City guides

Our city guides

Eyewear and an Avant-Garde Art Collector

Eyewear and an Avant-Garde Art Collector

Safilo Celebrates Anniversary and Peggy Guggenheim

20th September 2014 The launch of a new limited edition of the legendary glasses worn by Peggy Guggenheim celebrates the 80th anniversary of Safilo. Edward Melcarth, an American artist and friend, originally designed the sunglasses for Guggenheim. She traversed Venice’s Grand Canal in her private gondola, wearing the eccentric sunglasses surrounded by her beloved dogs. Peggy Guggenheim was the last private gondola owner in Venice, and onlookers were astonished as they watched the charismatic mistress of modernism float along the canal that she loved.

 

Truly Original! Peggy Guggenheim Glasses

Truly Original! Peggy Guggenheim Glasses

Guggenheim was a renowned collector of 20th century art and gave enormous support to artists that included Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Her early childhood was marred by the death of her father on the Titanic, in which he perished. She grew up to live an unconventional, bohemian life filled with artists and travel. In the late 1940’s she bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on The Grand Canal, and made Venice her home for the rest of her life. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is located in her former residence. Safilo had already drawn inspiration from Guggenheim’s sunglasses in 1994, when it first produced and distributed its Peggy Guggenheim model. Like the pervious version, the sunglasses are on sale exclusively at the museum.

 

Peggy Guggenheim in the'barchessa' o fPalazzo Venier dei Leoni with her collection of African sculptures; Venice late 1960's

Peggy Guggenheim in the’barchessa’ of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni with her collection of African sculptures; Venice late 1960’s

Behind the project is the bond that links the Safilo Group to Venice, where the first eyeglasses were born, and capital of the Veneto, the Region where Safilo was established in 1934. Safilo is further celebrating its 80th anniversary by joining the Intrapresae Collezione Guggenheim, a group of leading Italian and international companies that support the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, promoting the education potential of art, with the conviction that art can inspire business to embrace change and to face global challenges. A gala event to celebrate Safilo’s 80th anniversary was held in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum’s delightful gardens. www.safilo.com www.guggenheim.org/venice

Top photo: Peggy Guggenheim with her Lhasa Apsos terriers on the terrace of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venice 1960’s Photo credits: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, photo Archivio CameraphotoEpoche, gift Cassa de Risparmio di Venezia, 2005

 

Les Années 50

Les Années 50

The Golden Age of Couture

1st September 2014 A celebration of 1950s Paris fashion is the theme for an outstanding exhibition at the elegant Palais Galliera Museum. The world was post-war, and Christian Dior led the way with his cinched waist silhouettes and full skirts that contrasted with previous austerity. The 1950s were a decisive period for French haute couture, which suffered badly in the wake of the 1929 stock marked crash and the war.

 

Jacques Heim 1950/Alwynn about 1950/ Carven 1951

The decade after the war, names synonymous with luxury, originality and beauty elevated French fashion to new heights. In addition to Dior, Coco Chanel, Jacques Heim, Schiaparelli, Carven, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath, Pierre Balmain, Lanvin-Castillo, and Hubert de Givenchy found dazzling success with prestige stores and eager customers. Petticoats, pointed shoes, bright-coloured floral and striped prints, wasp-waist suits and straight skirts, strapless sheath dresses, cocktail dresses: such was the couture of the 50s.

Christian Dior "Marivaux" 1954

Christian Dior “Marivaux” 1954

These remarkable designs illustrate the attention to detail; the passion for sumptuous fabrics that the designers loved; and emphasis on an ultra-feminine form. Echoes of this decade now infiltrate the fashion themes of today. Les Années 50 continues until 02 November 2014. Further information at www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr JG

Photos: Top image: Chanel 1955 photo by Henry Clarke/Galliera/Roger-Viollet Centre image: Collection Palais Galliera Bottom image: Eric Emo/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

The Orient Express

The Orient Express

The King of Trains in Paris Exhibition

19th August 2014 A marvelous vintage steam engine is not a usual sight on Boulevard Saint Germain – but certainly an intriguing one! The gleaming green engine that captures the attention of passers by and motorists is part of a superb exhibition – Il Ètait Un Fois L’Orient Express. The trains are displayed in the outdoor space at L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

Carriage interiors can be visited, and a nostalgic look at train travel during The Golden Age reflects the amazing grandeur, service, elegance and pampering passengers enjoyed in another era. The “wagon-lits” as they are called in French, are beautifully appointed with fine wood panelling, and carved René Lalique glass insets. Gourmet dining is further enhanced with lovely cutlery and china.

