Tag Archive: Exhibition

Oct 10 2014

First Look: Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty At The V&A


When the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York honoured Alexander McQueen’s brilliance with a retrospective exhibition back in 2011 I knew I had to see it, sadly a press trip I was suppose to be going on was postponed and I missed it by a few days. Since then I have hoped, prayed and signed numerous online petitions to see the exhibition here in the UK and was ecstatic when my favourite museum the V&A announced they would be bringing the sold-out Savage Beauty exhibition to London.

Yesterday I attended the press preview for the exhibition and I am so excited as it seems like the long wait will have been worth it as it is going to bigger and better than the original and generally take over the V&A. There will be 30 additional garments, including some rare pieces that couldn’t make the journey to New York, like the red ballet dress from The Girl Who Lived in the Tree collection from AW08 and the breathtaking white feathered dress from The Horn of Plenty AW09 collection, as well as pieces lent by private individuals and collectors such as Katy England and from the Isabella Blow Collection.

There will also be a Cabinet of Curiosities, which will showcase designs produced by McQueen with jeweller Shaun Leane and milliner Philip Treacy, as well as pieces from his time at Givenchy, including the exquisite black horned headpiece from the Givenchy SS97 collection.

I am also pleased that there will be a room dedicated to the designer’s early years, exploring his career as a  pattern cutter on Saville Row, as well as showcasing some of his earlier work, including a piece from his Hitchcock-inspired ‘The Birds’ SS95 collection, and footage from his SS96 The Hunger collection. There will also be a life-sized hologram of Kate Moss replicating the one that closed McQueen’s Widows of Culloden AW06 catwalk show and the exhibition will close with McQueen’s last fully realised collection, Plato’s Atlantis from SS10, which fused the designer’s love of the sea and technology, and was widely considered to be his greatest achievement.

The exhibition will be huge, there will be more than 200 ensembles and accessories showcased, over 10 sections, making it the largest ever collection of McQueen designed pieces seen together. Trust me I only saw four looks on display at the preview and I was blown away. The exhibition is going to be popular, the museum has already sold 16,000 tickets and it is widely expected to out perform the David Bowie exhibition that ran last year, so probably best to pre-order your tickets to avoid disappointment as it is only on from March 14 – July 19, 2015.

Is anyone else planning to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A next year?

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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, runs from March 14 – July 19, 2015. Admission £16 (concessions available). V&A members go free.

May 20 2014

Exhibition: Pradasphere At Harrods


When it comes to store takeovers Harrods has the competition beat, last year they allowed Dior to move onto the fourth floor of its Knightsbridge department store, the year before that it was Chanel, and this month is Pradasphere, dedicated to the diverse passions of Miuccia Prada and her amazing Prada collections.

As well as taking over 40 of Harrods iconic windows, Pradasphere also includes a cafe and a pop-up boutique, but for me it was all about the exhibition on the fourth floor charting the history of the 101-year-old brand that blew me away. First up, you have to remember this is a department store not a museum, I think Harrods could teach the V&A a few things about how to put together a great fashion exhibition in a limited space, and secondly unlike most other fashion exhibitions taking place in London, the Paul Smith retrospective, the Italian Glamour, the Wedding Dresses and Jean Paul Gaultier this showcase is free, yep and they do free guided tours.

Trust me it is not to be missed, you don’t have long as it is only open until May 29, but you will be under Miuccia’s spell by the time you leave as it really does showcase what makes Prada so great, with its gorgeous 40s silhouettes, exquisitely crafted bowling bags, fun heels and playful arty prints that the Italian fashion is really known for. I really did love the way the exhibition was set out and styled, it was instantly recognisable as Prada, there was a colour of explosion encased behind huge glass cabinets that spanned the length of the room displaying ready-to-wear and accessories that fit into Prada’s key concepts from “Modernity” to “Figuration and “Animalia”.

I just really loved that all of Prada’s greatest hits were mixed together as it meant that I bounced about the exhibition from case-to-case finding my favourite pieces that I have added to a mental list of vintage pieces that if I ever saw and could afford I would just need to buy, no matter what!!!

As well as fashion, the retrospective also reflects Prada’s non-fashion loves such as art, architecture and film, I loved relaxing in the screening room and watching the specially commissioned films by the likes of Wes Anderson and Roman Polanski, it really shows that this Italian fashion house is much more than just clothing and accessories.

