pinup art

Black & White Glamour | Pin Up Photoshoot

What’s black and white and glam all over?
Me, with my fancy pants and giant fluffy stole.

From Coco to Audrey to Cruella De Vil, black and white fashion has always been simultaneously bold and chic.

Often employed for understated elegance or graphic mod style, black and white can be effortlessly cool. However exaggerated glamour is more my jam! Extremes of femininity and texture have inspired my upcoming collectionof uber fluffy faux fur mega stoles! This boa/stole hybrid that looks like a sexy skunk is one of the pieces I’ve been working on, and trust me, it’s so decadently soft and enveloping.

Marlene Dietrich, Cabaret and our Queen Dita Von Teese sparked the concept for this shoot. I wanted to reference the black and white publicity shots of Hollywood’s golden era, but with an intimate, personal edge.

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Outfit Details

Mega Fur Stole | Velvet DeCollete
Jacket | Preloved via Trademe
Trousers | Thrifted
Corset | Corset Story
Knickers | Trademe
Gloves | Vintage
Hat | Borrow from my Mother
Fully Fashioned Stockings | Photographers own
Shoes | Thrifted

Love monochrome but hate boring outfits? I layer textures and shapes to create a black based outfit that looks luxe, not lazy. Styled specifically to be shot in black and white, the textural blacks are offset with two bold pops of white; long gloves and my faux fur.
Pairing soft, wide leg trousers with a constricting corset and thick wool jacket creates a silhouette that’s feminine while referencing masculine style elements.

Can you believe the satin trousers and jacket are both from the oppy? ( That’s a thrift shop to my American friends ). So is the hat, an equestrian dressage topper found by my mother in a small town St. Paul’s.

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Photography | Froger

That photo above is one of my favourites right now. Froger catches me between full poses sometimes and those relaxed photos stand out from my other facial expressions ( to me at least!).  Pinup and glamour lovers can find the rest of this set over at Froger’s photography website. I highly recommend subscribing to his member’s area because holy hairspray does he photograph some stone cold foxes!

With Style & Sass,

     Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments
Is Photoshop Harming Pinup Communities?

Is Photoshop Harming Pinup Communities?

Pin up and photoshopping. They walk hand in hand, but do we acknowledge their relationship enough?

You know I’m all about honesty, so I feel it’s time we honestly discussed the relationship between photoshopping and pinup art. How much is edited? Are we okay with it? Do you know when you’re not looking at reality?

I’ll be showing you my own before and after photos as well as some historical examples. ( Because I’m not interested in calling anyone else out, ya know?). I hope you’ll find it interesting and that it opens a conversation about how we feel about photo editing and it’s effects within our pinup communities.

What is Photo Editing?

Photo editing, often achieved using tools like photoshop , lightbox or photo filters ( we’ll refer to ‘photoshopping’ to keep it simple) is digitally or manually manipulating a photograph. This can be anything from adjusting some colours or brightening a dark photo, to slimming a body, airbrushing skin, adding length or volume to hair or changing background locations.

Let’s Start With Some Pros and Cons

Like every tool photo editing has it’s upsides and downsides. Let’s run through a few to get an idea of what we’re dealing with.

Pros

  • Photo editing is an incredibly powerful artistic tool allowing users to create images that don’t exist in real life, just like a painter or a sculptor.
  • Editing images can improve our confidence, removing temporary or permanent blemishes like scars or acne.
  • Photo editing can correct or improve lighting and colour discrepancies, and details that can’t be captured by a camera the way the human eye sees them.
  • It can be super fun and inspiring to change the way you look, the colour of your hair, or create a highly artistic version of yourself without having to make those dramatic changes in real life.

Cons

  • Photoshopped images create and enforce unrealistic and unachievable beauty standards – especially when used in advertising and by celebrities.
  • Photo editing can make us unfairly compare our real life selves to edited images, leading to negative body image and mental health issues.
  • Photo editing can give a false example of a product or it’s results ( hello Instagram makeup artists ;p )
  • In some circumstances photo editing can just be downright sneaky.

To decide if a photoshopped pinup image is positive or negative I ask myself these questions:
Is it fit for purpose?
Is it creating a false ideal?
Do we know it’s been photoshopped?

Is It Fit For Purpose?

Definition:  well equipped or well suited for its designated role or purpose.

Fit for purpose is the main factor in how I feel about photoshopped images. Does the photo become more suited to it’s purpose by being edited?

I’m going to quote an anonymous source here, because they summed it up really well but I don’t want anyone getting crucified by trolls.

