To the future and back

X Terrace annual press preview – for London Hat Week

The annual X Terrace London Hat Week Preview Catwalk Show took place on 16th March at Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, showcasing 54 hats made by milliners from around the world.

Milliners were encouraged to use the theme ‘To the future and back‘ as a way to show their vision of the future of their hat designs. Each piece was uniquely inspired by an arrange of ideas such as sci-fi, high tech, environmentally friendly, imagined worlds, and 3D Printers.

Monique Lee Millinery – Shangri-La at The Shard

Monique Lee Millinery was inspired by Renzo Piano’s striking vertical city “The Shard” and within it, a mystical utopia Shangri-La where people will live isolated from the world happily in the future.

Amina Marie Hood’s Mosstro Orbiter

Amina Marie Hood named her hat Mosstro Orbiter which has an eco-futuristic design coexisting in nature and was inspired by the “Fly Eye Dome” designed by R. Buckminster fuller.

London Hat Week Press Preview: Circus hat by JH Milliner (Jennifer Hughes)

The Retro theme allowed milliners to show the glorious eras of the past when hats were the centerpiece of every wardrobe. Many milliners portrayed this theme through vintage fabrics, accessories such as ribbons, feathers and velvet, and by focusing on the elegant shapes and details of the 1920’s-1960’s.

X Terrace London Hat Week: ZELLI hat by Miss Haidee Millinery

The show at Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, featured a selection of hats from the upcoming ‘Great Hat Exhibition’, which is part of the 2020 London Hat Week. The models wore outfits selected and styled by Hector & Karger. Hairstyling was by Toni & Guy (Ilford) and makeup from AOFM Pro. The show included shoes from Stivaleria Cavallin and sculptures from Abigail Ozora Simpson. The show was also generously supported by Maxoo fashion platform, Jack Russell Jeanswear, Yooney Choi, and Katherine Elizabeth Academy, and was staffed by fashion students from Coventry University London. Photos courtesy of @xterrace.

X Terrace have announced the forthcoming launch of The Hat Circle, a website for the millinery industry to empower and connect independent milliners around the world with hat lovers everywhere.

Historic Fashion Rediscovered

The Fabulous Wardrobe of Countess Greffulhe

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.

Charles FrÈderic Worth (1825-1895). Robe byzantine portÈe par la Comtesse Greffulhe pour le mariage de sa fille, 1904 - Taffetas lamÈ, soie et filÈ or, tulle de soie, application de paillettes. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.
Charles FrÈderic Worth (1825-1895). Robe byzantine portÈe par la Comtesse Greffulhe pour le mariage de sa fille, 1904 – Taffetas lamÈ, soie et filÈ or, tulle de soie, application de paillettes. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

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.

Charles-Frederick Worth (1825-1895). Tea gown. Velours ciselÈ bleu foncÈ sur fond de satin vert. Dentelle de Valenciennes. Doublure en taffetas changeant vert et bleu, vers 1897. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.
Charles-Frederick Worth (1825-1895). Tea gown. Velours ciselÈ bleu foncÈ sur fond de satin vert. Dentelle de Valenciennes. Doublure en taffetas changeant vert et bleu, vers 1897. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

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 (Fashion Regained) Dresses of Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe opens 7th November and continues until 20th March 2016. JG 

Top image: Photographie de Otto, la comtesse Greffulhe dans une robe de bal, veers 1887 Copyright Otto/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty

Iconic Photographer at Smithsonian Art Museum

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.

Irving Penn: Ball Dress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci New York, 2007
Irving Penn: Ball Dress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci New York, 2007

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: Young Boy, Pause Pause American South, 1941, printed 2001
Irving Penn: Young Boy, Pause Pause American South, 1941, printed 2001

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. For Exhibition details –  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

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

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).

Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson 1955
Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson 1955

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.

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's by Howell Conant
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Howell Conant

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. JG 

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

Greek Culinary Experience – NYC!

City Dining with Greek Island Ambience

25th August 2015 Opened 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.

Classic Greek Cuisine at Periyali
Classic Greek Cuisine at Periyali

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. JG

Dior, The New Look Revolution

Exhibition at Dior’s Childhood Home

1st August 2015 Christian 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, The New Look Revolution published by Rizzoli featuring Dior's The Bar Suit, by Mats Gustafson
Dior, The New Look Revolution published by Rizzoli featuring Dior’s The Bar Suit, by Mats Gustafson

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 New Look 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. JG

Photo of Marion Cotillard by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

Global Fashion Capitals

Cities Highlighting The Fashion Industry

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.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada SS2014 Madird Gift of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada
Agatha Ruiz de la Prada SS2014 Madrid Gift of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada

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.

