Sunday, 7 August 2011

In Praise of Great Make-up Artistry

Danielle "Dee" Ball forties style by Scott Chalmers, makeup by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
My makeup career began at the famed school of film and tv hair and makeup, Greasepaint, many years ago. I was never interested in "beauty", rather I had been captivated as a child with how people looked on tv and in films. Carry On Screaming monsters had scared the living daylights out of me, but everything from seventies tv comedies like It Ain't Half Hot Mum and the Two Ronnies to Bond films and Grease presented so many fascinations as to how actors were made to look the part whatever the situation, whatever the era portrayed, and whatever the comic or dramatic scene demanded.

Through experience as a screen makeup artist you learn continuously, not just the technical and creative skills required for particular looks, but about film stock, cameras, lenses, lighting and post-production grading, and all these considerations inform the decisions you make as to how to bring characters to life that fit the Director's vision. The myth that actors are cast because they already "look like" the character was never more shattered than in the film Monster, where Charlize Theron gave an Oscar winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and wore one of my favourite screen makeups ever. An absolutely stunning piece of work, highlighted even moreso when in side by side comparison with her recent outing in Dior's perfume ad.

Charlize Theron in Monster
Charlize Theron in Dior ad
In recent years many high profile artists have spoken out about the amount of manipulation done to print photography and if you haven't seen the infamous Dove advert then here it is again.

And so to our most recent project, Seeing You, a film and photoshoot initially for our collaboration with clothing giants EAST, and now serving to highlight how to achieve a really authentic forties film look to hair and makeup. I shot the film in High Definition and no grading took place - the film images are exactly as they were shot and compare well to the skillfully lit and technically accomplished stills produced by the brilliant Scott Chalmers. But once again, as with all images on screen or in photos, their creation is a multi-faceted project with skills and talents from several directions. Model Dee's striking appearance is a culmination of all these factors and talents, and makeup that makes people look beautiful (in colour or in black and white) should be no more underestimated than makeup that makes people look demonstrably different from their "normal" appearance. In my career it's always been the special effects, prosthetics and injury makeups that have drawn the most responses from crew, presumably because they can "see it". When a beautiful woman walks on set, it's a real sense of achievement to receive a similar acknowledgement!

Makeup artistry is a highly skilled craft however and wherever it is being performed; on stage, in print or on screen, and the best thing about it is that your actor / model / artist has, for a few hours, actually become your living piece of art.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

'Seeing You' Through The Lens

Photography by Scott Chalmers
Our latest collaboration with Southampton based photographer Scott Chalmers has created some stunning forties style images to promote West Quay Vintage Fayre taking place on 3 and 4 August. With just two weeks to countdown, we were approached by Southampton's EAST store to join forces for the event and we jumped at the opportunity to appear live doing vintage hair and make-up demonstrations at EAST throughout these exciting two days. The first task in hand was to put together a photoshoot to create the total forties inspired look with EAST's new "Land Girl" vintage collection.

Poster design by Cassie Leedham. Photography by Scott Chalmers

So within just a few days we were prepped and ready to go; the shoot was to take place on Wednesday 20 July and we had just one hour to get the shots. Our beautiful model Dee pitched up at the EAST store the day before to be fitted with the outfits with the help of Patricia Keenan, and our own Sharon Holloway, armed of course with a library full of original Land Girl images to get the colour palette and the style bang on for the look. The hair and make-up design by Vintage Hair Lounge had similarly already been researched and trialled, and Scott was making plans for how to cope with the gloomy weather that we were anticipating for the shoot evening!

On the day itself, despite the intermittent rain, evocative of wartime Britain (we consoled ourselves), the key was to choose locations for photographs that were close by to the West Quay Shopping Centre but reminiscent enough of a rural past to give a timeless earthy atmosphere, and what better opportunity for Southampton's historic City walls to oblige.