Inside L’Institut du Monde Arabe, visitors can trace the long and fascinating history of The Orient Express – the inaugural voyage was in 1883 between Paris and Constantinople – with letters, photos, film clips and other memorabilia. The allure, mystery, romance and luxury of The Orient Express is indicative of a different way of life and living…and yet can still be enjoyed today! More information at www.imarabe.org www.orient-express.eu JG

Original fashion illustrations go on sale

Original fashion illustrations go on sale

11th August 2014 GRAY M.C.A leading specialists in Fashion Illustration are holding a selling exhibition of original fashion illustrations from Post War 1940s through to the 1970s from Thursday 11th – Tuesday 16th September 2014 at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London. Coinciding with London Fashion Week SS15, the exhibition will include more than 40 original works by some of the leading illustrators of the time from Britain, Europe and America including René Bouché, René Gruau & Carl ‘Eric’ Erickson for publications including British & American Vogue, Harpers & Queen, The Sunday Times, Frau im Spiegel (Germany) & Jardin des Modes (France) as well as advertising work for L’Oreal and other famous names in Haute Couture such as Nina Ricci.

A selection of original designs by designers will be featured including Dior, Barbara Hulanicki of BIBA & Zandra Rhodes. Prices from £300 – £10,000. As Connie Gray of Gray M.C.A explained: “For too long fashion illustrators and their illustrations have been seen as a secondary art form, no matter how beautifully executed the image. More often than not, fashion illustrators were more widely known for their advertising work than they were for their work as highly skilled fashion illustrators. Though their style was familiar to the reader & their names published internationally alongside their illustrations, they have never been recognized as true artists. It was almost a secret world in which only those working in the industry knew and admired each other.”

Exhibition dates: Thursday 11 September to Tuesday 16 September 2014 Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BNwww.graymca.co.uk     Image caption: illustration above by American illustrator Tod Draz (1917-2002). CN

Dior: The Legendary Images

Dior: The Legendary Images

Summer Exhibition in Dior’s Former Home

1st August 2014 Christian Dior became the most famous couturier in the world when his first collection appeared in 1947. Dior’s mother Madeleine and his boyhood home “Les Rhumbs” were always inspiration for the shy and retiring Frenchman. Nowadays, the tranquil setting of Les Rhumbs in Granville, France is a charming museum that hosts special summer exhibitions. This year is a retrospective of the legendary photographers who took images of Dior’s beautiful collections. In the post-war years, Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Henry Clarke, and Helmut Newton are among the exalted photographers who captured the magic of Dior designs. Contemporary talents photographing Dior include Bruce Weber, Nick Knight, Terry Richardson and Patrick Demarchelier, among others. A selection of two hundred iconic images accompanied by approximately sixty haute couture dresses and archival documents reveals the historic ties the House of Dior has with celebrated talents. To mark the occasion, Rizzoli has published a book with the same title, and include many images that have never been seen before. Dior: The Legendary Images continues through 21st September. www.musee-dior-granville.com JG

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome Aboard!

History of Travel Bags in Amsterdam

1st July 2014 How times change! An original exhibition at the charming canal-side Tassen Museum in Amsterdam shows the history of travel and development of suitcases from 1850 to the present. Excursions in the early days relied on gigantic trunks that were the norm for travel by coach and ship, as well as luxurious luggage sets, and extravagant dressing cases containing silver brushes and crystal vials. Travel during the 19th Century was uncomfortable and dangerous; for that reason trunks had to be weather proof and sturdy, so that they could be tied to the top or back of a coach.

 

Wool and Beaded Travel Bag Berlin, Germany  Mid-19th Century

Wool and Beaded Travel Bag Berlin, Germany Mid-19th Century

The invention of the steam engine changed not only how people lived, but how they travelled. It was then possible to cover much longer distances by steam train or ship. The carpet bag, which could also serve as a rug in unheated train compartments, was popular for train travel during the 19th Century. Later came the use of woolen railway bags, decorated with depictions of flowers or animals. For luxurious cruises, cabin trunks (top photo: Wardrobe Trunk Belber Trunk & Bag Co. Philadephia c. 1930)  were designed for extensive wardrobes with drawers for shoes and clothing hooks for coats, dresses or suits.

