The Jazz Emporium

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Sassy Bearcat of the Month

Hello Jazz fans!

It has been a while since we’ve featured one of our style icons, but after a long uninspiring gap, we’ve finally found one worth featuring!

‘Who is this angel of style?’ We hear you ask. ‘What sort of sartorially scintillating person could have captured your attention again after so long an absence?’

We answer thus; a characters so chock full of attitude and brave, on-trend style that just watching her on screen is akin to shopping at ASOS. That is, if ASOS included brass knuckle dusters and death metal iconography in their vast selection of stock… Which, actually, probably is exactly the case!

Meet Vod, from Channel Four’s delightfully cringe-tastic ‘Fresh Meat’. Students and ex-students alike can identify with the setting of the grungy student-shared house, weird, substandard lecturers and awful part time jobs that define a student’s existence. Harder to relate to, for many, however, is the aspirational costume design of the series; particularly obvious in Vod.

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Played by the foxy Zawe Ashton, Vod doesn’t mess about when it comes to style. In fact, she doesn’t mess about with anything, really. Self-confident and bold, she’s the epitome of a ‘yes woman’, clutching any style, trend or look that takes her fancy and rocking it effortlessly. True to the brave individuality of British style, she often hardens each sartorial foray with her signature industrial boots, or a similar post-punk edge. She is no clothes horse – the clothes work for her.

So, Vod, what do you feel like making your style bitch today?

Blue lips?

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Gentrified androgyny?

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1920s spit curls?Image

 

A 90s nod to dummies as accessories?

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Sexin’ it up in a chambermaid uniform? Er, yes…

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Let’s face it, this girl could jump naked into a skip and emerge draped in a black bin bag belted with a frayed curtain tie, draping a dead fox round her neck – and she’d be looking fan-bloody-tastic. The confidence with which she pulls off remnants of by-gone eras, or simply just remnants of clothes is awe-inspiring.

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And it seems that Vod isn’t just the creation of the costume designer; Zawe herself projecting influences into her character’s style; 

“This job is such a touch! It is so collaborative but you can also trust every single department to just be on it. If I send June (Niven), our costume designer, a picture of Prince and say this is our touchstone for this series – the next thing you know I’m wearing a ruffle shirt, a bolero jacket and my hair’s sticking up and it’s Prince. She runs with it, she is so inventive.”

Having the face behind Vod inject her own opinion on the character just makes her feel all the more authentic…

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Wanna echo Vod’s look? Slap on some plum lipstick, artfully rip a few holes into whatever your wearing and strut out into the street like you were born to wear it. Make no excuses and atone for no sins; Vod would never be so embarrassing…

Big up to bin bag chic! Next time, we’ll take a peek at another Fresh Meat bearcat; Oregon.

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Sassy Bearcat of the Week – Josephine Baker

 

So talented a singer was Josephine Baker that she was the main inspiration for Shirley Bassey. So striking and hypnotic in her dancing performances and style was she that she became the muse to countless artists including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior – and Ernest Hemmingway who described her as “… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”

 

 

 

 

So socially and politically minded was she that she she was recruited as a spy for the allied forces, using her celebrity status to smuggle vital information crucial to the French resistance during the German occupation of France in WW2. So sharp was her civil consciousness that after Martin Luther King’s death, his wife approached Josephine with the request that she take King’s place as the leader of the movement. Such a responsible family figurehead was she that she turned it down in protest that her children ‘…were too young to lose their mother.’

She had 12 adopted children from multi-ethnic backgrounds which she named her “Rainbow Tribe” – Angelina Jolie has nothing on her!

 

For these reasons alone there need be no further argument as to why Josephine is this week’s sassy bearcat. More than her style – her presence alone seemed to radiate what the jazz hopes to emulate even to the minutest degree; an embracing of oneself and others around you. She exudes the carefree liberal nature of the 20s and glamour of the 30s, crazying up her stage outfits with huge feather hats (or nothing at all!) and accompanied at all times by her pet cheeta who sometimes escaped and terrorized the audience.

