Last summer I first discovered the wonders of lookbook. I spent hours upon hours scrolling through looks that were all so lovely and original. Recently though I have begun to realize that if you look through the hot page (probably my first mistake) that there does not seem to be as much creativity as there once was. I wish I could stay inspired on my own, but unfortunately I feel that I can only be most excited about fashion when I see that there are people who are inventive with their outfits.
So, I decided that I would really love to feature on here some of the people whose looks I do find to be creative and inspiring. The first person I thought of whose outfits I consistently find to be just that, was artist and lookbook user Nathalie Blair. I really admire her eclecticism, her quirky accessories (her Amanita muscaria hat is the single most amazing piece of head wear I've ever seen), and her way of putting it all together. So, I contacted her and she was so nice as to not only let me feature her outfits, but also to tell me a bit about herself. I really had a lot of fun with this and am feeling more inspired already. Here are her responses to my many questions...thanks again so much Nathalie!
Clearly fashion is a big interest of yours, but what are some of your other interests?
I love all kinds of art! Drawing and painting is basically the light of my life, and I also take a keen interest in photography and collage. I've recently been getting more into sewing and arts and crafts. I write poetry, write songs, raps, and make music and beats when the vibe is right. I have a small group of friends who are amazing to create experimental songs and collaborate with. I am a huge fan of slam poetry/spoken word, as well. However, drawing and painting takes the cake. As far as physical activities go, I have never been into sports, but hikes and nice walks are lovely!
How would you describe your personal style?
Honestly, it varies so much. I could be dressed in all black one day, and the next, I could be wearing a colorful flow-y outfit. I guess it's safe to say that my style is eclectic, but I am constantly influenced by the styles of the 40's and 60's. I very much like all styles, but mine is usually quite prim and proper. I love the style of 60's french fashion, and I think a lot of times it subconsciously has an impact on my choice of clothing, I have the most expensive taste, and I am anything but rich, so it's a bit of a curse. It's nice though, because it's easy for me to find cool things at thrift stores that would be worth a lot more elsewhere.
How did you first get interested in fashion?
I've always loved pretty clothes, but I think the first time I really was captivated by fashion was the first time I went to France in 2002. These days, European fashion and US fashion are almost identical. Back then, it was a bit different, so I got to see all of the cool stores, and drool over everything. My sister influenced me a lot when I was growing up, fashion-wise. It was in the early 2000s that the bohemian style started showing up in my lifetime, along with this odd sense that the spirit of the 60's was slowly coming back into the world, so we both kind of got hooked on the idea of it. I remember when UrbanOutfitters was the new thing, not a lot of people knew what it was. It's kind of sad to see what was once pretty good fashion go more mainstream, but I suppose it can't be helped.
How do you feel about the local fashion?
One word. Hipsters. If there is one thing that I would like to see Seattle produce more of, it is uniqueness. Most of the people who are considered fashionable here are just robots in black skinny jeans and giant silly glasses with no lenses. I love my city, but honestly, we could do a lot better. People here are normally incredibly lax about their fashion, and take comfort over looks. Personally, there should be an equal balance, but we know that's not going to happen in my lovely heels. Here in Seattle, we are nerds, hippies, and hipsters. Almost everyone here kind of reflects each other in their style. It's almost like a net of fashion. Not a bad thing, but originality is always what you should look for.
Do you have any local shops that you are especially fond of?
The vintage boutiques in Fremont, Seattle. There is a vintage mall that always has the coolest stuff, and another that has literally everything beautiful and vintage in a teeny tiny shop hidden in a block of stores. You can find anything from vintage family photos, to fur coats! The thrift stores here never fail me, either. I always find at least one thing, even if it means I might have to alter it a bit.
What are some of your favorite bands/books/movies/artists?
I love hip-hop, probably too much. J Dilla, Madlib, Quasimoto, The Roots, Black Star, MF Doom, Talib Kweli, Mr Lif, Prefuse 73, just a smidgen of my favorite hip-hop artists.
I love Flying Lotus and Samiyam, it's a bit like extremely slow dubstep/hip-hop. I love indie music, too, such as Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Broken Social Scene, Cocorosie, The Walkmen, Yo La Tengo, Modest Mouse. There is so much more, but it's impossible to get them all down!
I love the beat generation of writers, such as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac. Junky, On The Road, Howl, Naked Lunch, The Dharma Bums, etc. They have such amazing imagery and its what was, at the time, fairly radical. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass is amazing, too. His poems are so vivid, and the way he incorporates sexuality into his works, despite it's controversial nature, is pretty much genius. Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is brilliant, as well. I read more poetry than books these days, really. Rumi has some incredibly symbolic works, and, in an odd resemblance, Shel SIlverstein, as well. His poems for children take on some seriously philosophical meaning when you read them from an adult's standpoint.
Now, I watch a whole lot of movies, but it is rare that I find one that sticks with me. Here are a handful that undeniably have.
Amelie, for it's sheer lustrous humor, almost child-like and full of wonder. My all time favorite movie.
Hayao Miyazaki's work's, namely, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away.
The Animatrix, I love how perfectly they combined all the different styles and stories. Truly a wonderful maze of art, in my opinion.
Gummo, Kids, City of God, The Last Kind of Scotland, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Fear and Loathing, The Shining, Ferris Beuller's Day off, and last, but not least, Cool Runnings. Because now you know Jamaica has a bobsled team.
Artists- Gustav Klimt, Mark Ryden, Keiji Ito, Kyoko Murase, Miss Van, Camille Rose Garcia, Klaus Haapaniemi, Timo Vaittinen, Michael Ferris Jr, Kelsey Brookes, Henry Darger
Photographers- Denise Grunstein, Michael Graham, Steven Meisel, Tim Walker, Ryan McGinley
How did you first gain an interest in art and do you have any particular muses for your art?
I have loved drawing since I could hold a pencil. Throughout elementary school, art was my all-time favorite subject. I started out drawing Beanie Babies and Pokemon in 2nd grade, then later moved onto drawing anime. I got out of my anime phase the summer of freshman year in highschool. It gave me a solid ground to work on my realism from, so I'm glad I started out with cartoons. As for muses, I would have to say mother nature. I just take in the ebb and flow of the cosmos, and let her do all the work. If I have an artist's block, I don't try to force it or dwell on it. I notice that I improve way more as an artist when I make art when I truly get in the "zone".