Saturday, 19 November 2011
"When there is always something there to remind me..........." Dusty's vocals were removed from Jerry Bouthier's soundtrack mix for the Peter Jensen - Fashion In Motion retrospective catwalk show at the V&A.......... but the Burt Bacharach instrumental immediately triggered the lyrics in my mind and put a smile on my face like all of Jensen's humorous underlying quirks. His signature subtle subversive detailing is always the strain that defines each collection and as the archive pieces swayed past, it was demonstrated that there IS always something there to remember indeed!
Lucy Ewing had strung the 10 year review together by a colour palette order that merged the entire history into one succint showcase. Sherbert pink, raspberry sorbet, canary yellow, royal blue, taupes and tans, white transparent sheers that showed shiny sequin scattered panties ...... which brings me to one of my favourite Jensen staples. From a Dolly Mixture style bead encrusted jacket and separate collar neckpiece to sparkling twin-sets and scoop neck sweaters all twinkling ontop of the candy colours. Stockings and socks had stripes of sequins sewn in random side panels as if a granny had taken a trip whilst darning - which is perhaps where Jensen's endearment lies.
Peter once told me that he had been trained in embroidery back in his Danish schooling days where techniques were taught with white thread onto white fabric. The process included regular hand washing intervals to keep the samples in snow white pristine condition. I can just picture Peter's fingers twitching in the direction of the nearest necklace for pearls to put into his herring bone stitch. His unabashed approach to having fun with jewells, gems, feathers and fringing is perfectly echoed in the milnery executed by Bernstock Spiers. The accessorized looks were a showcase of thier fantastic headgear collaborations, just as much as the complete combination of clothes. A riding hat encased in a shell of crystals, an Alice band covered in the contents of an antique jewellry box, a bobble hat balanced a giant tweakable pompom, a niave style fairytale paper crown and a gold lurex muskateer helmet; which was the winner for me! This seemed as if it had been pulled from the most exciting costume box a child could ever discover. Infact this was the predominant styling for the show with model's hair adorned with a wonky wig, seemingly slapped on in a state of excitable dress-up. The girls emboided an allusion of a 6 year old that had been let loose in a trunk of treats but then stepped out the other side of a magical wardrobe onto the runway of a Parisian couture presentation. It's the confidence in adopting lo-fi themes and turning them into neat wearble key components for a smart girl's closet, that I love about Jensen. What might look like a regular pair of black trousers from the rear, look like a furry pair of faun legs from the front. What might appear as a paisley print is infact hand painted fruit illustrations in repeat on closer inspection.
His most famous print of the interlocking bunnies monogram is now almost its own brand. Who doesn't want one of those ridiculously lush swimsuits with rabbit ears that make a halter-neck like a modern day Rudi Gernreich unitard?!!! I'm personally partial to the Tatty Devine perspex sunnies and Bernstock Spiers baseball cap. It was so nice to see an audience sporting varying bunny pieces - some having turned out with bunny totes in hand.
For the finale of a four part schedule of shows open to the public, the benches were full of the Peter Jensen family tree. Sitting front row in her new Brora sweater was Louise Gray, a former assistant to Jensen who recognised a heart warming amount of her own handiwork in many of the pieces. "I hope Peter realises how good that was" were her words after the show, with Natascha Stolle - another former apprentice at PJ HQ. I really hope so too, witnessing for myself over the years his work ethic of dedication, conviction and long days spent toiling and tailoring. I was embroidering his hand-sewn name labels a decade ago on the day the twin towers fell in New York. It is such a vivid memory from my first experience of work placements, watching the events unfold on a tiny television in his atelier..............
A great deal has changed since this beginning in 2001, and the 10 year anniversary of Peter's enterprise that the V&A were celebrating with this show, is credit to his consistency in the craft. The designer creates collections that are indiscriminately inclusive and accessible. All the while, each muse-inspired narrative has held a sneaky subverted twist for the discerning eye. This cunning treatment of coping with a fluctuating and fickle industry isn't necessarily a savvy conscious game-plan but just a natural process from this genuine talent. Peter is one of those rare and lovely characters who makes you comfortable with his unaffected calm presence and equally cracks you up with the unspoken wit in his work. Having always taken the brave step to show in unexpected venues (including an ice rink) it was brilliant to see a runway summary of all seasons past, under the magnificent roof of the main hall at the museum.
Many congratulations to Peter and Gerard for quietly creating classics that have amassed to be this timeless body of work ........... Im looking forward to the next chapter of muses, magic and hilarious accessories ..........
