May 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books of all time. Normally, I despise film adaptations of my favourite novels, however, I have been more than intrigued my Baz Luhmann’s upcoming take on F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic.
While the actors, the set and the script are of course integral to the film, it is the costumes that I have most been looking forward to. When I heard Miuccia Prada was involved I was beyond excitement and when it recently came to my attention that the American brand Brooks Brothers would be creating the mens suits, I knew they were onto a winner. Brooks Brothers is not often talking about in Britain and that is a shame. Their clothes are timeless, classic, understated and more than appropriate as the designers of Jay Gatsby’s ‘beautiful shirts.’
Luckily for us Brits, these very garments are on display in their Regent Street store and should definitely be taken advantage of before the film hits cinemas later in May! There is even an accompanying special collection of mens clothing to celebrate the designs.
The Brooks Brothers suits will be on show in the Regent Street Store until May 31.
May 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
1931 was a year in which France experienced an unemployment crisis, Germany announced it was unable to pay their World War 1 debt and Britain was facing a money crisis. It is better known for financial and political difficulty, not fashion. However, in 1931, 200 fashion houses presented collections in Paris and an exhibition at the Credit Municipal de Paris shows us that 1931 was not just doom and gloom but the start of a new age of fashion.
Beginning with the simplicity and elegance of 1930s day dresses we are shown illustration and photography of the ‘robe du jour’, a long, loose dress with a defined waist. The long sleeved three quarter length garment appears more like a top and skirt and is a far cry from the structured corseted ensembles previously employed by women.
We are also shown geometric patterns – a sense of fun and playfulness at last. Here are zig zag patterns inspired by sportswear as well as ‘le pyjama de plague’, easy to wear beach cover up outfits which are easy to wear by women of all sizes with their wide legs, which I am sure, many women are wishing are still in fashion today.
Also on display are beautiful accessories which French Vogue described at the time as the final detail of the outfit to create the silhouette. It is here that we learn that women still had a penchant for 19th century romanticism and long flowing skirts with accentuated waists, tierred skirts and evening coats with bell sleeves which were fur lined – a little glamour goes a long way.
This hidden gem is not to missed for those on a Parisian adventure.
1931: Face-Dos-Profil is on display at Credit Municipal de Paris until July 6
May 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I had previously been of the idea that it was only the English who liked to queue. I was wrong. The French like to queue too it seems, particularly for the sake of fashion. This Spring the French are holding a spectacular tribute to the city’s status as the home of Haute Couture and the women – and men of France were more than happy to brave the cold and queue outdoors to sneak a peak.
Paris Haute Couture gives a behind the scenes look at the life of the couturier. Beginning with early photographs and illustrations the exhibition presents us with a stunning history of craftsmanship, design and quality. In the early photographs there is a clear emphasis on hands. These images show the importance of the hand made and the ultimate care in craftsmanship.
The show – which is displayed over two floors begins with a top floor explanation of the work behind the designs. Here we are shown fashion illustration from as early as 1887 until the most recent decades. Amongst these are designs by Chanel and Schiaperelli. We are also shown examples of broderie, toiles and other embellishments, including a stunning blue sequinned dress and bolero from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel from last year.
After going downstairs, the visual treat begins. The floor is scattered with stunning couture gowns. Early designs by Jean Patou, Bouchra Jarrar and Paul Poiret are shown amongst Maison Martin Margiela 2013 as a testimony to how timeless couture is. Each garment accommodates one another. Nothing looks dated. All is classic and utterly timeless, and of course, impeccably well made.
One of the most visually stunning fashion exhibitions that I have seen in a very long time which should be enjoyed by all lucky enough to visit Paris this Summer.
Paris Haute Couture is on display at Hotel de Ville until July 6
April 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
There are always exhibitions celebrating fashion. Hundreds of displays every year are held all over the world to celebrate design, craftsmanship and couture. However, it is rare that the models used to present these celebrated works of clothes art are given any recognition. Now, Paris is doing just that.
