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17.8.15

Editorial: Concrete Jungle

Yo-yoing between sweltering heat and bone-chilling rain, the tumultuous English weather makes even your front garden the perfect setting for your Amazonian stay-cation.

Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries


Concrete
Jungle



Model - Jess Shaw
Photographer - Sanni Saarelainen
Fashion Editor - Karina So.


Words by Karina So.

At the risk of sounding like one of sixty-odd million tragically British broken records, this summer has been wet, hot and... American* - South American, that is.


Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries

Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries
I can admit that I whine incessantly about the weather no matter what season we're in; it's either too hot or too cold. Unlike Goldilocks, I've yet to find my "just right." But this summer has seen both ends of the spectrum crammed into three months on nitro boost.

July 1. The hottest day of the year. Of course I missed the warnings. I for one, truly admire those who find time to read the news before work whilst also catching up on late night Instagram updates from friends and followees across the pond; as my follow list is largely American, I still find myself scrolling on the commute to catch up.

Combine Instagram FOMO and sky-rocketing temperatures with getting dressed from a closet curated almost exclusively for winter with the blinds closed, and you have one very upset, very confused, molto sweaty intern stumbling into the office half an hour late holding the tights and cardigan she had to peel off on the side of the road, wondering what the hell happened to Her Rainy Majesty's United Kingdom.

in this photo: dress - New Look, jewellery - Primark, piercing - model's own

I would say it felt like I was back in Nigeria, melting away under the hot Niger Delta sun in those frustrating morning assembly lines at school, scowling because I had once again been relegated to the front end for being the third shortest in my class, and also because I could literally feel the skin on the back of my neck burn. I really would. But it didn't. For this was much, much worse.

And I didn't even have the luxury of being out in the sun on a beach, with bare legs as toned as the Brazilians, ready for an Instagram selfie over a caption that sugarcoats my narcissism with grateful hashtags as I basked in those UV rays #blessed. Not that I would ever do that. My ego is far too big for me to engage in its verbal dilution, and the last time I wore a bathing suit I was 12 or so**, and it looked like this - only hot pink, courtesy of my mother who knows me so well.

No, I was stuck in Leeds, in dire need of an escape, a new wardrobe and perhaps a new body.
Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries


in this photo: shirt - H&M, camisole & necklace - Primark
ear cuff - Miss Selfridge, piercing - model's own

Enter Jess Shaw, a local model who towered over Sanni and I at five-foot-eleven, a crown of stunning ebony hair falling to her waist and one of the most compelling pair of eyes I'd ever seen.

Someone call Johann Bachofen. There's an Amazon in town.

Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries
With easy smiles, boatloads of confidence and a suitcase filled with enough clothes to make my fashion spirit soar, pausing only to surreptitiously slip more pieces into the pile we were going to use ("you know, just in case") - Jess was a breath of fresh air. Exactly what I needed to conduct this sartorial safari tour through the monastic ruins and healthy green foliage of... Sanni's front garden?

Unlike what the weathermen had predicted on ze Google, thereby causing me to wonder how meteorologists are still in business considering they get it wrong far more times than not in my experience, the view outside our window was not "partly cloudy with a few sunny spells." It was fully raining, a far cry from the equally-as-surprising heat that had threatened to kill me just two hours before call-time.

My first trip to the Abbey had been thwarted once again. Resilient, we attempted to revive it, packing up Jess' massive suitcase to catch our bus down - when Sanni spotted a patch of foliage in her front garden that could totally pass for jungle leaves...
We paused. We inspected. We laid the suitcase down on the grass and, after a certain someone's melodramatic confrontation with a spider (alright, it was me), we whipped out a few pieces for Jess to throw on...

Et voila! Welcome to our urban Amazonia.



Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries
Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries

Jess Shaw shot by Sanni Saarelainen and styled by Karina So. for Ses Rêveries August 2015 | Ses Rêveries


Credits

Model, make-up artist - Jess Shaw
Creative director, stylist, photography assistant - yours truly
Photographer, hair stylist - Sanni (she's back!)
Wardrobe - Jess Shaw
Production assistant - Pamela


Outfit Credits


LOOK 1: turban - stylist's own (recent ASOS purchase), cardigan - stylist's mum's own (a Marks & Spencer "loan"), dress - New Look, feather hair clip - Topshop
LOOK 3: jacket - photographer's own, bra - H&M, harem pants - Monsoon, necklace - car boot sale
LOOK 2: top & jewellery - Primark, skirt - River Island, boots - Doc Martens, earrings - thrifted in Thailand

LOOK 4: dress - New Look, jewellery - Primark


LOOK 5: shirt - H&M, tank top - Primark, skirt - Topshop, ear cuff - Miss Selfridge



Piercing - model's own




*Yet to indulge in this guilty pleasure; I can't find the Wet Hot American Summer movie anywhere. I simply have to see it first. There's just no other way.

**Believe me, there's a very good reason why #summerbody2018 #yesIdoneed3yearstofixthis
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