(Top to bottom: Backstage, The show, The set of Charlotte Mann wallpaper and Andy Hillman SISSY letters, Portrait of Paul Bernstock, Louise Gray, Peter Jensen and Thelma Speirs)
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Just before fashion week, Craig Lawrence invited his friends and muses down to the I-D NOW exhibition to make use of the pop-up photo studio within the show. With a rack of his archive to choose from we tried on dresses from seasons past and selected our favourite Lawrence classic to wear for a portrait by photographer Alistair Strong. Each sitter made use of the space in different ways with Jonny Woo filling the room with a voluminous foil crocheted creation and Sorcha Oraghallaigh stood high on a block like the Statue of Liberty in a long hemmed knit she had previously worn for her wedding. Anna Trevelyan arrived in very own Lawrence gold gown for the occasion and Veronica So looked the perfect part in a Red and white barrier tape ensemble. The final shots have now been unveiled in conjunction with the release of the new print issue over on the online site: Craig Lawrence i-D now
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
WAH! Nails founder Sharmadean Reid invited me to try out her new Minx collaboration design "Rainbow Tribes" because she knows I love a spectrum! For my annual Christmas card image shot with Mishkin 2 years ago, we spelt out 2010 in a rainbow manicure by WAH! Nails when they first opened on Kingsland Road. Since this time the business has bloomed and now boasts concessions in different locations around the UK including a brand new bar in the Top Shop at Stratford shopping centre. To launch this latest location, Sharmadean has worked with Minx to create 3 styles from archive designs exclusively for the store. "Golden Tribes" "Rainbow Tribes" and "Cosmic Comic" are available from tomorrow to either be applied by a WAH! artist as I experienced or to take away for pro DIY nail buffs (no pun intended)!
This design is my idea of heaven on the end of my fingers ......... a pattern of striped colour with bands of black and white circles and triangles. If you are a Pharoah / Egytian kinda gal, go for the gold option and if you like tropical prints, try out the zingy pink and orange cosmic colour way............. see the Tumblr for a photo gallery and find your fingers on there after you've visited!
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
ADi and I took a trip uptown to see Maurizio Cattelan at Guggenheim Museum - a perfect use of an incredible space for a retrospective! Another unexpected artist witnessed making the most of displaying their wares .......... this observer and his rad watch denim jacket!!
When I thumbed thru Time Out to see what shows where on in the city at the moment, I immediatley drew a circle round Nan Goldin at Matthew Marks Gallery. I always seem to be drawn to this gallery and this is the artist’s first exhibition in New York since 2007 which is a new 25-minute-long slide installation, originally commissioned by the Louvre Museum. The last time I had the opportunity to see her work projected on a large screen was at the collaborative performance with Patrick Wolf in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London. Any chance to view more ......... and Im there!
"Scopophilia" is an assembly of 400 photographs from Goldin’s career which she has paired with paintings and sculpture from the Louvre’s collection that echo her own autobiographical images. She was given unique permission to photograph freely throughout the Louvre to choose and document articles that she felt reflect her own intensely personal photographs. Goldin organised the themes around love and desire, calling the selection "Scopophilia", which means “the love of looking,” which has been illustrated in framed montages alongside the slideshow. With her rich history and body of work, this is a format of showing her archive that I hope happens again and again in relation to different site specific settings. As she explains “Desire awoken by images is the project’s true starting point. It is about the idea of taking a picture of a sculpture or a painting in an attempt to bring it to life.” Roll on the next reel of iconic imagery I get to witness from this pioneer.......
Matthew Marks Gallery
October 29 - December 23, 2011
522 W 22 Street, New York, NY 10011
Matthew Stone has been consistently unveiling recent works at regular intervals in London which I have been featuring on here. So I'm dead chuffed that I was in the right place at the right time to see the culmination on a grand scale which has been planted in another city. Matthew's first show in New York has just opened at The Hole at the new premises on The Bowery which has been used to display a plethora of new pieces. I love the bright block colours integrated into his photographic prints soaked onto wood-board in addition to the pastel hues that have previously set off the flesh tone anatomical portraits. This is a must-see show for followers of the latest British movement in image makers redefining YBA art. It answers intellectual approach but serves the purpose of a beautiful object you actually wish to have on your own wall to while away time enjoying looking at and absorbing the optimism the artist is capturing and promoting.
I didn't get to see the actual performance but I did snoop around the set for Spartacus Chetwynd at the New Museum........ which all in all was quite enough weirdness for one day straight after Carsten Holler! You'll know what I mean if you go. Congrats to a British artist making waves across the transatlantic shores ........ which brings me to ...........