NATALIE B COLEMAN IS A BONAFIDE STYLE ICON
If ever a designer’s aesthetic epitomised my style, it’s Natalie B Coleman‘s. It’s the imperfect mix of tongue-in-cheek femininity and offbeat quirk that gets me drooling over Natalie’s designs time and time again. It’s a strange thing being a feminist and LOVING pink. I adore it. It’s my go-to hue and first port of call when I want to feel flirty and feminine BUT I hate traditionally ‘girly’ clothes. You will not catch me dead in a Carrie Bradshaw-inspired tutu or a pair of stilettos. I don’t do dressed up on a night out. I adore tea dresses and retro shifts but the chosen footwear must add edge. This Natalie B Coleman dress doesn’t do feminine in halves. And I don’t do feminism in halves. Like Polly Vernon‘s new book Hot Feminist and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s manifesto We Should All be Feminists, I don’t believe wearing makeup and dresses somehow devalues my authenticity as a feminist. In her famous Ted Talk about feminism in 2014, the incredible author of my one of my all-time favourite novels, Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie depicts the word feminism as laden with meaning and how she experimented with different terms to describe herself; the Happy Feminist, the Happy African Feminist, the Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men and the Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men and Who Likes to Wear Lip Gloss and High Heels for Herself and Not For Men. You get the idea. Feminism is feminism, no matter what way you dress. And this dress makes me so happy. I hate lip gloss, by the way. I’m much more of a matte lip aficionado.
WEARING NATALIE B COLEMAN IS GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Neoprene is without a doubt one of my favourite fabrics. I’m not sporty. You may be interested in the fact that in spite of this fact, I do have a sporty sister. A very sporty sister indeed. So sporty that she competed in two Olympics and reached the final of the 1997 World Championships. This, although being a major source of pride, serves to highlight the fact that I am not sporty at all. I recently discovered I most likely have Dyspraxia (cue light bulb moment as the protagonist in the film version of my life story, played by Scarlett Johansson, finally makes sense of her life) and I’m not partial to a long sunny walk on the weekend or any day of the week for that matter. Yet the simple act of wearing neoprene makes me feel sporty. Paired with my Nike Air Force 1s, it’s like a mental placebo, tricking myself into thinking I’m about to break out a sweat in a vigorous game of ‘throw the boot’ or ‘touch the nose’ (the only games I’ve ever truly excelled at). You don’t know these ones? You’re missing out. Natalie designs for the woman I want to be. Not exactly Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl but someone who wears a metaphorical pair of ass-kicking New Rocks but in pink. You know what I’m saying? I’m sweet-not-saccharine with a hint of edge.And I love pink. Now excuse me while I change into my gym gear.
All photos taken by Steven Paul Richardson, a man of many talents, a keen visage and an improper amount of patience, especially in the rain. He also makes a great Shepherd’s Pie.