The Bright Young Things were the socialite press dahlings of 1920’s London and the epitome of artistic excess. They were an eclectic set of aristocrat creatives – poets, painters, novelists and intellectuals – and inspired the artists, writers and journalists of their time.
A visit to Charleston, the Sussex retreat of the Bloomsbury Set, was the starting point for Simon Webster Hair's (SWH) BYT shoot. The house and garden are brimming with vibrant object d’art and collectibles, rich tapestries, vibrant frescoes and mosaic. From the seclusion of Charleston’s gardens, the Bloomsbury Set could hear the booming canons of the Second World War carrying across from France. It was a surreal paradox; living life to the fullest and without consequence in a world of turmoil.
In Charleston they could live without restriction or judgement. It was a place that embraced freedom of expression, freedom of sexuality and freedom of lifestyle. The residents and guests at Charleston played with gender roles, turned social constraints on their head and challenged preconception and expectation. They were rebels, leaders and subversives.
It seems that every generation has it’s own Bright Young Things – beacons of creativity and humour in what are otherwise serious times. In the era of Brexit, Trump and fake news, Simon and the SWH Art Team wanted to celebrate the BYTs of today. For the here and now. It was the beginning of BYT4C21.
SWH assembled a collective of clients and friends from their community who embody Brighton’s own Bright Young Things. They are an eclectic group of creatives and innovators who inspire the team and the work they do. And with them as their models, SWH paid homage to the Bright Young Things of the 1920's who came a hundred years earlier.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde
The Bright Young Things
Simon directed BYT4C21, with the SWH Art Team delivering their editorial deconstruction of 1920’s style. The team were Simon, Lora, Dan, Hayley and Rhiannon.
The hair was purposefully paired down to soft lines, classic shapes and natural texture. Styling was understated with minimal products used to give shine, grittiness or hold where needed to keep the looks natural. The colour palette was left muted on the whole, to add brilliance or depth without distracting from the style.
But the shoot wasn’t about the hair. It was about the models themselves. The characters behind the looks. The Bright Young Things…
Alice; pole-dancing, Stetson-toting drag king Max Legroom… Rebecca; C21 North Laine mod and vintage connoisseur… Jordan; musician and model… Zara; Motown aficionado, singer and indie-child… Peter; artisan jeweller and horologist… Megan; international model and bookbinder… Jason; dancer, fashionista and Madame Jo-Jo’s icon, Venus.
Bright Young Things: BYT4C21 was shot on-location at Sussex Square and Palmeira Square, as well as in-studio at Studio By Sea. Xoe Kinglsey was on make-up with Kenny McCracken working his magic with the camera. Clothing was provided by the models, with styling by Jason and Peter.
The shoot references the anti-fashion fashion that is synonymous with SWH shoots and stage work. And launches 2019 – what promises to be an even more exciting year in the journey of the SWH Team and their community.