 

“Are you making a cheesecake image which is effectively highly photoshopped by definition? OR are you making your Instagram images so edited you make people wonder what happened between when you placed the photo on Instagram in the morning, to when they saw you? The initial is a style, the latter is a self image issue. “

 

We can safely assume that cheescake pin up photos are edited.

This isn’t news to fans of the cheesecake or glamour style, it’s been happening for as long as the genre has existed. Early photographers edited their subjects by burning and dodging, or by altering lines when they colored the images with paints. Gil Elvgren essentially photoshopped his models, slimming and lengthening their proportions in his paintings like the ones below. You can see more examples of 1950’s pinup photographs vs paintings here.

I feel like this is okay, because these images are created as art

On the other hand, I feel that heavily edited ‘candid’ shots * side eye at the Kardashians* create a harmful and unrealistic expectation of what a human body looks like. A filter and hiding a few zits are one thing, being unrecognizable is another.

To quote another anonymous babe from my local pinup community…

 

“I love artistic editing, and those style choices can really take images to a whole other place, but passing that level of editing off as natural would just seem ingenuine. “

In My Opinion…

Pinups making cheesecake style photos, or consistently editing ‘candid’ images but being open about it – cool, whatever makes you happy, we know you’re being an arty motherfucker with those photos.

Pinups editing candid or event photos and pretending they’re natural – you’re probably contributing to the body image and self confidence issues so many people struggle with, because they’re comparing their natural selves to your secretly super edited self.

How do you feel about editing cheesecake pin up images compared to candids or Instagram selfies? Do you think there’s a difference? Are they both okay or is one or both contributing to our unrealistic cultural beauty standards?

How Photoshopped Am I?

I want to show you exactly how Photoshopped my photos are. It’s important that you can see the difference between professional, edited glamour photos and review or event images.

When I’m shooting a cheesecake or glamour pin up I let the photographer edit whatever they need to fulfill their artistic vision. Photographers clear up my skin and cellulite, adjust the colours and contrast, or give the image a film grain or other texture. This stuff is great for a creating an idealised pin up style like you’d see in traditional pin up art. Personally I feel it’s an appearance altering tool like contouring makeup and shapewear.

Mike Froger photographs and edits most of my images. We share the opinion that women’s bodies are rad and don’t need to be changed in the shape department. He does kindly edit out my psoriasis, pimples and sometimes freckles and cellulite on my chest, arms or legs. The freckles on my face are usually covered by makeup. Not because I don’t like them, but because I use a heavier foundation to cover my psoriasis and I’m not skilled enough to cover that and leave the rest sheer!

Here’s an example of the difference on our photos. The left hand image is unedited apart from being made black and white. The right hand image is edited.

 

 

Logan Davies was kind enough to give us some examples of the more heavily edited photos I’ve shared. These are edited and unedited images from our lingerie photoshoot and you can see the huge difference in colour, contrast, skin texture. I’ve been stretched in one shot to make my 5’4 frame longer.

 

 

You don’t see this level of editing on my review or candid photos. I’ll clear up any major skin problems and sometimes throw on a filter to create a mood, but secretly editing my body shape or height would be unfair to you guys. And what’s the point of creating a warped idea of what the reviewed garments actually look like?

Here’s some before and after examples of clothing review photos I used a few months ago.

 

 

As you can see, not a huge difference there. I wear makeup and practice poses that enhance my natural body shape, so what you see in these photos is basically what you see when I pose in real life.

My Instagram selfies use filters to enhance colours or lighting,  or my phone’s beauty face filter on low strength to even out my bad skin. I don’t know how to remove zits or scars or make my eyes bigger or my waist smaller or any of that stuff haha.

I do basic editing because my Insta account is for my modelling and brand, not myself personally, and I want it to look a little polished. I’m okay with my freckles, wrinkles and white hairs though so you’ll see those! I’m happy to tell you exactly what I’ve changed on a photo if you’re ever curious.

My personal photos on Facebook haven’t been edited at all for the last few years because who has time for that?

Can You Spot Photoshop?

Photo editing seems most dangerous when you can’t spot it. When it’s not alien smooth skin or mismatched backgrounds whispering that the thigh gap isn’t 100% legit.  When you think that it’s real. When a social media feed of perfect selfies makes you feel like you’re the only person to ever have love handles, tummy rolls or bad skin.

