Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Queens of Diamonds...

It all started with tassels...

Deer Oh Deer Ltd. fashionista Charli-Anne and I met up at Old Spitalfields Market last Friday, ready to set up our 'Curiosity Shop'. Unfortunately, Fashion succumbed to the vintage record fair that bagged all of the stalls and so, along with our gorgeous male label face Bobby Houston; we had a personal showing of the A+MAZING additions to the forthcoming Carnivale SS12 collection - just for lil young me! As usual I wanted the lot, but it was on seeing those tassels that this natural-born Diva fell in love. More about those in a moment...Stay with me people.

So fast forward to that evening's 5:30 News bulletin, when this Eighth Wonder of the World bewitched me...

'The Flowers of the Fields of France' - yes, that IS it's spectacular name - was designed by Norman Hartnell for one very posh affair. Made from Duchess satin, the works feature 'jewel-like Napoleonic Bees', crossed wheat sheaves and daisies that took Maureen Markham 1029 hours to embroider, spread over 3 weeks in 1957.

As usual, when I see breathtaking design feats, I sent Char a 'turn over NOW!' SOS via the 'doeline' (what I call our personal version of the batphone) and returned to the coverage in awe. As I watched the museum curator talk through it's history, two of her words - "precious stones" - kept niggling at me...

The bulletin introducing me to this historical piece of art gave it's wearer a new level of respect in my eyes by weaving new designs into her life's tapestry; completely fresh to my untrained eyes. All too soon the coverage ended, but the mental imagery stayed with me. 

Still thinking of those flowers and fields, a cursory twitter-check followed, where I caught Char and I's beloved Mariah Carey, tweeting a tribute to Marilyn Monroe on what would have been her 86th birthday. The Spitalfields showing from that morning came back to me and before you could say 'Pearls and Thread' - inspiration struck...

Women who Love, Women who Lead, Women who Inspire - in early celebration of what the evolving 'Carnivale' SS12 collection is shaping up to become, meet 10 Deer Oh Deer HarleQueens and the pre-launch EXCLUSIVES we're ONLY releasing to coincide with this joint piece from Charli-Anne and I - you lucky things, you! So without further ado, meet some of the Queens we bow down to. Queen. Fashion. Style. Who else are we going to kick this off with, but...

...Coco Chanel

This lady is a long-time inspiration of ours. Raised in a French orphanage, Gabrielle Coco Bonheur Chanel didn't just epitomise class and style. from Audrey Hepburn and the 'Little Black Dress' to a simple string of  10 pearls - she sketched the blueprint on how to take simple, statement fashion pieces and make them timeless. As the amazing visionary herself once said:

"Fashion Fades. Only Style remains the same."

The 'Coco Pearls' include a blue doe motif
All Deer Oh Deer Ltd. pieces are handmade. This exclusive design by Lotteythe beautiful female face of our label and Charli-Anne's Design Partnerfeatures a single rope of small, glass pearls with two sky blue accent crystals and the signature Deer Oh Deer doe.

In honour of Coco's chic simplicity,  Charli-Anne and I selected:

If we're going to herald classic shapes though, then we have to handle the curve in the road where full-bodied meets HOT:

Dita Von Teese...

As a vintage label, for Charli-Anne and I, the buxom Burlesque beauty that is Dita Von Teese puts the 20's in 12! Also a Model, Costumier, Author and Actress; in a time where overt, oversexed imagery is the way of the norm, we love Dita aka Heather Renee Stewart for keeping 'The Art of the Tease' alive, by taking raw sex appeal and making it classically beautiful, with modern, striking femininity.

The 'Tassel Teeses'
also available in red and gold
She may end up in less than most but the way in which she goes about it, is what separates Dita Von Teese from the pack. Her message of 'less is more' is implied and it's that minimalism that translates into the piece Charli-Anne was adamant she most represents. In her own words, when I told her that these were my new favourite design; "they're SO simple!" And that's Dita to a Teese! So in her honour, we introduce:

Since we were talking burlesque, I had to throw in an original that set the bar high...and then danced on it!

...Josephine Baker

I have been enchanted by Josephine Baker, ever since I sneakily watched the story of her life at far too young an age. Freda Josephine McDonald, who would have been 106 2 days ago, was an inspiration for so many reasons beyond her career. An overlooked, American chorus girl, Josephine added an element of Sass and Comedy to her risqué performances that far eluded the norm of the times. Keeping the surname of one of her 5 husbands; her race meant it would take most of her 50-year career to gain the respect and recognition she deserved on her own soil. It took a move to France and the donning first of a feather skirt, then  one with 16 bananas on a string, to cement her rightful place amongst the history makers.

