Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams Exhibition at V&A Museum – London

Last week I saw the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A Museum, London. It had been a long time coming and I was not disappointed. From the moment I entered the exhibition it was a thrill to see all the wonderful creations. I had mainly only seen them in fashion photographs and film footage. I was particularly interested in early Dior, from his childhood up until his untimely death in 1957.

The V&A walked us through the collection beautifully, every room was a delight to see. With a wealth of creativity from the great man himself, and his subsequent creative successors at the House of Dior.

It was a privilege and an honour to see many Dior masterpieces in one space. There were over 200 rare couture garments on show, along with accessories, photographs, film, vintage perfumes, original makeup, illustrations, magazines and possessions from Christian Dior’s personal collection.

The Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition made history as the most-visited V&A exhibition. It attracted a record 594,994 visitors during its run from February 2nd to September 1st, this year. For a brand that started in 1947, Dior shows no sign of slowing down, and I look forward to many more years of excellence.

THE WORLD OF ANNA SUI EXHIBITION 2017

Anna Sui Picture

I became aware or the fashion designer Anna Sui back in 2004, when I worked for a fragrance company. Since then I have been a big fan of her work, and to see an exhibition by her was an absolute delight. On at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London. Her collection of clothes grabs you from the moment you walk in, with four separate outfits on display in the reception area. Which were all wonderfully detailed in their construction.

Anna Sui Victorian

Anna’s story begins in Detroit, she decided she wanted to become a fashion designer at the age of four. Growing up she would watch her mother for hours sewing, and would collect the fabric scraps to clothe her Barbie dolls and her brothers’ army action figures. Through this process, Sui learned the basics of making clothing and would soon put together her own outfits. She would read articles from Life Magazine, particularly about Mia Fonssagrives-Solow who graduated from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City and then moved to Paris. Anna credits this article as being the pivotal moment in her youth, which gave her clear direction on her future goals. She eventually  moved to New York and attended Parsons. She has redefined American fashion since her first runway show in 1991 and her pivotal grunge collection in 1993. Now she has more than 300 Anna Sui stores in 35 countries.

Anna Sui Grunge

She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion history and this exhibition shows her dedication to the creative process. Some of her inspirations for her work are on display from magazines, rock-n-roll posters and clothing eras that have influenced her.

Anna Sui Purple Dress

In the main space all the mannequins are elevated on red podiums. The clothing’s strong  themes (‘archetypes’), are grouped in to nine themes, which have been recurrent in her 30-years career – Americana, Androgyny, Fairy Tale, Victorian, Grunge, Nomad, Mod, Punk, Rockstar & Hippie, Retro, Schoolgirl and Surfer.

Anna Sui Group

Curator Dennis Nothdruft organised Anna’s looks thematically rather than chronologically. Which draws the visitors’ attention to the threads running through each individual outfit, and the thread running through the exhibition – Printed textiles, layering, power pattern clashes and colours.

Ann Sui Red Dress

Anna Sui Cosmetics

Anna Sui Shoes

 

There are more than 125 full looks, select cosmetics, collaborative projects, mood boards, photographs and cultural ephemera on display. I found her first career retrospective a wonderful insight into her world, extremely enjoyable and fun.

 

Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3XF

26 May 17 – 01 Oct 17, Closed Mondays, Late opening Thursday (8pm)

£6 – £9.90

Homepage

 

 

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion Exhibition

The first UK exhibition to explore the work and legacy of the Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. The Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition showcases over 100 garments and hats crafted by Balenciaga, his protégés and contemporary designers working in the same innovative way today.

Green Dress
Evening Dress and Cape – Silk gazar. Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1961

Split into two sections the exhibition looks at the later stage of Balenciaga’s career, focusing on Balenciaga’s work during the 1950s and 60s,  the second section examines his undoubtable influence on contemporary designers. There are Sketches, patterns, fabric samples, photographs and catwalk footage revealing Balenciaga’s uncompromising and relentless creativity. There are a number of Balenciaga’s timeless shapes on display, including the tunic, the sack, “baby doll” and shift dress.

Black Babydoll Dress
Cocktail ‘Baby doll’ dress – Crêpe de chine. Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1958

Through a series of X-rays, created by artist Nick Veasey, the V&A shows us the intricate nature of the hidden construction of a Balenciaga garment.

X-Ray & Dress
Evening Dress – Silk gazar (X-Ray in background) Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1965

Other show highlights include creations by Balenciaga for Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, dresses and shoes by wealthy businessman’s wife Elizabeth Parke Firestone, dresses and hats from socialite and 60s fashion icon Gloria Guinness, and pieces worn by Mona von Bismarck, one of the world’s wealthiest women,  she commissioned everything from ball-gowns to gardening shorts.

Feathered Sleeved White Overcoat
Evening Coat – Net and ostrich feathers, lined with silk organza (Owned by Ava Gardner). Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1964

Those who trained with Balenciaga have garments also on display in the exhibition, pieces by Paco Rabanne, André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro are included.

Paco Rabanne Dress
Evening mini-dress – Plastic paillettes and metal wire. Paco Rabanne, 1967

Initiated in the 1970s by the photographer Cecil Beaton, Balenciaga’s longstanding friend the V&A has the largest collection of Balenciaga in the UK. The exhibition marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian, Spain, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris.

Red Dress
Evening dress – Silk taffeta. Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1954

The exhibition is truly a sheer delight for fashion enthusiasts, especially for reminding us of the originality of the designs at the height of Balenciaga’s career. A very enjoyable glimpse at his work and enduring legacy. 

 

On now until Sunday, 18 February 2018

 

Admission

Daily: 10.00 – 17.30

Last entry 16.15

Friday: 10.00 – 21.30

Last entry 20.15

 

Room 40

 

Tickets cost £12.00

Concessions apply.
Advance booking is recommended.

Exhibitions are free for Members

Members do not need to book.

 

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First blog post

I started this blog because I would like to engage with fashion more. When I left school, many moons ago, I went to the London College of Fashion and it was there that I gained a further appreciation for what goes on in and around fashion.

I would like others to join me on my journey as I report, mainly in London, on various fashion calendar events from exhibitions to posting fashion show videos. 

There are also lists of museums to visit, hotels to stay in, magazines to read and places to study included in the menu section of my blog.

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