It was U.S. poet Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said “there are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrate to some stroke of the imagination.” For Sara Blonstein, founder of Blonstein & Associates, the ownership of a boundless imagination is the very quality that has enabled her to create exceptional experiences in an illustrious career spanning over 20 years.
It was immediately evident when speaking to Miss Blonstein that great imagination, veracious glamour and a fervent appreciation of her environment were highly prevalent in her persona, as she describes jubilantly how she’d just returned from Shoreditch House roof where she’d been donning a khaki suedette swim suit equipped with jean-esque pockets that she’d recently bought in the south of France. On a normal day she can be found swimming the length of Shoreditch House roof, experimenting at the gym (including accidentally punching herself in the face at boxing) and taking her son to school wearing the Juicy Couture joggers that her boyfriend Jeff has spiced up into hareems. Nights are spent making the most of the cultural metropolis surrounding her, going to other people’s parties, restaurants and galleries. And of course, for the most part of her day, Sara Blonstein is formulating fabulous events for world renowned brands.
Countless elements contribute to Blonstein’s creative expertise and expressive flair, “I have always created intricate stories from an early age and have been fascinated with really feeling and experiencing something from mixing history, modern culture and something magical together.” It’s obvious as we talk about the inspirations behind the elaborately extravagant events she creates that she has eagerly explored a number of avenues to exercise the artistry of her mind. She studied Fine Art in Sheffield, had a short stint in New York and finally gave in to the luminous pull of London - specifically East London, which Blonstein describes as a “petri dish of hot new ideas and talent.”
In London, Blonstein immersed herself in several industries. She was a noted face on the alternative Soho club scene, being assistant manager to 80s super band ‘Sigue Sigue Sputnik’. Fashion was her next creative stepping stone, styling the likes of Bros, Inner City, Ten City, Alison Limerick and Arthur Baker, whilst developing paralleled interests in film production and set design. Noticing her appreciation for the many different layers contained in the arts, Blonstein craved a career that enveloped all of her interests “bringing my ‘life loves’ into one pot” which is how she entered the world of events.
Blonstein’s first events were the prestigious ‘Pussy Possy’ parties, which were tied into an anti-AIDs campaign, “we were passionate about ‘sexy feminism’ and all things retro. The whole ‘movement’ was set inside some very elegant and outrageous, full on, empty warehouse parties. We mixed kissing booths with huge bars serving amazing cocktails. Mud wrestling with stripping. Beds on every corner. We wanted to get ‘savvy Soho chicks’ wearing and carrying condoms. It was very art directed, very glamourous and very clever.”
The success of these events led Blonstein to create Blonstein & Associates, a London based creative event and experiential agency which has continually progressed over the past 20 years and now holds corporate relationships with brands such as MTV, BAFTA, Agent Provocoteur and Fashion East, “you come to us when you want something that involves a leap of the imagination. We intelligently and creatively place your brand in the centre of an experience no one will ever forget.”
Blonstein & Associates have recently been working with annual clients Pernod Ricard. This year they ventured to a private island and turned an desolate building into a faded boutique hotel whilst showcasing an embellished cabaret. Blonstein is excited to venture into the far beyond again this summer to work on an imminent project with luxury spa resort provider, Six Senses, in celebration of the launch of their new resort in the Maldives. The opportunity to travel is a welcomed occurrence, as she is passionate about travel and experiencing other cultures, especially India and Asia. She states a love of colonial elements over national treasures, with an interest to observe the British influence on cultural norms, and she actively seeks inspiration in order to implement fragments of other countries into her events.
With paramount thought, feeling and inventive expression injected into every event birthed from Blonstein & Associates, Sara Blonstein rarely misses an event. Every experiential detail is strategically and creatively catered for, from the moment of entering the venue to the way a guest feels when they go home. Blonstein exudes an ardour for her career that is enviable. The fulfilment experienced when seeing guests revel in each fantastical facet of an event is Blonstein’s prime enjoyment, especially because each guest has a story to tell that has been cultivated by the unforgettable experience they’ve created.
Se7en Magazine: www.se7enmagazine.com
Poppy Dinsey is a hot topic at the moment. Recently featured as a blogging tycoon in Marie Claire and discussed in countless other press publications, she is getting very well known for her blog, What I Wore Today.
