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Apr 192017
 

What is it?

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is the first ever UK exhibition exploring the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his continuing influence on modern fashion.  On display will be over 100 garments and 20 hats, many of which have never been on public display before. These will be accompanied by archive sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalk footage revealing Balenciaga’s uncompromising creativity. In addition x-rays, animated patterns and short films on couture-making processes will uncover the hidden details that made his work so exceptional. The exhibition will draw mostly on the V&A’s fashion holdings – the largest collection of Balenciaga in the UK. The collection was initiated for the Museum by Cecil Beaton in the 1970s.

Where is it?

At the V & A of course – where else?!

Why visit?

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will be the first of its kind to look at Balenciaga’s unique approach to making and will showcase pieces by his protégés and contemporary designers working in the same innovative way today. Sometimes, it’s best to see design in real life rather than via a social media lens.

When should I go there?

It opens on 27th May 2017 – 18th February 2018. Book a slot for early in the day to avoid the crowds.

Anything else?

The exhibition marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris. It will feature iconic pieces from the V&A’s Balenciaga collections and trace the courturier’s influence on fashion designers working today, from Molly Goddard to Simone Rochca, J.W. Anderson and Demna Gvasalia, among others.

The exhibit will focus on the latter part of Balenciaga’s long career in the 1950s and 1960s, arguably one of his most creative periods. It was during these years that he not only dressed some of the most renowned women of the time, but also introduced revolutionary shapes including the tunic, the sack, ‘baby doll’ and shift dress – all of which remain style staples today. Highlights will include ensembles made by Balenciaga for Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, dresses and hats belonging to socialite and 1960s fashion icon Gloria Guinness, and pieces worn by one of the world’s wealthiest women, Mona von Bismarck, who commissioned everything from ball-gowns to gardening shorts from the couturier.

Get Social:

Follow the V&A: Facebook @victoriaandalbertmuseum; Twitter @V_&_A; Instagram @vamuseum.

Contributor:  Sue Lowry

Images Credits: Images with thanks to Victoria and Albert Museum:

  • Alberta Tiburzi in ‘envelope’ dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Harper’s Bazaar, June 1967 © Hiro 1967
  • ‘Baby doll’ cocktail dress, crêpe de chine, lace and satin, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • Bolero jacket, EISA, Spain, 1947 © Museo Cristóbal Balenciaga
  • Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, Paris, 1968. Photograph Henri Cartier-Bresson © Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Photos
  • Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation
  • Evening dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1962. Photograph by Cecil Beaton, 1971 © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s
  • Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing coat by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1950. Photograph by Irving Penn © Condé Nast, Irving Penn Foundation
Apr 122017
 

What is it?

This retrospective exhibition gathers together an extensive selection of David Hockney’s most famous works celebrating his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across six decades.

Where is it?

David Hockney is on at the Tate Britain, London until the 29th May 2017. Tickets cost just £19.50 for non-members.

Why visit?

David Hockney is arguably one of the most important, popular and influential British artists of the post war era with this exhibition being his most comprehensive yet.

When should I go there?

The exhibition is proving to be highly popular so we recommend pre-booking tickets for the ‘off peak’ times during the week.

Anything else?

As he approaches his 80th birthday, Hockney continues to change his style and ways of working, embracing new technologies as he goes. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never been seen before in public  –  this exhibition shows how the roots of each new direction lay in the work that came before. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these unforgettable works together.

Top tip:

Get the audio guide as the curators lay out the background to each era in Hockney’s life, contexturalising it with what was happening at that point in the world.  As an added treat, Hockney also talks about various artworks and what they mean to him.

