Trying to navigate the mass of festivals in the UK is completely mind blowing. More than ever the little island on which Topshop was born (yes that’s Great Britain) has so many incredible festivals popping up across its shores that it’s hard to see which ones we should be considering for our precious weekends away. Foodie? Raver? Poetry-lover? Regardless of your festival preference we’ve done a little research (with the help of some festival-fans around the office) and picked some of the most exciting events happening this summer. So get ready and start booking those tickets!
THE OMG-EVERYONE-AWESOME-IS-PLAYING ONE: FIELD DAY
25 May @ Victoria Park, London
Solange. Animal Collective. Daughter. Kurt Vile. Basically everyone achingly hip in music right now (bar Frank Ocean) is playing. Plus it’s a mere £50 and a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station. London hipsters unite for this might be the most exciting line up that has yet to grace Victoria Park. Make sure not to miss a good dance out to Egyptian Hip Hop and the cooler than cool, King Krule. As for style, watch out for some serious fashion lovers here with kimonos and wide brim hats galore and more high tops than you can shake a stick at. Also, there really is a beauty to a festival in which you can probably get the last tube home!
Get tickets for Field Day, here.
THE WOW-DAVID-BYRNE-IS-PLAYING ONE: END OF THE ROAD
30 August – 1 September
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
We won’t lie to you but here at Topshop HQ most of our Monday morning blues are washed away by a few plays of Talking Heads’s Take Me To The River so we were naturally overcome with excitement when it was announced David Byrne himself would be playing this year’s End of the Road festival. Our obsession with this musical-champion aside, End of the Road festival is worth a look. It’s less about raving it up and more about chilling it out with some glorious bands on the roster. The lovely Belle and Sebastian take a headline spot alongside Sigur Ros and there’s a little bit of new in the form of California cool kids Warpaint who are back with a vengeance. Set in the lovely Larmer Tree Gardens of Dorset we’re thinking maxi skirts and embellished gilets will be the style must-haves for this set of festival goers and we’ve already looked into a camper van for our journey south!
Get tickets for End of the Road festival, here.
THE SOMETHING FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ONE: LATITUDE
18th – 21st July
Henham Park, Suffolk
Mad about German electro? Adore the ballet? Enjoy a bit of spoken word? Interested in cabaret? That’s right, you can rave it up with Kraftwerk, be mesmerized by the Ballet Boyz, hear Carol Ann Duffy get all poetic as well as rocking out to some naughty dance skills from Soho’s finest burlesque dancers all in one festival. (I know, our minds are blown too). Suffolk’s Henham Park is probably the most unique combination of artists in one spot, Latitude festival really covers all the bases. There’s glam camping for those who need a shower and something a little more substantial than a yoga mat to sleep on and there’s even a gourmet restaurant on site from the folks at Giant Robot. Oh, and did we mention there’s multi-coloured sheep?
Get tickets for Latitude here.
THE BIG ONE: GLASTONBURY
26th – 30th June
Worthy Farm, Pilton
Well, we couldn’t not mention it right? As usual their line-up is comprehensive to say the least. See into the early hours with Crystal Castles and Hurts, throw your hands up and sway into summer with Haim and Laura Mvula or get right into the front for a serious throwback with legends The Rolling Stones. Everyone says you have to do it once and with a relentlessly amazing line-up year after year there’s no way of regretting nabbing a ticket. Yes, walking from field to field may be a bit of a schlep and yes, there’s probably very little chance you’ll get a good view of the The Rolling Stones but it’s Glastonbury! And that means seriously good times.
THE FOODIE ONE: THE WILDERNESS FESTIVAL
8th – 11th August
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Okay, so it’s not just food but Wilderness Festival has a special place in our hearts for it’s amazing roster of chefs and restaurateurs that offer talks and tasters dedicated to their lives in eating. Think Ottolenghi and his rose water specialities; Russel Norman waxing lyrical on the beauty of Polpo; Mark Hix on his fascination with oysters – our mouths are watering as we write – The Wilderness Festival has filled a gap in the festival market that we didn’t even know was there. It’s our festival wild card! Taste buds aside there’ll be blissed out tunes from Empire of the Sun and Martha Wainwright as well as performances from the talented bunch at Shakespeare’s Globe and talks from the mind-expanding folk at Intelligence Squared. Culturalistas, take a breath, this is the festival your dreams are made of.
Get tickets for The Wilderness Festival.
