Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dior Illustrated

I know I've been slacking off on blogging, but I have been extremely busy with school, entertaining my parents, and attending some fabulous fashion exhibitions!  This weekend I went to see Albert Watson's exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery and the Rene Gruau exhibition at Somerset House.  You should already know about Albert Watson from my last post, and if you don't, then you should read it.  Hamiltons Gallery is a small gallery in the May Fair district of London; there were two rooms filled with Watson's vintage prints.  From the photo of a nude Kate Moss to one of a seemingly severed Jon Bon Jovi's head, every photograph was amazing.  I had seen his photos on the slide show at his lecture, but seeing the original print in person was a completely different experience.

The next day I went to an exhibition at Somerset House called Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau and the Line of Beauty.  Gruau was the fashion illustrator for the House of Dior after World War II, and he produced some of the most iconic and enduring fashion images of the 20th century.   He met Christian Dior in 1936 on the fashion desk of the French newspaper Le Figaro, where both men worked as illustrators.  When Dior launched his New Look in 1947, he turned to his friend to illustrate his Haute Couture designs. In the same year, Dior launched his perfume line, and asked Gruau to produce a series of illustrations.  Gruau's bold lines, simple flat planes of color, and use of negative space are recognizable all over the world.  He loved to shock people with his suggestive illustrations of men's bare legs and women's clothing strewn over a chair.

The exhibit took up two floors, beginning with a collage of Gruau's famous illustrations.  Walk up the stairs and you will find a long room filled with many more of his illustrations, this time separated and accompanied by descriptions.  His illustrations have such a sense of fun in them; it's easy to see why the House of Dior printed his illustrations even long after photography became popular. 

"To be inspired by Dior is to be inspired by Rene Gruau. His sketches capture the silhouette and spirit of fashion and femininity. His illustrations are timeless, ever youthful, ever faithful to the moment he saw; they capture the energy, the sophistication and daring of Dior, and equally are a token of an enduring friendship." -John Galliano, designer for Dior

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Unified Fashion Objectives

This evening I attended a lecture by Albert Watson at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  He was promoting his new book, Unified Fashion Objectives, and his exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery that will be opening this Friday.  Watson is a well-known and successful photographer who has shot over 250 covers for Vogue and over 40 covers for Rolling Stone; so it's very likely that you have seen his work.  Born and raised in Scotland, he became obsessed with the camera after his wife gave him one for his 21st birthday.  His passion for photography was noticed by the right people and he began his career as a professional photographer in the early 1970s.  He said his career began with a photo he took of a man holding a dead and skinned goose by the neck.  The man was Alfred Hitchcock. 

 Before the lecture, Watson showed us a video, a "hodgepodge" of his work.  Photos faded in and out to classical music, showing the faces of Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Mick Jagger, Prince, Kate Moss, Tupac, and many other celebrities.  There were photos of dance, of children, of animals, and of couture.  He has a huge range, photographing celebrity portraits, couture, advertising, and documentary projects.  He said that he used to have days where he would wake up in Paris to shoot a fashion project, fly to New York for an advertising campaign, and fly to Los Angeles to take photos of a celebrity, all within 24 hours.

The man is an amazing photographer.  I have never seen anything like his photos; the colors were so rich, even the black and white photos would pop out at you.  There was a photo of Mick Jagger where his face was combined with the face of a leopard.  His advice: "If you're going to work with a leopard, use a cheetah, they are less aggressive."  Apparently the leopard almost got a taste of Mick!

On the subject of fashion, he says, "I love fashion."  His couture photographs "are not fashion pictures, they are photographs of fashion."  He discussed how through working as a fashion photographer, he came to appreciate the art.  There was a photograph of Naomi Campbell's profile when she was about 17 years old; it was one of my favorites.  He said that when he took this shot, he knew it would be the one.

His documentary is beautiful.  I would have purchased one of his books to have signed after the lecture, but they were a little pricey (And by a little pricey, I mean a lot!).  "The picture is simple," he says.  "It's the concept that is more important."

Sunday, 21 November 2010


This weekend, I went to the Florist exhibition at SHOWstudio. Some of you may have read my "Flowers in Winter" post, so you might know what the exhibition was about. For those of you don't, it is an exhibition dedicated to floral still life.  SHOWstudio is a little shop located on a little street in the Mayfair district of London. Most of the pieces were up for sale, and if I was ridiculously wealthy, I may have been tempted to buy some of these beautiful artworks.  Some of my favorites included a sculpture by Andy Hillman, an installation by Michael Howells,  and a piece by Nick Knight.

Andy Hillman's sculpture, Hello Flowerhead, was made this year.  It features a woman from the chest up with roses all around her head.  It is going for $7,000.

Michael Howell's installation was a giant flower that was designed for the Christian Dior haute couture catwalk.  I don't know that I would want a giant flower in my house, but it was nice to look at. It is going for $5,000.
 Another one of my favorites was an item not for sale, Bloomin' Hell by Julie Verhoeven.  It featured a skull, which had been painted and covered with paper flowers.  The picture from which the flowers were cut out of had then been laid over the skull.

