Friday, 16 December 2011

Liverpool's greatest Burlesque show- The Martini Lounge.

This Thursday at Zeligs, The Martini Lounge played host to a cabaret of International Burlesque performers. The show, compered by London's Fred Bear and starring Liverpool's own Millie Dollar, also consisted of comedy acts, audience participation and plenty, plenty of titillation. 

Check out the website for the next Martini Lounge date. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Liverpool's coolest Christmas Pop-up Shop.

81 Bold Street. Open now until 24th December. 10-8pm.

Percy Gulliver's is a unique exhibition founded by Horse Graphic Design Studio, celebrating the art of the screen printed gig poster. There is also clothing and other one off items for sale.

It is also the home to a hand full of my own artwork over Christmas. The Limited edition prints are framed and on sale (until the end of this year) for £200 each. 
The selection includes choice images from my past two collections. (The Love Collection & the new Desire collection or more simply 'The Eyes'. 

Click images to enlarge. All Acrylic on water colour paper and screen printed by my self. 

The Eyes..(4 of 10 limited edition screen prints of this still available.)
Detail of above image.

Butterflies- Brand new image finished the day of this post..(All 5 from this edition are still available, better image to come)

Voyeur. 25 Limited editions.

Detail of above.
The Beauty of the body. 25 Limited editions.

He Love's me. 25 Limited editions.

Playing host to both UK and international artists, Screenadelica at Percy Gulliver's sees a wide variety of styles promoting the bands the artists love, inspired by the music they hear. With digital download taking over the music scene, the desire to still own something physical makes the screen printed poster all the more important, driving artists to create pieces of art for each show which encapsulates the music in their eyes. This then means that rather than one artist representing the bands sound, they get a whole range of interpretations of their music through the screen printed gig poster.

Check out the Screen Adelica Facebook. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Versace H&M Launch - A Man on a mission

Words Ryan Martin. 

Last November I was in London, the city that I love for all things fashion. Walking down Oxford Street, I see every H&M store that I pass had been taken over with shoppers fuelled with pandemonium. Well, more than normal anyway. I knew this road was the capital for high street, but something else was causing this chaotic affair. As I got closer towards the shop, I realised I was here the same day that Lanvin had launched his one-off collection for H&M. With the exciting serendipity I had to go in to witness the clothes and hopefully get a buy. However, by now it was late mid-day so most of it had gone and I wasn’t going to waste £49.99 on a pair of patent leather shoes one size too big because it was the closest thing that I liked and would fit me. So I walked away, yet still happy I was there at the same time.

(Oxford Station, London)

So now we’re in the present and I read a few months ago that Versace will be doing a collection for H&M…….my Google box has never been used so much for one subject. I searched for everything and anything I could find on the topic. As the days went by and my healthy interest turned more into an addiction, I find any photo to do with the collaboration or any recent article that had the word Donatella in. Obviously more of the women’s wear was being released, so trying to find menswear pieces hopefully to own was pretty hard. However out of the blue, had uploaded the entire lookbook. I straight away decided, I wanted everything.

(Covent Garden, London)

H&M finally put a page up and I researched the stores that will stock, prices and rules. Rules being stated to control the commotion of last year. Going through it all to make sure I know what time I need to be setting up my tent outside the shop but then finding out menswear shoppers wont have to queue. Mixed feeling about this news, happy because no need to catch pneumonia by lining up in the cold all night but I don’t see how this is going to stop a testosterone fuelled rampage ending with me punching another lad out if he takes the silver studded shirt and matching belt I have my eye on.

(Oxford Street H&M stores window display)

Crashing down in London town the night before and walking around Regent Street to find somewhere to eat as well as killing time. To my amazement, people are already pulling out deck chairs to line up. This convinced me that I really need to be on top form if I am going to have a chance of getting everything at all.

