Luxurious simplicity united with artisan tailoring launched Cristobel Balenciaga into the rarefied world of global haute couture. The Palais Galliera pays homage to the couturiers’ couturier with the Spanish designer being celebrated at the elegant Musée Bourdelle in Paris, a superb museum that is home to extraordinary sculptures, photos and drawings.
The retrospective traces Balenciaga’s Spanish childhood that was the inspiration for many of his designs – particularly those in Black – that reflected the folklore and traditions of his upbringing. Balenciaga’s tailoring skills are legendary: he launched the balloon dress (1950), the tunic dress (1955), and the sack dress (1957).
The exhibition includes stunning examples of his suits, jackets, capes, and quiet understatement in evening outfits and cocktail dresses. Balenciaga’s designs were austere – almost monastic – yet were so powerful because of the construction in silk velvet, lace, silk taffeta and fine wools. Over one hundred pieces from The Galliera Collections and Maison Balenciaga archives are included in the exhibition. Both Balenciaga L’Oeuvre au Noir and Musée Bourdelle are a must see! Through 16 July 2017. www.bourdelle.paris.frJG
Top image: Balenciaga Veste et robe 1965-1966 Collection Palais Galliera – Julien Vidal/Galliera/Roger-Viollet
London’s optical fair 100% has announced the shortlisted designs in its annual design competition in collaboration with the RCA. The finalists are: Tabitha Ringwood (1st Year Womenswear – Footwear); Annie Foo (1st Year Womenswear – Footwear); Hazel Stark (2nd Year Textiles – Print); Louis Alderson-Bythell (2nd Year Womenswear – Footwear); Alice Potts (1st Year Womenswear – Footwear) and Becky Hong (1st Year Millinery).
Visionary 2017 is an eyewear design project directed by Accessories, Footwear & Millinery tutor Flora McLean in collaboration with 100% Optical, to highlight new talent and creativity in the field of eyewear design. This year, the competition asked students to consider the wearer and their activities and lifestyle, by designing one piece for a specific person and specific usage.
Above: Project name: My Tribe – by Becky Hong
In its fourth year, the competition is judged by a panel of eyewear experts from the British eyewear industry including Jason Kirk (of Kirk & Kirk), Tom Broughton (Cubitts) and Lawrence Jenkins (eyewear designer). The RCA finalists’ prototypes will be on display at 100% Optical in February when the winner will also be announced. For more information visit www.100percentoptical.comCN
Art frequently influences eyewear, and frames can be an inspiration for art. Belgian artist Luc Tuymans paints a range of subject matter from major historical events to the everyday. His latest work is the phenomenon of spectacles as his muse. As he says:”I have always enjoyed painting glasses. glasses bring a kind of distortion to the face…it is a strange instrument and practically a universal theme. The banality of glasses receives a different meaning when you paint them. When at a certain point I was looking through all the portraits I’ve painted up to now, I was amazed to discover that there were glasses in three quarters of them. This is certainly not a conscious choice…glasses radically change the physiognomy of a face, but are not perceived as a radical change.” Top image: Portrait by Luc Tuymans, 2000; Private Collection; Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London
A larger exhibition of Tuymans work is concurrently on view at the Museum aan de Stroom in Antwerp. The artist is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential contemporary painters working today. His work deals with how history and memory is translated into paint, and how we perceive people and things. The exhibition continues through 2 April 2017. www.npg.org.ukJG
A chance visit to the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts – The MAK – produced an unexpected and delightful surprise – a retrospective on Austrian eyewear designer Robert La Roche. From the early 1970’s to the turn of the century, the Vienna-born designer captivated the international fashion, film and eyewear world with his pioneering designs. Robert La Roche: Personal View effectively displays the ingenuity, craftsmanship, and creativity of his eyewear, with the unique colourations, shapes and textures that heralded a new direction in frame design.
In addition to hundreds of La Roche frames on display, design drawings, advertisements, magazine editorials and photographs are also included in the exhibit. Marketing was a forte of Robert La Roche, and some of his campaigns are now as legendary as the glasses themselves.