And then the work really started! With the photos and film footage in the can, Good Show Studio designer Cassie Leedham once again proved why she is a Vintage Hair Lounge favourite, creating a stunning vintage magazine style poster design to promote the event.

Then to the editing, and a new short film was crafted under the patient supervision of Gang Girls editor Andrew Wilks. I'd started to firmly establish a style of filmmaking that I was inspired by, and as with Gang Girls, new film 'Seeing You' has style and informality that exudes emotion as soon as the right lyrical track is applied. So it was without hesitation that Miss Annie's version of wartime classic "I'll be Seeing You", recorded in the same session as Gang Girls soundtrack Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), was chosen to take the imagery to a new meaningful level.

Photography by Scott Chalmers
From 3 and 4 August through to 31 October, every purchaser of full price items at the EAST West Quay store will receive a very special gift from Vintage Hair Lounge, namely an exclusive 15% off discount voucher for all Ladies hairdressing services. We hope that the inspiration of vintage and classic looks whether authentic or inspired with a modern twist, will endure and show the world that Southampton is bursting with style!

Photography by Scott Chalmers
Vintage Hair Lounge LIVE at EAST, West Quay Vintage Fayre, 3 & 4 August 2011

We look forward to seeing you.

Friday, 15 July 2011

LottyBlue, our first Guest Blogger!
Welcome to LottyBlue, our newest guest blogger.

"I am very excited to be writing this guest blog post for Vintage Hair Lounge thank you so much for the opportunity" - LottyBlue, Retro Homeware.

The good old days of the 1950's and 60's are making a return in big way. Through fashion we are seeing the styles that are parents generation wore becoming once again fashionable, I was delighted to see the new collection by radio 1 DJ and T.V presenter  this week which has been inspired by 60's Pop Art.

Fearne Cotton goes sixties

Hair styles too are reminiscent of the 50's Hollywood glamour and 60's chic!.

Maddy Hobbs in sixties film Gang Girls. Photography by Scott Chalmers

Jade Richards does Hollywood Glamour at Vintage Hair Lounge
Ercol best known for its amazing contribution to British furniture design in the 1950's and 60's are making a return. Their classic designs are elegant and timeless and stores such as John Lewis have commissioned them to design a unique range for their stores.

Also Vintage Shows such as Twinwood and Vintage at Goodwood are becoming immensely popular showcasing the talents of such stars like Miss Lola Lamour.

Lola Lamour
Not only does today’s modern woman want to look fabulous themselves but also their home too. Of course for some the love of all things retro and vintage has never gone away but for most it is an a exciting time to rediscover this fabulous era and to celebrate what made Britain special. 

Home plays a big part in our lives it is where we relax and feel most comfortable. LottyBlue's unique style has something for everyone from stunning period furniture that can be mixed and matched with modern contemporary styles to vintage inspired homeware that will add nostalgic accents to your home. We love vintage style and have a keen interest in preserving our heritage through upcycling and restoring vintage classic furniture such as Ercol, G Plan, Nathan and Younger just to name a few.
Vintage aprons not only are practical but our aprons have the style and look of a 1950's house wife with classic colours and shape you will be transformed in to a glamorous stylish domesticated goddess. We can't promise they will transform your cooking or turn your home in to a show home but you will look and feel fabulous!!

We understand that the look and style is important. LottyBlue is contently searching for new retro inspired homeware for we believe that the styles from the 50's and the 60's are iconic and part of our culture one that should be kept alive for future generations to love too. 

To read more about styling your home subscribe to our newsletter  or please see our blog

FriendsofBettie would love to thank LottyBlue for a great posting and add our own favourite LottyBlue item currently gracing the styling stations of Vintage Hair Lounge, these fabulous drinks coasters featuring some iconic retro vehicles, including a rather spectacular Lambretta!