This last one, Rose by Nick Knight, is something I would definitely want to put on display in my house.  It featured a rose that had been cut into 4 pieces, the bottom half of the stem, the top half of the stem, the rose, and a petal.  He put each piece in a cube filled with some sort of liquid, I'm not sure what it was, but it was beautiful. It is for sale for $25,000.

It was the perfect thing to do on a Saturday afternoon!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Where Art and Fashion Collaborate

I was looking around Elle.com's "Need to Know Designers" section again and came upon this marvel: Elsa Schiaparelli.  A designer with no formal training, she transformed the way designers look at fashion between the two World Wars.  She was born and raised in Italy, but it wasn't until she moved to Paris with her daughter that her fashion career began.

She began her career with a determination to bring American-style sportswear to Europe's attention.  She designed simple, practical separates that suited the working woman, and soon she became famous for her sweaters that featured trompe l'oeil patterns.  Her designs attracted women like Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, and Joan Crawford.

Although her earlier work is beautiful, I really enjoy her later, more avant-garde designs.  Schiaparelli designed in the age of Surrealism, and was inspired by artist friends, Man Ray, Salvator Dali, and Picasso to name a few.  Her elegant gowns and accessories were shocking at the time, much like Surrealist Art was.  One of her most famous pieces was the Lobster Dress, which featured a Dali lobster painted on the skirt.  I would assume that it was inspired by Dali's Lobster Phone. She was truly an artist at heart!
Lobster Dress
Dali's Lobster Phone 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

It's All About the Dress

It will be a warm, sunny day by the water.  Just a light breeze.  Some classy music will be playing in the background, something like Frank Sinatra or Harry Connick, Jr.  The tables will be white, the flowers yellow, and the ribbons a dark red.  The people will be drinking champagne and talking about how beautiful, and happy, she looks. 

Every girl dreams about her wedding day; not because of the special moment where you vow your love for one another, but because it is the one day in her entire life that is all about her!  At least, that's how I see it.... I get to pick out the location, the food, the tablecloths, the music, and, the best part, the dress.  It really is all about the dress.

After hearing about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Elle.com decided to put up the pictures of its favorite brides, although it seems more likely that they were pictures of its favorite wedding dresses rather than brides, which is fine with me!  Personally, I love a classy, simple white dress, featured on the likes of Renee Zellweger, Mia Farrow, Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn.

Renee Zellweger
Audrey Hepburn
Jackie Kennedy
Mia Farrow
 Not too much lace, never too many bows; simple hair and makeup; a small bouquet and a smile. Perfect.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Flowers in Winter

I found out recently that SHOWstudio, a shop in London featuring rare fashion artifacts from iconic fashion shows and catwalks, is currently presenting an exhibition called "Florist," dedicated to still life florals in the dead of winter and reinventing our view of flowers as art, fashion, and artifact.  It opened on November 10th and closes on January 13th, and I will be attending this weekend! 

Artists, fashion designers, models,  and musicians alike, including Dame Vivienne Westwood and Yohji Yamamoto, have created their own floral creations to contribute to the exhibition to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of SHOWstudio.com.  Floral artifacts, including garments, headpieces, and objets d'arts, will be featured in the exhibition.  I'm so excited to go check this out! 

I really love florals, who doesn't?  So it will be fun to see what these artists have come up with for the exhibition, as well as the vintage artifacts that will be presented.  If you're interested in vintage fashion and you are in London, go check out the Fashion Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It is amazing, and it's so fun to wander through looking at all the styles of the past.  They have vintage Chanel, Ferragamo, Versace, and many more!  It's such a great gallery that I wish it was bigger!

There is also a fun market on Piccadilly Street called St. James' Market, just a five-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus!  I found some vintage watches, telescopes, and even African Masks!  Just some fun vintage things that may be fun to have on display in your apartment! It's definitely what I was thinking about when I was meandering through the courtyard browsing around the different vendors. 

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Vintage by ESP3726 featuring army shoes

Some of my favorite vintage items

Welcome to Polyvore!

Welcome to Polyvore!
Welcome to Polyvore! by ESP3726 featuring ray ban sunglasses

The red coat gives a pop of color, and I love the masculine trends going on right now, hence the briefcase purse.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

One of the Few that I Like

There are very few celebrities turned models that I actually like.  One of the big reasons I love Italian Vogue over US Vogue is because they feature models on their covers rather than celebrities.  However, there is one celebrity turned model that I actually do like: Emma Watson.  She has that kind of natural, slightly awkward beauty that I really love to see in models, and she is really starting to come into her own in the fashion world.  Watson has been the face of Burberry and graced the covers of magazines such as Elle, Teen Vogue, and Marie Claire.  She has even started her own eco-friendly line, People Tree.

According to E!, Watson was recently approached by none other than Alberta Ferretti, wondering if she would be interested in working on an eco-friendly line for the Italian label.

