Bonjour! So the last few weeks since I got back from Cannes have been pretty up and down to say the least! My health has not been the best - hence the delay in my blog writing schedule - but I'm pleased to say that things are looking better and brighter now...fingers tightly crossed! You see after having several tests, the doctors have hopefully come to a diagnosis - multiple food allergies and a leaky gut, which sounds horrible I know, but it just means increased intestinal permeability. To try to put it simply, this is when substances including certain allergenic undigested food molecules and proteins 'leak' through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream. Allergic reactions then result from this since the body's immune system goes into attack mode as it thinks these molecules and proteins are foreign invaders. But that's enough science for the time being! You may wonder why this is happening to me now though... Well it turns out that all of this is a complication of my gastroparesis (paralysed stomach). I know that none of it sounds pleasant, but it should hopefully all be manageable. You see I should be ok if, along with my current gastroparesis treatments and management, I also now include other preventative treatments and exclude certain foods from my diet - i.e. no more wheat, gluten, dairy, legumes (soy, peanuts, peas, beans, lentils etc), corn as well other foods too like red meat (I don't eat this anyway)…which lightly translated means practically everything other than blended fresh fruit and vegetables, white rice, organic chicken breast and my favourite food honey! So I guess it'll be lots of bananas and avocados for me from now on then as I certainly won't ever be eating a baguette or croissant again seeing that that's what contributed to the terrible reaction I experienced in Cannes where I swelled like a puffer fish and could hardly walk!
But anyway, I am certainly not getting to let any of this stop me living the life of my dreams! In fact I'm excited to say that I'm even off to Paris this weekend for Haute Couture Fashion Week where I'll be modelling in fashion shows and also hopefully be doing some amazing photo shoots! It's even my birthday next week too and so it will be très chic to celebrate it in French style...Vive la France! There's no better time really for me to be feeling like I am getting back on track than now. I am so looking forward to enjoying the beautiful summer to the full rather than being stuck in bed feeling ill!
Très chic... Modelling a fabulous Matthew Cashe design in front of the Eiffel Tower and by the River Seine during Paris Fashion Week September 2014...
Things haven't been all bad since Cannes though... I have had some good times too! First of all I saw Maroon 5 in concert at the SSE Wembley Arena... Now Maroon 5 are one of my favourite bands, and it was such a great show! I loved all the hits sung brilliantly by Adam Levine, especially 'Sugar' as this song has a very special place in my heart because of a special guy I was dating up until a couple months ago.
What was extra memorable though, was that that night, they filmed the music video for their new single 'This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf***er'! In a way I guess I'm kind of a part of a Maroon 5 video now which is pretty cool!
Unfortunately though the scene shown at the beginning of the uncensored video, where Adam Levine comes out the shower and you see his behind, was not performed in front of an audience...damn it...such a shame!!! Anyway going back to the song now - as hard as that might be! ...Although it is sure set to be a summer hit, I certainly hope the title does not ring true!!! One of my best and oldest friends, who I met up with in the past few weeks too - and funnily enough saw Maroon 5 a couple of nights before me - doesn’t think so though as she is full of positivity! Talking to her always puts a smile on my face... But once we start chatting though, we can never stop as we can talk about anything and everything! And when I say oldest by the way, I mean we've been friends since we were two...she's not 90!!!
So what else then... Well I was also asked to model at an exclusive fashion show at Cheltenham Race Course a couple of weeks ago too! I walked for a fabulous designer, Cecilia Aragon, who was on the US TV series Styled to Rock with Rihanna! Cecilia designs for amazing celebrities, and so I was honoured to be modelling one of her incredible outfits. It was quite literally sheer perfection - a sheer pale pink sequinned high waisted skirt and top. I absolutely loved walking the catwalk in this design as I felt stylishly sexy!
