Exhibition: My Favourite Shoe, Westfield London

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My Favourite Shoe

Have you ever wondered what inspires designers in creating their new collections? Ever wondered which shoes of their own design have a special place in the designers hearts? Or even what their work spaces look like?

The ‘My Favourite Shoe’ exhibition currently at Westfield, Shepard’s Bush, London (due to tour soon), delves into the designers psyche. Asking popular designers Camilla Skovgaard, Joanne Stoker, Mr Hare, Sophie Cox and Atlanta Weller what their design process involves and how they come up with such unique ideas. The Shoe Collection at Northampton Museums & Gallery (NMAG) is home to the largest archive of shoes in the world, naturally it is a place of inspiration to designers and students. In the exhibition curated as part of the museums ‘Cinderella Syndrome project- Displaying shoes in museums‘, each designer has chosen a shoe from the NMAG archive along side one from their own collections to illustrate their favourite shoes.

Situated in the luxe The Village in the shopping plaza the monolithic display cases, designed to resemble the designers desks, stand proud and eye catching. Peer inside and discover shoes from the most sculptural to the most comfortable! Read the designer bio’s and interviews and even take part in the ‘photo booth’ where you can record a snap of your own favourite shoes. A fascinating and fun exhibition, but be quick as it is only there 11-29th September.

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For full information visit the Westfield website “‘NMAG presents My Favourite Shoe’

and the “NMAG information page.

David Bowie Is… Exhibition

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┬áI was lucky enough to get to see the David Bowie Is exhibition at the V&A. As I couldn’t make the press preview event, they very nicely let me go along the next time I was in London, as it happened I had a meeting at the V&A so I jumped at the chance to go. Like many of you I have grown up with David Bowie’s presence, my mum would play his records when I was a kid and as a child of the 80’s Labyrinth is always going to be my favourite film – I could recite the entire scrip by heart!

“The V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie. David Bowie is features over 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, BowieÔÇÖs own instruments and album artwork.

On display will be more than 300 objects brought together for the very first time Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by Brian Duffy; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Jonathan Barnbrook; visual excerpts from films and live performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), music videos such as Ashes to Ashes (1980) and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974). Alongside these will be more personal items such as never-before-seen storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics as well as some of BowieÔÇÖs own sketches, musical scores and diary entries, revealing the evolution of his creative ideas.”

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I am finding writing about the exhibition difficult, because there is just so much I want to say about it. There are already many reviews and critiques of the exhibit, so instead I will tell you how I experienced it, as a Bowie fan (and not someone who works with museums, although it can be hard to separate the two).

Before I entered the exhibit, I was given a pair of headphones, this had me intruded, would it be audio commentary? I rounded the corner to me met with the famous Kansai Yamamoto wide leg jumpsuit, by this time I am just about ready to burst with excitement! The headphones spring to life and I delved head first into the early years of David Robert Jones’ musical career.

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I won’t go into too much detail as I wouldn’t want to offer spoilers to those of you who are yet to see it.┬á Amongst the song lyrics, photos, costumes and films there are surprises around every corner, tiny holes too peep through taking you to another world, beautifully timed videos which your headphones will belt out classic Bowie songs too, allowing you to loose yourself in the experience. This exhibition is huge, I would recommend 2 hours to really see it all, 3 if you want to read every little snippet. One detail I found charming was seeing the scraps of song lyrics, scribbles and alterations. How would it have been if the famous ‘Fashion, turn to the left…’ lyric had been kept as ‘Shop, shop turn to the left…’

 Cut up lyrics for Blackout from Heroes 1977  The David Bowie Archive 2012 Image  VA Images_edited-1

I am not usually one to be left gob-smacked, but entering the centre piece room of the exhibition, a huge auditorium really took my breath away. I was awe struck, at the sheer size, attention to detail and the drama of it all. If you are set to see this exhibition I would recommend you don’t look at any photos before hand as this is a surprise worth waiting for! I actually am itching to go back and spend more time there.

If you can’t make the exhibition the I can recommend picking up a copy of the book, I will have to order one online as it is massive and I couldn’t carry it all the way home. It is available on the website as is a selection of official merchandise- well it wouldn’t be a museum trip without a pencil and sharpener souvenir would it!

David Bowie is… Online

A Tale of Two Wedding Dresses

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Something which I have always been interested in, and that now forms part of my new job (I know, I know will tell you all about that soon enough), are the different ways museums and galleries choose to display exhibits. These two dresses might be the last things you would expect to find in an art gallery, but here they are in Manchester Art Gallery, Mosely Street. The small exhibition illustrates how the designer Vivienne Westwood took inspiration from the 18th Century by showing one of her dresses in a room full of period paintings and of course a dress from 1765. Designers often state times and places of inspiration, yet it is difficult to get inside their mindset without having prior knowledge of what they are quoting. This exhibit lets the viewer envelope themselves in the art work of the time, whilst also having the rare opportunity to compare an 18th C dress with a Westwood design it inspired.
I am particularly interested in peoples history, so was delighted to read that the Westwood dress was in fact the wedding dress of the museum director. How wonderful to see your wedding dress everyday in your place of work, than have it hidden in the back of your closet!