Another highlight was a series of talks and forums open to the public at the MAK. Participants in one event included Christian Wolf from ROLF Spectacles in The Tyrol. Christian and Christoph Egger from Gloryfy spoke on a panel with La Roche, and gave Austrian insight into creating eyewear in today’s marketplace. Christian commented: “It was an honour to be invited to have a discussion with Robert himself, an icon regarding eyewear design and distribution – not only in Austria. The discussion was very interesting as we sell different markets, the marketing is different, and we had a lot to share. There was also an eyewear show with designers from a Vienna school. For me, as marketing manager of ROLF, the exhibition is great because of his advertising campaigns; the collaborations with his work are inspiring. It was a great chance to get tips and tricks from Robert! For all eyewear addicts, I highly recommend this exhibition.”
On the occasion of the exhibition, La Roche commented: “I’d say I’ve had the pleasure of making four million customers not only see better, but also look better…it’s how I sum up my life’s work. Everyone of those frames bears my name, as well as the word ‘Vienne’ – a little reference to the city of their origin, a metropolis of creativity, culture and design.” Robert La Roche: Personal View continues at the MAK through 24th September. If readers are fortunate to visit Vienna and the MAK, you can also enjoy the enchanting Fashion Utopias: Haute Couture in the Graphic Arts. This is a charming collection of graphic artworks from the late 15th Century to the 1930’s. Haute Couture existed long before the 20th Century! More details on both exhibitions at www.MAK.atwww.rolf-spectacles.com JG
Photo: top image Robert La Roche sunglasses model S-49 Photo Gerhard Heller, ca. 1976
What goes on beneath beautiful designer fashion creations is sometimes even a more sensual, fascinating harmony of sumptuous materials and colours. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London explores the personal, fashionable journey of underwear’s roles in Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.
More than two hundred examples of underwear for men and women are featured – from the homemade to the fabulously luxurious. On display are corsets (top image), hosiery, lingerie and nightwear, plus contextual fashion plates, photographs, advertisements and packaging.
Rare 18th Century hooped petticoats are also featured alongside crinolines and bustles. Long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria’s mother; floral embroidered stockings worn by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII; and Schiaparelli nylon stockings from 1953 emphasise the practical, as well as the alluring. Designer pieces by Rigby and Peller, La Perla, Stella McCartney and Paul Smith are also highlighted. The exhibition also demonstrates how underclothes and nightclothes morphed into loungewear, with the continuing desire for comfort at home, and a blurring of the line between underwear and outerwear, public and private.
Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A curated Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. The intriguing presentation reveals how underwear can be created to transform or provoke, and it is impressive. The exhibition, sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon, continues through 12 March 2017. www.vam.ac.uk/undressedJG
Photos: All images courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum
The elegant gardens of the Villa Da Schio and its much loved flower show – “Oltre il giardino” – provided the perfect surroundings for designer Lucia Pasin’s collection of Flower Glasses and Sunglasses the weekend before last near Vicenza. LU.PA studio welcomed friends and opticians to the event which takes place in May each year and features flower stalls and exhibitors specialising in antiques, artisan gifts and handmade jewellery.
The original designs by LU.PA Studio, inspired by Pasin’s brightly coloured floral paintings, include statement cateye shapes and bold round frames – for men and women.
LU.PA studio – from Belluno – was created in 2012 and the first collection, Antheia, was launched in February 2015, featuring six individualistic models in 24 colours/patterns. All the frames are designed and produced from start to finish in northern Italy. The 18th century Villa da Schio is a historic Venetian-style villa – home to the Trento and da Schio families for over 300 years – with splendid gardens and sculptures by Orazio Marinali. For more information visit www.lupastudio.it / www.villadaschio.itCN
An antique eyewear collection which includes 62 spectacles from Europe and China through the centuries will go on sale at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia later this month. The earliest example in the historic collection is from circa 1790, whilst the latest spectacles included date from the 1940s. A few items described as “very rare examples”, include opticians’ diagnostic and measuring tools. The collection will be available to view on the Voyager Press stand at Olympia from the 26th to 28th May 2016 and carries a price tag of £4,950.
Described as an unique opportunity to purchase a ready made collection of eyewear of the highest standard, it illustrates the history of spectacles from the late 1700s, through the 1800s and up to the mid-1900s. The collection covers the making of optical lenses and frames and the shifts in trends and mindsets towards eyewear over the centuries.