For more information, and great items, LottyBlue can be found at

Monday, 30 May 2011

Vintage Hairstyling For Camera Course

Toni Carter of Classy Chassis models for Nicki Grainger. Photo by Claire Shannan
Training in the hairdressing industry means keeping up to date with trends, techniques and sharpening skills to produce ever improving services for clients. So with "vintage" appearing everywhere from tv shows to catwalks, the opportunities for hairdressers, freelancers and enthusiastic amateurs have exploded. If you saw the recent "Great British Hairdresser" television series, it's clear that salon based hair artistry is only part of the picture, and at Vintage Hair Lounge we come from a background of creative styling for the screen, which is why our newest course, launched in May 2011 focusses on performance for camera. A hairstyle that can punch above its weight, looking sleek and interesting under the camera's unforgiving gaze, requires excellence in creating a strong shape, clean finish, and high visual impact. And if the same output is accessible to salon clients, you win on all fronts!

"I have loved the whole experience. I have learnt so much just within two days" - Taidi

Joanna by Karl. Photo by Claire Shannan

Our two day course emphasises the key skills which lay the foundation for all types of vintage styling from the 1920s through to the 1980s, set against a thorough overview of the history of modern ladies' hairdressing. In understanding the development of shapes and techniques, students are given a working knowledge of the social and cultural influences that affected the way women wore their hair at different times in the twentieth century. Once this grounding is absorbed, it becomes easier to make sense of the techniques to create specific shapes for the period desired, and helps break the illusion that all "vintage" styles are interchangeable era by era, a mistake that even top hairdressers make when recreating vintage looks.

 "Loved it! I was throwing myself in at the deep end having never done hair styling but felt very supported and comfortable" - Nicki

Louise models for Taidi. Photo by Claire Shannan

For salons, there are great opportunities to develop vintage hairstyling services, and for individual artists there is huge potential for nurturing a retro portfolio of work both inside and outside of the salon. Given how brilliantly our students performed in just two intensive days, the Vintage Hairstyling For Camera Course is now a proven gem in hairdressing training and at just £325 inc VAT, it's also amazing value for money.

More photos from our May course can be found on our Facebook page and full details of the course are listed at Courses Plus.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) From Kill Bill to Gang Girls

Miss Annie in screen shot from Gang Girls, directed by Sharon Holloway

When Quentin Tarantino chose the 1966 Nancy Sinatra cover version of Sonny Bono's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) for the soundtrack of his movie Kill Bill Volume 1, it became one of the most iconic songs in film history. The haunting tones of Billy Strange's melancholic guitar and Nancy's beautiful voice was stunningly apt for a storyline centered on a traumatised woman seeking justice. The PSM remix did even more to mark the track out as a further reinvention of the song's lasting sentiments.

So when our short film Gang Girls was in the stages of pre-production, it wasn't long before we too recognised the power of this song to be able to reinforce the storyline of a young woman searching for her identity in the sixties when the youth culture of mods OR rockers was firmly embedded in her upbringing. In just over three minutes, I had the challenge as a director of finding an obviously sixties song which could be refreshed and which could still add another dimension to a visual piece which contained no on screen dialogue from our cast. The lyrics of Bang Bang both coveyed an inner turmoil and a resolution for the protagonist, one obvious reason behind the decision of Tarantino to use it to highlight the plight and the journey of The Bride, played with such passion by Uma Thurman in his 2003 Kill Bill film.

With the spectacular Miss Annie, of Bournemouth's The Regular Joes and The Kitty Kat Cabaret Club fame, on board (Miss Annie also features in Gang Girls), and ready to go in to the studio to record a soundtrack for us, I was confident that a brilliant new version of Bang Bang was capable of being created. My live interview on local Radio Station Radio Solent last night, in which both Cher's original version and part of Miss Annie's new version were played was such an exciting moment. It provided further recognition for the choice of song and Miss Annie's powerful vocals if ever that was needed. The interview can be heard on BBC iplayer until 29 May 2011 here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm neither pretending to be the next Tarantino, nor am I wedded to copying his work, but I am admirer for the Kill Bill films, because with so few female directors around at the top of the film industry, finding inspiration for strong female storylines on the big screen doesn't often stretch to retro action movies! I also applaud him for integrating the 5, 6, 7, 8s in his soundtrack and the film - Japanese beehives and great music all in one hit!

