Monday, November 29, 2010


Possibly the most talented person we know firsthand, Shivya Kochar was always an intellectual. I have known her practically her entire life. Someone who started out as an awkward silent child has today, grown to be an adroit photographer/writer/graphic artist/creative wizard. She isn't an exhibitionist, which is why we interviewed her to put her in the spotlight for once.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Shivya. 
I like to draw/paint and space out..but mostly I take photos.
I dream every night and I never get bored.

When did you start?
Taking photos? Its been a while.

What got you interested in photography?
I've always kind of had an OCD driven necessity to record my life. I've kept diaries since 4th grade, pages and stacks of journals all piled up with every silly feeling to life transformational changes. My interest in photographs developed from that need, to support my writing as visual aid. Eventually, somehow though, my writer's block lasted too long and I grew more and more interested in photography. Soon it became the other way around, words became limited to captioning photos. I guess I realized just a photograph can say a million things, sometimes even that which we cannot express in words. Life changed.

What does your camera equipment consist of?
At the moment, my equipment is shamefully limited. I have my canon DSLR ♥, EoS 500 D to be precise. Lenses a few (well two), 10-20 mm (f4-5.6 ) EX DC Wide-angle Sigma, EFS 15-55mm macro. My extremely heavy, yet trusty, local tripod. I carry a point and shoot around on casual occasions, Sony Cybershot (The one with that automatically detects a smile and takes a photo. Fascinating.) I also love to experiment with different filters, the IR filter is my current obsession. My awesome new Sony camorder takes some pretty decent shots as well, not to mention 164 minutes of high-definition video.

What do you like shooting? And what time of the day do you prefer to shoot?
I'm a big candid junkie. I guess because I'm principally a lazy person I like to take photos of things as they pass by in its natural form. I'm really into street photography, portraits to be precise. Also, if I can improve I'd love to further experiment with High-speed photography. The results are always gasp-worthy. 
Time of the day that I prefer, hm..that really depends on what I want to shoot, right. I've never really had a masterpiece in a low light setting, so thats an incentive kill. Yet I know better than to limit myself due to preference. I take photos whenever my finger feels an itch towards the shutter button, could be anytime of the day really. No preference. 

What's your biggest photography pet peeve(s)?
I wouldn't call it a pet peeve, but there's something about the repetitive close-up shots of flowers and leaves with dewdrops etc. that tend to put me off. Don't get me wrong, I love nature. But I personally won't find myself peering down a plant with a bumble-bee sucking nectar to get a shot that looks just the bazillion other close-ups of plants. There's nothing original or dominantly expressive about such shots. Not being opinionated though, I might change my fickle mind about that.. but at the moment, yes.

Favorite photographer(s) and why?
My all time favorite photographer, photojournalist rather, is Steve McCurry. Not just for his portrait of the "Afghan girl" but because I closely follow his career and aspire to be just like him. My other more artsy photographic inspirations are Martin Stranka and the collective works of Robert and Shana Parkeharrison. I've also been inspired a great deal by my mentor Gilad Hamid Ahuri.

What/who are your inspirations? 
Well, people do inspire me a great deal but more than that, I get inspired by life. I think the word inspiration itself is so intangible that mostly (for me, atleast) its hard to place where it hits you from. It comes to me as a jolt of distraction at any moment, if I'm lucky I hold onto it and build upon it. Most of time though, it leaves sooner than it comes.

Favorite musician/artists/authors?
I've never been decisive enough to have constant all time favorite music artists.. I like the clarity that the Beatles bring with their songs, I like the dark twisted-ness of MCR, recently I've been largely inspired by the pretty,dreamy lyrics of Adam Young's Owl City project paired with techno sounds. I had a huge phase with Japanese visual kei music, but I don't think I'm into all that anymore. Oh I like John Mayer too.
As for visual artists, I like the works of Taro Yamamoto. I love Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Modern art, predominantly. I also have a great respect for manga artists such as Masashi Kishimoto.
As for authors.. hmm,I read a large diverse amount of books. Harry Potter is my all time favorite. J.K Rowling is amazing. I like the sensitive and elaborate novels written by Jodi Picoult. Just going to name a few authors, Umberto Eco, Dan Brown, Micheal Crichton, Mark Haddon... from the top of my head.

