All posts filed under: Fashion + Culture

Don’t miss Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

The highly anticipated exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, is now open at the V&A Museum. It celebrates a hundred years since the opening of the brand’s first ever fashion house as well as its lasting influence on today’s style. The presentation is divided by three themes; front of house, workrooms and legacy. On display are a mixture of apparel, sketches, photography and videos. There are also x-rays which interestingly illustrate the internal compositions of what was once considered radical clothing given their avant-garde construction – The sack dress, tunic, baby doll dress and shift dress all have Cristóbal Balenciaga at their origin. The brand’s founder was experimental. He was known for playing with proportion and volume, often creating new shapes which de-emphasised the waist in contrast to the traditional hourglass silhouette that had historically dominated a woman’s wardrobe. His innovative approach to fashion earned him great respect and admiration from his peers. Coco Chanel described Balenciaga as the “Master of haute couture”. Hubert de Givenchy praisingly said, “I don’t think even the Bible has taught me as …

From selfie to self-expression

In September 2015, Dolce and Gabbana became the first major fashion house to incorporate the selfie into the runway. Their Italian village-inspired collection at Milan’s Fashion week was filled with floral prints, harvest-themed colours, ceramic patterns, and postcard imagery of landmarks and landscapes, featuring the mobile phone. Several, in fact. As each model strutted down the runway, they would take a selfie. Their photographs were then instantaneously projected onto large screens around the venue and uploaded to the brand’s social media channels. The result was an unprecedented amount of audience participation and interaction through likes, comments and shares, attracting huge press coverage and sales. A year prior, a lesser-known Kenneth Cole had used Instagram and Vine for his spring collection, ‘Content creators’. A playful then 21-year old, Cara Delevingne, had also live-streamed herself as she pouted and pulled funny faces marching down the catwalk at the Giles Deacon show. Once shy of engaging the market through digital means, luxury fashion was starting to understand and embrace the penchant of the new era to capture and …

The Met Ball: The first Monday in May

The first Monday in May sets the date for the annual Costume Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly shortened to The Met Ball or Met Gala. It is also the name of an intimate and insightful film that closely follows curator, Andrew Bolton, from initial conception to the development and execution of the 2015 Met Ball themed ‘China: Through the looking glass’. The gala has become an extremely coveted event. Since the arrival of Anna Wintour, American Vogue Editor-in-Chief as it’s Chair, the benefit has grown immensely in scale. Attended by celebrities, designers and other household names from the fashion world, politics and business, the proceeds are often so large they finance the entire operational budget per annum for the Institute alone, raising funds in excess of tens of billions. The starting price for an individual ticket is $30,000 and a table almost 10-fold at 275K. The theme of the Met Ball rotates each year. 2017 paid tribute to Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and the concept of ‘the art of in-between’ contrasting past …

Inside Dior

Revealed in the closing minutes of Part I of Channel 4’s latest fashion documentary, Inside Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri becomes the first female Creative Director of international fashion brand, House of Dior. Part II follows Grazia on her 10-week journey as she prepares for her big debut. With her first collection set to showcase at Musée Rodin, she stays true to the brand’s 70 year old heritage and Parisian roots. The backdrop is romantic and enchanting. Grazia turns towards the camera to tell us that she loves fairy tales. She has drawn inspiration for S/S 17 from star signs, superstition and magic. Her style retains the elegance of those of her predecessors including Christian Dior himself and other former Chief Designers, Galliano, Saint Laurent, Simons and Ferre. But alongside tulle dresses, delicate embroidery and floral appliqué, Grazia adds a twist. Although we don’t see it in the original documentary, we later learn that one of the models at the show is wearing a t-shirt with a bold, political statement that reflects common sentiment within today’s millennial …

Absolutely Fashion: Inside Vogue

Absolutely fashion: Inside British Vogue had such promise. The two-part BBC documentary would voyage behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of the major, iconic, fashion publication, providing viewers with unprecedented access to Vogue HQ. For nine months, Alexandra Shulman, now outgoing Editor-in-Chief, allowed filmmaker, Richard Macer, to follow her and her fellow staffers as they prepared for the magazine’s 100th year in issue. He featured interviews with Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, and Editor-At-Large, Fiona Golfar, both of whom had invited Macer to accompany them on photoshoots with the likes of Kate Moss and Edie Campbell. He also captured scenes of Shulman visiting designer and friend, Victoria Beckham, at her showroom as she talked her through her latest collection, and clips of Lagerfeld, Kim Kardashian and beauty-preneur, Charlotte Tilbury, among many other industry and pop culture icons. Yet despite all the star power, the film fell flat. As a self-professed fashion-lover with a passion for writing, I thought that I would be enthralled. But as Macer toured the office asking the Vogue team terribly …

Jeremy Scott: The people’s designer

“I only know pop. That’s the world I live in” and indeed that’s the market that Jeremy Scott serves. Britney Spears’s air hostess outfit in the iconic Toxic video was his creation. As was Lady Gaga’s in Paparazzi. The front row of his shows are often lined with celebrities such as Katy Perry, Rita Ora and Miley Cyrus. Like Scott, they are known for their playful personalities and mimic his sense of humour through their choice in costume and performances. Jeremy Scott’s designs are loud, rule-breaking and free of fear. It can be hard to believe that his fashion journey begins on a farm in the conservative, Midwestern state of Missouri. His eponymous biopic looks back at his upbringing, his experience of bullying in high school, rejection from leading arts schools and homelessness in Paris before being appointed as Creative Director of Moschino. The film also goes behind the scenes in the run-up to his controversial, debut collection for the brand. Scott had been hugely inspired by the founder, Franco Moschino. His presentations were satirical …

Visionaries presents Tom Ford

Tom Ford is a visionary. Whether it’s architecture, acting, filmmaking or couture, at some point in his life he has immersed himself in it all. Though different media, each have gifted him a means through which to design and build something original, beautiful, and conscious of what’s going in the world from a social standpoint. OWN documentary, Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind of Tom Ford, explores his work to date from a fashion perspective. The Tom Ford look we know today is defined by its elegant, sleek fit and construction. Though never coy. His campaigns are bold in their expression of an artistic sensuality. Before launching his eponymous brand in 2004, Tom Ford headed up Gucci for fourteen years. He is famed for having revived the failing Italian entity, initially as the Head of Womenswear, producing a new style of clothing that saw sales skyrocket. He has also worked as Creative Director of Saint Laurent. He comments on both experiences in the documentary, but mostly I valued seeing the way that Tom Ford works now. …

Vogue 100: A century of style

To celebrate the 100th birthday of fashion publication, British Vogue, London’s National Portrait Gallery showcased Vogue 100: a century of style. The exhibition displayed a series of stunning covers dating back to the first ever issue from 1916. With imagery shot by top industry photographers, David Bailey, Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier, it paid tribute to eccentric, rebellious, British designers such as Westwood and McQueen, striking supermodels, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Agyness Deyn and commemorated national treasure, late Princess Diana.