(Oxford Street H&M store)

And finally the day had arrived. One speedy shower and no breakfast I checked out of my hotel, the quickest I have ever checked out before, and head straight for the underground. Immediately looking around on the platform to see if anyone else looks like they could be going to the same place. Getting off at Piccadilly Circus to walk up and see how long the line is, I was getting happier and happier by the lack of people there. That is, until I see a line the length of the Mersey tunnel go round the corner of the H&M flagship store. The reason being that Donatella Versace herself was opening the store.
So the decision to make, was either stay here with the more than likely fact I am not getting anything I hoped just to get a view of the Italian blonde bombshell or walk a few more yards to the other H&M and actually have a chance to buy some clothes, which was the main reason for this trip. I picked the second option and to my luck it looked like they had just opened the doors. I went up the escalator to a hectic menswear department complete with Versace poster and stressed staff. Jumping right into the crowd looking for the sizes and accessories that I needed, following around staff that had arms filled with ready to hang clothing. As soon as they were on the rails, hands were coming from every direction, grasping onto hangers or tags to hold their stakes in getting what they wanted.
(Oxford Street H&M store)

Later on in the day looking into more H&M stores, I find that they had sold out of most items in the collection and all of my items I had bought. So after stepping into nearly every H&M in the city it was time to get off and head back to Liverpool. Still in my Versace mode I check the online store. Completely sold out. Then checking eBay. Already items up with bids almost double their original price.

Yes, high-end designers collaborating with high street do cause a riot, but it does give the chance to people who cannot afford that £2000 jacket and collectable piece. So it's no surprise that the hype over the next designer to work with H&M has already begun... Tom Ford you say? I will be lining up next week.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Lantern Theatre continues to illuminate the Liverpool Theatre Scene.

The future of one of Liverpool’s most dynamic and vibrant theatres has been secured with the unveiling of ambitious new owners.
The Lantern, in Blundell Street, L1, has re-launched under new management. Inside Out Arts is a family run company who are committed to building on the vision of former owners.
In new proprietor, Margaret Connell, The Lantern is fortunate to have found someone who brings a wealth of experience in both the artistic and administrative sides of running theatrical productions.
Our main aim is to provide an affordable and welcoming alternative venue which will serve as a springboard for young performers.  We aim to deliver a broad programme including comedy, cabaret, music and burlesque, alongside an exciting and challenging theatre programme.  We've already had requests from two young companies in London to bring new work to The Lantern for the Spring season.
The new owners are delighted to confirm that Tiny Giants and the Lantern Theatre Company will continue at The Lantern as company in residence. The recent terrifying production of THE HAUNTING identifies the type of high quality theatre that will be staged.  Margaret is passionate about the performing Arts

I enjoy theatre that challenges but also resonates with an audience, good theatre should make you think and feel.   I love Sarah Kane and Edward Bond.  I love political theatre in the broadest sense; my own area is theatre for social change.  Augusto Boal, the late Brazilian Theatre Practitioner is my hero.  Ken Loach is another favourite.
One of my best theatre memories was Diana Rigg playing Medea at the Liverpool Playhouse nearly 20 years ago.  It was one of the most terrifying and moving productions I have ever seen.

An exciting season of productions demonstrates the commitment of the new management to continue the development of the theatre, as well as bringing new energy and commitment.  Theatre that is Challenging, Exciting and Honest.
“The Lantern has all the attributes a successful theatre needs, and brings a different dimension to the culture of the city.  Inside Out Arts plan to make this an essential part of the artistic diversity on offer in Liverpool. We’ll be making good use of the best talent around, on and off stage.”

Local Writer and Director  John Maguire is  thrilled that the space will continue to platform new work.
(Photo Matt Ford)

John directed GRIN PRODUCTIONS original play  MEXICO  by Wes Williams in July and will be returning to the space early 2012, staging  his piece BRUISE.
 The Lantern has a real bohemian charm, a spit and sawdust venue and I am delighted that BRUISE will be staged next year.
Bruise is an explosive piece of writing, exploring the destructive forces that compel two opposing characters to stay united in a complex, bitter, yet somewhere along the lines loving relationship. It illustrates the diverse ways one can be “bruised“, physically, psychologically, mentally and in a way that cannot be explained by mere language.
The Lantern is an ideal venue to stage this intimate and involved piece of theatre.

