Lace Sampler, Gullia Piccolomini, 1600-1660 & Devonshire Hunting Tapestry, 1425-30
All images © Victoria and Albert Museum
Being a self confirmed fashion geek with a penchant for fashion history and a lifelong (well since the age of 6) love for the Victoria and Albert Museum, I was super excited to hear about their latest offering – The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles,Fashion Study and Conservation.
For years I have been wanting to get a peep into what goes on behind the scenes of the V&A’s fashion and textile conservation departments. Some girls dream of seeing behind the scenes at Chanel, I dream of getting behind the scenes at the V&A.
The Victoria and Albert Museum’s new Clothworkers’ Centre (opens in October this year) will house over 104,000 objects; from small archaeological textile fragments and medieval tapestries to mid 18th century crinolines and contemporary fashion pieces – from Christian Dior to Giles Deacon. The Centre will give unrivalled access to researchers, students and enthusiasts, those like me who want to get up close and personal with the museum’s incredible archive.
The V&A’s Textile Conservation Department is one of the best in the world. The Centre will also provide upgraded conservation studios in which the conservators can carry out their work and visitors will be able to see into the studios and watch work in progress. Fashion geek voyeurism at its finest
I cannot wait.
This season is all about letting your crazy side out. Forget all the rules of what goes with what. Pile on the prints and embrace the joy of the mis-match
Top right: Opening Ceremony Jacquard Top
Bottom right: Marni Purple Block Print Top
Centre top: Chloe Floral Blazer
Center bottom: Dior Camo Print Wedges
Top left: Marni Green Print Dress
Bottom left: Balenciaga Plaid Blouse
Led by Marc Jacobs’ graphic black and white prints at Louis Vuitton, we have all gone mad for monochrome again this season. Not that I have ever not been mad for monochrome, I am very much a fan of the impact this most classic of combinations can make. But if you think you’ll miss a little brightness, try adding just a pop of colour (POC) to your outfit.
Top left: Stella McCartney ‘Falabella’ Black Faux Suede Quilt Large Clutch Bag – on its way to becoming a modern classic. Perfect mix of classic quilting and tough chainwork.
Bottom left: Giuseppe Zanotti ‘Sharon’ Black & White Stripe Yellow Snake – POC all the way!!
Centre: Helmut Lang Black Cream Geometric Reversible Light - for the indecisive monochrome lover. Wear it black one day, white the other. Or confuse your wok mates by popping out to lunch in one option and coming back in the other. See who notices.
Top right: Alexander McQueen Resort 2010 Black Crepe Zip Dress - it is McQueen, it has zips, it is the most amazing shape. What is not to love?
Bottom right: Versace ‘Dvea’ Black Patent Double Platform Heels – seriously, why have one platform when you can have two?
Gorgeous, tiny Dior mannequins – all wearing perfect miniature couture creations from the history of the Dior Atelier – right up to Raf’s AW12 Couture collection. Like a time travelling super chic headless doll cocktail party.
Born of a union between old school French fashion house Dior and distinctly non old school German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle, I am part wedge, part art work. A shoe with a split personality; what I do know is that I am the most fabulous fashion jungle* footwear ever.
*Camouflage capabilities not guaranteed
We all know that fashion designers can a temperamental lot. Ruled by creativity and often fuelled by little more than black coffee and Haribo, it is no wonder that tempers flare once in a while. There have been some very entertaining fashion spats over the years – some even making non fashion headlines. This is my top 5
Chanel v Schiaparelli
There was famously no love lost between Chanel and Schiaparelli – it was no secret that they were great rivals. Both strong, independent women they loved throwing barbed comments at each other. Chanel once called Schiaparelli “that Italian artist who makes clothes” and Schiaparelli famously called Chanel “that milliner”.
Cavalli vs Armani
Two very different stalwarts of Italian fashion, Cavalli and Armani reportedly have an uneasy relationship. Things came to a head last year when Cavalli complained about his position on the Milan Fashion Week schedule. Noting that Armani, who he called “the little king”, had been moved up in the schedule so he wouldn’t be last in the running, Cavalli complained about how unfair this was. Armani responded to WWD (allegedly with a laugh) that “Cavalli should be quiet because the Little King could start to get angry”. Get them!