Get Social:

The Tate is on Facebook/tategallery; on Twitter/@Tate; on Instagram/Tate and on YouTube/Tate

 

 

Contributor:  Alexandra Pinhorn

Images Credits: Images with thanks to the Tate Britain (from the left clockwise):

Canvas Study of the Grand Canyon, 1998,  Richard and Carolyn Dewey,  © David Hockney, Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 1968, Private collection, © David Hockney

Garden, 2015,  David Hockney Inc. (Los Angeles, USA), © David Hockney, Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool, 1966, National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery. Presented by Sir John Moores 1968, © David Hockney, Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Model with Unfinished Self Portrait, 1977,  Private collection c/o Eykyn Maclean, © David Hockney

Ossie Wearing a Fairisle Sweater, 1970, Private collection, London, © David Hockney

David Hockney, Los Angeles, March 2016 © David Hockney, Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima

Featured image: Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972, Lewis Collection, © David Hockney, Photo Credit: Art Gallery of New South Wales / Jenni Carter

Mar 222017
 

What is it?

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt brings together 50 drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque.

Where is it?

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 13th July – 22nd October 2017

Why visit?

Many of the exhibits are rarely seen in public due to their age and fragility and the exhibit includes 15 drawings lent by HM The Queen from the Royal Collection. Eight of these are portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger and give you a searing insight into the powerful personalities within the court of King Henry VIII for whom he was the court painter.

When should I go there?

13th July – 22nd October 2017 – adult tickets start at £8 – £10 with donation.

Anything else?

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt brings together fifty portrait drawings from a variety of artists who worked throughout Europe including Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Annibale Carracci, François Clouet, Albrecht Dürer, Anthony Van Dyck, Benozzo Gozzoli, Hans Holbein the Younger, Antonio di Puccio Pisano (Pisanello), Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Francesco Salviati and Leonardo da Vinci.

By including a display of the types of drawing tools and media used – from metalpoint to coloured chalks – and considering the individuals depicted in these often intimate portraits, many of whom remain unidentified – the exhibition will show how these artists moved away from the use of medieval pattern-books as source materials, to study the figure, and the face, from life.

Get Social:

The National Portrait Gallery is on Facebook/nationalportraitgallery; on Twitter/@NPGLondon; on Instagram/National Portrait Gallery and on YouTube/natportraitgallery

Contributor: Sue Lowry – Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Images Credits: Images with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery (from the left clockwise):

  • Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Giulio Mascheroni
  • Giulio Pedrizzano, The Lutenist Mascheroni by Annibale Carracci c.1593-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt von Rijn c.1636 © The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
  • Man with Shoulder-length Hair Wearing a Cap by an Unknown Venetian artist, c.1500; © The Trustees of the British Museum
  • Man wearing a wide collar, possibly Luigi Bernini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c.1640 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Study of a Young Man, by Annibale Carracci, mid 1580s The Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth
Feb 012017
 
The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

The Ivy is one of London’s most celebrated restaurants and definitely a place to be seen. Throughout it’s long history, every celebrity and notable has been seen to eat at The Ivy, so many in fact that its probably easier to simply input here a copy of Who’s Who! Film stars such as Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, to theatrical royalty such as Noël Coward and Dame Maggie Smith, politicians like Maggie Thatcher, to Tom Cruise, the Beckhams or Benedict Cumberbatch with Sophie Hunter – anyone who is anyone has eaten at The Ivy. What makes it so much fun is that once you book a table, some of that fairy dust can rub off on you too – and that’s its magic.

The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

The restaurant is celebrating 100 years of history from its humble beginnings as a small cafe launched in 1917 by Abele Giandolini in the midst of The Great War. Somewhat appropriately given the turmoil of the time, his business was named after a sentimental song popular with wartime sweethearts at the time – “we will cling together like the ivy”. Monsieur Abele, as he was affectionately known, also embraced the theatrical location of his restaurant and endeared himself to the theatricals by delivering meals to the dressing rooms of the theatres around him. It’s appropriate therefore that throughout this centenary year, there will be theatrical vignettes performed by today’s West End elite at the restaurant.