BRUISE will be staged 24th and 25th February 2012

Monday, 31 October 2011

Words Samantha Elmes.
Picture Matt Ford. 

In amongst the contagious artistic buzz of Bold Street is a new Aladdin’s cave of treasure. 
Deliciously lavish, glamorous, show stopping statement pieces, with a twist of the Egyptian headdress too, Claudia Pink uses the new and the old to design some of the most eclectic costume jewellery around.

My brand is: exotic, decadent, affordable but very sort after. It's an eclectic collection of hand made and worldwide sourced jewellery.

        Her pieces have already attracted cliental such as Colleen and even Nicole Richie. Whether it be earrings for the brave, rings for the fashionably subtle, pendants for the seventies fad, or body chains that seem more off the Milan cat walk than tucked away in a cheeky corner of Liverpool; these designs are timeless, elegant, audacious and completely wearable.
        The boutique also houses Silver Birchs' clothing, quirky individual party dresses.
All the designs can be altered and fitted to each body shape, working simultaneously to create an atmosphere of the unique, of the different,for the individual. 

If you want something fabulous and unique or tailor made, visit Claudia Pink & Silver Birch on Bold Street or even buy-online 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Liverpool One's- The Clothes Throw. Firecracker meets the designers.

Words Ryan Martin.
Photos Matt Ford. 
 Yesterday Liverpool saw the return of The Clothes Throwpop up shops, catwalk shows and clothing auctions with donated celebrity pieces, all to raise money for Alder Hey Hospital.
Fashion design graduates of John Moores University showcased their final collection at Palm Sugar Bar.

The Designers.

The Collections.
(click to enlarge)
Gemma Howarthspecializes in lingerie design, herEphemera collection uses fabrics such as lace and chiffon to give a very promiscuousyet vintage look to her work.

I found the inspiration for my collection in my grandfathers stamp collection which has a one of a kindfeel. So I think when designing I had a very bespoken mind. Then this linked me to researching into the Greek word Ephemera meaning things lasting no more than a day. Just like a stamp.  I found this fascinating. The way something which can be seen as rubbish maybe something amazing to others. Tonight was such a goodevent, everything went well backstage considering the amount of corsets in my collection that needed to be laced up. For the future I am hoping with the graduate scheme at John Moores to get a placement at Mark andSpencers in the lingerie department which is what I want to go into. Other than that am just working on my portfolio so its a very exciting time.

Jody Wood, used her collection a visual paradox to bring in her audience by letting them decide what they see with the use of her ink blot patterns.

My designs are all about what is personal to you. Ilooked at light shadows and ink blots which tap into the viewers mind. When people see my patterns on the dresses, one view maybe totally different to another, itsall about perception. Its the same way ink blots work when shown to someone on a card which was my primal research looking into such things as the Rorschach tests for inspiration. To see my pieces walk down the runway rather than dressing them in the back was fantastic. This is the 3rd time that my designs have been down the catwalk and this is the first time I have seen them in action. Also its good that this is all for charity as well. After the graduate fashion week in London I got offered a internship at DVF in New York so thats my next move, just need to save a bit before I go. 

Laura Wallaces elegant collection the chocolate boxgives off a feminine attitude with unusual textured fabrics in faded white tones.  

My collection was based a lot around everything vintage and looking at old photographs. I wanted to give across in my designs a very antiques vibe. Tonight went really good. Everything went smoothly and it was nice to be an audience member and actually see my collection go down the runway instead of all the running around backstage. At the moment I am working for a designs and event company but when it comes to the fashion side of my career, the buzz around my graduation collection is still happening which is amazing but I cant wait to start another interesting collection.