Are you a fan of fashion exhibitions?

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May 11 2014

Exhibition: V&A – Wedding Dresses 1775-2014


With the excitement of planning a wedding I was really looking forward to seeing the V&A’s latest fashion exhibition, Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, because who doesn’t love to look at wedding gowns, especially when they include dresses worn by Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss and Dita Von Teese.

Spanning across two floors, much like last year’s Ballgowns exhibit, I much prefer this space in the V&A than the one currently occupied by the Glamour of Italian Fashion, there is more space and the dresses really do make more of an impact. However, unlike the recent John Paul Gaultier display at the Barbican there isn’t anything special about this exhibition, well except the exquisitely crafted wedding gowns of course.

As much as I loved the history of the opening section exhibition, covering gowns from the last two centuries tracing the development of the white wedding dress, I wasn’t wowed by anything. I felt a lot of it had been covered before, the shapes and silhouettes of the dresses look like pieces out of the V&A archive, they just aren’t in white, and I wasn’t a fan of the inclusion of the Royal video, it would have been fine if the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress had been on display, it just felt a little bit of a tourist push to make the exhibition more popular with foreign visitors.

My favourite moment from the opening section was seeing socialite Margaret Whigham’s magnificent Norman Hartnell gown from when she married in 1933. Not only is this gown beautiful, a simple sheath dress with dramatic medieval-style hanging sleeves, but I loved how the 3.6 metre train was more sophisticated than dramatic – really suited the Thirties.


What I did love though was the mezzanine level featuring wedding garments from the last 50 years with an emphasis on the glamour and spectacle of weddings today, which of course includes celebrity weddings. Maybe it is because these dresses are more familiar, maybe it because they are lot more grande, or maybe it is just because they were laid out nicer, but seeing these gorgeous couture gowns up close was amazing.

The first dress you see when you come up the stairs is the divine purple Vivienne Westwood ballgown-style wedding dress that was custom-made for Burlesque star Dita Von Teese in 2005. Not only am I a huge fan of Dita’s but this gown is so special, not only is the colour exquisite, it really does shimmer, but I loved the drama and the styling with the Stephen Jones hat – it really is a wow factor dress.

The celebrity moments really did make this exhibition for me, seeing Gwen Stefani’s John Galliano for Dior spray-painted pink wedding dresses was more stunning than I it looked in pictures. The colour really worked with the dress’s asymmetric construction and the pairing of such a romantic veil – this is how you marry a traditional gown with a modern twist and I love it. Also I think Gwen had the best choice in shoes!!!


Another highlight was Ian Stuart’s Flower Bomb dress from 2011, I think this was because of its Southern Belle quality in the volume and drama of the skirt, my only wish was that it wasn’t trapped in a glass cabinet. Isn’t it beautiful, and I love the addition of the hat, for a bride who wants something a little different.

If you are a little wedding obsessed like me you will love this exhibition in parts, the modern dresses from the likes of Jenny Packham and Temperley London will have you gushing, but I think you might be a little disappointed not to see more couture.


V&A’s Wedding Dress 1775-2014 exhibition is open until March 15, 2015 and costs £12. 

Apr 21 2014

Exhibition: The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier


Ever since the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition opened in Montreal I have been excited about its visit to London, not only is the French designer one of the most recognisable couturiers in fashion, but I knew that the exhibit would be very theatrical, filled with exquisite gowns as well as some of the costumes he has made for the likes of Madonna, yep the conical bra corset is on display, and Kylie Minogue.

Spanning across two floors this is a large exhibition, covering his love of Breton stripes, double denim, punk street style, dramatic red carpet worthy gowns, as well as a boudoir dedicated to the corset. There are lots of highlights in this amazing exhibition from iconic pieces such as the ‘La Mariee’ wedding gown above styled with an Indian-style feather headress-train covered in ivory silk tulle to the specially designed wigs by hair stylist Odile Gilbert like the metre-high Union Jack Mohawk and the life-like sometimes singing mannequins that take a little getting used to.

This isn’t like an ordinary fashion exhibition, it isn’t displaying works in chronicle order or even by collection, it really plays upon Gaultier’s loves – his love of stripes, his love of bejewelled gowns, his love of the Punk era in London, his love of the corset and his love of sexuality in his designs. It really works with the designer’s personality.

