Imelda May at Birmingham Symphony Hall

She has the most incredible voice, which is capable of singing anything, from blues tinged numbers, Nashville inspired melodies to belting grunge style rock numbers, and last night Imelda May wowed Birmingham once again with a combination of her brilliant song book and a self deprecating sense of humour that explained the stories behind the songs in brilliant style.

Starting her set in torch singer style with the bluesy ‘Call Me’ and then continuing with ‘When it’s my time’, Imelda showed that her style has moved on from the rockabilly essence of her earlier albums. Now it seems like she has been listening to a lot of Janis Joplin and Bessie Smith and this is no bad thing, her gutsy, powerful voice is totally suited to belting out songs about passion and the wrong men, and songs like ‘How bad can a good girl be’ and ‘sixth sense’ show that no-one can sing a song about lust like Imelda can.

But there is so much more to her cannon than just songs about lust. She had the female side of the audience firmly on her side as she explained the story behind ‘human’, how she was fed up with songs asking women to be my baby, my darling, my princess, my angel and how she just wanted to be your human. ‘Big Bad handsome Man’ got the crowd dancing, whilst current hit ‘Should’ve been You’ – my current favourite song of the year, just had the crowd singing along as they held on to her every word.

The beautiful Symphony Hall is a majestic building, and Imelda did worry that it might stop people from dancing and standing up. She proclaimed that the people on the stage were the ‘roughest people in the house’ and that people should get up if they felt like it. It worked, with some of the audience heading into the aisles to dance, much to May’s delight.

The show had moments of real emotion, with the beautiful ‘Black Tears’ a real weepy and a definite highlight. But it was the story behind ‘Love and Fear’, which had its roots in losing friends in the Bataclan shooting that was a real moment, with May close to tears before performing the song to storming effect. In light of what was happening in Manchester at the same time it takes on an additional, tragic poignancy.

Ending with two songs that highlight her versatility, a raucous version of ‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’ and the beautiful acoustic ‘The girl I used to be’, Imelda May showed why she is one of the most talented and revered artists in music at the moment. Definitely one to cherish.

 

Style Icons 2012 – Imelda May’s Maternity Style

My second focus in my style icons of 2012 is the Queen of rockabilly, the incomparable Imelda May. Imelda, who channels vintage glamour and red lips at all times, didn’t let the little fact of being pregnant throughout most of 2012 dampen her style. She decided that pregnancy called for animal print…and lots of it.

I adore Imelda, I love that she maintained her same high standards of glamour and sex appeal throughout her pregnancy, a time when many women feel it is OK to wear anything as long as you are comfortable. Like Imelda, I wanted to keep my usual style during pregnancy, but even four years ago when I had my child there seemed fewer options if you were already naturally curvy. Today, most of the High Street are producing maternity ranges, and these are not just about jeans with belly bump elastication or combat trousers.

With Kate Middleton pregnant, maternity fashion will have a new focus, but for now, I salute Imelda, Queen of maternity dressing.

 

Get the look

John Zack Maternity Leopard Print Bodycon Dress £20 click to visit New Look

Seraphine Cleo Maternity Dress, Animal Print £49 click to visit John Lewis

Francesca Maternity Dress £109.00 click to visit Isabella Oliver

Ruched Midi Maternity Dress £89.25 click to visit Isabella Oliver

Animal Print Cardigan (Maternity) £28 click to visit Next

Cream & Black Tie Front Dress (Maternity) £34 click to visit Next

 

 

 

 

 

V festival fashion- who was top of the pops?

For many festivals have become as much about watching the fashion as about the music. In the case of this years V festival I can say it was probably more interesting. As someone who loves Oasis, Kasabian, The Killers, Strokes etc, I can say that guitar bands seem to be in short supply, and there was an awful lot of pop and R&B/Rap on the menu. But festival style seems to improve each year. Here are some of my favourites, both on and off the stage.

Rihanna

I loved that Rihanna flew the flag in this cute Union Jack crop top. She has the body to make anything look good, and as usual, the girl was simply gorgeous. I also loved her slightly bouncy ‘Dallas’ hairstyle.

Some stars are always worth watching at festivals for what outfit they pull from the fashion hat. Paloma Faith is one, and Imelda May is another. I just adored her tight-fitting stripped dress with waist cinching belt and  1950s ponytail. So classy – she just stands out from the crowd.

Another star whose individualistic style I adore is Shingai from the Noisettes. This year I think her outfit was some kind of tribute to Grace Jones. Red, futuristic, fringed and gorgeous – you just have to love this girl.

I was also impressed by the styling of Ellie Goulding. I’m not usually a fan, but this combination of cool white shirt and black hotpants was sharply chic. With her blonde locks and those fab leopard print boots,this recalled the likes of cool girls Debbie Harry and Patti Smith.

Off stage there were also some pretty fantastic styling going on. I was surprised to love the glamorous outfit worn by TOWIE’ s Sam Faiers. Top marks too for wearing a fab pendant from Zara Taylor, who I featured on fashion-mommy last week. Sam’s boots were just about the prettiest of the whole weekend.  Another surprise was the outfit worn by Tina O Brian, who just looked adorable in white cotton.

I personally think dresses are a great story at summer festivals. Mylene Klass showed that maxis are perfect festival wear in a tropical print effort, whilst Daisy Lowe and Billie Piper both looked fabulous in shorter dresses. Billie and Mylene both show that for a cover up – you can’t go far wrong with a leather jacket.

Well, what do you think? Who was the best dressed at this years festival. Leave a comment about your favourite.