Just for the record, every person I’ve ever met has tummy folds and back folds and armpit bums or whatever the hell they call them. The skin that stretches flat when you stand straight has to go somewhere when you curl up, so it makes folds. IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL AND YOU’D BE FUCKED WITHOUT IT.
*Edit: Apparently they’re armpit vaginas and Miss Victory Violet has a hilarious video about them that you should all watch*

 

Anyway back to sneaky photoshopping. The whole premise of really good photo editing is that you can’t see it. I look at photos of my pin up inspirations like Jazmin ( Vintage Vandalizm ), Rachel Jensen and Dita Von Teese and I often have no idea if anything’s been changed. I just assume they look that amazing in real life.

And that’s the danger. Like millions of other women, I aspire to be as beautiful as a photograph of a person I’ve never actually seen.  This is the aspect of photo editing that might be harming our pinup communities. The part that makes our gorgeous friends and those that look to us as role models feel like they’re not good enough. The part that we need to openly talk about and remember that what we see on social media is usually someone’s highlight reel, not their full time life.

So Is Photoshopping Good or Bad For Pin Ups?

It’s both and neither.

Photo editing is a tool. We can use it to create art, to rose tint our daily lives, to exaggerate, show the truth or to lie. How we use it is up to the individual, but it’s also up to the individual to consider the message they’re sending to others.

It’s common knowledge that heavy handed photoshopping is de rigueur in mainstream marketing. We know it’s having a negative effect on our society, particularly on women and young girls. I don’t know if highly edited cheesecake photos and selfies have the same effect within our pinup communities, and I think it’s something we need to discuss honestly and often to make sure we’re supporting and educating ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps.

I’ll be opening a discussion around photoshopping in pin up on my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my pinup support group The Pinup Posse. Please stop by and share your experiences and opinions, I’d really appreciate hearing your views on the Photoshop debate!

In the meantime can you do me a favour? Put down your phone or step away from your PC.  Stand in front of the mirror and appreciate your body. It may be skinny, thick, tall, short, scarred, damaged, spotty or dimply, but it’s your body. Cellulite is just another texture and mummy tum’s or visible hip bones are another shape to explore. I know it can be hard ( trust me, I know ) but be kind to yourself, and please don’t compare yourself to photos that might not even be real!

With Style and Sass,

   Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments

Velvet Loves | The Retro Cartoons of Sveta Shubina

Sveta Shubina is a 21st century artist drawing 20th century dames.

Russian born Sveta’s bad girls, pinups and sci-fi broads are hyper feminized females with strong personalities. You might recognise their curves and sass from Flaming Mamie T-shirts, or vintage inspired sportswear brand Hobo and Sailor. Mixing humour, sex appeal and fetish, her art is playful and bold. Drawing on 50’s and 60’s comics and pop culture references her illustrations feel vintage but stay current. I’m a huge fan of her vivacious characters and I just know you will be too!

PS: I was SO EXCITED when Sveta agreed to answer a few questions for us!

Reclining pinup girl art by graphic designer Sveta ShubinaWhat inspires the characters in your illustrations?

Midcentury illustrations and design have always been my main source of inspiration.

 I’ve admired early Disney and Fleisher’s animation since I was a child, and you can see this influence in the Hobo and Sailor project, which I founded with my partner in 2011. Several years ago I found Humorama comics, got acquainted closer with Playboy illustrations and discovered great artists such as Dan Decarlo, Jack Cole, Bill Wenzel and many others.

I love the way these artists show women, how they express woman’s sexuality in a funny form. This is something I try to display in my works. But for me it’s important to just draw girls in midcentury dresses, I want my pictures look like they have been created in 40s or 50s. That’s why I pay so much attention to textures, color fading and scratched effects.

 

Cat Fight by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

What sparked your journey as a graphic designer and illustrator?

I’ve been drawing since I was a child, I graduated from the University of Architecture and Arts and it was rather obvious for me to connect the rest of my life with design and illustrations. And I’ve never regretted it.

 

Halloween Trio and Creature poster by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

How did you come to your signature halftone dot style?

One day I just decided to try another tool in Photoshop and realized that this halftone dot effect was something that I’d always needed to achieve an authentic vintage effect. Since then I just can’t stop, colored halftones are my passion! I can happily spend hours coloring my illustrations.

 

Rocky Horror Picture show art by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Which 3 people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party and why?

Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill maybe, to give them thanks for a great victory.

 

Playboy Bunnies illustration by Russian graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

Favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?

Well that’d be my Halloween Costume Winner sweatshirt. I just love it, this is the first sweatshirt that fits me!
( I wish I’d had this for my Halloween Lookbook! – Velvet )

 

Hobo and Sailor Halloween Costume Winner Sweatshirt

Halloween Pumpkin Pinup by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

Sveta’s Instagram feed is packed with incredible illustrations and is an easter egg hunt of pop culture and pinup personalities. Fans can find Mosh and the Vintage Vandal alongside the girls of Twin Peaks and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas. She also designs logos! I literally spend hours appreciating her adorable characters!

