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191015 – Gypsy – Savoy Theatre, London

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I am generally not one to go and see musical theatre but the reviews for Gypsy and in particular Imelda Staunton playing Rose had me climbing the stairs to the Grand Circle of the Art Deco Savoy Theatre. From her first entrance Imelda takes over the stage, her portrayal the overbearing and pushy mother fighting to get her daughters to be stage stars to make up for the missed opportunity she would have relished in her youth. The whole cast from the group of young children and the nauseating Baby June, through to Lara Pulver as Louise and Peter Davidson as the downtrodden agent Herve. In the final curtain call the sheer exhaustion of the performance was clearly shown on Imelda’s face, as she really did become Rose from start to finish.


181015 – Mademoiselle Privé – London, Saatchi Gallery

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To Colbert on Sloane Square for morning breakfast of ouefs briolle avec boudin noir before heading to the Saatchi Gallery for the Mademoiselle Prive Exhibition.

On the wall of the café are black and white photographs taken within a decade of World War II. We fly into a discussion about Dior and the pencil skirt and how the design came about through rationing of materials and how the fifties rebelled against this. Second we note that Paris that had not been bombed unlike Berlin or London, but instead occupied leaving many of its historical streets in tacked a fact noted in The Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne.

Mademoiselle Privé greets the visitor with a wild flower garden has been installed outside the Gallery through which you meander whilst hearing the sounds of birdsong to the entrance, a delightful start. Sadly this is another exhibition by a Luxury brand that has little content and a huge amount of money invested. Details and textural fabrics of the couture pieces were lost in the darkness and there was a lack of descriptive information telling a story. I was hoping that there would be some insight to the Heritage of Chanel in terms of the fabrics they use, the detailing and how this has evolved throughout it’s history along with a more tactile section to get a better understanding about this. Chanel has consistently produced such incredible collections and at this exhibition we have so little access to them, so it was disappointing.

Despite my thoughts this does not appear to have deterred the public from attending as represented by the queues to get in. 


171015 – The Fabric Of India – V&A, London

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This morning I am sitting in my bathroom staring at a towel. It has a double sided combed cotton pile. It has a hemmed border and both ends have a flattened detail over several bars that make a diagonal wave across the warp of the towel. The towel is a faded lilac I have had it for many years. I have washed it, dried it, folded it, I have washed with it possibly thousands of times. The towel is made of Egyptian cotton. I know this as it is written on the label. The towel is just an ordinary john Lewis towel and I find myself staring at it blankly as I do not know exactly how it was made. I am reminded that so many of the everyday objects that I use I have no ideal how they work, what they are made of or how they were manufactured. What has bought me to this towel staring was the exhibition at the V&A The Fabric Of India.

The exhibition splits into two distinct halves. The first talks about techniques and processes the second about conclusions and uses. The two halves of the exhibition space are joined by a delightful transition space made with walls of vertical elastic cord that have a wonderful optical affect when moving. When just through the transition space and I am confronted with a 200mm border of an asymmetrical composition of people, animals and plants and I read that it has been woven. At this point I realize that I cannot understand how this is possible. The complexities involved are beyond comprehension when knowing that it is made by hand working on a primitive loom. I can understand warp and weft, I understand how to make basic patterns, I do not understand how a pattern can be given a bias one side to the other or how to make complex asymmetrical compositions. A fascinating exhibition and one that will be scheduled a re-visit. It was a shame that a working hand-loom was not in operation as the primitive sounds would have added greatly to the ambience. 


111015 – LV – London

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The difficulties faced by companies as they try to incorporate digital media with tradition could not be better exemplified than in the Series 3 Louis Vuitton exhibition. The exhibition that can at best be described as confused or lost creates a saturated abyss of digital imagery often used without purpose. I concentrated on the logo and font images below.


031015 – Paris – Toc Toc

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Toc Toc


270915 – Apple – Selfridges, London

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The Apple window for the Selfridges store in London is an impressive art installation. I have been unable to find out who carried out this work or how it was done but there is very little repetition. I would guess that this is one of the largest installations of 3D printed work I have seen to date. Inspired by the screen savers on the Apple watch the installation has been on view since August and I often visit when in the area. Here are some detail photos.


270915 – Glass & Ceramics Re-Visited – V&A London

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Today we were at the V&A looking at the often-visited galleries of ceramics and glass. The objective was to look at possible new forms for fashion using items and qualities in the displays as inspiration. Some sketches below.


​250915 – Magnolia Pink - 100% design, London

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Vivienne Westwood Magnolia Pink Presentation

What Does The Colour of Your Brand Say 

Today I am giving a presentation at ‘100% Design’ Olympia. I have not given a formal presentation since teaching at Universities in the early 90’s so I felt the emotive mixture of excitement, nerves and the honor to have been asked to talk. The theme given for the presentation was 'What Does The Colour of Your Brand Say'. I chose the topic of the Magnolia Pink of Vivienne Westwood. During the mid nineties Vivienne was designing collections Vive La Cocotte, Vive La Bagatelle, Erotic Zones that recall the sense of faded grandeur from the Belle Epoch. The colour Magnolia Pink is both sensual, sexual and historically referential. The presentation elaborated on this theme. I was joined in conversation with Karen Haller, a colour psychologist and Fiona Humberstone, a Brand Colour Consultant and the presentation was chaired by Emily Hare from Contagious Magazine.

http://www.100percentdesign.co.uk/Content/Talks-with-100-Design-11


220915 – Prada Fondazione – Milan

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A final check in the store, then I head off to Fondazione Prada in the south of Milan, designed by Rem Koolhaas. Coffee in Bar Luce by Wes Anderson and I feel as though I have been transported onto the set of the Royal Tenebaums.