Louise Boarder has created her designs around the thoughts and feeling of never growing up. Using childrens story books for inspiration, her collectiontheir land of nod plays around with
Surrealism and the concept of dressing up. Over sized tartan coats and furs are all main features in these fairytale fashions.

Well my inspiration all started with the childrens bookWhere the Wild Things Are but then that moved me into looking at woodland animals. Then from there I looked into Peter Pan and that lead me to pyjamas. So the start was like a story in its self which is the best way of describing my collectiona reversed story. Tonight went really good and like a lot of the other designer felt, it was amazing to see it on the catwalk for once. I have spend a huge amount of time on my designs but this is the first time I have actually watched it in a fashion show. I think whats next for me is that am going to move to London because its the place to be, I have just done a placement with Amanda Wakeley but now my main aim it to have a full- time job in what I have trained 3 years for.

More about the Charity behind The Clothes Throw. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Art Show. A/W11. Post Show Round Up.

Matt Ford's second solo show was a resounding success.
Ford put aside fashion photography for this outing and concentrated on creating an explosive collection of fine art. 
The debut compilation of screen printed photographs has been inspired by love and sensuality. 
Each piece made with acrylic on watercolour paper is limited to 25 hand made originals.

For further sales enquiries of the framed artwork please contact 

(Full collection viewable by appointment)

"The beauty of the body"
"One in a million"
"'till death do us part"
Left- "He loves me". Right- "Voyeur."

Press Cuttings.

Featured in:

Review of the night by Samantha Elmes 

Parr Street's Studio 2 was transformed into an enthralling museum of misfits with Matt Ford’s artwork taking inspiration from love and sensuality, providing the background, focus and the subtlety for the whole show.

In short, not even the talents of Millie Dollar and her feather boa could detract from it. Surrounded by a mishmash of people from the cool, the artistic, the young, the old, the slick and the misplaced, this wasn't for the exclusive. This was for everyone.

A particular print He loves me, held all the sensitivity of the ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ schoolgirl daisychain rhyme it depicts, with distinguished adult elements.

Tease, Voyeur and Till Death do us part were visually exciting with the brashness of sex and everything intertwined. Every image there stood unique and simple, erotic and demanding. It was with an ease that Ford's imagery set the tone that the event undoubtedly followed.

In one room there was the sensation of hanging with the Mods and the Rockers and in the next I expected a ‘groovy baby’ accompanied by velvet flares. It became not just an art show but a journey of decades. 

The funny thing being those pictures never looked out of place once. Even when Millie Dollar and Cocabelle strutted into the mix it seemed oh so natural that Dollar should whirl around a few tassels and Cocabelle should belt out tunes that had all the attitude of rock and roll with soulful bluesy undertones.

With a slight reminder that we were, in actual fact, in the 21st century, her rendition of Emeli Sandé's ‘Heaven’ echoed hauntingly, and even though she was perched on a stool with a broken leg she still managed to move everybody.

She followed with her own song Am I Falling? If anyone else was unsure, I know I certainly did. I fell for her bleached bombshell hairdo, Millie Dollar's seductive stance, for the electric fires, for the bongo drums in the corner, the red wine and the barman.

When the final Act of Millie Dollar arrived there was a collective fall backwards into the next era of stockings, garters and red lipstick, of cigar smoke and whiskey, of underground grit pre-existing a sexual revolution.

Although, Millie Dollar's feather boa and enticing emerald green corset is another expression of art now, it is still a testament to the boundaries pushed and experimentation mirrored within Ford's artwork.
So when the next Art Show comes around be sure to sneak your name on to the guest list and you’ll understand, quite simply that the title of my favourite piece described the whole evening in two words. Flat out.(see pic below)

Matt has started work on the new collection (including the image below). Private previews of both collections are available by appointment at the Firecracker Gallery Seel Street.
 To book email

'The eyes."