THE ONE THAT’S WORTH THE TREK: NO. 6 FESTIVAL
13th – 15th September
Yes we know, the dates brutally co-incide with London Fashion Week so there’s no chance we’re getting any time off work (weep!) but if we did we’d be signing up to this beautiful little festival in a flash. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portmerion in North Wales which it’s pretty much a fairy tale village come true. There’s even a castle to stay in for accommodation. (YES, a castle!) This is a festival for those of you wanting to completely escape the real world and head somewhere far away from anything “ordinary”. And with a musical and arts program that would make any festival-goer overjoyed, what’s not to love? There’s the haunting vocals of James Blake, the renaissance of Chic ft. Nile Rodgers (is that a Daft Punk Get Lucky inspired comeback we see?) and some of our favourite songstresses of the moment taking the stage… hello Laura Mvula and Lianne La Havas! This one is definitely worth the journey.
Get tickets for No. 6 Festival, here.
As the temperature creeps up us Topshop girls go on the hunt for for juicy, un-put-downable books to pore over and be swept away with whilst basking in the sun in our newest bikini. There’s a few that have peaked our interest this year – the much debated Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the teenie-loving Hunger Games series– but it’s a very different sort of novel that has had us voraciously turning the pages this spring. Enter Laura Lamont: the country-bumpkin turned glamorous silent film star whose life unfolds amidst fame, fortune and the inevitable upsets on the way. It’s definitely not a fairy tale but it isn’t exactly tragedy either. (Our favourite character Ginger is as about as cheeky and goofy as they come!)
Emma Straub is the creator and pen behind Lamont and has proved herself a dab hand at spot-on, richly detailed storytelling. Carefully spanning decades of Lamont’s life, Straub muses on the complexities of fame through the eyes of someone who doesn’t feel quite worthy. There may be plenty of Fitzgerald style decadent misery here and a hint of quirky The Artist style fun but the novel and story still feels new. Whether you’re a fan of the Golden Age of Film or of really great new writing, we’re guessing you won’t regret picking up a copy.
We spoke to the Brooklyn based author, Emma Straub, about research, her favourite characters and not giving up on writing.
Where did you get the inspiration for Laura Lamont?
Not to sound too terribly morbid, but in the obituaries! I was working on something else at the time, and stumbled across an obit for the 1940s actress Jennifer Jones. It was a novel–it was that clear to me immediately. Dramatic, romantic, epic. I knew I wanted to write a book about a movie star starting right then.
Have you always been interested in Hollywood and it’s golden age?
I have always loved the movies, and was never prejudiced against black and white films in the way some children are. My parents and I once had a Hitchcock festival in our living room. So, yes! But I didn’t really know much about the studio system until I began to write Laura Lamont.
Where did you go to research and what resources did you use?
Why, to Hollywood, of course! I took a few short trips to Los Angeles and went on some studio tours, taking notes furiously, and then my husband and I did a a house-swap (itself a very cinematic idea!) for a whole month. That’s when I did the bulk of my research at the Margaret Herrick Library, which is run by the Academy of Motion Pictures, the body that gives out the Oscars.
Do you ever use real life people as inspiration for characters?
Yes, sometimes, when I truly couldn’t help myself. I was very careful not to read about Jennifer Jones in my research, because I didn’t want my main character to be modelled on a real person, but some of the ancillary characters are, absolutely. It was irresistible! Hollywood was full of very colorful people at the time.
We have a soft spot for the comedy actress Ginger in the book – do you have a favourite character in the book and why?
Oh, I have a soft spot for Ginger, too. Thank you for saying that. I’m also very partial to Irving. What can I say? I’m a bit smooshy about real love.
How long did the book take from start to finish?
I’m pretty quick, once I get rolling–it was about two years from idea to publication. Fast!
What tips would you give to young wannabe-writers?
Don’t give up. I wrote four novels that didn’t get published before this one. Don’t ever give up.
What’s next for Emma Straub?
Two things are happening in quick succession–I’m trying to finish my new novel before this summer, because I’m due to have a baby in August. So, sleepless nights?
The Life of Laura Lamont is out in paperback now.
Berlin is calling and this time it’s for a serious fashion photography fix. Germany’s legendary photographer Helmut Newton is drawing us in this season with two stellar new exhibitions at the eponymous Newton Museum. First, it’s the female-centric World without Men and secondly, the more intimate and mysterious Archives de Nuit. The late photographer is the antithesis of Terry Richardson and we love that his images seem to make the most impact when they’re giving the power back to the women in front of the lens.
The fun starts in the foyer of the museum where you’re met with five enormous nudes hanging above a split staircase. And Newton’s cheeky and provocative humour is everywhere. The building used to be a military casino, so if you were here 100 years ago, you might have seen five Prussian officials standing there instead.
World Without Men is based on Newton’s fourth book of the same name. These kind of ironic, descriptive titles are a running theme for him. But the show depicts just that, from the 1960s to early 1980s these are fashion shoots minus the gentlemen and when the boys do appear in the frame at all they are mere props, there purely to make the ladies look good. The show is full to the brim with his highly charged fashion images shot across the globe for some of the biggest fashion magazines of all time. Long before Newton was publishing his mighty fashion tomes he worked solely on commissions for the biggest fashion houses out there.
