Petit Déjeuner: On Balance

Disneyrollergirl Frankie

The latest in the DRG Petit Déjeuner series is a portrait study of dance student Frankie, who practices her poses in this season’s Studio Nicholson

It’s 11am on a blisteringly cold February Saturday. The roses outside our window are shivering in a London deluge, but we’re radiator-toasty and enjoying the scene in front of us. 16-year-old ballet student and model Frankie is balancing on one leg on a velvet sofa in oversized pinstripe trousers, a merino wool polo and socks. With zen-like focus, she stretches into an arabesque and holds her pose, until a momentary wobble sends her off-balance.

It’s a fitting life metaphor. We’ve spent the morning talking ballet, ambition and motivation – aka the all-consuming concerns of a dancer-in-training. At 9, Frankie got the ballet bug and by 16 had spent seven years dedicated to honing her craft. More dance beckons as she contemplates further studies at upper school, adding musical theatre and jazz to the mix.

For this Petit Déjeuner shoot, we called on another scholar of balance, playing with the off-kilter proportions of Studio Nicholson SS18. A masterclass in masculine-feminine synergy, there are upsized tweed check jackets, knee-grazing poplins, a pinafore skirt-dress and a starched white shirt that calls to mind both schoolgirl and school mistress.

This is the pleasure of dressing up and the joy of a Studio Nicholson collection. This unstructured jacket even looks cool flipped upside down Galliano-style (yes, I tried it). Part of the appeal of Studio Nicholson is designer Nick Wakeman’s nerdish knowledge of menswear. Cuts, fabrics, details; that passion and know-how are poured into her signature tailoring, styled with a relaxed, feminine ease. To accessorise: one of Sophie Hulme’s boxy saddle leather bags and Coops’ understated press-on earrings.

To balance the boyish proportions against Frankie’s fine-boned features, make-up artist Christabel Draffin zones in on the eyes. Are you getting Audrey vibes? A little bit Francoise Hardy? That ingenue effect comes courtesy of a carefully inked eye flick via NARS and Stila (stay tuned for Christabel’s how-to), while hair stylist Fabio Vivan offsets Frankie’s poise with natural movement and a silk bow.

Four hours later, job done. Frankie transforms back into her own character and every-teen uniform of jeans and Nikes. Where to spend the rest of the day for this impassioned tiny dancer? Why, the theatre of course. With uncontained glee, she bids her goodbyes and heads off for a long-anticipated matinee of Hamilton…

Petit Déjeuner is a collaboration between Disneyrollergirl and Emma Miranda Moore. We create films and editorial shoots based around mornings, beginnings and reinventions. See all our Petit Déjeuner stories here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Emma Miranda Moore
WORDS AND STYLING: Navaz Batliwalla
HAIR: Fabio Vivan at Emma Davies
MAKE-UP: Christabel Draffin at Emma Davies
MODEL: Frankie at Linden Staub
CLOTHES: Studio Nicholson; belt, Margaret Howell; sweater; COS; bag, Sophie Hulme; earrings, Coops
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman