151114 – Rolls Royce - Saatchi Gallery
Rolls Royce craftsmanship at The Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea.
081114 – Rembrandt The Late Works– National Gallery
Here 91 paintings and drawings by Rembrandt all at one show including some of his great masterpieces. Rembrandt a master of light and texture, paintings rich in character, show Flemish clothes of the seventeenth century.
021114 – The Smell of Oil, Smoke and Leather – London
6am on a cold Sunday morning and I am in Hyde Park with the Edwardian engineers dressed in period costume some have arrived on their Penny Farthings.
251014 – The Body – Flowers Gallery
A morning visit to the Flowers Gallery Cork St to see the Aleah Chapin solo show Maiden, Mother, Child and Crone. Figurative art is still sadly off trend so I am so glad that figurative artists of this calibre still practice.
111014 – Vintage – Museum Of London
Vintage fashion at the Museum Of London researching among other things the Edwardian clothes of Janet Arnold’s Patterns Of Fashion: dresses and their construction 1860-1940 structure, fabric and lace. Clothes pictured were made by Madame Laferriere. Also included is an image of sixteenth century medieval shoes.
041014 – Brahms – St Martins In The Fields
This evening we are watching a friend Marion Schirra in a German choir singing Brahms German Requiem by Candlelight in the nave of St Martins, a very moving experience.
260914 – 51 Porsche Coupe – Halsted
Today I am collecting my 1951 Porsche coupe from Maxted Page and Prill in Halsted. The coupe has just completed a six-year restoration thanks to my husbands hard work. As Andy would say ‘as rare as hens teeth’ one of only three built in 511 Grey, possibly the only survivor.
200914 – Norman Foster – London
Open day at the Norman Foster studio in SW11 and a chance to see the layout of the office and to admire the many models on display.
120914 – Overlay - Vienna
I’ve flown in to Vienna from Milan to view the Vivienne Westwood shop. There wasn’t much time to see a lot outside of work, but I did get to see works by Olbrich, Hollein and Wagner. The Secessionist building in Vienna by Olbrich is a must see and is usually on every tourist to do list. The works of Otto Wagner are less well known. The buildings are stunning and the detailing could well be used as a useful typological reference today, as I’m sure Herzog and De Meuron fully appreciate.
Images left to right - 1-2 Olbrich, 3-6 Wagner, 7 Hollien.
080914 – Pattern Cutting – Matisse
In 1941 Matisse was diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he found renewed and unexpected energies for creativity, producing works through paper cut outs.Vast in scale (though not always in size), lush and rigorous in colour, his cut outs are among the most admired and influential works of Matisse's entire career.
I am exploring the parallels between the paper cuts of Henri Matisse stencil work and the pattern cutting of fashion for possible window ideas.
060914 – Grey Tone- Horst, V&A, London
Classic Couture from the 1930s photographed by Horst in delicate grey tone.
260814 – Can-Can – Paris
Work takes me to Paris to view the new Paris shop on Rue Saint Honoré. As I sit at lunch in a 21st Century Paris I muse the Belle Epoque that continues to haunt the city. The tourist postcards gratify the nostalgia with early posters of the Can-Can, Jane Avril and Toulous-Lautrec.
170814 – Syon House – Twickenham
A day out at Syon House by Robert Adam built in 1760 here the Great Conservatory mixes science and classicism. Laboratory and porticos.
160814 – Stuart Dandy – National Portrait Gallery, London
This morning we were in the Tudor Galleries this afternoon we are in with the Stuarts. Only one generation separates the Tudors from the Stuarts, the protestant from the Catholic but England had to do a lot of catching up between the two periods. The Renaissance had been in Europe for some time, both science and art had made huge leaps forward and along with this were changing social attitudes. Here this is all beautifully expressed through fashion.
160814 – Cut and Fold – National Portrait Gallery, London
The clothes of the Tudors posed many interesting problems. At one level clothes are a political armour with a strict hierarchy of colour and material used linked to status. At another they need to serve the basic function of keeping warm. The clothes often wool based, heavily embroidered and backed. When worn in multiple layers, these make for a stiff material that does not hold shape. The techniques used to achieve free movement are the cut, the fold, the hinge and to add volume. The sleeve for example uses many variations on the theme to both bend at the elbow and allow movement at the shoulder. These include adding volume to the area of movement, sleeves splayed from the elbow or shoulders puffed and ruched. Or by cutting slits and vents that allow movement and allow a stiff fabric to hold a double curve. The outer garments can often be heavy and course so the under laying garments are in softer cottons and linen. This develops into and aesthetic that pulls fine materials through the slits on the outer layers and is a technique unique to this period. It also makes for unique juxtapositions when using linen, leather, tapestry and fur. A wonderful way to spend the morning and the counter point will be the Stuarts planned for the afternoon.
090814 – Ceramics – V&A London
Cases and cases of ceramics in the quiet solitude of the V&A. Printed and painted, glazed and fired. Eighteenth and early nineteenth century pottery collates the whole the menagerie of Empire and the Colonies. Pictorial referencing captured by early industrial techniques redistributed amongst the newly formed merchant/middle class. The whole history and reaction to the industrial revolution and its consequences on society displayed on a cup in a show case in the V&A, heaven.
Formally, pattern and form, inside and outside, the edge the border, the accentuated line, texture and relief, the handle that dictates posture and etiquette, the saucer on a saucer, the art of revealing. All of these techniques can be applied to fashion.
030814 – Norman Foster – Swiss Re, London
I have lots of time for Foster’s work. I have buildings that I admire and details that I enjoy but most of all I love the way Fosters work has evolved. Ideas develop from project to project and often can be traced back to the very beginnings of the practice. This constant refinement and development is very similar to the methodology of Porsche or Apple three firms I really admire. At the Swiss Re building we have stacked villages, spiraling atriums, tripe glazed vented skin, triangulated external structure forming the double curves of the tower. The true beauty of Fosters building is that it is the conclusion of a team effort from a team of the highest caliber. Today we (husband and I) are looking at all the pieces that have multiple functions like the street benches that are also security barriers, the urban space drainage system that both recalls the Piazza Del Campo in Sienna whilst creating a safety moat and collecting and clearing litter. The moat itself collects all the water from the piazza and building and all grey water is reused. It does all these things and many more without anyone noticing. It is a building with understated dignity.
020814 – Glass - V&A London
Here is a place I often come to visit, the V&A glass displays on the upper floors by the members room. These floors are often deserted even when the lower galleries are full so I have lots of time to study every technique used through the ages. Colour and pattern, overlays, layering, reflections and distortions, all of these things exist in all of the applied arts but add the dimension of transparency and a whole new vocabulary transcends. The glass object is a three dimensional form that sucks in its surroundings and re-presents them as distortion and reflection. Each object offers its own subjective re-interpretation of its context. A story re-told as the light or viewer shifts position in an endless conversation. Aspects remind me of Romeo Gigli’s ghost collection.
280714 – Pattern Cutting – London
Project research, explorations in Henri Matisse paper cut period Henri’s ‘second life’. Screen shots unedited.
260714 – The Races – Ascot
I have been invited by friends to the Ascot King George Weekend on a day filled with blue skies and sunshine. In a box on the 6th floor, the canopy overhang and air conditioning made for a relaxed and pleasant day. As someone who has no idea about horse racing (apart from the weekly riding classes when young) and a non-gambler, I relied on the help of an expert via a quick phone call and placed my bet. The main race of the day King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes was won by Taghrooda.
Image – George Stubbs, variations on - Mares and Foals Without Background.