Do you usually edit your picture or prefer the raw version?
I edit almost all my pictures. I also keep copies of the raw versions, but if I want to display my photos, I make it a point to touch it up or sometimes I get carried away too. Photoshop requires artistic discretion as well, I believe. I'm not into heavy manipulations but I'd love to learn more of the possibilities and expand my interests.

What are you aspiring for at the moment?
I'm not good at momentary goals, I always aspire big, mostly vague ideals. But at the moment, as an immediate not thought of answer just off my head, I aspire to get an IB diploma, to get better at vector art, photography ofcourse. I aspire to be a better person (unoriginal but true.) Oh yeah, I want to learn how to cook some good food too.

If you could photograph/take pictures of any person or place in the world, who/where would it be?
I would love to, I mean I literally repeatedly dream of going to the Arctic Region and getting some mind-blowing shots of that clear expanse of icy white horizon meeting the stark blue sky. Cold, frozen places fascinate me to no limit. I'd like to get there before Global Warming melts away all that beauty. Now thats an another thing I aspire to do right there.

What is one photography rule you don't understand?
Art has no rules or limitations. Photography is art ofcourse. I mean thats how I think of it, if there are any rules..I probably don't know of them.

What is one odd thing you love? (anything, doesn't have to be photography related)
Even though I'm not known as a physical person, I love holding hands till I get sweaty palms. I love sweaty palms.

Three things about you that no one knows?
1. I'm a really bad listener. I have serious issues with zoning out completely and I've made a talent out of stringing together appropriate conversational fillers that I judge by the few stray words I catch. I'm not trying to indicate that I'm the only one with something interesting to say, the problem actually lies in me. However, over time people do become exceptions to this bad habit.

2. I've never understood how deductive reasoning works.

3. I love my brother. People easily assume because I'm a complete polar personality to him, I don't attempt to understand him and he doesn't follow my ideals so I don't love him. This is probably some form of common deductive reasoning again, because even though all of that is true, by some miracle of natural biological programming, I love him.

One thing/person you could never get tired of shooting?
Honestly,I like shooting pretty much everything. However, one thing I can never get enough of is..the sky. The distinct sunny hues, cloud patterns, Delhi smog, rainy skies, midnight skies.. its different every time, everyday and I never tire of it. I take pictures of the sky almost daily. 

What would you like to do with the rest of your life?
Making plans are such a killjoy. So even though I have a vague idea, I'd like to say: I have no idea.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


The real life equivalent of Summer Finn (from "(500) Days of Summer") is who we had a chance to interview. Her name is Lauren Winter, she is intensely vintage and has a serious aversion to anything "Sex and the City" and jeggings.

Here's a link to her blog - and her lookbook -

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lauren and I run Blooming Leopold! I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband Neil and our little scruffy dog Bloom. I love to sew and play video games, and I'd prefer shopping in a thrift store over a retail shop any day.

2. Were you always fashion conscious? What got you interested in clothes?

Definitely not! I wasn't really interested in fashion until my later years at college. I became interested when I realized that fashion, in its simplest form, is just self expression - and by dressing the same as everyone else, I was missing out on a great opportunity to express myself. I started branching out and becoming brave with what I wore after that.

3. Who are your inspirations/fashion idols?

My sisters Rhiannon and Ashley!

4. One fictional character you most identify with (clothes wise)?

I'm reading the Sun Also Rises by Hemingway right now, so I'm going to say Lady Brett Ashley - not that I necessarily identify with her, but I at least admire the way she dresses. It takes place in the 1920s in Europe and her style is carefree, uncompromising, boyish yet elegant.

5. Your favorite fashion editorial?

My favorite fashion magazine is Lula, but Teen Vogue has great style as well - more relatable and wearable than Vogue.

6. What's your biggest fashion pet peeve?

Inauthenticity. Don't wear trends because they are trends and don't go against trends just to do so, either - dress the way you genuinely want to.

7. Your favorite musician/artists/authors?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes, M. Ward, Dead Weather, Paul Simon, Avett Brothers. As for authors - Umberto Eco, CS Lewis, Joseph Campbell, Katherine Neville. I'm getting into Alan Moore.