Highlights include some of the earliest tinted glasses and fold up spectacles, glasses which attached to the ear by a string, 10 pince-nez and a very rare pair of early 19th century surgeon’s magnifying glasses with large square lenses. For more information: www.voyager-press.comCN
What devoted fashion follower wouldn’t love to roam in the archives of the Palais Galliera in Paris? Now the next best thing is possible. The Museum opens an exhibition on 14th May displaying a selection of garments with fashion and historical connections. The rich variety reflects the essence of the fashion treasures the museum has collected over the years.
Examples include items worn by Marie-Antoinette; Napoleon’s waistcoat; a dress belonging to George Sand; Sarah Bernhardt’s cape; an outfit by Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn; Tilda Swinton’s pyjama suit; and a dress from the Duchess of Windsor’s wardrobe – among other notable garments with historical associations.
Accessories are also included in this collection, and the identification with people who wore them further highlights these heritage pieces. Anatomy of a Collection is at Palais Galliera 14th May through 23rd October 2016. More info at www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr JG
Top photo: Christian Dior by Yves Stain Laurent wedding dress for Geneviève Page 1959 Collection Palais Galliera Eric Poitevin/ADAGP 2016
An intriguing exhibition – featuring a group of Contemporary Artists – opens Friday 1st April in New York City in trendy TriBeCa. Painting, sculpture, and installations will feature in the event, with contributions by individualistic, international artists. The cultural diversity of the participants brings fresh, original perspective to each presentation. The event is held in collaboration with shhhim (www.shhhim.com) which encourages and supports artists in promoting their work. Mixed-media artist and sculptor Constance Chabieres has been involved with art programmes for UNICEF in Asia and Africa. Her work is inspired by nature, colour, light, street style and people on the streets. Movement and rhythm highlight her creations, including the bronze sculpture above. www.chabrieres.net
Swedish/Lebanese Sara Badr Schmidt is presenting a work that she began ten years ago and continues “as a work in progress”, says the Paris-based artist. The concept is to show the limits of borders, but also the enrichment that different cultures compound. Borderless – the title of the installation project – are photos printed on canvas and mounted on light boxes, with some enhanced by a sound track. www.sarabadrschmidt.com
Among other artists exhibiting are Jerry Atkins, Sami Basbous, Rafik Majzoub and Brett Wallace. The exhibition continues through 18th April at 481 Washington Street, New York City 10013. Tel: +1 917 621 63 89. JG
A new exhibition opened at the V&A this week entitled Silver Speaks: Idea to Object. Curated by Corinne Julius, it celebrates the exceptional level of creativity and skill in British silversmithing. Presenting new works by 18 members of the Contemporary British Silversmiths (CBS), the objective is to offer visitors a snapshot of the craft in Britain today encompassing designs which show a variety of techniques and applications, from the traditional to the cutting edge. Above: Two Bowls – Hand raised and fabricated in Sterling Silver by Juliette Bigley – “Two bowls represents two contrasting interpretations of the archetypal bowl form playing particularly with ideas of inside and outside and the space that lies between these two opposites.”
Silver Speaks: Idea to Object takes place until 31st January 2017, in the Silver Galleries, V&A, London. Silver Speaks: Idea to Object is part of an 11-month programme of events organised by CBS. Further information at www.contemporarybritishsilversmiths.org/ and www.vam.ac.ukCN
British Vogue Magazine – the arbiter of cutting-edge fashion – celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Beauty and portrait photography are featured with over two hundred and eighty remarkable images from The Condé Nast archive.
Since 1916, British Vogue has continuously been at the forefront of communicating the latest in bon vivant style and elegance, as well as narrating the lively arts and society. Vintage prints from the early twentieth century, photos from renowned fashion shoots, and unpublished works are brought together for an exhilarating retrospective of this iconic magazine.
The twentieth-century shaped the fashion landscape with amazing photographers – including Lee Miller, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Snowdon. Their works are included, along with celebrated photographers Mario Testino, Tim Walker, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Herb Ritts and David Bailey. Through the decades, British Vogue reported on the upcoming and creative talents of the time – that defined the century’s progression in fashion, style and social trends. From Henri Matisse to Francis Bacon; Lucian Freud; Marlene Dietrich; Lady Diana Cooper to Lady Diana Spencer; Fred Astaire to David Beckham; and fashion luminaries Christian Dior, Saint Laurent, and Alexander MeQueen, are just a few treasured experiences.