 

 

What a woman; especially bearing in mind aged 12 she was sleeping rough in the slums of St Louis, scavenging from bins and dancing on street corners. Well, we certainly think she’s some woman. And with a single glance at her infamous Banana Dance – her confident and outlandish character wouldn’t give two hoots if you disagreed…

 


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Sassy Bearcat of the Week: Joan Holloway

Madmen’s loved and most influential stylistically character, Joan Holloway, has stolen the style icon crown this week. Heralded for her curvy physique (referred to commonly and patronizingly as plus-size), Joan injects a feline allure into the prim time period of the series, and leads us all to the shocking conclusion that, yes, our grandparents probably DID like sex.

Well, actually, from all my grandpa’s comments throughout the ages about ‘dishy dames’, I feel I was maybe a little too aware of that fact of historical human nature already…

As is evident to any who carry eyes within their head (or fingers on their hands for those lucky enough to get to grips with the character herself) Joan is no skinny minnie. She ain’t no Agnes Dean or Daisy Lowe, whose cupcake chests and snooker cue arms luckily provide just enough substance to hang delectable clothes from. No, in the wardrobe of life, those much revered ladies are the coat hangers on the rack which we flick through absent mindedly, coveting a piece here and there, situated at random around the shopping floor; much of a muchness and a little bland.Joan, however, is the mannequin presiding on the podium,  surveying all the racks around her. Filling the clothes and bringing them to life, clad in perfectly pinned to fit outfits that are both striking and human at once. And boy, do we want to emulate that!

It’s the perfectly nipped in dresses, the expertly coiffed hair & the pencil skirts that just ooze sex, despite the low hemline and high neck lines; it’s a lesson to every platform sheathed, hot panted bimbo that naively grinds all night in Bamboo; if you want to be sexy, less flesh is more. Sure, the eager lads might not pant down your neck when you hit the dance floor in a round neck, fitted pencil dress and demure heels, but in order to tap into your real sexual confidence, you need to dress how you want, not as you want to be perceived.

Of course, Joan Holloway is really just a character played by Christina Hendricks, and has talented costume designer Katherine Jane Bryant to adjust her outfits to fit perfectly, but if we suspend this reality for a moment and just take time to evaluate Joan’s style as Bryant has read it to be, we can see that it all leads to one overwhelming message; being yourself and comfortable in who you are and how you dress is sexy.

And so is this.

No-one minds when Joan buts in.

For more inspiration from her see below – and check out the amazing paper dolls! We’re off to print our own set out now.

We want one!!


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Pssst… Want in on a little style secret?

Looking good can be hard work – we all know that.

Well, unless you’re part of The Jazz that is and it comes naturally to you… Ahem. Okay, even we have to work at it sometimes, and we have many little secrets to ensure we radiate some unique stylish consistency… Lucky for you we’ve chosen to share one with you…

Normally we wouldn’t promote other ways of aquiring fancy second hand threads from anyone other than ourselves, for that would be like a Doctor recommending you see a beauty therapist about your verruca (ugh, sorry for that analogy, but you get what we mean). Pointless and painful. And slightly gross.

However, we’ve been using this site for some time now and having reaped the rewards ourselves, selfishly, we felt it was about time to share it with you all! This  Jazz secret is all about looking good on a shoestring (seeing as currently all our income goes towards the upkeep of our emporium and ensuring we don’t starve…).

AND it’s the perfect place to offload all those unwanted Christmas presents when the time comes!

Follow the link to see how…

They’ve recently had a site overhaul and have upgraded from swapping  purely clothes. Now they swap anything from books & dvds to power tools! Crazy.

They do tend to swap mostly high street though, so if you’re only interested in vintage… you know where to find us… and here.

But shh… we didn’t tell you…