The 'ZouZou' necklace
features blue and grey agate precious stones
Taken from the name of one of her most famous movies, the 'ZouZou' necklace is another Lottey creation, which features blue and grey agate precious stones. History describes agate, so named for the River Achates in Sicily, as the stone of warriors in ancient times. As a decorated Officer of World War II, there's no question that this piece was unconsciously made with our HarleQueen in mind.

From Governmental Awards to Academic:

Kate Winslet...

She's talented, she's funny, she's curvy, she's REAL. Kate Winslet is the girl-next-door Icon that we can all aspire to. Our stunning 'English Rose' was the youngest actor ever to accrue FIVE Academy Award nominations by her 31st year; sealing her sixth nomination with a Best Actress win for The Reader in 2008. That's right. Not that one about the boat at ALL - Go Figure!

For the lady who's craft sets sail on every kind of emotional tide, this large moonstone is the perfect match. The gem's qualities are said to enhance passion, intuition, promote inspiration and offer protection on land and sea...unlike that other big bauble; which is probably why our Kate lobbed it to the bottom of the ocean...Introducing:

And just like the stormy weather that overtook our Bank Holiday weekend, make way for...

...Grace Jones

Before there was GaGa, there was Grace. There will never be another contender for the 'Shock and Awe' crown because no matter how much you try, if you Pull Up to her Bumper, she'll  most likely knock you on yours - and we don't just mean metaphorically; ask former beau Dolph Lundgren...Did you catch Her Royal Awesomeness at yesterday's Jubilee concert?

The 'Vamp' Necklace is also available in Grey
Born Grace Mendoza, this 64-year-old (yes you read correctly), Jamaican-native, is the original triple threat. One of the earliest  model / singer / actress pioneersAndy Warhol called her his 'muse' and her androgynous look was credited for breathing fresh life into the portfolios of every reputable designer from Yves Saint Laurent to (Karl) Lagerfeld. Like Josephine Baker before her, it was the Parisian lights that exalted her to her eventual plateau, after many a mischief-filled night at Studio 54 with best friend Jerry Hall, where she met stylist John-Paul Goude (no, not Gaultier!). Together, this chalk'n'cheese pair took each other's careers to their highest respective heights, until they parted ways in the mid-80s. In honour of the incomparable Grace Jones and her 1986 film role, we go against the grain...Introducing:

We love a character in The Herd Family; so from real-life to one shaded in all the right places...

...Betty Boop

This my friends is another prime example of why I love this label! Is there a little girl alive who didn't love a bit of Betty? From the cartoon to the Beatmasters' produced, 90's Pop hit - she's an Iconic part of the little madam in all of us! The only question Charli-Anne and I had on this one was debating whether she, or Jessica Rabbit should take the crown (you'll see why Betty won shortly)!

Modelled on the body of the Legendary Mae West - yet another reason to love her - Betty first appeared as a dog character drawn by Grim Natwick, as girlfriend to 'Bimbo' another of his character creations. Making her cinematic debut in the Paramount production, 'Dizzy Dishes' in 1930; it would be another two years before she debuted the wind-blown stance that Marilyn Monroe would make iconic over 30 years later.

Another of our favourite trailblazers; one Betty Boop comic strip, 'Boilesque' was banned in Philadelphia for being 'too risqué' in 1933. We think she's the perfect blend of 'Subtle' and 'Sauce' however; and that's why she gets this hand-crotched tribute.

So by now you will have gathered, that Deer Oh Deer is all about deviating from the norm. The only convention we practice is the non-kind! That's why when Charli-Anne said, "we HAVE to include someone Transgender"; my only response was "well how can we have a list of Queens, without a 'Queen'?" All hail:


From one-time car salesman for the Family biz to successful, world-renowned, multi-millionairess in her own right; RuPaul Andre Charles has a back story that should be a TV movie - if it isn't one already! The baby brother to twin girls, RuPaul used the experiences as a sexually curious, occasionally homeless, drug-addicted, drama-school dropout, to fuel her drive to succeed.

From the stage, to recording studios to TV, Film and modelling; RuPaul's flag is checkered with more talents than gears and it's this collective fleet that served M.A.C. Cosmetics so well as their first 'Face' for six consecutive years. 'Ru's Reign' saw the company raise $22 million dollars for their AIDS fund. For that inspiring feat and her never-ending courage to stand strong in adverse winds, we had to go for the piece that features the calming and protective amethyst,  gemstone of sincerity. Introducing:

From a Dance Music Mama to 'DemBabies' Mum; you just had to know Mrs. Cannon was going to make an appearance somewhere!