As most of you probably know, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows premiered in London last week, and Emma Watson was looking fantastic with her new, very chic haircut and stylish little black dress.

At the Harry Potter premiere


From Italian Vogue

Friday, 12 November 2010

It's Christmas Time in London!

As in London they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas decorations are already up.  And as a big fan of the Christmas Season, I am embracing it!  From Christmas music to Christmas movies, I am celebrating early this year!  And the one thing I cannot wait to see: not the lights on Regent Street or the lights on Oxford Street, but John Galliano's Christmas Tree that will be displayed at Claridge's, a 5-star hotel in London.  Now, this isn't your ordinary Christmas Tree.  Just take a look at the tree he designed last year:
A frozen tropical tree
  Galliano's design for this year features an underwater theme, complete with coral, seahorses, jellyfish, and many other sea creatures.  He has such an unique eye, and I can't wait to see the final piece!  It will be unveiled on November 25, meaning that I will be taking my parents to see it since they will be here for Thanksgiving, whether they like it or not! 
The sketch for this year's tree
Some other events I plan to attend:
  • The Rene Gruau exhibition at Somerset House, a celebration of the renowned illustrator, who created some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century; started November 10
  • A talk by Albert Watson, Vogue photographer, on his several-decades-long career secrets at the Victoria and Albert Museum on November 23
  • The Vintage Watson Opening at Hamilton's Gallery, a showcase of his most famous work, on November 26

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Trends of the Season

Wanting to look fashion-forward as you're walking down the street? Well, here are my favorite trends of the season, if that means anything!

First, the gilet.  Basically, it's a fabulous fur vest.  Make sure to pair it with something light and not too bulky.  And for those of you who don't want to wear real fur, there are plenty of designers that make faux fur gilets, like this well-known designer (one of my favorites):
Michael Kors

  Next, the elbow-length gloves.  Many magazines are saying to only go for leather or suede, but personally I think elbow-length knit gloves are adorable!  And any color goes!

And for the shoes, if you're looking for heels, go for a bright color!  Any color!  Whether it's red, yellow, or neon green, it looks great to have that pop of color on your feet.  My suggestion, if you're going to wear brightly colored heels, wear a neutral colored outfit. That way, the shoes will really stand out.
I will be looking for a pair of red heels for Christmas!

And if you're looking for flats, go look through your Dad's shoes and find a pair that look like his! The mannish shoes are really "in" right now and who knows when it will be "out," so don't let the time to wear comfortable shoes and still be trendy slip away!
Well, those are my favorites! And now, after talking about it, I want to go shopping...

Monday, 8 November 2010

A Tribute

Yesterday, I was snooping around Elle.com and came upon its "Need to Know Designers" section.  The latest featured designers such as Stephane Raynor, the founder of Boy London, and Reed Krakoff, President and Creative Director of Coach.  But then I came upon this gem, Madeleine Vionnet, revolutionary designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  So, I thought I would give a tribute to the woman who stripped us of our corsets and gave us the luxury of movement and comfort.

Vionnet was born in Loiret, France in 1876 and became an apprentice seamstress at only 11 years old.  Fast forward 25 years after working for dressmaker Kate Reilly and fashion houses Callot Soeurs and Jacques Doucet, and Vionnet began to branch out on her own.  With the beginning of the First World War came the need of less constricting dresses, hence the creation of Vionnet's bias-cut.  It was a technique in which she cut the fabric diagonally across the grain, making the fabric drape about the body.  Her signature look was the figure-hugging gown, as shown below.  Absolutely beautiful?  I'd say so!

Not only was she a pioneer of fashion, but also a pioneer of workers' rights.  Vionnet was the first employer to offer her employees maternity leave, paid holidays, and free medical care.  I have to say, I think we are much indebted to Madeleine Vionnet!

Her fashion house closed at the end of the 1930s, after which she donated all her dresses to Musee Des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.  Today, it is easy to see how influential Vionnet has been on designers' approach to dressmaking.  Just take a look at some of these dresses:
At the Oscar's
John Galliano
A Wedding Dress

Madeleine Vionnet's legacy lives on. :)

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Hey there! I decided to start this blog after writing my first piece about fashion for the blog of the PR company I am currently interning at in London. As it says in the description, I absolutely love fashion, so why not write about it?

Today's topic: Chau Har Lee's new footwear line.  Lee is the footwear designer for Bally by day, and shoe-making mastermind by night.  It is the designers like her that completely take my breath away.  This is what I love about the fashion world.  I may not get excited by the artwork on the wall, but I do get excited by the artwork you can wear!  Getting inspiration from jewelery and architecture, she has taken the meaning of shoes to a whole new level.  From the bright orange transparent wedge to the black chunky stiletto, her shoes truly are a work of art. 

I remember being in Italy a few years ago and going to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, I think it was in Florence, and looking at all the beautiful and, in some cases, outrageous shoes he designed, like the multi-colored melting shoe.  It's amazing how these artists create masterpieces that are not just pieces that hang on the wall; it is artwork that people can wear.