¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


CoutureLust: VECONA

I nearly wept the first time I saw a VECONA creation. It was the now-legendary tentacled corset, featured on BoingBoing, that brought me tearfully to my knees. Upon visiting the Web site of VECONA creator Janet, who lives and works in Germany, I felt I had fallen down the rabbit-hole of brilliant costuming. Every image is a fantastical wonderland of beauty and intrigue, every model tells a tale of scintillating decadence.

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Viona / Model: Bérengère)

Janet collaborates with amazing talents like Shien Lee and Lucas Lanthier, the masterminds behind Dances of Vice, and she traveled with Emilie Autumn on her Asylum tours for a few years, performing as a Bloody Crumpet and doing all the costume design. I'm ever so delighted to feature VECONA. Be sure to check out her beautiful new Web site!

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Matt Frederick / Model: Ulorin Vex)

How would you describe yourself and your style of work?

I'm a wanderer between genres, eras and worlds, and this is how my styles look like. I love picking particular parts from different influences and mixing them together to create my very own universe. I love inviting guests to be part of it and bring their personal taste to make it even more colorful and unique. This is why I started working with other artists like musicians and photographers. My work shouldn't necessarily meet the requirements of a certain scene, but for sure I'm glad when people can identify with my creations. And in the end I just do what I love. ;-)

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Viona / Models: VECONA & Shien Lee)

How did you get your start making clothes?

As almost everybody in that business, I started with sewing as a hobby and for a long time it was only that. It took me a while to find out that this is what I really love to do in my life.

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Silent View / Model: Fräulein von Rosenfelde)

In the meantime, I studied computer science and as my first project in that field I made the VECONA website to present the costumes and clothes I made in my free time. It turned out that many people were interested in what I showed in the gallery and in getting their very own VECONA piece. So after finishing my studies, I screwed up my courage and decided to follow this sewing passion. What can I say, since then every single day I enjoy this privilege to have a job that satisfies me and gives me the surety that finally I found my destination.

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Annie Bertram / Model: Drastique)

What do you do besides design amazing clothes?

At the moment I'm pretty much interested in the era "Weimar Berlin“ and do a lot of research about that. In this context I started swing dancing a while ago and I really enjoy it!

Where do you find inspiration?

Honestly, I find inspiration just everywhere. It comes to me seeing a fabric, watching a movie, reading a book and pretty often while driving my car. But - the best inspiration I do find just working, because with every single piece I start, I get ideas for three more.

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Annie Bertram / Model: Ancalime)

What are three things that please you the most in the world?

My beloved family and friends, a warm day outside and coffee.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Usually the last one I made. ;-)

(Fashion: VECONA / Photos: Annie Bertram / Model: Drastique)

Where can we find your line?

Since I do all pieces as custom orders you should just write me an email to janet(at)vecona(dot)de! Besides these special orders I also offer an accessory and jewelry line in my online shop. Besides the VECONA creations I just established a second label together with a friend, it's called VeconaVintage. Our collection for men and women will come out at the end of the year, so watch out and stay curious. :-)

Many thanks to Janet! I am most certainly staying curious ~ here's a little wish that one day she'll bring her brilliant imagination back to the States so I may be astounded by her work in person.

...Read the full interview...


The Sinners' Circus

Sometimes you just have to run away with the circus, you know? Along with co-conspirators klown-fi band GOOFERMAN, the Sisters of Honk, Circus Metropolus, and a whole slew of other moderators of mayhem, my band Baby Seal Club hosted a 3-ring sinfest called the Sinners' Circus at a local brewery last weekend.

Glorious moments were plentiful, but here are a few top ones: seeing my beloved Stache go-go-cage dancing in a vintage band jacket and a Lucha Libre clown mask... joined shortly thereafter by my brother in a bear suit.

The stunning 10-cent Absolution Booth confessional hand-built by one of our dear friends and local mad genius Muir... you confessed your sins into an antique telephone inside, and they were broadcast out to the surrounding crowd.

My beloved band-mates getting theatrical for the Seven Deadly Sins theme... Wizzbang as a gorgeous and aloof Pride, 19 as the avaricious banker Greed, Doc as a terrifyingly wicked Lucifer, Fudo as a powerful preacher named Wrath, and your own Choklit, of course, as the harlot of harmonies ~ Lust.

The brilliance of the wanted posters Stache made for us to put up around town and in the venue... See the full set here.

Amazing performers on both stages, outside and in, including a mesmerizing show by fire-eater Monique, who absolutely embodied an enchanting swamp priestess.