Returning to the great Nancy Sinatra for a moment, it cannot be denied that her look was also an inspiration for the hair and make-up design on one of our retro girl gang members, Maddy Hobbs.

Maddy Hobbs in Gang Girls. Hair & Make-up Design Vintage Hair Lounge. Photo by Scott Chalmers

So if you've not seen Gang Girls yet, grab a cuppa, give yourself a three minute break and watch and listen here.

Gang Girls, featuring Shana Swash and Miss Annie is now heading for the big screen on the film festival circuit. More news will be posted here.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Southampton Hair Salon Redefining Vintage

What do you want from a modern hairdressing salon? Great cuts that last. Colour expertise. Outstanding customer service. Tips and hints on maintaining a great style in between salon visits. A relaxing atmosphere that makes you feel good about yourself and your hair. The demands are high, the challenges are great, but at Vintage Hair Lounge we work on the basis that "vintage" isn't just about a fashion look or a way of life, it's about excellence. Simple as that.

We rather like this dictionary definition of vintage.
"adjective. Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind"

That certainly covers more familiar territory when it comes to wine, cars and clothes for example. A wider understanding of the concept of "vintage" extends to the style of something, as in "historical", "retro" or "antique". So when we apply that thinking to hairstyling we are not just thinking about the recreation of period hairstyles, as in the shapes and styles of the 1920s through to the 1980s, we are also thinking about the contribution to the process of traditional skills, and an approach which is fundamentally about quality personal interaction.

The fact that so few hairdressers and hair salons can offer vintage hairstyling or traditional wet shaving for men is a sign that these once key foundation hairdressing and barbering skills have diminished in the industry and industry training. But it doesn't necessarily follow that the reason for this is lack of demand from the public. Being able to set, style and dress hair in traditional ways, or skillfully use a razor on a guy's face aren't just faddish add-ons to modern services. The skills reflect an expertise in the craft of hairdressing and barbering which are always being built upon, reinvented and added to as new tools, methods and products are developed.

So if your hairdresser or barber has these skills you can be reassured.

We often hear that some hairdressing salons have become conveyor belts, rushing clients in and out without a great deal of personal attention. Like whizzing round the supermarket, sometimes convenience in these time-poor lives we lead, is a massive bonus. But in hairdressing, you live with the results of your salon visit every day thereafter and a bad service, carried out in an indifferent environment is certainly not how modern hairdressing started 100 years ago. We now have such advancements in the technology and science of hairdressing tools, methods and products, that hairdressing should be regarded as a high quality high status profession bursting with talent on every front. In some instances that is absolutely true, but it is by no means the case across the whole industry.

So when you are looking for a great hairdresser and a great salon, "vintage" is virtually an unofficial trademark of quality, whatever the service. Like a fine wine, you will be getting the best.

Vintage Hair Lounge, 118 High Street, Southampton SO14 2AA    02380 337109  Online booking at

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Release of Gang Girls

Shana Swash in Gang Girls. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge
When it came it was like Christmas! Gang Girls release at midnight on 17 May 2011, just 37 days after the Southampton film shoot was a triumph. Many of our cast, crew and Facebook followers woke up to see the finished article as if they were finding that Santa had left them an extra lovely present in their inbox this year.

Andy Wilks, Chair of Isle of Wight Film Network did an amazing job on the edit and grade, no mean feat, when despite the whole shoot lasting just 4 hours, we'd actually shot over an hour's worth of high definition colour and black & white footage in that time in 4 different Southampton waterfront locations. It needed to be cut down to under 3 minutes to sync with the wonderful new recording of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Miss Annie of The Regular Joes and The Kitty Kat Cabaret Club in Bournemouth. And it took our most celebrated Cassie Leedham just 40 minutes to design the iconic film logo and send it to Andy to be added to the ongoing film edit.

So without wasting any more time, cast your eyes over Gang Girls......

Thanks to all the scooter clubs involved and Victory Wheelers for the splendid cars; all our cast and contributors are credited in the film, and of course there are many more supporters that helped us make this happen.

Pat Murphy in Gang Girls. Photography Scott Chalmers

And a bit of insider information, it is true that our lead actor Shana Swash now has a mum who can't get the song Bang Bang out of her head! So a special thanks to all the wonderful mums who have supported their daughters throughout this production. We couldn't have done it without you.

News on Gang Girls can be found in regular updates at and


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Revolution Magazine launches with a Vintage flavour

Lauren Fernandez on front cover of Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge
Here's something fun to get your teeth into. Brand new style magazine Revolution has launched and can be read at

Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge 
Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge    
Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge   

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Vintage Hair Lounge Create Gang Girls

Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers

The 10th April 2011 was an extremely sunny day in Southampton, the day on which Gang Girls was shot. Unit base was our High Street salon Vintage Hair Lounge and from 8.30am we were all hands on deck to create the hair and make-up looks for our retro girl gang played by Shana Swash, Maddy Hobbs and Chloe Cruse.

With Classy Chassis clothing taking care of the costume, with some great accessories provided by London film Costume Designer Andrew Joslin, weeks of concept design went swiftly in to action, with the key inspiration for the looks from Nancy Sinatra, Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot.

Gloria Holloway and Julia Jones work on hair for Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers

Gloria Holloway and Julia Jones work on hair for Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers
Once our photographer Scott Chalmers arrived to do some shots in Southampton's Oxford Street before the main event, we welcomed the arrival of the delightful Shana Swash and fifty scooters that caused quite a stir pitching up outside the salon ready to start the shoot.

Sharon Holloway works on make-up for Shana Swash. Photography by Scott Chalmers
Sharon Holloway works on make-up for Shana Swash. Photography by Scott Chalmers
By 12 noon we were ready to set up for the first shots in the nearby French Quarter City Walls. This is where the film opens and we see the Shana's gang awaiting the arrival of her new scooter followers.

In an extraordinary feat of organisation and enthusiasm, and notwithstanding the baking sun, we quickly moved on to the Red Funnel terminal outside Kuti's Royal Thai Pier before finishing the afternoon in the Town Quay car park, which stretches out in to Southampton's River Test, a great sea front backdrop which didn't disappoint. We wrapped the shoot at 4.30pm. In just 4 hours Vintage Hair Lounge had made a film!

The arrival of Shana Swash, Maddy Hobbs and Chloe Cruse in Gang Girls. Photography by Scott Chalmers

Gang Girls is due for release in May 2011. More updates soon.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

How Cassie Leedham created the Vintage Hair Lounge brand

Another triumph from Cassie Leedham from - our men's grooming range 
On the eve of the launch of the Vintage Hair Lounge website, it's worth making a tribute to the vastly talented Cassie Leedham from the Good Show Studio whose tireless work and creativity has been the signature of this inspired business.

The working relationship began with Cassie as far back as 2007 in developing a brand identity for our sister company Archive TV, a forward thinking historical film production company, launched in 2008 with the double international award winning film The Crime Wave starring Shana Swash, Sarah Matravers, Samantha Seager, Frankie Fitzgerald, Tat Whalley, Tim Wallers and James Wilson.

Archive TV launches The Crime Wave with designs by Cassie Leedham
Once the idea was crystallising that the future of hairdressing was in vintage, there couldn't have been anyone more enthusiastic to take on the brief than Cassie. Unlike a lot of small start-up businesses, we didn't reach for the DIY photoshop fonts, we did our research, we created a thorough business plan and concept and from that we began to work with images and influences that showed Vintage Hair Lounge visually. From this preparatory work, Cassie developed a set of 6 moodboards from which further planning and implementation could develop.