What I adored about this exhibit is how close you can get to the pieces, I really feel that Couture fashion is an art form, and the Barbican obviously feel the same in the way they have laid out this exhibition of JPG’s work. The detail in some of the pieces is exquisite and I love that some of the information card tells you how it took to create, for instance the camouflage-effect ruffled tulle gown that Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the MTV Awards in 2000 took over 300 hours to make.

I would definitely recommend a visit to this exhibition if you love fashion and couture, give yourself a whole afternoon though to really take in the large exhibition, and download The Barbican’s free app that acts as a multimedia guide to his career.

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As well as getting an early look at the exhibition it was also amazing to hear from Jean Paul Gaultier in conversation with the exhibition curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, hearing about how much London means to him, his inspirations, talking about how the film ‘Falbalas’ inspired him to pursue fashion, his tips for future designers, as well as his how his Gran inspired his love affair with corsets. He really was insightful and truly charming.

On his love of London, Jean Paul Gaultier said: “I feel more at home here than Paris. I am honoured to have 1/8th of English blood from my grandfather’s side. You, the roast beefs, embrace me the [French] frog – I’m proud to say that.”

Addressing future designers, Gaultier added: “I love that I get to do the work I love. If you have the passion it is worth it. If you truly love it you don’t feel like it is hard work. My first collection I did with no money, no sponsorship, I’m very proud I did it with no money. If you love it, no problem, if you just want to be known or be famous, maybe do something else.”


The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ is at the Barbican, EC2, until August 25. 

Apr 03 2014

Exhibition: V&A – The Glamour Of Italian Fashion

V&A-Italian-Fashion-5When I think about Italian fashion, I think about how many gorgeous luxury labels there are, and the exquisite quality that they bring to the red carpet in-particular. You have the romantic and elegant vibe of Valentino, bold and edgy fashion covered by Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, you have fabulous tailoring and minimalism from Armani, uber-sexy glamour from Roberto Cavalli and pure femme fatale from Gucci – and that’s without mentioned the beauty of Prada, the fun of Moschino, the divine prints of Pucci and the knitted beauties by Missoni.


The V&A’s latest fashion exhibition explores all their influential contributions to fashion, as well as the rich passion of the Italian fashion industry from the end of the Second World War to the present day in its beautifully curated ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ exhibition, which runs from April 5 until July 27, 2014.

One of the most striking rooms within the exhibition has to be the array of modern-day pieces, these are the most recognisable – from the hand-painted Dolce & Gabbana ballgown to a floor-length romantic Valentino gown and accessories including the Fendi baguette bag, Gucci’s ‘New Jackie’ bag and Tod’s vibrant driving moccasins.

Just seeing the red carpet beauties up close, especially the gorgeous Armani Prive gown from the spring/summer 2010 collection, encrusted with Swarovski crystals was amazing to see – the craftsmanship is just incredible.


But the most revealing section had to be the opening ‘Return to Luxury’ area of the exhibit, telling the story of the early ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalk shows in Florence held in the 1950’s and featuring couture designers including Simonetta, just look at her spectacular 1950’s evening gown above, and Capucci, who became known for his sculptural style with this intricate multi-layered scalloped ruffled cocktail dress presented with a silver velvet stole from 1957.

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Other highlights had to be this red tulle couture dress by Valentino from 1977, the dramatic colour and the ruffles is so synonymous with his romantic and ethereal work. As was seeing the Bulgari emerald and diamond jewellery that was worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1967 to a masked ball in Venice, the iconic jewels just show off what Italian glamour is.

This exhibition is so much more than fashion, it is a history on how Italian fashion became such a fixture in the industry, the earlier couture designers, as well as the rise of the country’s luxury fashion houses. If you love fashion, Italian style and gorgeous dresses – you will love this exhibition.

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The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, runs from April 5 – July 27, 2014 at the V&A.

Nov 20 2013

Exhibition: Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith


I love a good fashion exhibition, a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look into a fashion house, a designer or even a fashion icon, what the Design Museum have done to honour Paul Smith is much more than a celebration of his fashion but of him, his inspiration, how he ticks, it is more about his personality.

Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith, is a totally apt title for this exhibition, of course his fashion is explored, well actually it only has one room dedicated to the designer’s clothes, it is more about where he works, where he gets his inspiration, the items, pictures and trinkets he has picked up along the way, as well as a historical look back at his career to date. It really is fascinating.