Vogue 100: A Century of Style is a memorable, imaginative journey through ten decades of exceptional photography capturing fashion, people and places with artistic style. Vogue 100: A Century of Style is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 11 February – 22 May 2016 sponsored by Leon Max www.npg.org.ukJG
Top image: Kirsi Pyrhonen in Mongolia by Tim Walker, 2001 Copyright Tim Walker
Tall, elegant and aristocratic, Countess Jacqueline de Ribes (born 1929) is recognised as one of the celebrated fashion personas of the 20th Century. Her statuesque silhouette was a designer’s dream; and style was in her genes – as a child de Ribes loved to play “dress up”…and carried this radiant imagination into adulthood.
The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is staging an exhibition of designs from the Countess’s opulent personal wardrobe, including dresses that she created for her own company from 1982-1995. She was consistently on The Best Dressed List and respected for her originality and superb style and manner.
A multi-faceted woman, de Ribes was also a theatrical impresario, a TV producer, and she helped organise Museum and Charity events. Nature conservation and environmental protection were also among her pioneering projects. The exhibition also includes videos, photos and personal effects. Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style is a fascinating glimpse into the life and boundless style of a truly elegant woman. Continues until 21st February 2016. www.metmuseum.orgJG
Photos: Top image: Jacqueline de Ribes 1955 by Richard Avedon The Richard Avedon Foundation Middle image: Photograph by Victor Skrebneski, Skrebneski Photograph 1983 Bottom image: Photography by David Lees, David Lees/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
The paintings of the celebrated artist Pablo Picasso set world records at auctions. However, now there is a way to enjoy and cherish the master’s work at reasonable prices. Marc de Ladoucette is a porcelain specialist who has the authorisation of Mr Claude Picasso to use the Spanish artists’s work on products created from Limoges, renowned for finely crafted decorative objects since the 18th Century.
Top image: La-Joie-de-Vivre by Picasso – Galerie Marc de Ladoucette
Some of Picasso’s most important works – including “La Magie Picasso” – are translated on vases, plates – from dinner services to beautiful serving platters – candles and teacups. The items are available in Limited Editions – and sold in only a few prestigious shops around the world, including The Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City – www.gagosian.com – and Renby in Tel Aviv – www.renby.co.il Picasso on Porcelain – unique items to bring art, magic and elegance to your table and your home. www.marc-de-ladoucette.comJG
Her wardrobe – as well as her life – was the toast and talk of Paris. Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe (1860-1952) was the epitome of elegance, with an exquisite, enviable wardrobe, the focus of a stunning exhibition at Palais Galleria in Paris. She was an avid patron of the arts, promoting and encouraging James Whistler; Auguste Rodin and Gustave Moreau; and the ballet impresario Diaghilev and his Ballet Russes. The Countess was also a supporter of composer Gabriel Fauré, and his Pavane was premiered at a garden party in the Bois de Boulogne that she organised. In addition, she produced and promoted operas including Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and Twilight of the Gods.
Proust immortalised her for posterity as the Duchess of Guermantes in Proust’s novel A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time). The Countess captivated Parisian society with her tireless activities and her glorious wardrobe. She was a fascinating, slender figure in an alluring cloud of tulle, gauze, chiffon and feathers, or in her velvet coats and kimono jackets. The Palais Gallieria displays fifty dresses worn by the Countess, designed by grand couturiers including Fortuny, Worth, Lanvin and Babani.
There are evening and day dresses, coats, accessories, portraits, photographs and films. The exhibition is a marvellous invitation to go “in search of lost fashion”, and to become acquainted with the divine Countess, whose image was inescapably linked with her luxurious wardrobe. La Mode Retrouvée (FashionRegained) Dresses of Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe opens 7th November and continues until 20th March 2016. www.palaisgalliera.paris.frJG
Top image: Photographie de Otto, la comtesse Greffulhe dans une robe de bal, veers 1887 Copyright Otto/Galliera/Roger-Viollet
Fashion, portrait and still life images by Irving Penn (1917-2009), are among the photography masterpieces in black-and-white and colour on display at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. The exhibition is the first retrospective in twenty years of the photographer who captured street scenes from the American South; fine-art fashion photos; still life and celebrity portraits; and photos made for magazine editorials and commercial advertising; including previously unseen images.
