Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lady Gaga – A Revolutionary

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, has become a household name in the 4 years that she has turned out hit after hit and international number-one singles. But apart from her music, influenced by artists like David Bowie and Madonna, which is both critically and commercially acclaimed, she has become infamous for her fashion sense and public image.

Going from hit-or-miss style, who could ever forget the meat-dress?, to the cover of Vogue has set Gaga as one of the fashion icons of our time and will be ingrained as part of this generation’s radicals. One of the things that make her so interesting and unique is her refusal to remain the same or to be ordinary. Gaga's always working her own special ratio of naked to fully obscured, and weird to mega-weird. We may have a perfectly open view of her undergarments, but her face could be completely hidden from us. Nothing she does, whether in music or fashion, ever quite makes sense but it gets the world talking and taking notice – like a true radical does.

The March 2012 edition is probably the most arresting cover that American Vogue has produced in years. It’s weird and gorgeous and gives you some of that quintessential Gaga give-and-take style – she'll portray a classic model pose, and a somewhat tame frock, but she'll do it without eyebrows and a pink bob haircut and you will love it.

Now Gaga is taking her fashion-sense and turning it into her own clothing line. Lady Gaga is teaming up with her younger sister, Natali Germanotta, 19, a fledgling fashion designer who has just completed her first year studying fashion design at Parsons – The New School for Design in New York. The two have worked together before, with Natali making a cameo appearance as a prison inmate in Gaga's 2010 video for the hit Telephone. Natali is apparently even edgier than Lady Gaga but the collection is said to be relatively normal and wearable. Gaga came up with the idea of remodeling the styles of classic icons from the past; like Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn. Rumoured to feature in the collection is a rubber version of Marilyn Monroe's white halter-neck dress from Some Like It Hot, and the iconic black Audrey Hepburn shift, redesigned with a plunging neckline.

While there has been no official confirmation of the collaboration, it has been hinted at as an upcoming project on Twitter. If the collection is indeed as wearable as reports suggest, the toned-down approach could suit Lady Gaga given her current incarnation.
Since forming a friendship with Versace matriarch Donatella Versace, the singer's style has become altogether more ladylike of late. The strong bond came after praise for Gaga from Donatella, who said she was 'honoured' that Lady Gaga chose to wear Versace Vintage throughout her The Edge of Glory video.

No matter what the collection has in store for the fashion world, Gaga will always remain unafraid to push the boundaries, draw her own line in the sand, and create an original vocabulary by merging fashion, music, theatre and art into a garment. And fans are definitely looking forward to this at the upcoming South African tour she is set to play at.

ADDED: After watching the concert this past Friday at Soccer City in Johannesburg i can conclude that Gaga did not disappoint. It was everything I expected and more. I'd highly recommend anyone that has the opportunity to see her live - get your tickets! She really has a very inspirational message to share once you get past all her crazy antics! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is it Art?

The graffiti under a bridge, the five-year-old boy’s drawing of a sports car, the doodles in the margin of a student’s notebook; is it art? Who decides what art is and what isn’t? There are entire university courses dedicated to studying what defines art and what can actually be considered art, but does that really take into effect what art means for the ordinary person?

Yet what is beautiful to me might not be beautiful to you, but that still does not mean it is not beautiful to somebody. The experience of art and beauty is an extremely personal one, making it different for everyone. But the true value of art and beauty is that it creates feeling, it stirs emotion, and it provokes thought – it just simply moves you.

Art cannot be defined, no matter how many scholars and critics disagree. It cannot be defined because whatever is beautiful, whatever touches our souls, cannot be boxed into a label. It’s a bit like when you grow to love someone truly and every time you look at them you are filled with feelings of admiration and wonder. You do not love them because they are beautiful; but they are beautiful because you love them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

i love Durban

Just like people, cities possess personalities. But unlike people, the changes that occur in the personalities of cities do not leave us angry or annoyed but mesmerized and awe-inspired.

Durban’s dynamic and vibrant persona is unlike any other city’s in the world, it pulses with the thrill of the unexpected but is simultaneously filled with the comfort of a place that invites you just as a home does. No city is perfect, but the imperfection of the city of Durban is purely extraordinary.