Poppy, 24, lives in Surrey and works from home. Her idea for What I Wore Today arose as a New Year’s Resolution, when she vowed to utilise her wardrobe more efficiently, getting creative with her clothes rather than feeling like she had nothing to wear, as most of us do, despite our overflowing wardrobes. It has become a hugely successful endeavour, receiving a swarm of followers and copious amounts of attention as well as the potential for numerous collaborations with fashion brands. Businesswoman come fashion icon, Poppy’s world is about to explode, starting with her iPhone app and new site launch at the end of the month. So watch this space.
J – Did you ever anticipate that your blog would receive the attention and accolade it has?
PD - No! Never. I’ve written for popular blogs in the past, but that was very different. They were generally business-related. I started WIWT as a bit of fun and never expected anything to come of it. I’m not the first person to chronicle their daily outfits, yet people seemed to like it.
J – Has the aim of WIWT proved successful – are you more mindful about the clothes you buy now?
PD - The very original aim was to wear more of the clothes I had rather than constantly complain of having nothing to wear, and it definitely worked. I have found so many new ways to wear things. Things that I’d decided I’d never wear again have been brought back to life with clever layering or a new belt or a bit of customising or whatever. And I try to buy clothes that are very versatile now, rather than really special things that are hugely impractical. I don’t tend to go too trend crazy either – it’s these ‘on trend right now’ pieces that date very quickly.
J – What is your idea of the perfect ‘capsule’ wardrobe?
PD - I de-clutter the whole time, every three months or so I re-analyse my wardrobe for what needs to be sold on and what needs to be donated to charity shops. People buy so many types of the same garment, then keep wearing the one version of it they know flatters them best. It’s a waste. I only own one pair of shorts, but that seems to be all I need.
The perfect capsule wardrobe, for me, needs…
- Three pairs of jeans in three different washes (smart, distressed, skinny)
- Wrap dresses in interesting prints (very flattering, work appropriate, easy to wear, low maintenance on the laundry front)
- A jaw dropping LBD
- A dress in every colour (that’s a bit greedy, isn’t it?)
- High quality tees
- High quality knitwear (ideally cashmere – anything that will bobble is a complete waste of money/time)
- Black platform chunky heel shoes
- A big winter coat that can sustain rain and snow
- A cape
- Oversized jewellery
- A waist belt
- Smart and casual maxi dresses
- A white ribbed tank top
Hmm, I can’t keep making this list…the answer is basically ‘I don’t know’. I don’t live in this world of capsule wardrobes. My bedroom is basically a clothes storage facility. As long as you’ve got something you can wear on a date, wear to work and wear to get dirty then you’re probably OK.
J – What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
PD - Probably my canary yellow Burberry mac or my big Gap winter coat or my ring collection. It’s very hard to say, I only buy things I love.
J – You were recently featured in an article that slated society’s ‘obsession’ with validating ourselves through social media, constantly seeking acceptance from others about our appearance and lives. Your blog was used as an example of this. What is your response to it?
PD - I thought it was complete effing nonsense. That particular newspaper is renowned for being ridiculous, so I’m not looking for the approval of its readers. If they can’t see the business potential in the idea then more fool them. I care about what my friends and family think, not anonymous strangers.
J – Do you receive many questions and comments about your blog?
PD - Yes, constantly, I get hundreds of emails…from wonderful things to nonsense things. People don’t believe me when I tell them some of the emails I get. A lot of them are so kind though, it’s really humbling and hugely appreciated.
J – In your opinion, do you think women make an effort with their appearance for other women, men, or themselves?
PD - I think women are different, you can’t group them all together. You can tell the ones who dress for other women – I find that competitive approval-seeking behaviour very odd indeed. I also find it odd, though, when people heavily criticise women for dressing for men. If you want to look attractive to the opposite sex, why is that so bad? But, I do think it’s sad when people don’t dress for themselves at all – when they wear something they don’t like for someone else’s approval. That’s crazy to me. You have to dress in what you feel comfortable in, or it will be painfully obvious.
J – What would be your advice to people who struggle to put outfits together?
PD - Some people simply don’t care about clothes, and that’s their prerogative. Fashion is not the be all and end all. But some people really want to get it right but just find it hard. I’d recommend they try and see a stylist. The big stores all have free personal stylist services, they’re worth looking into if you want extra help.
J – What is the most valuable thing you have learnt since creating WIWT?
