Fashion Sense and Sensibility

May 11, 2019

Image Anthology of Miss Rosie Lea 

 By Joan Spitz

     British freelance model Rosie Beaman hales from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK and possess a style all her own as she resurrects past fashion trends and make them chic again. Her vintage flair encapsulates different time periods inspired by the countryside and historical artist she loves. Rosie “seeks to create beautiful, emotive and thought-inspiring imagery” in a wide range of styles including bridal, commercial and fashion.       

     Outside the traditional fashion scene, one may get the sense she is a style historian reflecting elements of the Greek sculpture Hebe goddess of youth and beauty, or an ethereal photo of a woman peeking out from under a perfectly placed hat positioned in graceful pin curls of the 1920’s.  There are, at times evidence of one or more eras mixed together.  It’s a sisterhood of past and present, history, struggle and triumphs that connect generations of women having babies, obtaining the right to vote and running corporations.  It is the art of elegance that makes one feel good about being a woman no matter the station of life or economic situation as each photo has a way of telling us that we have more in common with our predecessors than we may think.      She gives credit to the influences of an array of artist such as Frida Kahlo, actress Brigitte Bardot and rock star Stevie Nicks.   It’s not surprising to learn she has an advanced degree in literature which lends authenticity to her projects as she reconciles her talent for collected works of great minds with the niche of vintage fashion all wrapped up into the latest trends.  New hair and makeup techniques are explored as well as the perfect location or setting for the shoot.      Her process is beyond showing up for the camera, striking a pose and packing up.  She first obtains an idea and then researches extensively by “sourcing images and reading relevant background material so the photos will be as authentic and convincing as possible”.  Another source of inspiration comes from the books she reads and utilizes characters “you wouldn’t have a chance to meet” to bring a sense of truthfulness to her work as she finds inspiration for photo shoots in the settings and characters discovered in books that she reads.

      The second composition seems to take on the 1970’s long, free hair with green eye shadow and tosses in a crown, not a tiara mind you but a crown reflecting a woman’s ability to make decisions and not to be reckoned with reminiscent of the most influential heroine of all time, Queen of England Elizabeth the first, a leader who teaches us the significance of the crown jewel of all accessories the Royal Crown as she became one of the greatest political and military strategist of all time.  Look good, Feel Good, Raise Hell in the tradition of integrity and intelligence.      

     Fashion and common sense abounds when trying to bring together all influences as we convey leadership in a professional interview or express warmth with a pair of loose jeans, white T-shirt and an array of bangles around the wrist.  We are what we wear.  History teaches us that.

David Morely Photography

     Around 1848, the Victorian era,dressing up was traditionally reserved for attending the theater, so what is a girl to do adorned in plain?  The theme of “nope, you’re not wearing that young lady,” still holds true today.  There will always be a mother, sister or fashion magazine telling us what to wear and at times how to think and feel.     

     Fashioning simple into the lives of the creative could be a straight jacket to some, instilling a sense of duty to burn ones bra in the 1960’s in protest to the inequality of it all. But no matter what the attire or situation a woman can still look beautiful.  Miss Rosie Lea believes beauty to be a “confident, happy person, a person who is comfortable in their own skin.”  Rosie’s “fascination with art and in particular paintings by the pre-raphaelite brotherhood, Alphonso Mucha to find their way into her projects as she describes them as   “exquisite expressions of beauty and the use of their muses to express the human condition; everything from love to despair.” 

Grrl Alex Photography                

      The next image is relevant to the 1920’s where Miss Rosie Lea describes the modeling experience as an “opportunity to become another character and express myself through them” as she seeks to reflect a look she’s producing to be as authentic and convincing as possible. When viewing this photo, Its as if the character is glancing over her shoulder and looking right at you sharing a secret that must not be divulged in the courtroom.  Many questions emerge from this story-photo.  Maybe the woman caused some trouble and is on the lookout for vengeance or some kind of payback indicative of the uprising of the hemline, bobbing of hair excessive makeup, drinking, smoking and all manner of improprieties reflective of the increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of the World War I.        

     It’s rare to get so much out of one photo and this one lends the ability to induce just about anyone to write a story just by looking at it.  That’s the fun of it, creating your own mind movie.  The actual project was according to Miss Rosie Lea to be a wedding scene inspired by nuptials between Tommy and Grace in Peaky Blinders where Grace later dies in the series as a result of being in a relationship with a dangerous man.  According to Rosie, she chose to create the “knowing look is very much intentional.”  with that in mind. She named the image “He’ll be the death of me” with a look back at the camera as a sense of foreboding and resignation.

Gaile Vasil Photography               

        Moving the timeline along introduces the 1940’s flirtatious pin-up showing a versatile range in Miss Rosie Lea’s bag of tricks.  In this case one may see Rosie the Riveter meets June Cleaver rolled up into one hot mess.  Sexual imagery is an influence to fashion and marketing so it is a breath of fresh air to see women represented in all aspects of who we are, the flirty fun pinup in this case.     

     This project reminds us that women are diverse creatures as they tap dance into different roles both male and female as historical and family events dictate and how fashion continues to keep up with that message.  The pin-up exemplified that women could be primped up worker bees.  In contrast, the face of exhaustion of some women today, there is little time for hair and makeup but rather grab the jeans on the floor behind the door, open a messy closet and hope for the best.  This photo reminds us the feminine side of chaos and maybe we should learn from this era to take time for self-care as we adjust to new threats both foreign and domestic.  It’s crucial to be attentive to our self-esteem in a fast-paced techno world bombarding us with what the marketing people deem worthy to wear and how to look and feel.         

Photographer Amanda Elwell, Makeup Artist Nicole Dawn         

        Rosie’s Bachelors in English Literature provides a unique perspective for fashion writing and modeling for magazines such as Vintage Life magazine.  As a writer, her last article explored the rise and fall of 1960-70’s Biba flapper dresses and its Art Deco like influences on current British fashion.   “I believe that nobody should be restricted by societal expectations. She feels that “Versatility is incredibly important and I love that I can transform from sequin-covered flapper to an old Hollywood sex kitten, or even boho rock chic whenever the need may arise”.   Character driven images are her niche for certain.    

       Fashion trends are resurrected and reconciled with our present time as the Flapper Dress found its way back through the British Designer Barbara Hulanicki.  Interestingly enough, in the United States Rock Star Stevie Knicks utilized that particular look, which was a signature part of her success. 

Photographer David Morley

Hats by Joanna Violet       

      The above current photo of the traditional British hat may induce cultural jealousy, not so much that owning such an elegant hat looks so incredible but actually having an occasion or lifestyle befitting to wear such a classy accessory on the daily.   The line of it suggests the historical bad-ass of British History and the women who influenced it.  
     We may attempt to sway our personal history and traditions by finding our own style utilizing Rosie Beaman photos for inspiration, to reach out to our sisters of the past and explore new ways for self-expression, creativity and leadership as they apply to individual belief systems, from a tiny broach from grandmothers jewelry box to a pair of woolen gloves found in a second hand store. 
     Miss Rosie Lea shared with Train Wreck Cosmetics, “I believe that makeup and clothing should be used as a means of self-expression with no restrictions or parameters.”  Rosie makes the Thrift Store the new mall as those deemed no longer in fashion definitely the new hot ticket in town for anyone with the courage to love the tossed aside and make it cool again. 

     Dare to class up the jeans with some spray starch and expensive earrings and listen to the women in the past reminding us that its ok to dress down, dress up or undress as we choose, to design our lives the way we interpret those choices in what we do.