Margiela revelations

When I was 15, a friend’s mother kindly introduced me to a curator at the V&A’s fashion department, where I spent a week’s work experience. The exhibition they were putting on at the time and I remember listening with bafflement to tales of Martin Margiela, unsure why I was meant to admire a man for putting mould on tweed suits and deliberately making “ugly” clothes. I liked McQueen and Galliano, but avoided searching out Margiela any further.

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I was surprised therefore to see that the show at Antwerp’s MoMu (fashion museum) was titled Margiela: The Hermes Years. What would this designer have to do with a rather stuffy fashion house best known for its scarves and handbags? I couldn’t imagine it, but the show was a revelation.

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Simply displayed against plain white or Hermes-orange walls, the clothes were ultra-luxe, genuinely timeless in emphasising quality over passing whims, and yet not boring.

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There were defiant surrealist touches – a dress made out of fake engagement rings, a pair of stockings for a coat belt, a string of plastic jewels “staining” a dress with light or blood – but mostly just superb plays of texture against each other and immaculate cutting.

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It’ll never be my budget, and Margiela’s colour palette wouldn’t suit me anyway, but you see totally why these clothes were #lifegoals for his audience.

all photos August 2017.

Balenciaga

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Another exploration from my staycation this year – I loved seeing these dresses close up and the amazing skill that went into them. Such amazing shapes! And the details…

Bravo the V&A for encouraging photography and sketching.

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All photos by me from my visit.

Blog of the week

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I love the Tube and I’m currently exploring one of the lines of it with the Bishopsgate Institute. The first week was St John’s Wood, and the station platforms are plain cream except for cheeky little heraldic tiles and snapshots of London by Howard Stabler.

150 great things about the Tube has taken far better photos than I could and has also written about Stabler here.

Pretties

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In fact, twice in one day because I ┬ácan’t resist: a scrapbook of Instagram pretties: Schiaparelli dresses from @the_corsetedbeauty;

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an Evelyn Dunbar sketch from @designfortoday;

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an elegant doodle from @garancedore;

 

marmalade jars and the delightful National Trust home of Standen from phil._.b;

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dogs on the beach from @thewomensroomblog

Blog of the week

Well, sort of. This is actually Tweets of the week, as Helen posts @LBFlyawayhome on the Ladybird Books.

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The illustrations range from the pretty,

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to the of-their-time (I was tickled at how much Charles II and his courtier have faced exactly out of a mid-century illustration of sober lawyers), to the unintentionally amusing

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and the completely barmy and opinionated:

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Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace

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At a time when government seems to be relying more on old-fashioned philanthropy to keep services running, rather exert itself to help, I was intrigued to see this building in East London recently.

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Passmore Edwards was a philanthropist of the 1890s and 1900s whose other endowments include the library that is now part of the Bush Theatre in West London. In the new century, he endowed this mock Tudor gatehouse to be a place of rest for international sailors staying in London on leave.

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Poignantly the project, opened by the Kaiser and Edward VII, fell through when WW1 broke out. But the building remains, and more can be read about it here and here.

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Blog of the week

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I was searching for something else which will feature on the blog soon when I came across the blog Ornamental Passions, dedicated to noticing all those small details on buildings’ windowframes and doormantels, carved plaques and now-baffling statues that London teems with. To my delight, one of the first posts I read shed light on this statue that I often pass in Lincolns Inn Fields.