One of the Cassie moodboards used by Vintage Hair Lounge
Whilst the French Quarter salon was underway with design, the logo was finalised and transformed into brass signage for the salon exterior.

Cassie's Vintage Hair Lounge Logo created in brass signage
The last stage in the salon launch, originally planned for February 2010 was the creation of an eye-catching invitation for a whole "Launch Week". Over a hundred went out by email, and the invitation also featured in Besame Cosmetics newsletter, but despite the fantastic response, tragedy hit. The salon fitters, Newton Latimer, walked off site the day before completion, leaving a pile of rubble and our fledgling business tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket. The launch was cancelled, the police were contacted, and for those who know a little more of the Vintage Hair Lounge story, you will be familiar with the further tragedy that beset us when Southampton Police not only refused to listen or act but violently assaulted us instead. (The Independent Police Complaints Commission has just upheld part of Sharon's appeal complaint for the way she was horrendously treated in custody despite being a victim of crime).

Cassie's launch invitation for the event which tragically never happened
All our own, and Cassie's, hard work appeared to collapsed in disaster and disappointment, but an opportunity to take a temporary unit at Southampton's Bargate Centre was snapped up, so at least we had a base, we could get meeting people and the concept of Vintage Hair Lounge "on location" was born! More work from Cassie sealed the progress - a stylish location banner and an iconic "Keep Calm and Carry On" promotional poster that began to pop up across the city; a defiant celebration of all we had achieved despite Newton Latimer and Hampshire Police.

Vintage Hair Lounge on location banner designed by Cassie
Cassie features in her own Keep Calm design - launching the temporary Vintage Hair Lounge salon 2010
Whilst finding our feet at the Bargate, Cassie had one more trick up her sleeve, in the design of new "Rebel" flyers to promote our men's services!

Cassie's men's promotion in conjunction with Men-U products
So come October 2010, thanks to local shopfitters KJ Parker, the French Quarter salon finally opened, and although we still had plenty to do, we were delighted when two of our favourites clients, Vikki and Roly, whose vintage wedding we had styled in the summer, gave us permission to use their wedding photograph for another Cassie promotion. The advertisement was created for Best of British magazine and features in much of the Vintage Hair Lounge online and print promotion.

The wedding of Vikki and Roly becomes Cassie's signature advertisement
Well with all that you'd think we'd let Cassie put her feet up! Not at all, as Christmas was coming and gift vouchers beckoned....

Vintage Hair Lounge Gift Vouchers with gold leaf by Cassie 
And there was one more project to complete before the year was out. And that was to create a new promotional poster for the short film Fish!, recently screened in our salon, that would highlight some of the best work we've done in the past year - the creation of an iconic film retro mermaid using Dome monofibre and prolin hair enhancers to make seaweed inspired bespoke hair extensions, and Besame vintage cosmetics, all of which we stock and use in our salon. The beautiful stills photography by Christian Black features in the poster.

Francesca Brown as The Mermaid in Fish! Poster design by Cassie Leedham
Since Christmas, we have been working closely with Cassie and her other half, Ed Lewis, at the Good Show Studio on the new website and Monday 18 April is launch date! Cassie's original designs for our own brand men's grooming products managed to be squeezed in between the web work, and there are a few more projects up our sleeves for the summer!

So a huge heartfelt thankyou, Cassie Leedham for four years of outstanding design work for us, may there be many more terrific years to come.