Christopher Kane Dress Fall 2014 London Musuem Purchase
Christopher Kane Dress Fall 2014 London Musuem Purchase

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.  Top image: Homo Consommatus Ensembles Spring 2015 St. Petersburg Gift of Homo Consommatus JG

Carla fernandez Detail of Jacket 2009 Mexico City Gift of Carla Fernandez/Taller Flora
Carla fernandez Detail of Jacket 2009 Mexico City Gift of Carla Fernandez/Taller Flora

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

Shoes to Dazzle and Delight at V&A

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. 

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior Evening shoe beaded silk and leather France 1958-60
Roger Vivier for Christian Dior Evening shoe beaded silk and leather, France 1958-60

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.

Chopines, punched kid leather over carved pine, Venice, Italy c.1600
Chopines, punched kid leather over carved pine, Venice, Italy c.1600

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. JG

Caroline Groves 'Parakeet' shoes, leather silk satin, solid silver talons and heel tips, with feathers.  2014 England
Caroline Groves ‘Parakeet’ shoes, leather silk satin, solid silver talons and heel tips, with feathers. 2014 England

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 

Artisans in the spotlight

London Craft Week

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 – – who will be scarf-weaving at Daks, Old Bond Street / 7th May).

Eleanor Lakelin, Gourd form 2013
Eleanor Lakelin, Gourd form 2013 – Cockpit Arts Spring Open Studios

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).


Luxury watch brand Vacheron Constantin
Luxury watch brand Vacheron Constantin

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.

London Craft Week takes place from 6-10 May, 2015. For more information visit CN

What is Luxury?

V&A Exhibition Explores Ideas of Luxury

1st May 2015 The 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.


Second Space Travellers' Watch by George Daniels
Second Space Travellers’ Watch by George Daniels

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.


Hair Highway by Studio Swine
Hair Highway by Studio Swine

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. JG

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

A chance to buy…original fashion illustrations

by Irwin “Bud” Crosthwait

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. CN

Jeanne Lanvin

Paris Retrospective for Legendary French Designer

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.

Jeanne Lanvin - Streamlline Silhouette with Lavish Embellishments
Jeanne Lanvin – Streamlline Silhouette with Lavish Embellishments

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.


Jeanne Lanvin's extensive library of art books inspired details and decoration in her designs
Jeanne Lanvin’s extensive library of art books inspired details and decoration 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 Exhibition at Palais Galliera Paris
Jeanne Lanvin Exhibition at Palais Galliera Paris

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. JG

Photos: Pierre Antoine All Rights Reserved

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Retrospective of  Visionary Fashion Designer

1st March 2015 The 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.


Butterfly headdress of hand-painted turkey feathers by Philip Treacy  for Alexander McQueen
Butterfly headdress of hand-painted turkey feathers by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen

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.


Dress of dyed ostrich feathers and hand-painted microscopic slides by Alexander McQueen
Dress of dyed ostrich feathers and hand-painted microscopic slides by Alexander McQueen

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. JG

Image credits: 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

Enlightenment: Carte Blanche à Christian Lacroix

1st February 2015 The 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.


Lacroix fantasy at Musée Cognacq Jay Paris
Lacroix fantasy at Musée Cognacq Jay Paris Dessins Christian Lacroix Copyright: Monsieur Christian Lacroix

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.


Marie-Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) Portrait de Marie-Louise Adelaide-Jacquette de Robien,Vicomtesse de Mirabeau 1774
Marie-Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) Portrait de Marie-Louise Adelaide-Jacquette de Robien, Vicomtesse de Mirabeau 1774

Enlightenment: Carte Blanche à Christian Lacrox is an innovative exhibition, enhanced with Lacroix’s inimitable flair. The exhibition continues through 19th April 2015. JG

Photo credits: Vigée Lebrun: Musée Cognacq-Jay /Roger-Viollet

All photos: Agence Roger Viollet “Press Photo”




Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire

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.


Children were often put into mourning as well, participating in their family’s memorialization of 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.


Mourning and Fashion coexist - Elegant Harmonization -
Mourning and Fashion coexist – Elegant Harmonization –

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. JG

All images: Gallery View Anna Wintour Costume Center, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery Copyright: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Lace, Silk and Ermine

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.

Blue Dress worn by Elisabeth Empress of Austria
Blue Dress worn by Elisabeth Empress of Austria


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.