The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

This landmark now boasts its very own Green Plaque, will be launching their own limited edition Ivy Gin in April together with a new book on its history in June whilst in the kitchens and the sparkling new bar, there are cocktails and menu items that are clearly inspired by 100 years of history. There’s even an opportunity to dine at The Ivy for their ever-popular pre and post theatre menus at just £19.17 until March. It’s a London must-visit for sure.

Contributor: Sue Lowry – Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Jan 112017
 

The Curve Piccadilly Lights Land Securities

The historic advertising hoardings of Piccadilly Circus are going dark this January for the longest amount of time since World War II. Come the Autumn, we will see the current screens replaced with Europe’s largest single digital screen, which will retain its renowned curved shape, surface area and its ability to have a patchwork appearance. With a greater than 4K resolution display, Piccadilly Lights (as they are called by owners Land Securities) will have one of the highest resolution LED displays of this size in the world, capable of live video streaming, lifestyle updates and real time social media feeds – a modern marketeer’s dream.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

Piccadilly Lights have only previously gone dark during WWII and for special occasions such as Earth Hour and the deaths of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.  Advertising has long been featured on the facades of buildings at Piccadilly Circus as it’s always been one of London’s major thoroughfares. 1908 saw the first electric sign appearing and Perrier and Bovril were the brand pioneers thus illuminated.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

So popular was this method of promotion that the hoardings spread over far more buildings than they do today and covered The London Pavilion, first lit by incandescent light bulbs, then neon lights, before moving onto digital and LED displays.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

So where did the name Piccadilly come from? Apparently, it’s named for a tailor from 1626 – one Robert Baker – whose shop sold piccadills or piccadillies (a kind of stiff collar) hence Piccadilly. The circus part denotes a circular traffic junction and was created in 1819 at the junction with Regent Street and for a time, was known as Regent’s Circus. It lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.

 

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

The Curve image, courtesy of Land Securities. The postcard imagery courtesy of London Bridge Hotel’s Postcard Archive.

Dec 142016
 

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five golden rings,
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six geese a laying,
Five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens,
Two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds,
Three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings,
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten lords a leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying,
Five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a leaping nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens,
Two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds,
Three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree.

Nov 222016
 

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Think twinkling Christmas lights and decorations, ice bars, Club Nights, Champagne & Truffles packages – in fact all types of après-ski. There’s even Penguin Clubs for kiddies and skate schools!  Here’s the key ice skating rinks in London and surrounding areas this season:

Tower of London Ice Rink, London, EC3N 4AB (nearest tube is Tower Hill) – open until Tuesday 3rd January 2017 – adults from GBP13.50.

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA (nearest tubes are Temple or Covent Garden) – open until Sunday 15th January 2017 – tickets from GBP7.50

Canary Wharf Ice Rink, Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AB (nearest tube is Canary Wharf) – open until Saturday 25th February 2017 – early bird tickets from GBP9.95

Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square, London, EC2A 2BQ (nearest tube is Liverpool Street)  – open until Thursday 2nd February 2017 – adult GBP13.00

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD (nearest tube is South Kensington) – open until Sunday 8th January 2017 – adult from GBP12.65

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH (nearest tube is Marble Arch or Hyde Park Corner) – open until Monday 2nd January 2017 – adults from GBP10.50

STOP PRESS: There is a new trend taking over London this winter – Curling! Sliders Rooftop Curling is at Roof East and is open until Friday 23rd December. A 40-minute slot costs £12.50 per person (minimum four people).

Oct 132016
 

you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-1970

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 is a new major exhibition from the V&A, that will explore the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today. From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality to neoliberalist politics, the world we live in has been vitally influenced by five revolutionary years 1966 – 70.  It investigates the upheaval, the explosive sense of freedom, and the legal changes that took place resulting in a fundamental shift in the mindset of the Western world.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will open at the Victoria & Albert Museum this Saturday and will run until 26th February. Tickets are £16 with V&A members going free. Advance booking advised; visit the V&A in person; online at vam.ac.uk/revolution; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).