YSL vs Christian Louboutin
One of fashion’s most famous fall-outs of recent years, the YSL vs Louboutin saga played out in the international court rooms but also in the international fashion press, many of whom described the lengthy back and forth legal battle as ‘exhausting’. The whole thing centred around, and called in question whether a colour could be trademarked. It was finally ruled in October 2012 that it could be. Almost. YSL were still permitted to use red soles on their monchcormatic, all red pumps – the ones that had kicked of the whole furore in 2011. Oh, the footwear irony!
Karl Lagerfeld v Stella McCartney
Famously outspoken Chanel svengali Karl Lagerfeld has never been backward about coming forward with his opinions, on pretty much anyone and everything. When McCartney took over at Chloe Lagerfeld did not hold back, saying that Chloe should have “taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let’s hope she is as gifted as her father.” He also called McCartney ‘a T-shirt designer’. Since then Lagerfeld has allegedly softened his feelings towards McCartney, but even so it much have been sweet for Stella when she topped a Google ‘most searched-for fashion designer’ poll in 2012. Lagerfeld came second.
Raf Simons v Heidi Slimane (maybe)
Probably the two most discussed names in fashion at the end of last year; it is no surprise that talk of rivalry between Dior’s and Saint Laurent’s new designers was widespread. After all they joined iconic fashion houses at the same time, they both come from menswear backgrounds – Slimane famously at Dior Homme (and YSL) and Simons at his own label – and they were both born in the same year, 1968. Considering the pressure they were both under with their respective debuts it was inevitable that the fashion world would assume them to be on less than friendly terms. There is actually not a lot of evidence to support any serious beef between these two, beyond a usual healthy competitiveness. Maybe there isn’t any, or maybe there are just very discreet about it.
Like any good fashion lover who is not a) a billionaire or b) the editor of a leading fashion magazine, I have a list of wants in my head every year that my wallet just cannot keep up with. So last year ended once again with me having to say goodbye before I’d even said hello to a whole load of fashion treasures. Share my pain.
1. The Kenzo Fall 2012 Tiger Sweater. I have re-fallen in love with Kenzo. I’ve always liked the original label and one of my favourite summer pieces is a hot pink and green vintage Kenzo skater dress from the mid 1980s, but what Leon and Lim have done to reinvigorate the brand is simply superb. I did manage to snag a few pieces from Fall 2012, including the incredible grape print navy dress (on huge discount at Opening Ceremony last week), but I totally missed the Tiger Sweater. Wish I’d bought 10. One to wear and nine to sell for three times retail.
2. And whilst we are talking Kenzo. I wish I’d got the navy grape printed Kenzo Vans too. Such regrets. I could have worn them with my matching dress and been able to hide in a fruit bowl.
3. The Martin Margiela H&M black pumps. Being a huge Margiela fan I found the idea of this collaboration ridiculously exciting (I’d not cared at all about any of the H&M collabs since Comme Des Garcons), and there was so many pieces on my wish list – the glove shoulder bags, the duvet coat, the crazy guitar backpack from the menswear collection… So when a friend limited herself to just the black turn up toe pumps I thought her choice a little boring. But then I saw them in the flesh and it was love at first sight. So much better than on the web – they actually look like mainline Margiela and apparently are super comfy. I hate her now (not really but I try really hard to).
4. Alexander McQueen McQ Fall 2012 Floral Prom Dress. When I saw Gwen Stefani wearing this on the cover of Elle (layered under a Peter Pilotto Fall 2012 dress) I was amazed by how much I loved it – I’m not much of a floral girl or much of a prom dress girl but there was something about it I just adored. However not having Gwen’s magazine cover lifestyle I could not justify the price tag. I did try. Really.
5. Acne Azalea Loafers. I had been vacillating over these for ages and by the time I convinced myself I could afford them they had sold out every where. After months of searching I found a pair in my size on an obscure Canadian website. Cue a LOT of squealing and spending. I could not sleep waiting for them to arrive (I am that tragic yes). And then when they did…they didn’t fit!!! If you have ever had a fashion obsession like this you’ll know how I felt. Anyone out there got a size 5? I am here and so is my credit card.
Image courtesy of agtigtagtigt.dk
6. Everything from Stefano’s last collection for YSL, but especially the Arum Lily bangle. Totally gorgeous.
7. Ditto everything from Raf’s Fall 2012 Dior Couture collection. Not a sold out issue on this one really. More a no way in hell could I afford a single thing issue.