Sisi enjoyed wearing gowns that silhouetted her ultra-slim figure
Sisi enjoyed wearing gowns that silhouetted her ultra-slim figure


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.


Monogrammed Silk Stockings worn by Elisabeth Empress of Austria
Monogrammed Silk Stockings worn by Elisabeth Empress of Austria

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. 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.

Women Fashion Power

High-Profile Women Celebrated at Design Museum

1st November 2014 Clothes have always been a powerful form of self-expression for women – from Elizabeth 1, to Margaret Thatcher, and Coco Chanel to Lady Gaga –  and an essential part of a sophisticated visual language. An exceptional new exhibition at London’s Design Museum brings together a fabulous showcase of clothing, photography, archive footage and interviews with twenty-five influential women who have used fashion to define and enhance their position in the world.


Margaret Thatcher Suit Courtesy of Christie's
Margaret Thatcher Suit Courtesy of Christie’s

Donna Loveday, Head of Curatorial at the Design Museum and co-curator of the exhibition said: “All of the women we invited to contribute to the exhibition were chosen because they are leaders in their field, and they understand that the clothes they wear are a part of the way that they communicate with the world.”

Joan Burstein Founder of Browns London photographed by Billie Sheepers
Joan Burstein Founder of Browns London photographed by Billie Sheepers

WOMEN FASHION POWER examines the last 150 years of women’s fashion from the restrictive boned corsets of the nineteenth century to the statement Louboutin heels of today. Included among the women profiled are: Joan Burstein, founder of Browns in London; Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco Age; Princess Charlène of Monaco; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Charlotte Olympia, Designer; Dame Zandra Rhodes and Dame Vivienne Westwood, both designers. Archive clothes include a suit worn by Margaret Thatcher when she was elected leader of the Conservative party in 1975; and a dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales on the occasion of  her 36th birthday, plus items from Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent.


Anne Hidalgo Mayor of Paris photographed by Jean-Baptiste Gurliat
Anne Hidalgo Mayor of Paris photographed by Jean-Baptiste Gurliat

Fashion commentator Collin McDowell observed: “This exhibition shows how women have used different approaches to dress in order to make statements which are unique to them and their personalities. They create their own wardrobes, not to be fashion plates but to demonstrate who and what they are.” WOMEN FASHION POWER at the Design Museum Shad Thames, London SE1 Through 26 April 2015 JG

Top photo: Dame Zandra Rhodes photographed by John Swannell

Horst: Photographer of Style

Master Photographer Horst P. Horst at V&A

1st October 2014 Fashion icons, Presidents, Hollywood stars, and avant-garde artists were all captured on film by Horst (1906-1999) – one of the leading photographers of the 20th century. A fascinating retrospective of his work – that spanned six decades – is celebrated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Horst’s stylish photos, plus haute couture garments by Parisian couturiers Chanel, Lavin, Molyneux and Vionnet, magazines, film footage, previously unpublished vintage prints, and ninety-four Vogue covers are all on display.


Horst directing fashion shoot with Lisa Fonssagrives 1949
Horst directing fashion shoot with Lisa Fonssagrives 1949

Horst’s illustrious career straddled the opulence of pre-war Parisian haute couture and the rise of ready-to-wear in New York. He photographed – among many others – Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, President Harry Truman, Marlene Dietrich, Noël Coward, Merle Oberon, and his photos of Lisa Fonssagrives helped to launch her glittering modelling career.


Summer Fashions American Vogue Cover 15 May 1941
Summer Fashions American Vogue Cover 15 May 1941

Born in Weissenfels, Germany, Horst fled Europe just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1943, he enlisted into the American Army and became a U.S. citizen. He also explored new photography dimensions with nude studies, travel photographs from the Middle East, and patterns created from natural forms, plus work for House and Garden magazine. The scope of his work is imaginatively diverse, and he creatively traversed the worlds of art, fashion, design, theatre and high society – all with superb style. Horst: Photographer of Style continues through 4 January 2015. JG

Photos: Top image: Muriel Maxwell, American Vogue 1939 Condé Nast/Horst Estate Middle image: Roy Stevens/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images Bottom photo: Condé Nast/Horst Estate



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.

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

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 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 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 JG

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     Image caption: illustration above by American illustrator Tod Draz (1917-2002). CN

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. JG

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. JG

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. 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

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. 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

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. 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

“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 –, hats by Lock and Co. – –, 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).

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 Images (top, and centre) provided by

For more on C.W. Dixey fine eyewear visit CN