Once again, we pulled off a spectacle of epic proportions - complete with tent revival faith healing, fire-dancers, carnival games, stiltwalkers, jugglers, and an oversized bear. And plenty of klowns, of course.

We worked all day Saturday to transform the venue into a red velvet big-top, performed, stayed up being debaucherous with the clowns until dawn, and tore it all down the next day. More pictures are coming from the fabulous Miss M - check back here.

Ah, sweet ephemeral events... so fleeting. And now we start the planning for the next one!


Aural Goodness

I've been consumed with putting on a circus for the past few weeks ~ which I'll be writing about as soon as I have some good imagery. In the meantime, for your various and sundry entertainment needs, here are a few tidbits of aural goodness from my music world.

Three albums that have been garnering my attention as of late... first, My Maudlin Career, the new offering from the luscious Scottish indie pop band Camera Obscura. Not unlike my other favorite Scottish band, they spin a lovely web of stories and sounds.

The shimmering, tambourine-rich, sixties candy-pop sound reminds me of the soundtrack of my early college years ~ that would be Mazzy Star ~ but with a horn section that gives it a more soulful flavor. The singer, Tracyanne Campbell, has an endearingly human voice - not seductive or terribly powerful, but lovely in a vulnerable way. If you're in the mood for perfect pop charm, listen to this.

On another end of the indie spectrum, NYC-based Grizzly Bear has been intriguing me with their much-lauded new album, Veckatimest. The band pushes the boundaries of indie rock with slightly dissonant harmonies and unexpected rhythmic changes, but somehow it all comes together in a surreal and mesmerizing stew of dense textured beauty.

I find myself at a loss for words to describe this album well, and it keeps growing on me. There's nothing simple here; many of the songs disperse and regather like oil on water, moving you from folky chamber-pop to epic wall-of sound rock with ease. But if you have a soft spot for complicated artistry and risk-takers, like I do, you just might fall in love.

The last album on my playlist is Dark Night of the Soul, the phenomenal and mysterious collaboration between renegade producer Danger Mouse and reclusive genius Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. This project is noteworthy for a variety of reasons - first, their third collaborator was David Lynch, who put together a collection of his photography based on the music. Even more intriguing was the unconventional release ~ because of a legal dispute with industry giant BMI, they were unable to release the album, and instead published the book of Lynch photos packaged with an art-printed but blank recordable CD-R.

Best of all, though, is the music itself, which is dark, lush and surreal, and varies as greatly as the all-star cast of guest vocalists, including James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, and more.

Read more of the story, and hear the whole album, on the NPR web site.


Literate Smut

In my various travels on the Interwebs the past few months, a few enticing morsels of the saucy variety have caught my wandering eye... shall we say, a more discerning brand of erotica.... pretty enough to make me want to feature it here. And this post is oh-so-not-safe-for-work, lovelies ~ especially the links.

The ever-flowing fount of alternative cultural goodness that is Coilhouse first lured me to the sumptuous Web site of Coco De Mer. Founded in London by Sam Roddick, daughter of Body Shop proprietress Anita Roddick, Coco De Mer started as an ethically-sourced high-end erotic toy shop. I found an interview with Sam about how this came to be.

While many well-intentioned feminist-owned sex toy shops tend towards the well-lit and clinical in an effort to make their clientele feel safe, Coco De Mer is dolled up like a Victorian boudoir. There's nothing unsavory about the shop - it appears an oasis of luxurious unabashed sensuality and revels in the range of pleasures of the mind and flesh. The shop has since blossomed into a virtual community, complete with startlingly gorgeous photographs...

...arty explicit short films, user-generated dressing-room images, and an online storefront filled with delightful, if expensive, treats. Longing for a $170 sustainable silk organza blindfold? Or handmade Paul Seville custom leather restraint gauntlets? Coco De Mer provides.

After having my senses thoroughly tickled by my visit to Coco De Mer, I wandered over to Filament, the site of a brand new ladies' magazine out of the UK, on the recommendation of Seattle artist Libby Bulloff. I was intrigued by a line from the editor's note... "We stand at the back of the male strip revue on a hen night, looking past the oiled, muscle-bound hunks, checking out the narrow-hipped lads behind the bar." I ordered the magazine straight away.

I found the publication to have a refreshingly candid air, with blush-inducing stories and alluring photo spreads alongside articles about atheist parenting and alternative history. Creatrix Suraya Sidhu Singh used a Livejournal community to research the female gaze ~ and so the mantra of "what women think is hot" guided her image choices, and common sense guided her content choices. Her promise: no fashion, no diets, no celebrity gossip. What a relief ~ I'll definitely be looking forward to Filament #2.

A little cheeky diversion is always a good thing, in my humble opinion.