Penn’s photographic career spanned nearly seventy years, and at Vogue magazine, Penn’s portraits and fashion images defined 1950’s elegance. There are approximately one hundred fifty photos, plus Super 8mm films of Penn in Morocco, made by his wife – who was a model – Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn – that add a dynamic insight into the artist at work.
Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty opens at The Smithsonian American Art Museum on 23rd October, and continues through 20th March 2016 – it will then travel to several cities across America. The exhibition beautifully celebrates Penn’s photographic legacy as a modern master of his craft. For info on The Smithsonian click on www. americanart.si.edu. For Exhibition details – www.americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2015/irving_penn/.JG
Photos: Top image – Irving Penn Leontyne Price New York, 1961 Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation Copyright Condé Nast Ball Dress: Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation Copyright Condé Nast Young Boy: Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation Copyright The Irving Penn Foundation
National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Audrey Hepburn
1st September 2015 Actress, humanitarian, and icon – Audrey Hepburn is one of the most fascinating and memorable women of the 20th Century. Born in Holland, she began her career as a dancer and chorus girl in London’s West End. She evolved into an inspiring and glamorous international movie star, and teamed for years with Hubert de Givenchy in a famous style marriage. Her later life culminated in remarkable philanthropic work, including Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The National Portrait Gallery pays homage to this extraordinary woman with photos that span her life from a nine-year-old – through to her last major photo shoot in 1991. These are beautiful and reflective photos from leading photographers including Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Terry O’Neill, and Norman Parkinson.
The exhibition has been organised with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate and her sons, Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer. Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is a memorable show that highlights a truly exceptional, iconic woman. Until 18th October. www.npg.org.ukJG
Photos: Top image: Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland 1966 Copyright Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland Audrey Hepburn in pink Givenchy Copyright Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly by Howell Conant, published on the cover of Jours de France, 27 January 1962
25th August 2015Opened nearly thirty years ago in New York City, Periyali restaurant continues to gather rave reviews. Proprietor Nicola Kotsoni, originally from the Greek island of Zakynthos, conveyed her love of the island’s cuisine…to the island of Manhattan. All the entrees are individually prepared, and diners can savour classic dishes that include: Spanakopita, Moussaka, and grilled Calamari – along with other Greek specialities. The wine list is extensive – with a wonderful collection of champagnes – including Dom Perignon- and superior Greek wines, plus American and international selections.
The ambience at Periyali (which means “seashore”) welcomes diners to the tranquility and beauty of the Greek Islands, with its fresh décor, and inviting sky lit garden. Nicola loves to entertain – and she personally oversees every detail – including selecting the most beautiful flowers for her famous and original designs. For traditional Greek cuisine, Periyali represents the best of culinary delights from the Hellenic Islands. www.periyali.comJG
1st August 2015Christian Dior revolutionized fashion history in 1947, when he presented his first haute couture collection. In a post-war era, where many countries were still on rations and rebuilding, Dior marked the start of a dramatic era and the triumph of femininity with his “New Look” and legendary silhouette. The Bar suit, with its black full skirt, and wasp waist ecru jacket, became both the manifesto and the icon. Marion Cotillard (above) wearing the Bar suit 2012 features in the museum poster.
Dior’s childhood home – Villa les Rhumbs, in Granville, Normandy – with its beautiful garden and seaside location was an inspiration for him. The villa is now a museum and hosts the exhibition Dior, The New Look Revolution, which include photographs and archives, and reveals the complexity of the silhouette’s architecture. To celebrate the occasion, Laurence Benaïm has written a book Dior, The NewLook Revolution, published by Rizzoli. It’s nearly seventy years since Dior introduced his “New Look” – however, his amazingly engineered silhouette, with its timeless feminine shape, is spot on trend in the latest Dior collection – a 21st Century interpretation of a legacy. The exhibition continues through 1st November 2015. www.musee-dior-granville.com JG
Photo of Marion Cotillard by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
1st July 2015 Established fashion capitals – Paris, New York, Milan and London – make headlines each season as models strut the catwalk showing the latest creations by leading designers. These destinations and emerging cities that include among others, Berlin, Istanbul, Seoul, Stockholm, Russia, Mexico, and Sao Paulo – are the theme of an intriguing exhibition, Global Fashion Capitals, at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City.