 

Mosh by Russian graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Girls of Twin Peaks by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Show Sveta Some Love

Instagram 
Hobo and Sailor / Flaming Mamie Store
Etsy Print Store

Who’s your favourite artist? Who should I interview next? Leave me a comment below letting me know which artists I should check out!

With Style and Sass,

           Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, 0 comments

See You Under The Mistletoe | A Christmas Pin Up

Merry Christmas Darling!

If you celebrate Christmas I hope you’re with those you love, doing things you love next week. In my case that’s family time with waaaaaay to much food, and cuddles with my niece and nephews. (Good thing we took these photos before the eating began!).

Please drive safely this festive season, have or be a sober driver and look after yourselves. If you have extra please think of those who aren’t so lucky. Christmas and the New Year can be a very tough or lonely time and it doesn’t take much to make a big difference in someone’s life.

On a lighter note – here’s me channeling Ms Claus! Should I put you on the naughty or the nice list this year ?

Vintage Christmas Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Is this what you wanted for Christmas? ( That little box sounds like diamonds, must be for me …)

1950's Christmas Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Photos | Bay Glamour
Model , HMUA | Velvet DeCollete

See you in the new year!
With style and sass,

          Velvet

PS: I post sneak previews and behind the scenes photos on my Instagram if you’d like to follow the fun!

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment
Pinup vs Personality | The Story Behind My Beauty School Dropouts Photoshoot

Pinup vs Personality | The Story Behind My Beauty School Dropouts Photoshoot

Maintaining balance in my pinup life is hard.

Earlier this year I met one of my Instagram followers in real life. We chatted for a while, and she said ” Oh my god you’re such a goof! I never would have guessed.” I was floored. How could you not know I’m a total dork?
That night I took a long look at my social media feeds – curated collections of professional photoshoots and event selfies – and realised how. My social media personality was unbalanced.

As a new pinup starting an Instagram profile, maintaining the illusion of  pinup perfection seemed vital. As if real pinups never went barefaced, and people would judge me if they knew I couldn’t wear makeup everyday. But trying to present only one side of my personality created an imbalance.

It’s a like building a house of cards; pay too much attention to one side and the whole tower will topple.

Since creating my social media profiles my concept of pinup has evolved. I’ve relaxed into my own brand of pinup, melding my kooky personality and glamour girl aesthetic. But the idea that I could NEVER post a makeup free selfie stuck, making sharing my daily life a no go. As a result, people who haven’t met me in person probably have NO IDEA what I’m really like.  I wanted to explore this personality vs appearance split in a photoshoot representing the concept.

pinup model Velvet DeCollete explores the two faces of pinup and her personaility in a photoshoot inspired by vintage playing card art - the Joker and the Queen of Hearts

A  deck of cards seemed the perfect analogy – The wildcard Joker and the regal Queen of Hearts packed into one box. A vintage box of course!

Inspired, I started working on pinup outfits inspired by 1950’s playing cards. You can find hundreds of examples on Pinterest , some of them works of art in their own right. The frolicking jesters and jokers below inspired my Joker costume. Aren’t they just darling!?

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The Beauty School Dropouts and photographer Tony McKay  brought my idea to life . Their photoshoot packages offer cheesecake and screen siren posing styles in the same session, so I could shoot both costumes but have continuity in hair and makeup. On the day Miss Monique Sweet helped me get to grips with the cheesecake style so different to my usual alternative and glamour work (she also picked that bubblegum pink backdrop!). Letting my goofy side out in front of the camera was more challenging than I expected!

After choosing my two favourite images, Tony edited them onto vintage playing cards. A harlequin clad Joker and a bombshell Queen of Hearts – two faces of the same deck.

The photos are so cute! The jester set became my campaign images for Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017, with a couple of Queen images making an appearance. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do with the cards yet, but I’d love to incorporate them into merch of some kind, what do you think? ( Seriously, would you like Velvet merch? Leave me a comment and let me know!)

Bright and crisp, the playing card photoset is markedly different from my other images, and I love how fun they are! Shooting with the Beauty School Dropouts and Tony had a bubbly, female focused environment. Fran working her makeover magic and pose coaching from Miss Viva Las Vegas 20 Monique makes it easy for anyone stepping out of their comfort zone. The photos were processed and delivered SUPER QUICK. 10/10 would shoot with the team again!

