ID examines how people are affected by commercially produced imagery - the constant exposure to retouched and blemish-free models has had an impact on our collective psyche and this body of work aims to redress the balance.

The images themselves are disconcerting and to some degree, difficult to look at, accustomed as we are to 'perfect' imagery. Yet, there is a playfulness too, with the D.I.Y element of cut and paste photography. They are a literal interpretation of both the cutting and stitching involved with plastic surgery and the 'cut and paste' abilities of Photoshop.

The process is collaborative - the models in Metra and Jeanson's  portraits cut out photographs of other models from magazines then apply elements to their own faces. In this way, the emulation of the idealised image is complete.

As Metra and Jeanson describe: 

The edit is what counts most. And so [our] models erase themselves in order to gain another self...In the media, we are bombarded by images of others. It is an otherness that is inaccessible, an image imposed on us, from which we feel powerless to escape.


These images demonstrate what happens when we appropriate the aesthetic of the other, and the results aren't pretty.

George Hurrell

15 - 4 - 2013



Hedy Lamarr ©George Hurrell


George Hurrell was one of the image makers responsible for the aesthetic of Hollywood. As the studio photographer for MGM in the 1930s he made promotional portraits of their actors and actresses, creating the idealised film star.


Jane Russell ©George Hurrell


His early work had a softer edge but he soon progressed to his signature use of highly-defined light and shade.


Using a combination of the craft of retouching, with skills he refined as a painter and his exacting use of light to sculpt faces, he represented actors and actresses as ready-made icons: the sculptural effect of high contrast illumination mimicked the appearance of Greek statues.


©George Hurrell


This image of Veronica Lake with her sea of hair is one of our favourites.


Veronica Lake ©George Hurrell


SALAKO London is running a vintage fashion course on 1st + 2nd July exploring key looks from seven decades. Please see the Education page for details http://www.salakolondon.com/education.html



Toca Boca Hair and Mary Blair

12 - 4 - 2013


Mary Blair



Toca Boca hair app = Hours of fun.


A virtual hair salon with endless possibilities. As popular with adults as children, the app explores creative expression through hair and also demonstrates in a very charming way how a change of hair can suggest a change of character or mood. The face remains the same but with a sleight of hand it is transformed.









© Toca Boca



What is really striking is the artwork, a wonderful hybrid of classic and modern which references Mary Blair's work for Disney in the 1950's. Her concept art informed the overall look of films such as Cinderella (1950) and Peter Pan (1953) which marked a shift from the softer illustration of earlier films to a more graphic, geometric style.


Mary Blair – Mermaids from Peter Pan




And here's Mary in a classic 'artist-at-work' pose. The styling is immaculate: peasant smock, bold bangle and her beautifully manicured nails with a 1950s fringe to complete the look.





Toca Hair Salon app - www.tocaboca.com



Cropped

07 - 4 - 2013

Simon Porte Jacquemus (JACQUEMUS), the young French fashion designer was ahead of the curve when he presented key looks for his Hiver 2012 collection: L'Usine, based around an exposed torso, cutting tops to just below the bust line and constructing them from boiled wool (as a concession to warmth perhaps?). 



The unique combination created a look of contrasting sexiness and utilitarianism, which the short film, directed by frequent collaborator Bertrand Le Pluard, epitomises.


The film mirrors his inspiration for the collection which centred on tops and skirts as a quotidian uniform. The models are pictured working at a factory and the banality of repetitive work which has a certain kind of beauty. 





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More recent examples of Jacquemus' work can be seen at: www.jacquemus.com

THE KNIFE

04 - 4 - 2013

Swedish duo The Knife have just released their new album 'Shaking the Habitual'. They have always toyed with ideas around identity and disguise is a strong visual element of their performance - often appearing in wigs and masks which add to the otherworldly nature of their music.

In this image, the brother and sister Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer play with notions around gender, with both appearing in hyper-real wigs and neo-glam costumes. 

It brings to mind this colour saturated photograph by Guy Bourdin: the contrast of bright, synthetic materials heightened by the natural setting.

The Knife is a perfect aural accompaniment to Guy Bourdin's images. You can hear their music HERE and look at more Guy Bourdin photographs HERE.