The show examines the rise of emerging cities to global prominence, and supports the theory that fashion communicates identity and spreads cultural influence throughout the world. Fashion weeks continue to multiply as cities also realise the economic value of the fashion industry. More than seventy garments and accessories from designers including Coco Chanel, Chrsitian Dior, Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Alexandre Herchcovitch from Brazil, and Christian Louboutin’s amazing stilettos, demonstrates the scope and power of the fashion industry.
Global Fashion Capitals is a stylish tribute to the international reach of today’s fashion creators. Certainly an exhibition to visit if in New York City. Continues through 14th November 2015. www.fitnyc.edu Top image: Homo Consommatus Ensembles Spring 2015 St. Petersburg Gift of Homo Consommatus JG
1st June 2015“Shoes are one of the most telling aspects of dress. Beautiful, sculptural objects, they are also powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste and even sexual preference. Our choice in shoes can help project an image of who we want to be,” says Helen Persson, Exhibition Curator for Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.
Included in this splendid show are shoes from the unrivalled collection at the V& A, plus international collections, and wardrobes of private individuals. Shoes worn by or associated with high profile figures including Queen Victoria, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Beckham and the Hon Daphne Guinness, among others, are featured. The famous ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes are on display. Footwear for men and women by seventy designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Vivienne Westwood and Jimmy Choo will also feature in the more than two-hundred pairs of shoes included in the exhibition.
Shoes from ancient Egypt, men’s shoes from India, shoe fashions from the European royal courts, and today’s trend-setting designers provide amazing examples of footwear through the centuries. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is the latest in a continuing series of fascinating fashion presentations at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition opens on 13 June and continues until 31st January 2016. www.vam.ac.uk/shoesJG
Photos: Top image: Freed of London red ballet shoes made for Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948) silk satin, braid and leather, England 1948. Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery; Roger Vivier for Christian Dior image Copyrighted Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Chopines: image copyrighted Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Parakeet Shoes: Photography by Dan Lowe
5th May 2015 A new event showcasing exceptional craftsmanship takes place this week around the capital. Well-known luxury brands and lesser known labels will be featured in a journey-of-discovery programme involving specialist workshops, small-scale makers and artisans, famous shops, galleries and luxury brands. Above: Daniel Harris for London Cloth – www.londoncloth.com – who will be scarf-weaving at Daks, Old Bond Street / 7th May).
The line up includes varied events and demonstrations at London’s prestigious department stores including Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and open studios – an exciting event at Cockpit Arts features independent designers and makers in varied disciplines including wood work, textiles, millinery and jewellery (Cockpit Arts, Cockpit Yard, Northington St, London WC1N 2NP / 9-10th May).
Vacheron Constantin, the founding partner of London Craft Week will show how their luxury watches are made and engraved, with experts demonstrating their craft at the flagship store on Old Bond Street.
1st May 2015The term “luxury” is a fascinating subject, as it can have many different interpretations, depending on the person. The Victoria and Albert Museum explores the concept of luxury with a new exhibition What is Luxury? Exceptional examples of contemporary design and craftsmanship are featured alongside conceptual projects that interrogate fundamental ideas of luxury, its production and future.
Included in the presentation is an entirely handcrafted mechanical watch – The Second Space Travellers’ Watch – by British watch maker George Daniels. Fashion is represented with a laser-cut couture dress by innovative Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen (top photo), and more than 1000 hand-knitted nylon bubbles create the Bubble Bath necklace by Nora Fok.
The exhibition provokes thinking and debate through fictional scenarios that consider issues like privacy, resources and access that could determine present and future ideas of luxury. With over 100 remarkable objects, What is Luxury? takes visitors on a revealing journey, and prompts them to consider what luxury means and how it relates to their own lives. What is Luxury? a V&A and Crafts Council Exhibition, sponsored by Northacre, is at the V&A through 27 September 2015. www.vam.ac.uk/whatisluxuryJG
Photo Credits: Top image: Voltage Dress, Iris van Herpen, 2013 Paris M. Zoeter x Iris van Herpen; Middle photo: The Second Space Travellers Watch George Daniels, 1983 Jasper Gough, Sotheby’s; Bottom photo: Combs, Hair Highway Studio Swine 2014 Studio Swine
19th April 2015 The work of Canadian War Artist, Fashion Illustrator and Modern Painter Irwin ‘Bud’ Crosthwait (1914 – 1981) with go on sale at a special exhibition in London by GRAY M.C.A., later in the year. The exhibition will include more than 60 original works from private collections: War Art, Fashion Illustration & Modern Art with prices ranging from £350 to £10,000.