Velvet DeCollete is serving mid century jester realness in these cheesecake pinup photos by Tony McKay and the Beauty School Dropouts. Inspired by vintage playing card pin ups Velvet wears a Collectif clothing harlequin playsuit and custom made jester's ruff and frilly cuffs.

Velvet DeCollete is serving mid century jester realness in these cheesecake pinup photos by Tony McKay and the Beauty School Dropouts. Inspired by vintage playing card pin ups Velvet wears a Collectif clothing harlequin playsuit and custom made jester's ruff and frilly cuffs.

Velvet DeCollete is serving mid century jester realness in these cheesecake pinup photos by Tony McKay and the Beauty School Dropouts. Inspired by vintage playing card pin ups Velvet wears a Collectif clothing harlequin playsuit and custom made jester's ruff and frilly cuffs.

Joker Outfit Details

Playsuit | Atomic Harlequin Playsuit from Collectif Clothing (pom poms added by me)
Ruff and frilled cuffs | Velvet DeCollete
Shoes | Number One Shoes ( old collection)
Pom pom shoes clips | Velvet DeCollete
Belt | Forever New
Hair flowers | Fran Robertson Decorator of People & Things

Classic pin up girl velvet decollete poses in a 1950s black swimsuit with red roses while sheltering under a bright red parasol. Her brunette hair is in a poodle 'do with bumper bangs and she wears shiny red high heels

Classic pin up girl velvet decollete poses in a 1950s black swimsuit with red roses while sheltering under a bright red parasol. Her brunette hair is in a poodle 'do with bumper bangs and she wears shiny red high heels

Queen of Hearts Outfit Details

Swimsuit | Thrifted, altered and embellished by me
Shoes | Pinup Couture, bought second hand from Honey L’Amour
Crown in card image | Velvet DeCollete
Bangles | Borrowed from Fran!
Parasol | Gifted

Photography | Tony McKay Studios
Hair & Makeup | The Beauty School Dropouts

 

With Style & Sass,

    Velvet DeCollete

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 3 comments

Play Your Cards Right | Lingerie Review + Pinup Photoshoot

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Password please?

If you’re going to run illicit poker games, a derelict 1960’s camper van is the least suspicious location. And I’m all about subtlety…obviously…

The Shoot

This once cheery caravan was the quintessential backdrop to a 1960’s beach holiday. Froger and I made it anything but.
You see, photography locations aren’t about the hand you’re dealt, they’re about what you do with it. We do retro lingerie and grungy interiors, which means we make magic in locations others wouldn’t touch! I love that our shoots don’t use stereotypical pin up ‘pretty’ backdrops and studios.

The playing cards were among the scattered debris, covered in a layer of dust. Feeling nostalgic for the rainy day card games we put them to use. Playing in my knickers is the only way I’ll ever win at poker!

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Pip & Pantalaimon Lingerie Review

Can we talk about this Pip & Pantalaimon bodysuit for a sec? IT’S. SO.CUTE.

Froger calls it the Bubblegum outfit, It’s custom made to match those glossy white and pink heels. While the shoes in his kit are always too big for my teensy feet, this bodysuit was made to fit me ( and any other model he shoots my size, so get in there ladies! ). Made in white stretch mesh and satin, it sports hot pink trim – straps, garters and contrast stitching.

Soft cup bras are more comfortable on augmented breasts than underwires, and this is no exception. No digging or pinching here! The bodysuit feels soft and snug, like a firm hug, giving less compression than serious shapewear while still smoothing the silhouette.  As a seamstress I’m telling you the pink spiral stitching on the cups and front panel is PERFECT. I wish I had a close up to show you but the sun washed out the detail in these shots.

Basically, I’ll be spending some of my hard earned cash on their lingerie. Because it’s niiiiiiiiiiice. Because I believe in supporting small businesses. Because Froger won’t appreciate me stealing this from his kit. And because twelve clip garter belts. TWELVE CLIPS ladies, you have no idea of the comfort.

*As usual, I didn’t get paid or sponsored to gush about this. I just get excited about sharing stuff I love with you guys!*

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 If this taster left you wanting more I’d love you to check out the entire set on Froger’s website or in Issue 58 or Nylonzine!

Photos | Froger Photo
Bodysuit | Pip & Pantalaimon
Shoes | Unknown
Stockings | Thrifted
Clip on Ponytail | Hairquip

If you’re into alternative pinup and offbeat locations read these posts…

Tribute to John Willie
Gartersnap Girl

New Problems in Medical Ethics

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 2 comments