Mariah Carey...

Being the privileged pair that we are; Char and I happen to know a fair bit about The Diva of Divas. You might be fooled into thinking that Mrs. 'Asher-cut Engagement Ring' doesn't appreciate the simpler things in life. That's where you'd be mistaken. Her painfully difficult upbringing and less 'sensational' personal experiences mean, that strip away the 'pomp and circumstance' and bottom-line, you will learn that this Long-Island native fits every single quality of the stone we matched her in her typical spectacular fashion. 

The Tigerseye gemstone is said to unlock creativity, promote confidence in our own abilities, self-belief, self-worth, encourage accomplishment, wealth, success and arouse strength in the face of difficulties and life's challenges. Not to mention it's beyond sexy...!

See? We told you it's her perfect fit! And here's a bit of trivia: one of the first Deer Oh Deer jewellery lines was inspired by Mariah's song 'Candy Bling'!

Have a read of Charli-Anne's #FindOutFriday when you're done here, for more about that!

With Mariah's music in mind, we go back to the lyric:

"You look at me and see the girl,
who lives inside the Golden World"
(Looking In, DayDream, 1996)
To Mariah Carey, we dedicate:

Almost matching our next HarleQueen's global influence; what better segue than by one of her biggest fans, to lead us to...

...Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean Mortenson Baker was the LA County-brunette born in 1926, who changed the world as almost every woman today knows it. Shipped from familial pillar to public orphanage post until an arranged marriage at the age of 16; 'Marilyn Monroe', as we know her, was not born until 10 years later in the studios of 20th Century Fox - long after her husband had shipped out with the Merchant Marines to the Pacific.

Those Fox studio Gentlemen Preferred Blondes and the Bombshell kept many an audience entranced with roles in 'Some Like It Hot', 'How To Marry A Millionaire' and career-defining performances in 'Bus Stop' and 'The Misfits'. Sadly, three husbands and a few notorious love affairs later, it wasn't until the year of her death that she found the home she always seemed to be searching for; one this Independent Woman bought herself in Brentwood, California

Diamonds may be a Girl's Best Friend, but Pearls and Crystals are her Soul Mates! Lottey's design is a playful mix of glass pearls with pink, lilac and smoky-grey quartz-coloured crystals, topped with our signature doe cameo. In honour of the flirty, fun and carefree girl that we all know and love Marilyn to have been and that mesmerising role with the Prince, we dedicate:

There obviously cannot be any question whatsoever as to who we crowned Queen of Diamonds in our HarleQueen Court:

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island

Now we don't know about anyone else, but both Charli-Anne and I can only hope to still have a legacy that lasts 60 YEARS! Irrespective of Politics and perceived wrongs to the everyday folk the bottom line is, this is a devoted Wife and Mother who has dedicated six decades to her often difficult office. She has survived through world experiences some of us have only read about in history books and if the video footage is anything to go by, a Woman who Loves to Laugh.

Her schedule puts most of ours combined to shame and we never hear her complain - a Stiff Upper Lip is the British way, after all!

Another Lottey original; this glass pearl and rose quartz piece is said to ease heartache and relieve loneliness - well-known plagues of those with no option but to live their lives in the public eye. When its gentle and soothing energies are combined with the serenity, tranquillity and wisdom of pearls, it doesn't take much to see why this beautifully elegant bracelet matches Her Majesty so well. In honour of our gracious Monarch, we dedicate:

Some honourable mentions we were forced to cut, or else we would never have ended: The Late, GREAT Donna Summer, Dame Judi Dench, Helena Bonham-Carter and of course, our MUMS! Jessica Rabbit narrowly lost to Betty Boop, only because she is actually one of Mariah Carey's alter ego's; a moniker she adopted after fans continually likened the two - bet you didn't know that one, did you?

Who are your HarleQueens? Whether you agree with ours or have a suggestion or few of your own, let us know who they are and why, in the comment box below...You never know what we may do with your suggestions in the near future! 

The 'Coco Pearls' have already sold out, but you can pick up the remaining pieces and some other special treats from the unreleased 'Carnivale' SS12 collection above THIS FASHION FRIDAY, at Old Spitalfields Market from 10-6PM!

See you soon for the next intimate look at some standout talents.

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday!

ES and Charli-Anne ;o)
-- xx --