The Docks en Seine give a history of models from the very beginning. On show are magazine adverts from the 1890s to the 1990s as well as images of the earliest fashion shows from the 19th century. The show gives us an opportunity to see first hand the changing ideals of body type and beauty with corsets and busts. Models from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell are shown among 19th century models for illustration in long flowing gowns with huge, voluminous bustles.
We also get a glimpse of what happens behind photo shoots with mock ups and annotations of the picture selection process. A turning point in the career of the model came with the use of photography. Countless fashion editorials are on display with the work of Mario Testino and Juergen Teller. There is also work by Helmut Newton on display, whose work seems to be more about celebrating the female form and sexuality than fashion.
Agency cards remind us of the lucrative and competitive business of being a top fashion model with the beginnings of the model agency, reminding us that it is not all sitting pretty and posing for the camera. We are shown the history of model posing, a move from static prints to movement on the runway, finishing with fashion films from the past year.
Strut the runway along the Seine to the Docks for a pose off by this wonderful exhibition.
Mannequin le Corps de la Mode is on display at Les Docks en Seine, Paris until 19 May
April 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Henrik Vibskov’s decision to become a fashion designer was not a conventional one. The Danish artist went to Central St Martin’s to impress a girl and decided he liked it. Now, an exhibition of his non fashion work is on display at Galleries Des Galleries, Galleries Lafayettes in Paris.
The show has a strong focus on material and from the display it is not a surprise that the artist is also a fashion designer constantly in contact with fabric. We are shown luxurious pure wool from Norway, straight out of an untouched barrel. It is raw nature and just begging to be touched, but alas we must restrain ourselves. In terms of material we also see foam stylised with wool and string, restrained against canvas. Later the wool is on display again, in huge shredded rounds which are reminiscent of works by Joseph Beuys. This industrial wool could also represent an alternative flag of Copenhagen.
The show is entitled ‘Neck Plus Ultra’, which has roots in the Roman saying ‘best of the best.’ The attachment of ‘k’ onto ‘neck’ is significant as the artist/designer has a clear interest in anatomy. The most memorable part of the experience are the hanging upside down black flamingos, with fabulously long necks. These birds alter our perception of wood puzzles on display and also create a dark sort of barrier between the other works. This neck motif is seen repeated again in experimentation of hand and industrial sewing hung like canvases in yellows and blues, colours typical of Scandanavia. It is interesting that the flamingoes are black. They are dark, much like a lot of our perception of Scandinavia.
Interest in anatomy is also shown in the alteration of film stills from Danish photographer Richard Winter. The models shown here are real people – Viskov’s neighbours. Nude images of old men, and non-idealised women could be a challenge to the shopping experience and a distortion on our perception of beauty on the runway and in magazines.
Also on display is a hypnotic wind tunnel. This is a reference to psychedelia. It is a trance like, hypnotic structure mixing metal, wood and textile. It looks like the inside of a sewing machine, although also reminds me of the cogs in a clock and could be a nod to surrealism.
Vibskov employs performance in his catwalks. He is also a percussionist. One thing is for sure, he is a deeply interesting artist, multi-faceted and the girl who prompted him to go to St Martin’s deserves a round of applause.
Neck Plus Ultra is on display at Galerie des Galeries, Galeries Lafayettes until 4 May
April 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
One would not expect to see a Chinese artist presenting in Paris, yet the work of Yang Yongliang is sitting beautifully in the city’s Galerie Paris Beijing.
On display are stunning black and white images of what appears to be cities in chinese bowls. These works are inspired by Song Dynasty paintings and look to be depictions of mountains. However, looking closely we can see that these rock formations are actually formed out of high rise flats and apartments. By making this industrialisation and city life so beautiful, Yongliang is making a mockery of modern day life and a comment on the hard and cold urban life in China today. The cities in front of the ‘mountains’ are taking over nature and contrast the simple images on the bowls in which they are growing from which show peasants and flowers.
Similar images are shown in the next room in the round against black, like the moon. The lights employed in these images look like stars but are the artificial lights used indoors in buildings at night time. Interestingly each of these images contains the moon, potentially commenting on our lack of the interest in the natural in favour of technology and urbanisation.
This stunning display entitled ‘The Silent Valley’ is on display at Galerie Paris Beijing until April 27