Samsonite Luggage Trio 1950's

Samsonite Luggage Trio 1950’s

 

How people travelled and the types of bags used changed dramatically during the 1970’s when air travel became more affordable. Mass tourism put different demands on suitcases and travel bags; luggage became smaller, lighter and was equipped with wheels. And now creating luggage that accommodates one’s belongings that fit into an airplane’s overhead locker is the latest challenge.

Welcome Aboard is a delightful exhibition that traces the history of suitcases and travel bags, reflecting the mobility and speed of the changing times. The exhibition continues through 31 August 2014. www.tassenmuseum.nl JG

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

Romantic Wedding Couture at Victoria and Albert Museum

1st June 2014 Romantic, extravagant and glamorous wedding ensembles from the V&A collection are included in this magical array of bridal wear. A panorama of superb wedding dresses, and the growth of the wedding industry is explored in this stunning exhibition. Wedding attire from 1775 to 2014 includes dresses by Charles Frederick Worth, Charles James, Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Christian Lacroix, and Bruce Oldfield among others. Most of the outfits were worn in Britain, by brides of many faiths.

 

Wedding Elegance 1890

Wedding Elegance 1890

There are also wonderful accessories, including jewellery, shoes, garters, veils, wreaths, hats and corsetry.   Other highlights include fashion sketches and personal photos, plus garments worn by bridegrooms and attendants, and striking millinery by Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones. The exhibition investigates the histories of the garments, revealing fascinating and personal details about the lives of the wearers, giving an intimate insight into their occupations, circumstances and fashion choices. For a fascinating glimpse into how fashion, social and cultural attitudes to weddings has evolved through the centuries, this is definitely an exhibition to visit. Through 15 March 2015. www.vam.ac.uk JG

Chic sophistication by Norman Hartnell

Chic sophistication by Norman Hartnell

Photos: Top: Embroidered silk coat and silk dress designed by Anna Valentine, feather headress created by Philip Treacy, 2005 Worn by The Duchess of Cornwall for the blessing after her marriage to HRH The Prince of Wales Photograph by Hugo Burnand This images is reproduced with the kind permission of The Duchess of Cornwall

Centre: Embroidered corded silk wedding dress made after a Paquin, Lalanne et Cie Paris model by Stern Brothers, New York 1890 Worn by Cara Leland Huttleston Rogers for her marriage in New York to Bradford Ferris Duff. Given by Lord Fairhaven Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bottom: Embroidered silk satin wedding dress designed by Norman Hartnell, London 1933

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Remembering an Iconic Designer

1st May 2014 The glamorous, elegant, sculptural designs by Charles James are the subject of a beautiful exhibition held in the newly renovated Tisch Gallery in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Complex cuts, extravagant draping, and luxurious materials were transposed into fabulous designs – magic that James performed with his imagination and scissors. James was born in Britain, and worked in Paris before arriving in New York in 1940, where he established permanent residence. His early clients included Diana Vreeland, iconic fashion editor, and society beauties Babe Paley and Millicent Rogers. In 1954, James married Nancy Lee Gregory, who frequently modeled his designs.

Babe Paley in Charles James Gown 1950

Babe Paley in Charles James Gown 1950

Charles James was the ultimate perfectionist, regarding each design as a work of art. Women responded to his dramatic seaming that enhanced the female form. James loved luxury, and his fabric choices were always sumptuous – silk velvets and chiffon, cotton organdy, creamy crepe, and fine wools. Charles James: Beyond Fashion is a fitting tribute to a designer who paved the way for many of America’s future couturiers. The exhibition runs from 8 May through 10 August 2014. www.metmusuem.org JG

Nancy James in Charles James Swan Gown 1955

Nancy James in Charles James Swan Gown 1955

Photos: Top: Charles James Ball Gowns 1948 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, Beaton/Vogue/Condé Nast Archive. Copyright Condé Nast

Babe Paley: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by John Rawlings, Rawlings/Vogue/Condé Nast Archive. Copyright Condé Nast

Nancy James: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.

Italian Glamour and Style

Italian Glamour and Style

Fashion Retrospective at V&A

1st April 2014  Fashion from the post-war 1940’s period to the current day are highlighted in The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Sponsored by Bulgari, fabulous heritage jewels once owned by Elizabeth Taylor are also on display. Creations from designers synonymous with Italian artisanal tradition include Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Missoni, Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Mila Schön, Simonetta, Prada, Pucci, and Dolce & Gabbana among others.

