[ PAGAN TO OCCUPY ] The Painted House for Latitude Festival 2012

The Painted House, Imogen Eveson, Samara Tompsett, The Faraway Forest, Latitude 2012, Pagan to Occupy
Multicoloured sheep, dancing on the lake, opera, comedy, literature, fashion and of course, music, what more could you want from a great British summer festival? Latitude Festival has all this and then some, and some of that some lies deep in the Faraway Forrest. If you go down to the woods this July you’ll be sure of a big surprise (and no its not where the teddy bears have their picnic) its The Painted House, formerly The Paper House and once upon a time The Faraway Fashion Studio, where a group of CSM graduates once debuted their talents (myself being one of them).

Three years later and the space has evolved from a simple exhibition to a multifaceted, interactive fashion destination. Masterminded by my very own friends: all round awesome Art Director Imogen Eveson and superstar Set Designer Samara Tompsett, this year’s Painted House is going to blow your festival frolicking mind! With a line up exciting events from a vintage workshop with Rag & Bow’s Roaming Vintage Store to dressmaking with 125 Magazine Editor David Hawkins, a DIY fashion fanzine with Illustator Nina Chakrabarti to a live body painting shoot with Clare Reed and Jenni Hare…the list goes on. And then you get to me. That’s right, I’ll be there with my little old trunk full or random tid bits collected on my world wanderings. So if you fancy taking ‘a trip around the world through clothes’ as Imogen has so aptly put it, come on down to the Faraway Forest on Friday 13th at 13.30 and peruse my collections.

Now go forth and visit The Painted House website to read a little Q&A with myself and some of the other contributors. And if you keep reading below you’ll see I turned the tables on Samara and Imogen and asked them a few questions of my own.

Samantha Davis, Wandering Threads, Nina Chakrabarti, David haWKINS, Luke Edward Hall, Jenni Hare + Claire Reed, The Painted House, Imogen Eveson, Samara Tompsett, The Faraway Forest, Latitude 2012, Pagan to Occupy

1. So, year no.3 and the theme is Pagan To Occupy: tribes, folk customs, identity, community and shamanism. How have you two concocted your ‘house’ to align with this year’s concept?

I: The loose idea is ‘fashion tribes’ as there is a lot of space for invention within that term and the entire crowd itself could probably be divided – crudely - into fashion tribes! But there’s also a lot more bubbling under the surface about Ceilidhs and shamanism and French Salons – as a place for exchange and inspiration. I came up with this story about an 18th Century French high-society woman who hosts salons but also has a sideline in the occult. Sharing this idea with Samara, we emerged with this vision of a crumbling Versailles as Samara found these incredible images by Robert Polidori. They are beautiful, decadent, dark and decayed and Samara and I are similarly drawn towards this aesthetic I think.
Of course, all of this won’t be obvious in the actual event. The ideas get absorbed into the mix and re-imagined in an abstract way; hopefully making the whole thing richer somehow in the process. When I first met up with Latitude’s arts booker Tania Harrison earlier this year she said what was missing in the forest was fun and glamour and I think – and hope – that is essentially what we’re providing! 

S: Last year we called our creation The Paper House, so we wanted to continue the theme to make us recognisable as the same team, plus the term 'house' hints to being someone's home. When Imogen presented me with her idea my thoughts were drawn to Versailles, as the subject of the powerful photographs of Robert Polidori. His images also caught the idea of the decadent and dark that Imogen describes, and so addresses this years theme. We wanted to make a structure that could provide a bit of shelter - a reaction to the rains of last year - something that could lend itself nicely to making a 'home'. The structure itself will be formed from the golden carcasses of a number of old greenhouses with various bits of rag and other things stretched and tied like those blanket forts we made as as children.


[ THE FLOWER & THE WILLOW ] Marie Claire Australia July 2012

Josh Goot, Geisha, Marie Claire Australia, Ollie Henderson, Richard Truscott
Josh Goot, Skin and Threads, Flannel, Jac+Jack, Alex Perry, Geisha, Marie Claire Australia, Ollie Henderson,
Zimmermann, Geisha, Ollie Henderson, Jane Roarty, July 2012, Japan, Japanese traditions
Silk Kimono by Ellery, Dion Lee blouse, Carl Capp jersey wrap skirt, Senso Diffusion shoes, Japanese Geisha
Geisha fashion, Japanese costume, Dion Lee printed blouse, Acne dress, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Jayson Brunsdon, Richard Truscott

Having just left Australia, it seems quite serendipitous that I should stumble across this diaphanously sensual shoot for Marie Claire Oz. The editorial features model Ollie Henderson entering as apprentice into the exotic world of Japanese Geisha. With an air of wistfulness and with a nostalgic nod to a time saturated in tradition rather than high tech gadgets and sleeper pods, photographer Richard Truscott and stylist Jane Roarty have delicately fused the traditional with the contemporary through the art of fashion.

Accomplished in music, calligraphy, dance and the intricate art of the tea ceremony, Geisha, themselves models for the art of Japanese high culture, are unfailingly adorned in perfectly tied Kimono, with each strand of hair carefully oiled into place and each step and gesture perfectly executed. Today there remain only one to two thousand Geisha practising in Japan.



dehli, agra, luang prabang, pingyao, shanghai, the gili islands, sydney, bali, hanoi, yangshou, kathmandy, beijing, goa, xian, bangkok, penang, perhentians

I've seen the Taj Mahal at sunset, slept under the stars in the Thar Desert and floated down the Ganges and the Keralan Backwaters. I've climbed 3200m into the Himalayas, flown over Mt. Everest, walked The Great Wall of China (and come down it on a slide). I've marvelled at the Terracotta Warriors and The Forbidden City, felt unnerved in Tiananmen Square, gotten lost in translation in Shanghai and eaten numerous unidentified oddities. I've slept in wooden shacks in remote villages with no electricity, bartered with tribes for textiles at night markets, trekked through paddy fields and streams so pure you'd wonder if pollution ever existed, tubed along the Mekong and swung into crystal clear waterfalls. I've wandered through the ruins of Imperial citadels in Huế, slurped down steaming bowls of Phở in Hanoi, kayaked around Ha Long Bay, crawled through Viet Cong tunnels and sunned myself on the shores of Phú Quốc. I've been dumbstruck by the Khmer Rouge atrocities around Phnom Penh, blown away by Angkor Wat and turfed off a bamboo train in Battambang. I've snacked on street stalls in Bangkok and been sunburnt in Koh Tao. I've witnessed Chinese New Year with a bang, seen a giant lion dance in Penang and a man walk through fire in Ubud. I've dived 32m into a WW2 Shipwreck in Bali, swam with turtles (and away from giant trigger fish) in the Gili Islands and stalked sharks in Malaysia. I've walked the Harbour Bridge and felt the sea breeze by the Sydney Opera House.

And that was just one year.

6 flights, 29 trains, 38 boats, 58 buses and countless tuk tuks, taxis, bicycles and motorcycles later and I'm finally back on British shores.

But the adventure doesn't stop here.

Watch this space for new and exciting projects on Wandering Threads.

To see or read more about the last 14 months of my Asia trip visit me on Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.



[ LINKS À LA MODE ] WT's Features 7th June 2012

What a lovely surprise I did find this morning when I logged into my IFB account to check up on the ponderings of the blogging crowd - it appears Wandering Threads has been chosen for this weeks IFB Links A La Mode! Click on any of the links below to see posts from the other superstar bloggers also featured this week, and don't forget to leave comments on all the ones you like, we all love to hear from our readers!

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