Beside this, is Newton’s second project: Archives de Nuit. These photos are more or less ‘side shots’ and bring his diverse black und white photographs together from the late 1980s to early 1990s: portraits, nudes, landscapes and still lifes – but no fashion. It’s the other side of Helmut Newton – a darker side, a night archive. An unusual Helmut Newton that we’ve never seen.
The German-Australian photographer is unparalleled in his own way, very few of his other colleagues are able to push the boundaries of fashion photography as far as Newton. His women, wearing high heels, balance seductively on the edge of fashion, money and power in a tasteful and striking way. Want to witness a little girl power for yourself? Spare some time during your next visit to Berlin or start planning one now!
More Information about the Helmut Newton Foundation and the exhibition here.
Last week, we were lucky enough to find ourselves at the Blue Bottle Coffee Shop at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. While us Topshop girls had heard great things about their coffee we had no idea about their art-inspired cakes so you can imagine our excitement when we laid eyes on a piece of Mondrian cake. Yes, a perfectly formed blue, red and yellow Mondrian cake!
Piet Mondrian’s Composition (No. III) with Red, Yellow, and Blue 1935–42, SFMOMA
Inspired by the amazing modern art at the museum, Caitlin Freeman, the coffee shop’s pastry chef decided to put her dessert-making skills to the test! From Frida Kahlo inspired Mexican wedding cookies to a Cindy Sherman ice cream and sorbet float, Caitlin has quite literally created her own collection of edible masterpieces. We just love that you can go look at a work of art and then once your feet get weary, enjoy it alongside a coffee!
Sherman Ice Cream Float Photography by Clay McLachlan
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #41, 2004Roy Lichtenstein’s Rouen Cathedral Set V (detail), 1969, SFMOMA
The best thing is that if you fancy yourself a baker-stroke-artist, you can get your hands on her truly beautiful book Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Modern Art. We had to buy one of course and plan to astound our friends the next time we bake with a Roy Lichenstein polka dot sponge cake!
Lichtenstein Cake Photography by Clay McLachlan
Roy Lichtenstein’s Rouen Cathedral Set V (detail), 1969, SFMOMA
Once we’ve mastered the art of that and we know it may take us more than one attempt, there are another 29 to keep us busy! Cooking and art class all in one go – how cool is that?
It seems like the whole world is waiting for the The Great Gatsby to hit the screens and we can’t decide if Baz Luhrmann’s re-making of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s brilliant novel or the fashion’s swing towards the ‘20s and the film’s costume design is exciting us more! Either way, we’re more than sure it’s going to be e a feast for the eyes and it’s a film that’s at the top of every Topshop girls must-see list.
Flicking through all the film footage we got enchanted by a diamond-clad Daisy Buchanan played by the natural beau Carey Mulligan. Our latest girl crush catches our breath with endless strings of pearls, the most delicate lace gowns and diamond head-pieces. Her boyish ash blonde bob makes us want to get a summer hair cut appointment now! And we swear our fashion-loving hearts just skipped a beat when we heard that Miuccia Prada created 40 looks for the film’s party scenes. It turns out the film’s costume designer, Catherine Martin, used existing Prada and Miu Miu looks for a screen test and the clothes looked so good in the spotlight that Martin couldn’t help but ask Mrs Prada for a slice of her magic. The dress worn by Daisy in the all-important scene where Daisy and Jay are re-united took its roots from Prada’s spring/summer 2012 chandelier dress and is just a pearl.
Taking place in New York City in the spring of 1922 Mulligan plays that frivolous married girl, who comes across the mysterious, party-giving millionaire Jay Gatsby for the second time around and falls helplessly in love all over again. Or at least she thinks she does! Set in an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and sky-rocketing stocks, this movie is set to be a perfect example of how a classic story can be given a new lease of life with a high-octane tragedy bringing the ’20s to a new generation.
And for those who need to see the costume design perfection in real life, there’s an exhibition of selected Prada-Martin costumes on display from today till the 12th of May at the Prada New York Epicenter in New York City. The installation, entitled Catherine Martin and Miuccia Prada Dress Gatsby features clothes, accessories and jewellery as well as sketches, production stills, backstage footage and trailers from the film, the exhibition will travel to Tokyo in June and then to Shanghai in July. Now we just need to figure out how to get to one of those places!
The movie hits the cinemas on 16th May and in the meantime, why not do the Daisy with our sparkling looks such as our Limited Edition dress, chandelier earrings, teardrop sequin cami and lipstick in a perfect pastel shade. These are all essentials if you want to find your inner flapper girl…