Fashion Show in Sala Bianca 1955

Fashion Show in Sala Bianca 1955

The exhibition traces Italy’s rich and influential contribution to fashion – a contribution that extended around the world, and particularly influenced film stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, who became style ambassadors for luxurious Italian clothing. The Glamour of Italian Fashion focuses on the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise for which Italy has become renowned. The country’s status as manufacturer and exporter of stylish and well-made fashion and textiles is linked to the strength of its traditional industries including spinning, dyeing, weaving, cutting and stitching; some of these traditions have been practised in regions around Italy for hundreds of years.

Gianfranco Ferre advert, Model Aly Dunne Fall/Winter 1991

Gianfranco Ferre advert, Model Aly Dunne Fall Winter/1991

The show is beautifully curated by Sonnet Stanfill, who researched Italian archives, and worked closely with Bulgari to select the unique and extraordinary jewels on display. The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 is a delightful celebration of Italian fashion and style. Victoria & Albert Museum – 5 April until 27 July 2014. www.vam.ac.uk JG

Photos: Top image: Valentino posing with models nearby Trevi Fountain Rome July 1967 Courtesy of the Art Archive/Mondadori Portfolio/Marisa Rastellini  Ballroom image: Fashion Show in Sala Bianca 1955 Photo by G.M.Fadigati Giorgini Archive Florence Gianfranco Ferre photo by Gian Paolo Barbieri copyright:GIANPAOLOBARBIERI

 

David Linley Master Craftsmen Exhibition

David Linley Master Craftsmen Exhibition

“A Celebration of British design, craftsmanship, engineering and innovation

7th March 2014 A new exhibition at Linley in Pimlico, London (open until 14th March), brings together some of Britain’s exceptional luxury labels and companies, focusing on craftsmanship, skill and innovative design. From disciplines as diverse as fashion, fishing, shooting, furniture and construction, the exhibition beautifully portrays examples of the highest quality traditional British design alongside contemporary labels such as BVS Bespoke, producers of fine accessories and handmade bags. Highlights also include exquisite examples of furniture by Linley – www.davidlinley.com, hats by Lock and Co. – www.lockhatters.co.uk -, the first hatters to design the iconic Bowler,  and eyewear by the historic spectaclemakers  – who made frames for Sir Winston Churchill and Napoleon Bonaparte – C.W. Dixey (pictured above). www.cwdixeyandson.com

Shoes

John Lobb of St James’s, bespoke shoemakers

Lock & Co Hats

Lock & Co., the oldest hat shop in the world

Caption here

McClaren Automotive

There is also a rare chance to get close to some of the most exciting designs from iconic automobile and motorbike manufacters such as McClaren and Gladstone Motorcycles.

Curated by David Linley and Scott Simpson, the exhibition is taking place at Linley Belgravia Showroom, 60 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8LP www.davidlinley.com Images (top, and centre) provided by www.davidlinley.com

For more on C.W. Dixey fine eyewear visit www.cwdixeyandson.com CN

 

 

Papier Glacé - A Century of Fashion Photography

Papier Glacé – A Century of Fashion Photography

Coming Into Fashion with Condé Nast at Palais Galliera

1st March 2014 The rich archives of Condé Nast New York, Paris, Milan and London brings together in this exhibition 150 mostly original prints from leading fashion photographers from 1918 through to the present day. Images from Henry Clarke, Cecil Beaton and Deborah Turbeville, Norman Parkinson, Horst P Horst, the elegant photos of John Rawlings, who had 66 VOGUE covers, plus Herb Ritts and Irving Penn are among the photographers included.

John Rawlings for American Vogue 1943

John Rawlings for American Vogue 1943

Viewing the photos is a pleasure, as they are well placed to appreciate the creativity, originality and dreamy contexts of the images. Although fashion photography hovers between realism and fiction, the images in Condé Nast publications generally veer towards dreams. In fact, Irving Penn, a Vogue photographer from 1943 to 2004 said: “I always felt we were selling dreams, not clothes.”