Coinciding with London Fashion Week (SS16), the exhibition will highlight Crosthwait’s work as one of Paris’s acclaimed Fashion Illustrators, commissioned by publications including Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, Jardin Des Modes, Herald Tribune, New York Times & Femina and designers Givenchy, Dior, Marc Vaughan, Pucci, Courrèges & Yves St Laurent. Above: Irwin Crosthwait 1977 St Emica Watercolour (£1,500).
Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1. From 17th to 22nd September 2015. www.graymca.co.ukCN
1st April 2015 A special chapter in French fashion history is highlighted with the intuitive creations of Jeanne Lanvin, now on display in the Palais Galliera. Curated in close collaboration with Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Maison Lanvin, the exhibition honours the oldest French fashion house still in business. In 1889, the twenty-two year old designer Jeanne Lanvin opened her first shop in Paris, and launched her long career that demonstrated her artistry in materials, embroidery, topstitches, twists, spirols, and cut-outs – all the virtuosity of the couturière’s craft. For the period, Jeanne Lanvin was very entrepreneurial, opening shops in Deauville, Cannes, Biarritz, and Le Touquet, as well as abroad in Barcelona and Buenos-Aires.
Her voracious curiosity inspired her to create unusual fabrics, patterns and exclusive colours. Her favourite colour – blue – was inspired by the intense blue in frescoes by Fra Angelico, and marvelous shades of blue were always magnificently presented in her collections (top photo). Her lifelong muse was her daughter Marguerite, who was born in 1897. Mme Lanvin’s dresses flattered the female form, and often she mixed fabrics – silk crêpe with silk tulle, or silk velvet with silvered metal sequin embroidery – with stunning results. She loved embroidery and beads, and used generous amounts in her designs.
When Jeanne Lanvin introduced her perfume Arpège – from the musical term arpeggio – the name was a tribute to the pianistic skills of her daughter, and for Marguerite’s 30th birthday, Jeanne dedicated her legendary perfume to her beloved daughter.
Jeanne Lanvin is the first Paris exhibition devoted to this discreet, visionary designer, and features more than one-hundred models from the amazing collections of the Palais Galliera and the Lanvin Heritage. Alber Elbaz said: “I think we have managed to create an exhibition around the dream of fashion. What I am hoping for is to hear people say ‘I love Jeanne Lanvin'”. Through 23 August 2015. www.palaisgalliera.paris.frJG
1st March 2015The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is presenting an extraordinary show of one of the most innovative designers of his generation – Lee Alexander McQueen. Originated by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the V&A presentation will feature 30 additional garments, including some rare early pieces, lent by private individuals and collectors. McQueen courted controversy – his extravagant catwalk presentations, for which he was renowned, combined storytelling, music, film and theatrical performance.
The thematic presentation includes the Cabinet of Curiosities, which showcases designs produced by McQueen in collaboration with fellow creatives such as milliner Philip Treacy. In total, the exhibition will showcase more than 200 ensembles and accessories, the largest number of individual pieces designed by McQueen and collaborators ever seen together.
McQueen always inspired – he combined a profound grasp of tailoring and eclectic range of influences with a relentless pursuit to challenge the boundaries of art and fashion, blending the latest technology with traditional craftsmanship. He was influenced by his Scottish heritage and the colonial past, plus his fascination with the animal world inspired him throughout his career. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is a landmark exhibition not to be missed! Opens 14 March until 02 August 2015. www.vam.ac.ukJG
Imagecredits: Top photo Tulle and lace dress with veil and antlers by Alexander McQueen Widows of Culloden A/W 2006 Model: Raquel Zimmermann, Viva London Image: firstVIEW Butterfly Headress: La Dame Bleue S/S 2008 Model: Alana Zimmer copyright: Anthea Simms Dress of dyed ostrich feathers Voss S/S 2001 Model: Erin O’Connor Image:REX
1st February 2015The Musée Cognacq-Jay in Paris is absolutely a little gem. Founded in 1928 by the founder of the La Samaritaine Department Store (sadly, now closed) Ernest Cognacq assembled an amazing collection of emblematic eighteenth-century art works. They are on display in a beautifully renovated sixteenth-century townhouse in the Marais. M. Cognacq chose items that would be representative of “the artistic décor of French life”… and include a stunning collection of portrait miniatures, superb paintings, busts, Meissen porcelains and furniture.