After the show, was then the after-party which was a lot of fun. It was a great chance to let my hair down as well as network! And in fact, the following day, I was then asked to do a photo shoot at a magnificent mansion in Woodchester Park, in Gloucestershire, south of Cheltenham... It was a bit of a trek to get to the mansion through the tree lined path, but thankfully there was mini bus transport provided for us all! That was a relief as I wasn't looking forward to dragging my suitcase full of my modelling essentials through the muddy dirt ridden tracks! So then, I modelled for two designers that day, Nancy Vuu and Cecilia Aragon, and for this shoot, I did my own make-up, giving myself dark eye make-up and red lips. Both looks were then just styled simply with my hair up, diamanté stud earrings and my black Vince Camuto heels so that the designs could be the focus point. Nancy Vuu's dress was absolutely exquisite. The look was refined and regal, and I can't wait for the professional photos to be released! The outfit I then wore for Cecilia was designed for and worn by Kylie Minogue - a very short and racy pale gold and black blazer dress... It was a perfect fit, and I absolutely loved modelling it... I felt like a superstar! ...I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky!!
And so while I'm talking about photo shoots, this then brings me back to Cannes where I did two incredible shoots. Now although I mentioned these in my first blog post on Cannes 'I CANnes...', I did say then that I'd tell you more about these, and so as promised, here you have it...
Ok... So the first of my French Riviera photo shoots was shot along the Cannes promenade. The shoot itself was set up and organised by French photographer Ko Kok, with whom I worked back at Paris Fashion Week in March. Now although he was not the photographer for this shoot, he arranged the team (photographer Dtu Doe, assistant Myster Wilde, and hair and make-up artist Estelle Lefranc) as well as the very expensive gold and diamond jewellery (earrings, necklace and bracelet) from Orus Bijoux which I modelled. This jewellery was incredibly beautiful and it looked stunning against the blue sky, blue sea and bright sunshine. It was also very apt for me to be wearing this for the shoot as the earrings and necklace were in the shape of the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), which is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
In terms of clothing and shoes for this shoot, I had two looks, and both outfits were my own! The first was a white and black maxi dress with a thigh high split from Lipsy with which I wore my black Lipsy diamanté heels. I loved that the leaf shaped diamanté embellished waist panelling on the dress complimented the jewellery really well. What made the look though, was when I modelled on the rocks and the thigh high split opened up in the breeze! I have to say that it was a little tricky modelling on uneven rocks in 5.5 inch heels though! I even had to be carried on to to them by the assistant, Myster Wilde, because it wouldn't have been safe for me to get on them otherwise! So who said modelling was easy?!
The second look was then very Grecian inspired as not only was I posing for several of the shots next to a cream column set against the bright blue sky and sea, but I was also wearing a long slinky shimmery column-style dress which I had recently bought from Miss Selfridge. Now although the dress itself was all in one as such, it looked liked two pieces as, there was a floaty top layer to it which fell into a 'V' at the waist. This V-shaped top piece, along with the V-shaped neckline of the dress, really reflected the shape of the necklace perfectly too. And what is more, this dress just caught the sun's light beautifully. The glittery silver criss-cross strappy sandals shoes that I wore with the dress then complimented the outfit without taking away from it. I actually found these on Amazon last year and christened them on my New York Fashion Week runway debut! Anyhow, there was such a summery feel to this part of the shoot, and even just looking at the final photos again now makes me want to go on holiday!
Every summer has a story, and so I look forward to what is to come as summertime is always the best of what might be...
All in all this truly was a brilliant photo shoot. I loved the photos Dtu Doe captured, and am happy that even though I wasn't feeling my best (remember I ended up in hospital later that night as I completely swelled up), you would never know that from the images themselves! Hopefully I might even get to work with Dtu Doe again in Paris next week...now that would be cool!
So then, on to my next photo shoot with photographer Justin Gage and his wife, make-up artist Alana Gage. This shoot actually took place at their home in Falicon, Nice, as since it was only a day after I came out of hospital, I wasn't well enough to venture out to the town in the heat. The location was still perfect mind you as they had a beautifully ornate old fashioned stone balcony up in the hills, and so the scenery was breathtaking.
