DIAMONDS

Visual collaboration with: Anne Sophie Malmberg

I am hugely inspired by illustrator and visual artist Anne Sophie Malmberg.

One summer in collaboration with Jules Beckman at Ponderosa Dance, she was piling costumes and materials onto bodies to create sensual, grotesque ‘puppet bodies’ that shed layers as they moved, and created a surreal landscape of changing images. 

Not strictly a costumer, Sophie's many talents include improvisation. I invited her to collaborate on The Sand Dog Cometh solo, and we decided to leave a hole in my piece for whatever we might create together. 

 

It was a rabbit hole into the notorious female fashion spotted in Liverpool nightlife and youth culture. As two foreigners who grew up in 1970's feminism, this look is as alien and indecipherable to us as it is fascinating. My reference points for that level of glamour are stage makeup for ballet and theatre.

 

Sophie spent the costume budget at Primark and Liverpool’s legendary St John’s market. We pushed the look to an extreme, to create an experience somewhere between Drag Race and a Sacha Baron Cohen film.

 

Climbing into fake nails, lashes, 'Scouse brows', hair extensions, spray tans, fake furs, plastic jewels, vibrant florals, and diamante encrusted platform trainers, we felt incredible. It was body art, and it gained our respect for its audacity, invincible spirit, and unapologetic fun. Each day we inched nearer the city centre, plonking a Bluetooth speaker on the pavement to dance to Rihanna’s megahit Diamonds.

 

By the end of the week, we were performing for teenagers in the heart of Liverpool's shopping centre. (And asked to leave by security).

Sophie's documentation became a music video that was woven into my solo performance.

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Photo: Sophie Malmberg
Photo: Sophie Malmberg

Smiling in my garden, wearing wine coloured fake fur coat, big chunky metal flower necklace, tropical dress; my hair extensions in a large bun and heavy brow makeup match fake fur colour

Photo: Sophie Malmberg
Photo: Sophie Malmberg

I'm looking up, hands by my ears to frame my face. Fake flowers surround the large bun on my head. Orange and pink fake fur cuffs, wine coloured fake fur sleeves, hair extensions and heavy brow makeup

Photo: Sophie Malmberg
Photo: Sophie Malmberg

Close up of two faces in full makeup and costume. I'm sitting next to Sophie on the bus to the shopping centre, where we will dance

Photo: Sophie Malmberg
Photo: Sophie Malmberg

Smiling in my garden, wearing wine coloured fake fur coat, big chunky metal flower necklace, tropical dress; my hair extensions in a large bun and heavy brow makeup match fake fur colour

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Photos by Anne Sophie Malmberg