230915 – James Goldstein – Milan

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I met James Goldstein at a work event last night and have been invited to James Goldstein’s home when next in LA. The Sheats house by John Lautner of 1963 has been an inspiration since I first saw it when I was a student.

http://www.jamesfgoldstein.com/


220915 – Volkswagen – News

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Today I’m in shock at the news that Volkswagen knowing doctored emissions tests. This has to be one of the most stupid decisions I have ever seen by a corporation of this scale, a corporation I had huge respect for. To repeat the familiar quote, it takes a generation to build a brand and one mistake to ruin it. How much of a company is a brand worth, in my profession - all of it. It will take Volkswagen many years to repair this damage and the losses will be huge.


200915 – Gilbert and George - Bethnal Green Road

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Special treat today, 8am driving along the Bethnal Green Road heading east and we see Gilbert and George walking in the same direction. I haven’t seen Gilbert and George since I last worked with them on the Serpentine exhibition in June 2002. I was lucky enough to visit their house, a house without a kitchen. We stopped the car and jumped out to say hello only to catch them as they popped into the Astro Star Café for breakfast. Here’s a wonderful photo. I would have liked to discuss yesterdays Pop exhibition at the Tate but a potential new Westwood campaign was shouting for attention. I’ll have to ask Vivienne. Thanks for the photo Gilbert and George.

http://www.gilbertandgeorge.co.uk/home


190915 – The World Goes Pop - Tate Modern

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There were three highlights to this show. A painting that can be displayed either way up, a re-composition painting and Nicola L’s Red Coat. Group clothing here used to represent the political collective reminded me of Fritz Koenig’s Herd bronze sculptures of earlier years.

I have always found Pop Art difficult as I find it shallow and immature, an endless string of one liners. We discussed this (husband and I) at the show and concluded that pop Art was teenage youth trying to escape Edwardian values. All that separated the youth of the sixties and the Edwardians were the Great recession and two World Wars. Not a strong foundation to argue for evolutionary art.

Image left to right. 1-2 Nicola L's Red Coat, 3 Fritz Koenig, Herd.


050915 – Porsche – Andy Prill, Halsted

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Andy Prill open day at Halsted. Today we are looking at classic Porsches and Porsche engine restorations. This is really a catch up day as Andy has recently moved to new premises.


290815 - Soundscapes - The National Gallery

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A dark crawling shape appears over the rocks and comes to stand centre stage, Dionysus, an androgynous Ben Whishaw and with a wicked grin instantly makes you feel slightly unnerved about what is coming next in this production of Bakkhai at The Almeida Theatre. Opposing Dionysus is Pentheus, Bertie Carvel, just and righteous, before his mindless murder by his mother Agave. The haunting female Bakkhai tell the story through song, shouts and high shrieks bringing a strong climax to this Greek tragedy.


150815 – Bakkhai – The Almeida Theatre

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A dark crawling shape appears over the rocks and comes to stand centre stage, Dionysus, an androgynous Ben Whishaw and with a wicked grin instantly makes you feel slightly unnerved about what is coming next in this production of Bakkhai at The Almeida Theatre. Opposing Dionysus is Pentheus, Bertie Carvel, just and righteous, before his mindless murder by his mother Agave. The haunting female Bakkhai tell the story through song, shouts and high shrieks bringing a strong climax to this Greek tragedy.


140815 – Baciato Dal Sole - Verona

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My work brings me to Verona for a factory visit to check on the new display cases that are destined for the Paris and New York stores. Late afternoon allows me time to soak up the setting of the greatest love story of them all, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the low evening sun Verona is a stunning tapestry of textures. A city crammed with details all beautifully aged with time. A city built in soft earthly shades with a counterpoint of dark opulent shadows. A city of two halves, of dark and light where sun kissed streets and shadows dance an endless tarantella.

A blaze of interwoven words inked on the walls beneath that famous Romeo and Juliet balcony shows that romance still runs strong.


040815 – Kenzo - Bruton Street. London

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Mad – Giant fish and chips at Kenzo


010815 - Tate Britain - London.

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Visiting Tate Britain today to view the Pre-Raphaelite collection on permanent display. The Annunciation, by Arthur Hacker, 1892 is a stunning, otherworldly painting, a subtle, emotional dreamscape that generates a powerful and hypnotic reflection. Contemplation continued in the member’s room overlooking the Thames, also the perfect setting for tea.


300715 – Sir John Soane’s Museum - London

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Today is a rare exclusive, breakfast at The John Soane’s Museum. The event marked the opening for the first time of 3 private rooms, including Soane’s model room following a complete restoration. Bibliomania at its very best.