Those who live in Durban know that no matter where else you go; there will be no other place that can embrace you as much as it can. And those who have visited Durban, have felt the energy and the pull of the city just as the ocean’s waves are attracted to the shore – and of course, there are no other beaches quite like that of those in Durban.

Durban is my city, my home, and the reasons to love it are rather endless.

Monday, November 26, 2012

8 Hours with Taylor

Taylor Swift is one of the most iconic pop artists of our time and has taken not just the music industry but the fashion world by storm too. She has emerged from being a teen-starlet to a now more glamorous, edgier, sexier Taylor. And a new photo book, shot by Nigel Barker for Sony, shows off this new Taylor as she transforms from the everyday Californian girl to glamorous Hollywood star to chic performer.

Nigel Barker, known for being one of the judges on Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model and for being one of the best photographers in the business, photographed an entire book’s worth of images in one day and has thus been entitled 8 Hours/Taylor Swift.

Taylor and Nigel are two of the celebrity ambassadors for Sony’s 2012 holiday campaign. The 60 page photo book, which is a limited edition and only available to American customers who purchase a Sony Alpha DSLR or NEX camera at a Sony store, is one of the most extensive photo collections of Taylor to date. Ten copies, signed by both Nigel and Taylor, will also be auctioned off on eBay by Sony, with all proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Nigel used three different Sony cameras: the Sony a99 DSLR for elevated color contrast, the Sony NEX-5R for capturing fast-action movement, and the Sony RX100 DSC for low-light situations. Nigel also shot multiple short films of Taylor on the day of the shoot.

And 22-year-old Taylor is mesmerizing and intriguing in every shot, proving Nigel is worth his mettle.


“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

-          Joseph Campbell


Fear is a deliciously painful emotion – it can hold you back or spur you on. It puts things into perspective, makes you realize what is truly important and forces you to make decisions, sometimes even coaxing you into making a choice that you thought you never could. If there’s one thing that fear does, it shows you the bigger picture.


Fear is one of the most real, undiluted, organic emotions that one can experience – you will only ever feel fear if you truly are afraid. So it is a rare feeling, like a reminder that you are alive.


Fear is a catalyst, a vehicle, a transporter. When you do feel afraid for whatever reason, let the fear in for a while, allow yourself to feel it, and then let it go and let it move you to what you need to do. Let the fear guide you, but don’t let it reside in you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

“Time’s Winged Chariot”

“But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot drawing near”
-       Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

Time will always be the uncontrollable factor of man’s life; it is one of the only things that can liberate us and imprison us.

The nature of time is almost like a butterfly landing in the palm of your hand, if you’ve ever given it a chance to; you blink and as suddenly as it landed, it takes flight once again leaving you to wonder if it had ever been there at all.

Andrew Marvell coaxed his mistress with the thought that time is passing them by and they needed to make the most of their time together; they needed to make love before their youth became their past. Life is seducing us to have our love-affair with it; waiting for us to grab the chance to live like today is all we have.

In life, all you have is the moment. Once the moment passes by, it becomes a memory only alive to you in your mind. Memories of the same event exist differently in different peoples’ minds, but the moment is the same for everyone experiencing it. All you have is that moment before it passes by, before the butterfly takes flight once again.

But sometimes, that moment is all you really need.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Victoria's Secret

Few labels and brands are as iconic as Victoria’s Secret. Ask anyone and they will know what the brand represents, even if they’ve never seen an actual item that belongs to it. And those items are, of course, the sexiest, most revolutionary luxury lingerie. And no one ever thought that lingerie could make such a name for itself.


It’s been 35 years since the inception of the brand by founder Roy Raymond in 1977 and Victoria’s Secret is now the largest American retailer of lingerie and a multi-billion dollar company. The brand has transformed the conception of underwear and has pioneered lingerie into being high-fashion. For Victoria’s Secret, women’s underwear is not a mere undergarment worn for necessity but a source of boosting one’s self-confidence and making a woman truly feel like a woman. Even the annual fashion show, featuring the Victoria’s Secret angels, has transcended being a mere fashion show on a catwalk into rock-concert style entertainment and one of the most important fashion events every year. The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is known for lining up stellar entertainment and musicians, from Cirque Du Soleil to Akon to Katy Perry to Rihanna and Justin Beiber at this year’s event.