8. Who is your favorite lookbooker and blogger?

My favorite blogger right now is Hannah of I'm constantly inspired by her. Although I'm biased, I also really love my sister's blog!

9. Out of all your looks, which one is your favorite?

Probably this shoot where I wore this incredible Gunne Sax dress with a navy velvet bodice.. it's one of my favorite pieces.


10. One person whose wardrobe you'd kill for?

Karen Elson's! She's got fantastic style. Or Julia Frakes or Leith Clark.

11. What is the one outfit you think that never goes out of fashion?

The classic black lace cocktail dress - it transcends decades. Black lace always seems to be in style.

12. One piece of clothing every girl should own?

A pair of well tailored, high waisted wool trousers or maybe a cream silk button up blouse.

13. What is your favorite era/genre of fashion and why?

While my favorite era definitely changes, right now it's the 1930s. Women's fashion back then was very ladylike and glamorous - with cross cut bias gowns and soft perms. So tasteful and lovely. A dream dress of mine would be a silk 1930s navy polka dot day dress.

14. What is the one trend you don't understand?

Any trends inspired by Sex and the City.. I can't stand that show. And leg warmers. Can't get into them.

15. What was your style like at 14?

Not very good! Tommy Hilfiger tees and baggy dark wash jeans.

16. What would be the soundtrack to your life?

All sorts of different songs and genres! Although, I'd like it to be written by bands I love.

17. What/who are your three favorite things/people?

My husband Neil, my copy of Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, and my sewing machine.

18. What would you love to do with the rest of your life?

I don't know if I can pinpoint a specific vocation or place I'd like to live.. but I do know that whatever happens, I want to live passionately and authentically.

19. The previous interviewee asked - if there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be?

My inability to live in the present! I seem to always be looking forward or behind. I want to learn how to enjoy the moment.

20. What would you like to ask the next interviewee?

If you could make a million dollars doing anything, what would it be?

21. What is the style like in your city?

Nashville has a large music industry population, and a majority of them dress 1980s hipster style - acid wash skinny jeans, faux hawks, brightly colored mini dresses with wild prints and leggings. There are some great dressers in Nashville, though.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

L' Outrage

Today's post is about Sarah L'Outrage a 16 year old musician from Hamburg that really knows how to sync her clothes and her itunes. She subtly puts together almost harsh pieces of clothing with simple prints and effortless accessories that reflect her interests rather playfully. 
She loves the 60's and the 80's for their "pretty and playful elegance" and loves "old lace" and "other things that you don't get anymore." Her favorites on lookbook are Victoria Törnegren, Kaja Is and Tahti Syrjala. Her style too changes with her phases of favorite music, currently though she loves Korn, Celldweller, Kaisa, Schnitt, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Fever Ray, P.O.D, Hole, Nine Inch Nails; and in her words "I wear what I hear". 
She plays in her own band-Elephant Erotica, where she sings and knows how to play a guitar and a piano. Her band draws their inspiration from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jennifer Rostock. Her favorite shops include H&M, Weekday, Monki, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Primark, Zara and Vero Moda. She pays an unnaturally good amount of attention to shoes and pants as seen with her varied choice and interesting ability of putting them together; and does not understand not mixing bright colors.  
Sarah wants to spend the rest of her life marrying her boyfriend and having babies.
Have a look at some of our favorite looks of hers and here is a link to her lookbook profile and her blog

Also, it is the Daddy's birthday today so there might be some pictures tomorrow. :) 

Monday, November 22, 2010


Name - Kelli Murray Larson. Insanely talented illustrator/designer by day. Blogger by night. Couture maniac around the clock. We came across her work on lookbook first and instantly fell in love. Her innate style of dressing is what drew us towards her. But more than anything else, her illustrations make her stand out in a crowd of impeccably dressed lookbookers. They really do the trick. 

Her style is crisp, for the lack of a better word. She puts together a day to day wear pair of black lace shorts and polka dotted blouse with (very desirable) red heels to create an infallible look. With minimal accessories, her looks are never overpowering. On the contrary, we'd willingly give up a limb each for her wardrobe. 

We could write so much more about her but honestly, we don't know how much justice we would be doing to her art. We're just glad that we got an opportunity to interview her.