The displays will show the creative, social and legal outputs of revolutionary new ways of living. They will include underground magazines from Oz to the International Times; a shopping list written behind barricades during the 1968 Paris student riots; a moon rock on loan from NASA alongside the space suit worn by William Anders, who took the defining ‘Earthrise’ photograph on the Apollo 8 mission; a rare Apple 1 computer; an Ossie Clark costume for Mick Jagger; original artworks by Richard Hamilton; shards from Jimi Hendrix’s guitar; the suits worn by John Lennon and George Harrison on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and handwritten lyrics for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles.

Our top tip is to visit the V&A Museum in the morning before the crowds. That way, you can treat yourself to a delicious lunch or afternoon tea after viewing your preferred exhibits!

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will explore the way that youth culture catalysed an optimistic idealism, motivating people to come together and question established power structures across every area of society. More than 350 objects encompassing photography, posters, literature, music, design, film, fashion, artefacts, and performance that defined the counterculture will illustrate the way that a whole generation shook off the confines of the past and their parents, radically revolutionising the way they lived their lives.

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Sep 192016
 

VA-Tommy-Cooper-Large

Great news for comedy fans as the Victoria & Albert Museum acquires Tommy Cooper archive of jokes and props but sadly no fez!

The collection, which will open to the public in the autumn in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Galleries, is the largest collection of its kind tracing the life and legacy of the much-loved British comedian Tommy Cooper (1921 – 1984).

The Tommy Cooper Collection comprises over 116 boxes of archive material and 24 props and posters charting the career of the outwardly shambolic magician and comedian known for his trademark fez, flustered face, bungling stage persona and razor-sharp comedy. The collection also includes Cooper’s writings, some jotted down on backs of posters and shirt packaging cardboard, as well as documents relating to the inner workings of his career, such as contracts; stage props, Cooper’s infamous ‘Head Twister’ illusion; details of early auditions at the BBC and engagements; a folio notebook full of his gags; personal correspondence; posters; theatre programmes and merchandise charting his career spanning almost forty years. 

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Aug 182016
 

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A little known fact about Kensington House Hotel, is that it is only eight minutes’ walk from the Royal Albert Hall. This year the schedule for the BBC Proms 2016 is as eclectic as London itself and with rates starting at just £138 per room at Kensington House Hotel* everyone will be happy. This great value package includes; overnight accommodation, continental buffet breakfast and a bottle of cava.

Here is our top pick:

Friday 19th August 2016 – Prom 45: Janáček: The Makropulos Case – this tragic satire is powered by a score that contains some of the composer’s most extreme and alluring music.

Saturday 20th August 2016 Prom 46: Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder And Mozart’s Mass In C Minor – Mozart’s unfinished Mass in C minor is a mix of the chamber and the operatic, the dancing and the devotional – a work ripe for the resonance of the Royal Albert Hall.

Tuesday 23rd August 2016 – Prom 50: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov And Prokofiev– Alexander Vedernikov conducts it here after Stephen Hough plays Rachmaninov’s devilish and ever-entertaining ‘Paganini’ Variations, and the final instalment of fellow Russian Tchaikovsky’s three Shakepeare overtures.

Tuesday 30th August 2016 –  Prom 61: Late Night With Kamasi Washington – Thrilling California-based saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington has been described as the biggest thing to hit jazz for years.

Thursday 8th September 2016 – Prom 72: Staatskapelle Dresden, Christian Thielemann And Nikolaj Znaider – the Staatskapelle Dresden and its Chief Conductor Christian Thielemann open with Beethoven’s most radiant, smiling work, his sublime Violin Concerto, in the sure hands of Nikolaj Znaider.

Saturday 10th September – Prom 75: The Last Night Of The Proms 2016 – Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez is the star soloist in a Last Night that also showcases a hand-picked selection of young singers in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music.

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.