To celebrate the re-opening of the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Christian Lacroix, the peripatetic fashion and interior designer, was offered a “carte blanche” – a dual challenge of re-imagining the “guiding narrative” of the exhibition spaces, while exploring a concept which has shaped his own approach to his art – the fascination exerted by the eighteenth century. Lacroix has curated contributions from over forty contemporary artists, invited to reflect upon ten key themes identified in Ernest Cognacq’s collections. Some of the themes include: 18th century taste; Show, balls and sociability; Paris, capital of the Enlightenment; Fables, stories and novels; and Europe’s artistic economy. Lacroix’s selections have been assembled with a view to enhancing our understanding of the Age of Enlightenment, and its continued relevance in our own era.
Enlightenment: Carte Blanche à Christian Lacrox is an innovative exhibition, enhanced with Lacroix’s inimitable flair. The exhibition continues through 19th April 2015.
Victorian & Edwardian Mourning Attire at Anna Wintour Costume Center New York City
1st January 2015 “She was beginning to find that everyone had an air of remoteness; she seemed to see people and life through the confusing blur of the long crape veil in which it was a widow’s duty to shroud her affliction.” Edith Wharton, “New Year’s Day,” in Old New York (New York; D. Appleton, 1924
Mourning after the death of a loved one was an intricate part of social mores in the 19th Century. Throughout this period, the duty of wearing mourning fell primarily on women, whose sartorial choices were seen as a reflection of the family’s collective grief, as well as their social status, economic standing, and level of respectability. A woman in full mourning dress became the emblematic icon of bereavement in Europe and America. Mourning dress served as a visual symbol of grief and respect for the deceased.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York traces the mores and fashions of this period in Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. The mourning period could be up to a year; however, after being widowed in 1861, Queen Victoria limited her public appearances, and dressed in shades of mourning for the remaining forty years of her life, presenting an image of chast widowhood, in her “widow’s weeds.” The thematic exhibition is organised chronologically and features mourning dress from 1815 to 1915, primarily from The Costume Institute’s collection.
Formal rituals of bereavement aided in memorializing the dead, and mourning attire was subject to increasingly complex codes of etiquette and fashion. For Queen Victoria, in her forty years of widowhood, her mourning never lightened. When King Edward, Victoria’s son died in 1910, The Palace issued messages that wedding celebrations should take place as scheduled. The weddings did take place, but most guests still wore black. Even in sadness and grief, fashion played an influential role. Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through 1st February 2015. www.metmuseum.orgJG
All images: Gallery View Anna Wintour Costume Center, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery Copyright: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Highlights from the Wardrobe of Elisabeth of Austria
1st December 2014 She was a European style legend in nineteenth-century Europe, with her imperial wardrobe, and cascades of long flowing hair, often studded with diamonds. Elisabeth of Austria was one of the most beautiful women of the day, and a mysterious, complex personality, who found the rigors of court life in Vienna restricting and suffocating. She was a woman ahead of her time – she believed in rigorous self-control and exercise.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Sisi Museum in Vienna (The Empress was known as Sisi) – Soie, Dentelle et Hermine (Silk,Lace and Ermine) showcases personal items from the Empresses’ wardrobe, as she set the fashion trends of her era. The items shown are very rarely displayed for conservation purposes.
When visiting The Sisi Museum, it is also possible to see parasols, fans, gloves,The Empresses’ travelling medicine chest, and jewellery. On the ground floor of the museum, visitors can view in awe the elegant, luxurious Imperial Silver Collection, plus a magnificent golden dinner service that belonged to Napoleon.
Silk, Lace and Ermine is a fascinating glimpse into the private wardrobe of one of the most legendary figures of that time. To this day, Elisabeth of Austria continues to fascinate and charm with her individualism and refusal to conform. Exhibition continues until 1st February 2015. www.hofburg-wien.at JG
Photos: Top: Portrait of Elisabeth Empress of Austria by Franz Xaver Winterhalter Dresses: Alexander E. Koller Stockings: Edgar Knaak Copyright: Schloss Schöenbrunn Kultur-und Betriebs. Ges.m.b.H.