The exhibition is sectioned off into themes, there is a mock-up of the first shop he owned in Nottingham, a 3m x 3m box, a recreation of his “cluttered” office, a gallery lined with framed pictures of images found, sent or captured by the designer, a replica of his design studio, as well a look at how the brand’s first showroom space in Paris inside a hotel suite, and a digital room featuring a short psychedelic film ‘Inside Paul’s Head’ along with screens showcasing abstract images, which is narrated by Smith explaining his creative process.

There are also rooms dedicated to the designer’s numerous collaborations from cars to teapots, his individual approach to the design of his shops, which includes a wall decorated with buttons, as well as a look behind-the-scenes of his menswear show in June, and there is even a fun ‘selfie’ area where you can snap yourself with life-size cardboard cut-outs of Smith.

There are many favourite bits in this exhibition – I love how his office is the focal point of the exhibit, it was fascinating to see the things that he keeps close by and that inspire him – from rabbit figurines, a pink Dyson, vintage cameras, a bike, and stacks of books. It makes me feel that my organised chaos surrounded by Barbie dolls is completely normal!!!

It was also nice to look back at the history of the brand through the invites and launch gifts – I wonder how many people will be checking eBay to get their hands on Paul Smith fashion transfers!!! The other highlight had to be the gallery filled with pictures he has collected over the years – some of which were pictures and letters that people had sent him and it was nice to see that he collects them.

What I loved most about this exhibition is its appeal to non-fashion people, fashion actually takes a back seat and it’s the creativity that shines through and it really is a fascinating look in to the mind of a fashion designer.

‘Hello My Name is Paul Smith’ at the Design Museum runs from November 15 – March 9, 2014.

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May 22 2013

Exhibition: Inside The Hermès Festival des Métiers


I am loving that fashion exhibitions are all the rage, I loved discovering Dior at Harrods, I adored checking out the ballgowns at the V&A, was completely memsormised by the exquiste Valentino gowns when his exhibition opened at Somerset House, and was blown away by the over-sized props at the Tim Walker Story Teller exhibit.

Well now is the turn of French fashion house Hermès, who have brought their Festival des Métiers to London, so you can watch their artisans create some of their iconic pieces. If you have every wondered how Hermès make their luxury pieces that you have admired this is the exhibit for you, and I think you will be surprised by how the pieces come together and appreciate their luxury price tags a little more when you see the hand craftsmanship that goes into each item.

The exhibition is all about showcasing the traditions and values of Hermès and the Saatchi Gallery has been transformed into a make-shift workshop. It isn’t a huge exhibit but there is a lot to see as the fashion house is showcasing 10 different crafts from its leather work to the creation of its fashion pieces and even its jewellery.

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You can watch the artisans make pieces from scratch and you are encouraged to ask them questions and find out more about their work. I watch all the ten different crafts from the intricate work of putting a watch together, I have no idea how she knew where to put what piece, to seeing a silk tie made entirely by hand. It was fascinating to watch the artisan pinning the fabric and hand-sewing it together, she did it with ease, with precision and total care.

It was also interesting to find out how long it takes to make these pieces, for instance this tie takes 20 minutes, but what was refreshing to hear was that that Hermès is all about quality over quantity, for instance if a scarf doesn’t come out perfect they are shredded up and used to stuff cushions.

I was also blown away by the detailing that goes into one of their famous silk scarves – from the mixing of the unique colours to the numerous layers of printing to the embroidery work, and all done on the finest silk, and it was fascinated to see how much work is done to the leather to produce the famous Birkin handbag, it is cut, trim, treated and then fitted together – it was incredible.

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It is rare to have an inside look into a major fashion house and I couldn’t recommend this exhibition more, especially if you are fascinated by how designer pieces are put together.

You have to be quick though as this free exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is only on until May 27, but what better way to spend a Bank Holiday weekend. Plus when you are done you can go for a spot of shopping, or in my case window shopping at all the fantastic floral displays in honour of the Chelsea Flower Show that is on down the road.

For more pictures of the exhibition head on over to my Facebook page, I have a new camera so I took a lot!!!

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[Pics: All taken by me, Fashionista Barbie – please don’t use without crediting]


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