Architect in Planning,
Sculptor in Form,
Painter in Colour,
Musician in Harmony,
Philosopher in Entirety.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) Cristobal Balenciaga at Work, Paris 1968.
© Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
I’ve been a supporter of the Victoria and Albert Museum for many years. They are a wonderful museum and a phenomenal resource, often giving me access to their archives during my years studying at London School of Fashion. The exhibitions there are guaranteed to be astounding, with the Galliano being a particular past favourite (although my staff beg to differ with me on that one, as they preferred the McQueen show).
Thus I’m beside myself with excitement about the upcoming Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum. With appellations such as the ‘King of Fashion’ and the ‘Inventor of Couture’, to his work and ability to inspire, Cristobel Balenciaga is pure legend.
Richard Avendon (1904-2004) Elsie Daniels with street performers suit by Balenciaga, Cafe des Deux Magots, Paris 1955.
© The Richard Avendon Foundation
The mire of copyright legalities regarding images can be a horror to negotiate and I’ve generally avoided it by getting creative and taking my own photographs. In this particular instance however I would have felt very restricted if I couldn't use specific and related pictures.
With this in mind I contacted the V&A and asked if I could write a blog about the exhibition and was totally overjoyed when they said I could reference them in my blog AND use some of their images. I’ve decided that I have to do a series of features on this wonderful man, as one blog simply won’t cover it!
I’ll be looking at Cristobal Balenciaga and his Spanish heritage, then move onto his Parisian days…and of course write up the exhibition.
Richard Avendon (1923-2004) Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Cafe des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955.© The Richard Avendon Foundation.
It will be fascinating to weave the relevant inspirations together, especially as the designers in my shop have both direct and indirect links with Balenciaga’s heritage. Things to look forward to now I'm back from my much needed break in Bali!
Irving Penn (1917-2009) Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing coat by Cristobal Balenciaga, 1950.
© Conde Nast/Irving Penn Foundation
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, sponsored by American Express, at the V&A from 27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018. vam.ac.uk/balenciaga
I'm pleased to announce the addition of a new range to my online store: the iconic silver and platinum jewellery of British studio Lustre of London.
The company's co-founder, Lesley Cole, traded for many years in fine vintage jewellery at Gray's Antiques Centre in London. This background gave her an expert's understanding in precious jewellery: how it's made, what works and what customers are looking for.
Since much of the jewellery she sold featured real diamonds and precious stones, it was not affordable to most and lacked versatility - customers were afraid to wear their pieces for fear of losing them! This led Lesley to envisage a range of high-quality, high-end jewellery that came with a more accessible price tag than the rare, antique kind.
Together with a small team, Lesley set about designing intricate, finely-crafted pieces that were inspired by the classic designs she was familiar with. More contemporary styles, like hoop earrings, were also given a timeless touch with the inclusion of hundreds of minute Cubic Zirconia stones.
As a less expensive, man-made alternative to diamond, CZ gems almost rival the stone for purity and hardness. Lustre's resulting pieces are flawless, classically stylish and indistinguishable from real jewellery.
I'm in love with this range - it perfectly complements the more colourful and offbeat jewellery in my collection and has proved very popular in my Bath shop.