Now for this shoot I had three looks... My hair, outfit and accessories varied for each as well as the style of the shoot, while my make-up stayed the same. You see Alana wanted my make-up to be versatile enough to transfer to each look yet still be creative and artistic, and so she achieved this by going for a purple, pink and mauve colour scheme. I loved the edgy eye make-up and bold mauve lipstick she gave me as it made me feel strong, powerful and rocky. This was especially so after she put my hair half up and half down into a beehive quiff! As I was then also modelling a very sexy, sleek and stylish leopard print thigh-high split dress with a train designed by Kim Innu London, I truly let my fierce side out for the shoot and made sure my stature and posing reflected this! This look was obviously statement enough on its own, but to further add to it and to make it more editorial, it was styled with simple black drop earrings, several contrasting black, white and brown bracelets and the most fabulous 6.25 inch black suede strappy sandal heels which I recently got from Boohoo! In a few shots I also had a small bag as well to add an extra dynamic to the image.
Now then, the photos Justin released from this part of the shoot had a magical feel to them since, with his phenomenal photographic skills, he managed to take the photos in broad daylight whilst adjusting the background colouring with his settings...no filters on the lenses nor photoshop was needed for this effect therefore! For more details on how he did this very clever technique, check out Justin's blog post on it at www.justingagephotostudio.com/new-blog/2015/6/1/its-all-about-light
Ok so on to the second look now... For this I wore a magenta lace dress from Jane Norman with magenta earrings, a white intertwined beaded and diamanté bracelet and my faithful white heels from New Look! I also modelled a large white hat which I got in Topshop in some of the shots too to change up the look...how I do love modelling hats! So then, my hair and make-up remained the same, and again Justin used different photography techniques to vary up the images. For some shots, even though he took them in daylight, he managed to black out the majority of the background. This technique Justin told me was borrowed from Gary Fong's 'Ugly Room' series.
For contrast he also shot some more exposed images from the balcony so that the bright blues and greens of the background scenery really stood out along with my vibrant magenta dress. Because of how vivid the colours were here, Justin compared me to a modern day Snow White as, in these photos that he took, my skin looked so pale and porcelain!
For the final look, Alana then put all my hair up in such a way that it had so much body and volume, yet was still soft and elegant. This beautifully complimented the stunning gold and silver diamanté and sequinned embellished dress that I was wearing! Believe it or not, this was another of my many Miss Selfridge purchases...I could easily live in that shop! For added sparkle and oomph, the dress was then styled with the most fabulous gold and crystal dangly earring (again like my red carpet earring these were from that boutique in Bournemouth). These earrings looked sensational with my hair swept up. Simple nude Vince Camuto heels then completed the look as although these were not to be featured, I still of course had to wear heels for my poise and posture! Even Kim Cattrall who plays Samantha Jones in 'Sex and the City' once said in a documentary which I saw a while back that she always wears heels even when her feet are not in the shot as it just puts her into character and gives her that added confidence. A model is an actress too you see and as Tyra Banks always says on 'America's Next Top Model' you have to model from 'T' to 'T' - top to toe!
In terms of photography now, Justin created dreamy, spell-binding and fantasy-like imagery for some shots, whilst giving others a more intense and powerful composition. Because of this I varied up my modelling going from seductively sexy to fiercely striking! It was a lot of fun, especially since Justin was just such a superb photographer to work with!
In fact, you can see for yourself just how enjoyable this shoot was from the behind the scenes footage in the video that Justin created! I hope you also think that he really captured some fantastic shots - I certainly loved this shoot! It was a fantastic team effort from all three of us (Justin, Alana and myself). I really do love both Justin's and Alana's creative visions, and I can't wait to work with both of them again... I'm sure we'll be planning another photo shoot very soon!
And so then there you have it... That's all the latest from me - from where I left off in Cannes...to me now setting off for Paris...as well as all the ups and downs in between! Wish me a 'bon voyage' for my brand new French fashion adventure...
Au revoir et à bientôt!
Christina V xxx
P.S. For further images released from these shoots, please look at my Facebook Profile & Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram, as well as checking out the 'Fashion & Editorial' section of my website, which is under 'Modelling Photos & Videos'!