So here's a link to her lookbook-

And a link to her blog -

When did you start illustrating?
I have been "doodling" for as long as I can remember, but I started developing a style of my own some time after high school, during my years at Fashion Design School.

What got you interested? 
A friend of mine who was really into graffiti opened my eyes to the world of street art. My first very first inspirations were female artists like Fafi and Miss Van. I decided it was time to put my characters to the canvas and see what I could make of it.

Are you a graphic designer or do you illustrate by hand? 
Both. I work full time as the head designer for a clothing company called Jedidiah, based out of San Diego. Most of my work day is spent creating graphic designs, many of which start out as hand done illustrations which I then scan into the computer and finish in Photoshop. For my personal art, I prefer to stay away from the computer :)

If by hand, what medium(s) do you use? 
pencil and paper, fine tip paint brushes and india ink. For original paintings, I always work on wood panels and like to use acrylic paint...sometimes mixed media.

What do you usually illustrate? 
Girls. I LOVE drawing girls. Otherwise, I like to draw birds or sweet little animals. And any other little odds or ends I am inspired by at the moment.

What are your inspirations? 
I am inspired by the people around me, by fashion, nature, texture and all things vintage. I am inspired by the simple things in life and by the idea of hope and beauty and love.

What music do you listen to? 
I am a mellow kind of girl most of the time. I am a big fan of Bon Iver, Jonsi, Frightened Rabbit, Mumford & Sons, Animal on and so forth.

What is one odd thing that you love? 
Pickles? Or perhaps the smell of boat gas....only because it reminds me of my younger years spending my summers on the lake at my grandparents cabin in Wisconsin.

What are your favorite books/authors/poets? 
I am not much of a reader as all my free time I would rather spend drawing or painting...

Who are your favorite illustrators/lookbookers/graphic designers? 
Illustrators : Amy Sol, Charmaine Olivia, Sarah McNeil
Lookbookers : 
Coury Combs of FancyTreeHouse -
Nicole Warne of GaryPepperVintage -
Graphic Designers : 
Promise Tangeman -
Thomas Campbell -

What is your favorite look(s) out of your own on lookbook?

Has your husband affected your art?
He is my biggest he is constantly encouraging me and motivating me to keep creating what I love. I suppose maybe I am in a lovey dovey mood more often also....which results in doe eyed girls and themes of....well, love.

How do your surroundings inspire you? 
By "surroundings" I generally think of my home, Encinitas. We live 5 minutes from the ocean and Encinitas has some of the most beautiful sunsets. Instead of being inspired to draw them, it helps me to remember to count my blessings and be thankful for the life I have. Which in turn inspires me to use the gifts God has given me to the best of my ability. So in a round about way....those sunsets inspire my art almost daily. Aside from that, the tall trees and birds inspire me, the quaint little vintage shops, and also the friends I have.

What time of the day do you prefer to work? 
My creativity comes out at night. I am definitely a night owl when it comes to creating. It's also the only time I CAN paint and illustrate (my own personal art that is).

Biggest fashion and illustration pet peeve? 
Fashion: Tall bejeweled gladiator sandals. I have never understood them. 
Illustration : A pet peeve I have of my own illustrations would be knees. I just hate drawing knees. It's kind of weird. I fight through it though :)

Have you always been fashion conscious? 
Yeah, I think so. It has definitely bloomed the older I have gotten, but ever since I was a little girl I have loved dressing up and putting together outfits.

Who is your fashion idol? 
Kate Moss and Alexa Chung

What is your favorite thing in your closet? 
Right now, my Dolce Vita Platform Oxford Shoes. I am obsessed. Shoes are my downfall.
What is the one item that every girl should possess? 
Maybe it's cliche...but a little black dress. I have had the same one for about 4 years now by Alice + Olivia and I can't tell you how many times I have worn that thing!

The previous interviewee asked - Would you shave your head for charity?
Ahhh that's a hard one! I guess it depends on what the charity is supporting. If it meant A TON to me....I just might. Otherwise, I would try to think of a way that could support them even more so than shaving my head. That's an odd question. Haha.

What should we ask the next interviewee? 
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

What do you want to do with the rest of your life? 
Have babies, be a mommy, create art, inspire others, and live happily ever after with my husband!