Cassie Leedham can be contacted at, (01455) 636 171

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Shana Swash in Gang Girls : Quadrophenia meets Grease

Shana Swash in Gang Girls by Sharon Holloway. Photography by Scott Chalmers

With the heat soaring in Southampton today, everybody poured out on to the waterfront to soak up some much overdue sunshine. But it's not just Brighton that's seen a history of mods and rockers making the news. Vintage Hair Lounge was today the focus of an ambitious outing of mine, Sharon Holloway, to make a film in one day with a big slice of the South's retro talent.

What was originally an idea initiated by Classy Chassis Clothing to launch a new collection of sixties clothing for streetwise youth, ultimately turned in to an epic film production with mods, scooter enthuiasists, rockabillies, retro gals and classic cars pouring in to the City to meet at Vintage Hair Lounge and recreate the classic cult confrontation with a twist.

With former EastEnders actress Shana Swash fronting our retro girl gang we were in for something truly special. With charm, grit and grace, she took on the role, as Rizzo in Grease would say, "with relish!" And her exquisite performance exuded a magnetism that was undoubtedly proved by the unexpectedly huge turn out of scooter and classic car enthusiasts and the warmth with which she was received by all who played a part in the production.

Maddy Hobbs, Shana Swash and Chloe Cruse in Gang Girls by Sharon Holloway. Photography by Scott Chalmers
So it's a fitting tribute to both Shana and the South's retro and vintage scene, that the beautiful photography of the day by Scott Chalmers will also be featured on film. Gang Girls now goes straight in to post-production and more news will be posted soon.

We are also delighted to announce that Annie Young of Bournemouth's Kitty Kat Cabaret Club, who features in Gang Girls with her burlesque troupe as "The Rockers" will be performing the soundtrack.

More updates to follow.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Why Collette Von Tora is Pure Theatre

Collette Von Tora as The Emcee, Hair and Make-up by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
This weekend I met Bizarre Magazine's Ultra Vixens Winner Collette Von Tora for a Cabaret inspired photoshoot with Southampton local boy  Scott Chalmers, an extraordinary photographer with an eye for the edgy, the theatrical and the sumptous. When Scott first asked me to step in as hair and make-up artist, I wasted no time to get researching the brief. Collette was to be transformed in to The Emcee, John Santos style as per the Cabaret stage production.

John Santos as The Emcee
That in itself required a trawl through YouTube for clandestine footage of John in action. But, in true Scott style, there was a great deal more to be done, because Collette was also going to take on Liza Minnelli's Sally Bowles, in a latex replica of the classic costume. So out came the Cabaret DVD and I watched and I watched and I freeze-framed and I freeze-framed, and finally the make-up was seared in to my mind.

Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles
A full day out of the Vintage Hair Lounge salon was set aside to pitch up in Southampton studios and get to work on a truly spectacular project. Collette was unrelenting in her enthusiasm, her professionalism and her complete ease with the brief and the roles to perform. I could instantly understand how she had inspired Scott, and Scott in return, had inspired her. But as hair and make-up artist, I certainly didn't feel left out, it was a pure three-way creative collaboration throughout which none of us lost any excitement in what we were doing. Collette, regularly described as an alternative fashion model, has a constant stream of intelligently articulated creative ideas and if that's what makes her "alternative" I applaud it and want more of it! More used to working with film actors than fashion models, I have always been more intrigued by their work of creating a character and performing, but Collette's approach to her work falls completely in to that category.

Collette Von Tora as Sally Bowles, Hair and Make-up by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
It is anticipated that more of this wonderful photo collection will soon be adorning the walls at Vintage Hair Lounge, 118 High Street, Southampton SO14 2AA as an enduring reminder of the power of the silver screen and the big stage to inspire over and over again.

See our retro-pin up mermaid in the Fish! Film Trailer

Photography by Christian Black at and Poster designed by Cassie Leedham at
First taster of the finished film can now be viewed in the online trailer at

Friends of Bettie, who've seen the film in full, are over the moon with ecstatic delight about how good it is, and just swoon with pride every time the gorgeous Francesca Brown (The Girl) appears on screen.

Definitely worth a look!