The photos are accompanied by fifteen haute couture items from the collections of the Palais Galliera. Two reading rooms provide access to over fifty magazines, plus there are contemporary films projected on a large screen, that provide a glimpse of the possible future of fashion photography. The exhibition continues through 25th May 2014. www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr JG

Henry Clarke for French Vogue May 1951

Henry Clarke for French Vogue May 1951

Photos: All images copyright Condé Nast. Top Image: Edward Steinchen, American Vogue, December 1923

The Novel of a Wardrobe

The Novel of a Wardrobe

Parisian Chic from The Belle Epoque to the 1930’s

1st February 2014 A visit to Musée Carnavalet is always a pleasure, and particularly when there is a special exhibition. The Museum is comprised of two townhouses in The Marais, and has a splendid historical pedigree. The Marquise de Sévigné lived there for almost twenty years, and the extensive collections and interiors at Carnavalet enables visitors to view life as enjoyed by aristocracy through several centuries. In addition to the permanent collection, the current exhibition pays homage to fashion trends from La Belle Epoque to the 1930’s. Roman d’une Garde-Robe (The Novel of a Wardrobe) traces the emergence of the grand haute couture houses in Paris through the remarkable wardrobe of Alice Alleaume, a “vendeuse” or chief saleswoman at Chéruit on Place Vendome.

Evening Elegance - Shoes in Lamé and Leather by Hellstern & Sons 1925

Evening Elegance – Shoes in Lamé and Leather by Hellstern & Sons 1925

The influence of Alleaume’s family – her couturière mother Adéle, and her sister Hortense, who worked at Worth – and the professional life and tastes of these fashionable Parisians, are the factors that orchestrate the exhibition. Elegant fashions from Worth, Jeanne Lavin, Chéruit, plus superb accessories – hats, gloves, bags and jewellery are included.  Beautifully handwritten letters, documents, photographs and sales records, transport the viewer to a gilded age of glamour and refined style. When in Paris – a visit to The Novel of a Wardrobe will enchant and delight. While at Musée Carnavalet, take time to view the beautiful gardens – they are a joy all year – and especially now when the lovely greenery and colourful flowers bring a cheerful note to a winter’s day. Exhibition continues through 16 March. www.carnavalet.paris.fr JG

Photos: Top image: Evening Dress Debut XXème Siècle Rose Silk Mousseline with paillettes, ivory tulle and embroidery of pearls and sequins. Stéphane Piera/Galleria/Roger-Viollet Shoes: Stéphane Piera/Galleria/Roger-Viollet Hellstern Droites Reserves

Elsa Schiaparelli Auction at Christie's Paris

Elsa Schiaparelli Auction at Christie’s Paris

Personal Collection of Legendary Designer in Landmark Sale

20th January 2014 The fashion luminary Madame Elsa Schiaparelli was at the heart of avant-garde ideas in 1930’s Paris. She was a collector, collaborator, friend and patron to many leading artists of the day – from Salvador Dali and Man Ray to Cocteau and Diego Giacometti. Icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood loved her designs – Marlene Dietrich was a client. The sale includes a dynamic combination of Schiaparelli’s fashion designs, as well as furniture, fine art and decorative arts. The vast collection – 180 lots are included in the sale – has passed by descent to Elsa Schiaparelli’s granddaughter, the model and actress Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson. “My grandmother was an inspiration and always has been, and now I think it’s very important for younger generations to know who she was, to have a taste of that wonderful world that she lived in, that she created, that she left behind her,” says Marisa, “and I think my grandmother’s personal belongings will inspire future generations; this is an extraordinary and fascinating legacy.”

Giacometti  Lamp in Elsa Schiaparelli Sale at Christie's Paris

Giacometti Lamp in Elsa Schiaparelli Sale at Christie’s Paris

The diverse collection presents a veritable feast of fashion, artworks and objects that reflect their owner’s significant role as a taste-maker.Elsa Schiaparelli loved to entertain in her homes in Paris and Tunisia – the latter location frequently inspired her fashion collections. Yves Saint Laurent said: “Madame Elsa Schiaparelli was incomparable. There is no equivalent to be found. Her imagination knew no bounds.” The Personal Collection of Elsa Schiaparelli takes place at Christie’s in Paris on Thursday 23rd January. This very personal collection captures the essence of Schiaparelli’s unique style and vision. The full pre-sale exhibition is on view at  Christie’s Paris, 9 Avenue Matignon through 22nd January. For more details visit www.christies.com JG

Top photo:’Bucking Bronco’ intricately beaded waistcoat inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1940’s trip to Texas. Both photos courtesy of Christie’s Images Limited 2014