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

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.

Sep 162015
 

Picture1-1024x733

Botticelli Reimagined is a new major exhibition, opening 5th March 2016 at the V&A, exploring, for the first time the variety of ways artists and designers from the Pre-Raphaelites to the present have responded to the artistic legacy of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), assembling 150 works from around the world.

Botticelli Reimagined will be held at The Victoria and Albert Museum from 5th March – 3rd July 2016.  Tickets will go on sale in September this year and will cost £15 with concessions available. V&A Members go free. Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person at the V&A; online at www.vam.ac.uk/Botticelli; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).

Do check out the latest offers as Kensington House Hotel has some great weekend deals. You can sign up for special offer alerts here.

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Contributor: Alexandra Pinhorn – Photographs by various photographers – credits as follows: Venus,Volker-H. Schneider; Venus, after Botticelli, Private collection, courtesy Duhamel Fine Art, Paris; Portrait of a Young Man, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington; Rebirth of Venus, David LaChapelle; The Renaissance of Venus, Tate, London 2015; The Virgin and Child with Two Angels, courtesy Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der Bildenden Künste Vienna; The Orchard, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Pallas and the Centaur, courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Cultura; Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Allegory of Abundance or Autumn, The Trustees of the British Museum; Venus Dress: Look 15, Catwalking.com.

Apr 182015
 

8._Installation_view_of_Voss_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large)

If you love seeing a true, original talent, then swiftly head for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to see their blockbuster exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

9._Installation_view_of_Romantic_Naturalism_gallery_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large)

What a revelation this was – entering into the world of a privileged few who knew him, reviewed this designer or wore his clothes. It’s only by seeing the physical products that he produced that you understood what a raw and innovative talent this young Scot had – and what we lost when he left us.

6._Installation_view_of__Cabinet_of_Curiosities_gallery_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large)

The skilful way in which the exhibition has been curated tells his story alongside his clothes – his Savile Row apprenticeship, his association with marques like Givenchy and the establishment of his own eponymous label. It’s easy to see why he was often referred to as the enfant terrible of fashion for his irreverent style and celebration of the gothic and grotesque – yet even in the most outlandish of collections, a beauty and grace shone through together with a surprising depth and grasp of historic knowledge and tradition.

3._Installation_view_of_Romantic_Gothic_gallery_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large)

By walking through his life through this carefully curated exhibit, I saw the skill and raw talent that he had and how his ideas have permeated every section of our society. The quote “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition” really sums up this exhibition. You can still buy tickets for this exhibit and I urge you to do so. I came away both enlightened and informed.  Just wonderful.

2._Installation_view_of_Savage_Mind_gallery_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large) (2)

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in partnership with Swarovski, supported by American Express and made possible with the co-operation of Alexander McQueen, runs from 14th March – 2nd August 2015. There are still tickets available so snap one up soon – www.vam.ac.uk/savagebeauty. Follow Victoria and Albert Museum on twitter @V_and_A and on Facebook: Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

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

Photographs: Reproduced courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London.