PD - Just to stick with it really. If you don’t give a good idea the attention it deserves, it will never flourish into anything. I’ve only been able to transform a daily outfit blog into a proper business by putting seven days a week of blood, sweat and tears into it. It sounds horribly clichéd, but it’s true. You have to sacrifice a lot if you truly want to make something work. I’m beginning to get the rewards of that hard work now but with the new site launch and iPhone app at the end of the month, the hardest work is yet to come. The amount of hours you need to put in can never be underestimated. Neither can the support of friends and family.
Visit Poppy’s blog, What I Wore Today: www.wiwt.com
Fotorater Magazine: www.fotorater.com/magazine
Chopper Reedz, Fat Freddy’s Drop
When we were starting HTF – I thought about all the bands in the world I’d want to interview – and Fat Freddy’s Drop was right up there. Their music is a smooth mix of reggae, jazz, soul, lo-fi — it’s undefinable. This enigmatic and sensually atmospheric 7 piece have already become huge in their homeland – New Zealand with chart and record sale success in abundance – and they also have a big following in the UK with packed out gigs (we just wish there was more of them). Luckily, I was able to shoot some questions at Chopper Reedz – A.K.A. Scott Towers – A.K.A. sax player extraordinaire from Fat Freddy’s Drop – so here’s what he had to say:
HTF – Hit The Floor
CR – Chopper Reedz
HTF: First and foremost I have to ask – who is Fat Freddy and how did the band come to be called Fat Freddy’s Drop?
CR: Fat Freddy is actually one of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, from Gilbert Shelton’s underground comic. Fat Freddy’s Cat was a character from the comic too, a feline with a certain ‘loose’ attitude to life and a cult following here in Wellington…. so we bastardised his name and embraced his joie de vivre.
HTF: All the band members have nicknames – how was ‘Chopper Reedz’ created? Are you too tooth-friendly on your sax reeds?
CR: Like all members of FFD I was ‘named’ by our singer Joe Dukie – I was schleping around Melbourne airport looking and feeling very hungover, and had borrowed a pair of dodgy aviator sunglasses from our roadie. It came to Dukie in a flash and has stuck ever since. Actually, if Dukie names everyone else…. who named Dukie?
HTF: (For all of you that don’t know – Chopper Read is an Australian convict – known to don dodgy aviator sunglasses)
HTF: Part of your uniqueness lies in the diversity of styles you incorporate. How would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard it?
CR: Spaced-out-jazz’n’bass-meets-techtronic-dub’n’blues. Actually, all I can say is come to a live show and experience it firsthand yourself. Between our ever-fluctuating moods, and what weird and wonderful new instruments we’ve discovered that week, the sound of the band is always changing.
HTF: Jamming and improvisation play a big part in your performances – is this also how you write songs?
CR: It is actually. We have marathon jam sessions in the livingroom/studio of Hopepa (our trombonist and satorial shining light) where we hash out the bare bones of songs and try to find a few nuggets that can become the basis for an addition to the repetoire. That’s why you’ll often hear both completely new songs and new versions of older matertial in our live shows.
HTF: You’re from New Zealand. I was searching Kiwi phrases and you have quite similar sayings to us in the UK.. but there are a few crazy sounding terms that I need you to explain:
“box of budgies” – CR: a snack food that Dobie Blaze often prepares in lieu of fried chicken if we’re not particularly hungry. As in “I don’t know if I could do a chicken and gravy combo, but I could kill a box of budgies”
“bugalugs” – CR: what my two year old son calls ants. He is quite partial to bugalugs, spidey-wideys and squirms.
“get off the grass!” – CR: now that marijuana has been decriminalised it hardly seems rebellious – and it makes some punters very slow moving, so this is often yelled at the front row of a quiet crowd…. just before we pass out the free meth. Actually we don’t advocate that.
HTF: The UK is in serious need of some more FFD action! Do you have any plans to tour here in the near future?
CR: Well, we did play in London and Manchester before Christmas – and it was freezing! So turn on the sunshine and you never know we might just jump on a plane.
HTF: (see – there is an upside to the effects of global warming!)
HTF: Finally – can you tell me what IS the world with no soul?
CR: Hull. Opps, I mean Hell. Honest mistake.
So there it is – the speakings of a master. Thank you Chopper Reedz, it’s been an honour! To have a listen to some FFD amazingness for yourself, visit their myspace or website.
Hit The Floor Magazine: www.hitthefloor.co.uk