Victoria’s Secret is a classic example of how a business turned into an empire from having recognized a niche and filling it. The right time and place is sometimes the magic ingredient in the recipe of success. Victoria’s Secret was founded in San Francisco, California by Roy Raymond, a Tufts University and Stanford Graduate School of Business graduate, and his wife, Gaye. Raymond had felt a need for the revolutionizing of thinking about women’s underwear when he himself had felt embarrassed to buy lingerie for his wife at a department store. Fancier items, such as sexy lingerie, were saved by women for special occasions, such as honeymoons. Yet even lingerie that pushed the limits and dared to be provocative weren’t available in mainstream stores.


Raymond actually studied the lingerie market for eight years before borrowing money from his parents and a bank to establish Victoria’s Secret, which was then a store where men could be comfortable shopping for underwear or lingerie for women. The company did so well in the first years that Raymond could open new stores in different locations but as the years drew on the company headed into bankruptcy as it primarily focused on a male customer base. The company was thus sold to Limited Stores Inc, which still owns it today. Limited Stores Inc saw where the company was erring and changed its target market to women, boosting sales and being able to expand into malls. The Victoria’s Secret brand has only grown since then, much with the aid of their annual catalog which is anxiously-awaited every year and of their social media on Facebook and Twitter.


Even the Victoria’s Secret angels are no longer just models but icons of fashion, style, allure, and utter sex-appeal. The era of the supermodel was witnessed on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk, infamous for its unique length, seeing models such as Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell, and Tyra Banks having graced it.



Victoria’s Secret is not only celebrated for the role it has played in the fashion world but also for the lessons in business that can be learned from it. The brand has carved its place in the fashion world and is set to remain exactly where it is – at the top.

Monday, November 19, 2012

You wear your life on your face

Have you ever really looked at a person?

There are secrets hidden in the lines on their skin, there are mysteries hiding in their eyes, there are stories lingering on their lips, there are tears dried on the contours of their cheeks.

Our eyes have been trained to see what is directly in front of us and we have lost the sight that showed us the beauty of the things not traditionally beautiful. Beauty is not only found in the face of a woman with high cheekbones and voluptuous lips, but also in the face of the man with leathery skin and sad eyes.

You might not know the secrets that are hidden, the mysteries that are concealed, the stories that linger, or why there were tears – but do not doubt that they are there. A person’s life, their story, is in their face; it takes a moment to recognize that but even a lifetime is insufficient to know that story.

Perhaps we are all really just waiting for someone else to see that, to see us.

Have you ever really looked at a person?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Logic of Feelings

The beauty found in the complexity and uniqueness of the human heart is almost unmatched. Every moment of our lives is scented with some emotion, some feeling, that lingers on into our futures; leaving us not with the perfect memory of the moment, but of how we felt in that moment.

Some think that to feel is to be weak, but to feel is not to be weak; it is to be strong enough to be true to the heart that is intrinsically human. Some of the most beautiful things in life cannot be described or documented, they can only be felt.

The mind may give up, but the heart forges on because that is who we are. Feelings come and go like the clouds in a windy day’s sky; and so they should not define who we are or what we do but steer us in the right direction to where we are supposed to be. “Listen to your heart” might be clich├ęd, but it is sometimes the best advice to follow.

The way we feel might not always be logical, but to feel is always logical. We do not feel because we are human, we are human because we feel.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[ Hello ]

A warm welcome to the newest member to the Lee Folkard Photography team; Sholene Ramdass.
Below is her first official blog post;

As the newly appointed assistant at Lee Folkard Photography, a very big hello!

Having so many interests and passions in life, I've never failed to grab any opportunity that has come my way. Applying for the position of assistant at Lee Folkard Photography, though, was a spur of the moment decision that proves that many things that are meant to be in life often happen without giving much thought to them. But now having got this awesome job, much to my surprise, I’m thrilled and very excited for the future!

This position will allow me to let my creative spirit run free and involves a lot of what I love – writing, fashion, entertainment, and photography of course, and will also broaden my horizons as a BA student majoring in Creative Writing.

 I hope to continue to keep you enthralled and captivated, as Lee has done so brilliantly, with the blog posts and to add a new element to Lee Folkard Photography, which has already established itself as an incredible company to be watched.

This is a new journey and there are great things on the way!

Sholene Ramdass; Photography by Lee Folkard Photography