 Raiding History: Vivienne Westwood and the 18th Century

‘..it’s so important to look at the past. Because people did have taste, and they did have ideas of excellence, and those things are not going to come unless people look at the past.’ Vivienne Westwood

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is famous for her re-interpretations of historic dress and textiles. Here we have displayed one of her couture gowns with a dress and portraits from the 1700s to show how the art inspires her.

Wedding dress 2010 designed by Vivienne Westwood (1941-)

Evening gown in printed blue and silver chine silk. The delicate fabric, pastel colours, full skirts and corseting of this gown recall the open and sack back  dresses of the 1700s. Typically of Westwood however, the dress is not a copy or pastiche. The past is combined with her own ideas to create new and original clothes for our time. This dress was worn as her wedding dress by Maria Balshaw, Director of the Manchester City Galleries. Dress on loan from Maria Balshaw to Manchester City Galleries.

Wedding dress (Open robe) 1765

(Sack back) gown or ‘robe a la francaise’ in pale blue and silver figured silk. The ‘Sack back’ gown was the most formal type of women’s dress in the late 1700s. It was reserved for official occasions such as receptions, weddings and appearances at court. Like many silk dresses from the period this example has been altered a great deal. The dress is said to have been worn as her wedding dress by Sarah Gamson from Gringly-super-Montem in Nottinghamshire. Sarah was born in 1750 and married age 15 in 1765. Manchester City Galleries 1947.137.

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Funnily enough, the day I saw this exhibition my friend Chris gave me these two books on historical fashion one including dresses from the 1700s!

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Vivienne Westwood Conduit St Mini Exhibition

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The amazing climate revolution outfit Vivienne Westwood wore to the Paralympics closing ceremony and in her following Red Label show is now on display in the Conduit Street, London store along with two installations in the windows by artist Joe Rush. I did ask Emu san if I could try this on and run around the shop but she didn’t take me on. World’s End also has some amazing new climate revolution t-shirts on sale FYI. The rest of Vivienne’s outfit includes the Climate Revolution t-shirt, boxer shorts with tights over the top, large skeleton necklace, slouchy socks and the Clomper platform sandal shoes.

14 February 2013. Vivienne Westwood and London Born artist Joe Rush join together their talent, their indignations and their combativeness in an artistic and political process whose war cry is: Climate Revolution!

Just ahead of London Fashion Week, Vivienne WestwoodÔÇÖs 44 Conduit store window reveals an installation created by artist Joe Rush. The revolutionary sculptures made from recycled metal and found objects are featured alongside placards, alerting passersby to join the Climate Revolution.

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Kobi Levi Shoe Exhibition

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From top: Flamingo, Cheerleader, Coffee, Market Trolly, Slide

Kobi Levi is most famously know for his quirky, often cartoon-like footwear designs. The Israeli designer pushes boundaries by taking every day objects and interpreting them into shoes. Most of the designs are fun (‘Blond Ambition’ and Banana’) however some are sexual (‘Blow’ and ‘XXX’) others somewhat disturbing (‘Mother & Daughter’ and ‘Double Boots‘). From court shoes to mules, wedges to boots Levi’s imagination has no limits.

“In my artistic footwear design the shoe is my canvas. The trigger to create a new piece comes when an idea, a concept and/or an image comes to mind. The combination of the image and footwear creates a new hybrid and the design/concept comes to life. The piece is a wearable sculpture. It is “alive” with/out the foot/body. Most of the inspirations are out of the “shoe-world”, and give the footwear an extreme transformation. The result is usually humoristic with a unique point of view about footwear. Another aspect of the creation is the realization.” Kobi Levi

You can see more Kobi Lev designs on his blog or visit the exhibition and other displays of shoes, at the Northampton Shoe Museum.

Sneaking Into Fashion Exhibition

Here are some of the images from the Sneaking into Fashion exhibition curated by Tory Turk on behalf of Javari.co.uk. The pop-up exhibition looked at how the trainer has become part of our culture and featured some rare designs. I loaned a pair of my trainers to the exhibition, can you guess which pair is mine? The Vivienne Westwood ‘Tracey trainers’. The exhibition was staged in at Convent Garden, the cases set amongst the walk ways – taking the gallery outside of the museum. It was a great way to get people who wouldn’t usually visit such an exhibition interacting and learning.┬á Many famous pairs were featured including shoe designs from Nike, Adidas, Isabel Marant and Vivienne Westwood. You can take virtual tour of the highlights and find out more info on the shoes at Javari.

Whats on – Exhibition: Sneaking Into Fashion

 


If you are in London any time this week I recommend you go down to Convent Garden to check out the Sneaking into Fashion exhibition. Curated by Tory Turk this exhibition delves into the role of the trainer in pop-culture. Featuring many famous designs from Adidas to Vivienne Westwood, a must see.
I will be going down next week and I can let you in on a secret – there will be vintage Vivienne Westwood shoes. You might recognise the Westwood Tracey trainers above? Yep they are mine which I have loaned for the exhibition, so go say hi.