Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith

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Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith is an exhibition that communicates the story of how a small, quintessentially English label became one of the world’s leading fashion brands. Drawn from Paul Smith’s personal archive the display will inhabit the first floor of the Design Museum, London, from 15 November 2013 to 9 March 2014.

Curated by Donna Loveday, the exhibition explores how Smith’s intuitive take on design, approach to originality and understanding of the importance of retail and branding has ensured the company’s lasting success. In particular, there’s an emphasis on sources of inspiration, and how Smith captures his creativity. Unlike the Design Museum’s last Paul Smith exhibition in 1996 (Paul Smith: True Brit), Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith is not a retrospective of the designer’s past collections. The latest exhibition focuses less on material culture, and the designer’s skill as a tailor is underplayed. Instead this presentation is a collation of Paul Smith’s influence in design, which extends beyond the confines of clothing design. (more…)

NSFW: Art School Stole My Virginity

 I know the title is a pretty big clue, but just thought I should warn you that this post does contain sexual images.

As we ‘come of age’ there are particular milestones we’re expected to meet. None receives as much societal attention as having sex for the first time. This act of union with another person causes more stress and overthought than probably any other aspect of one’s teenage years, when we’re first made aware that it’s a big deal. How old you are, where you are and who you’re with when you first ‘do it’ is, for various reasons, important.

Fellow UAL-er, Central Saint Martins art student, Clayton Pettet, is preparing a piece of performance art that has generated an international response because of this societal interest. On 25th January 2014, presenting in front of one-hundred people in a gallery in Hackney, nineteen-year-old Pettet will lose his virginity.

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[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

My brilliant course mates on the MA History and Culture of Fashion course at London College of Fashion have resurrected a previously disused course blog because we felt that it would be a great opportunity to showcase our research and interests. Our editor, Gaba, and picture editor, Julie, have implemented a brilliant redesign (which I keep thinking about stealing for this blog!), and we’re hoping to publish two articles a week (Thursday and Thursday).

We re-launched at the beginning of November under the name [In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion. To coincide with Amy de la Haye’s wonderful exhibition, Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, Paris 1967-71, at the college’s Fashion Space Gallery on John Princes Street, the theme of the first month was Ground Breakers. Articles varied from Teleica’s examination of Rick Owens and the ABWs, to Giuppy’s analysis of Anna Dello Russo as a fashion icon (or victim), and Olexa’s look at the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.

My own blog post went live last week too, “The History and Culture of The F-word“, which summarised ideas I wrote about in September regarding the definition and perception of fashion.  I’m really interested in how people connect with and define the term ‘fashion’. Particularly individuals that perceive it as something frivolous or unimportant, yet appear to be fully clothed.

We’re just about to launch next months theme, so if you’re interested in fashion, style, dress history or cultural analysis please do take a look at [In]Tangible and let us know what you think.

The Rise of the Fashion Film

When I started this blog in 2008 I would’ve never written about film. I’m the first to admit that I know nothing about the film industry, aside from what I’ve learnt flicking through Little White Lies magazine. It just eludes me. However, as we move into 2014 it’s impossible for me to ignore the prevalence, and importance, of the ‘fashion film’.

The theme of this year’s Costume Society study day was “Shooting Style: Fashion on Screen”. Both Nathaniel Beard and Pamela Church Gibson emphasised the importance of this medium. Nathanial presented footage of early fashion films, whereas Pamela gave an overview of its evolution and current examples. (My friend Lori tweeted throughout the conference, and put together this brilliant Storify thread of the day).

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A night with Nick Knight

Last night, as part of London College of Fashion’s Inside the Industry series, I was lucky enough to meet Nick Knight. Waiting in the queue was electric. Normal people might be excited by Iggy Azalea or Kim Kardashian, but nothing will make a fashion student squeal with joy more than an industry icon. We all knew that this was a BIG DEAL, and several times I heard someone shriek, “OMG, I’m so excited”.

Greeted by rapturous applause, the image-maker, and Director of SHOWstudio, calmly took his seat to be interviewed by loveable Colin McDowell and Head of College Frances Corner, OBE. Wearing his signature single-breasted black suit (“I don’t want to look like what people imagine a fashion photographer to look like”), Nick has an aura of relaxed self-confidence.

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Royal Fashion Rules at Kensington Palace

I visited the Fashion Rules exhibition, which is currently being presented at Kensington Palace to complement its permanent collections on Queen Victoria, and the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments.

The exhibition consists of five bijou rooms, with around twenty dresses and jackets chronologically representing each decade from the 1950s up to the 1990s. As journalist Zoe Craig put it, “Fashion Rules is a display of dresses worn by The Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana, bringing a modern element to the Palace, part of which is currently being renovated for the arrival of the next royal clothes horse, the Duchess of Cambridge.”

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Pope Liberace II is my Pimp : Garage presents Vestimentality

 

Vestimentality

Last night I went to a panel discussion about Garage magazine’s Vestimentality project at Somerset House. American writer and cultural critic, Cintra Wilson, was commissioned to write tongue-in-cheek – who am I kidding, downright rude! – manifestos for brands such as Versace, Givenchy and Tom Ford. These slogans were then worked into a final collection of garments by knitwear duo Leutton Postle.

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Sculpture and the City

A short blog post today, because I’ve got a lot to do before I officially start my course tomorrow (eek!).

I had an art and design filled day yesterday. I finally visited the London Design Festival on Southbank – images coming soon! Afterwards I walked down to the Tate Modern and spotted the Endless Stair.

Endless Stair Tate Modern

I decided to walk through London. I told myself I’d catch the tube home once I stopped seeing interesting things. I ended up walking half way round the city, and only left because it started to get dark and cold.

During my wanderings I accidentally stumbled upon a series of art installations. I’ve almost photographed all of the Sculpture in the City pieces – by accident.

Fear and Clothing

When I tell people that I study the History and Culture of Fashion I experience everything from eye-rolling to audible snorts of derision. I’m not pretending that I’m studying medicine, aerospace engineering or quantum physics. I’m choosing to study a cultural phenomenon, and writing about it as a scholar. Of course I do understand, and anticipate, this reaction to the “F” word. It’s just clothes, right? How can clothes mean anything? The term “fashion” has so many definitions and the industry encompasses so many disciplines – journalism, buying, visual merchandising, PR, retail, designing, modelling – that for those who don’t understand the business of fashion it’s difficult to shake the image of Lady Gaga out of people’s heads.

I think people scorn fashion because it seems frivolous and unimportant. At the beginning of the documentary The September Issue, Anna Wintour tells the interviewer, “I think what I often see it that people are frightened about fashion; because it scares them or makes them feel insecure they just put it down. On the whole, people that say demeaning things about our world I think that’s usually because they feel, in some ways, excluded or, you know, not a part of ‘the cool group’, so as a result they just mock it…There is something about fashion that can make people really nervous.” Later Wintour explains that her siblings, one of whom is political editor of The Guardian, Patrick Wintour, think that what she does is, “very silly”.

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