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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…)

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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Exposed: voyeurism, surveillance and the camera

I’ve always harboured the idea that humans are voyeuristic creatures and that, in fact, voyeurism isn’t an abnormal, psychological disorder but basic human nature that we all experience to some degree. We like watching other human behaviour, this is proved by the popularity of programmes such as Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity and Laguna Beach during the last decade. However, beyond the contrived entertainment of “reality” television we’re really interested in the perverse, the freakish and the unacceptable.

For hundreds of years populations of socially “advanced” countries would gather to watch public executions, the romans built magnificent coliseums to watch men be attacked by wild animals and gladiator’s fight until death, human freak shows were popular until the early twentieth century. These aren’t the irrelevant people of the past; this would be us, now, if legalities and equality laws weren’t introduced and if it wasn’t considered “socially unacceptable”. Even the internet, arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time, is crammed full of porn to suit every fetish and perversion.

The other week I went to the Exposed exhibition at the Tate museum, which is subtitled “Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera”. It examines the various ways in which the camera has been used to act as the undetected eye spying on us, focusing on that part of photography which has concerned itself with the unacceptable: ogling, peeping and lying.

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