Events

Don’t Miss: Tiffany’s New York minute in London

Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th at Selfridges - New York

The Selfridges x Tiffany & Co. ‘Fifth & 57th’ exhibition is yet another example of luxury brands seducing existing and prospective customers with immersive bricks and mortar experiences. This delightful experience takes place in the Old Selfridges Hotel, an annexe behind Selfridges where you’ll ascend a couple of flights of stairs and find yourself seeemingly slap bang in the cross fire of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, New York. It’s a digital installation, with fast-moving video footage of New York accompanied by very realistic street sounds that instantly transport you to the drama and chaos of Manhattan.

Why? It’s all to celebrate the newly expanded Tiffany concession in the Selfridges flagship store. But doing it this way, you get a different, more sensorial experience that is nothing to do with shopping. Well, it is, but subliminally. Which is, of course, the point. Walk along the ‘street’ surrounded by ‘buildings’ made of hundreds of stacked boxes and stop at the pretzel and coffee carts for a free snack. Then wander into the Tiffany ‘store’ where you can watch a master engraver at work. (Buy something from the Tiffany store on the ground floor, and you can have it hand engraved free of charge). There’s also a screening area to learn about the history of Tiffany timepieces (it’s pretty great – who knew the idea of the ‘New York minute’ came from New Yorkers setting their watches to the time on the Tiffany clock?) – and then… a rather fabulous secret bar.

Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th installation at Selfridges
Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th installation at Selfridges
Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th installation at Selfridges
Tiffany & CO. Fifth & 57th at Selfridges - Master Engraver.
Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th at Selfridges
Tiffany & Co. Fifth & 57th CHARLIEs BAR at Selfridges

As ever with these extravagant branded exhibitions (think the recent Philippe Patek, the Chanel Little Black Jacket, the Vuitton Series 2 Past, Present Future in L.A and Rome), it’s about subtly seducing visitors with brand codes. The craft, the history, the seemingly insignificant details that are not as insignificant as they appear. But in order to do that, the execution has to be immaculate. It’s beautifully done here, so do pop up if you’re in the area.

And of course, if you feel like it, you can buy a souvenir from the store. Tiffany has produced a Tiffany T cut-out cuff and ring in sterling silver with black ceramic exclusively for Selfridges to coincide with the installation.

Tiffany T cutout cuff in sterling silver with black ceramic exclusive to Selfridges
Tiffany T cutout ring in sterling silver with black ceramic exclusive to Selfridges

The Selfridges X Tiffany & Co. “Fifth & 57th” installation is free and open to the public from Friday 3 July until Sunday 12 July (closed 6-7 July) at the Old Selfridges Hotel, Orchard Street, London. Opening hours are 12:00–9:00PM and 12:00–6:00PM on Sundays.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Tiffany; Disneyrollergirl

Last chance to see The Chinese Photobook exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery

The Chinese Photobook exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London.

The Photographers’ Gallery in London is one of my secret escapes. It always has excellent, thought provoking exhibitions, there’s a wonderful bookshop and a not-half-bad café.

During Photo London it had a special curators’ tour of the Chinese Photobook exhibition. The tour was jam-packed with overseas press and other visitors but when they went off to the next thing on their agenda I stayed for over an hour to gen up on my knowledge of China and photography via the incredible exhibits on display.

The exhibition came out of the book of the same name – a joint project between the legendary documentary photographer Martin Parr and Dutch photographer duo WassinkLundgren (Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren). Martin Parr is well known for his collection of photobooks but when he decided to develop his knowledge of Chinese photobooks, he called on the help of Lundgren, then based in Beijing, to get him access to books that weren’t easily available to the non-Chinese resident. Rare books in China can be bought from flea markets and online auctions, but to buy from an online auction you need a Chinese bank account. Thus the process of compiling The Chinese Photobook book properly began.

The subsequent exhibition starts with books from the early 20th century documenting the colonisation of China and progresses to include the Sino-Japanese war, the Cultural Revolution and the emergence of modern China. The juxtapositions of similar books with very different political agendas is revealing and serves as a great storytelling device. But within that, some of the photography is just really compelling and the book designs elegant and timeless. There’s an image from a book called Front – Manchoukou, An Epic, which is the book version of a propaganda magazine published on behalf of the Japanese military on the founding of the puppet state Manchukuo. The book used the best photojournalists and graphic designers of the time to produce these high quality visuals which look just as fresh and dynamic today.

Towards the end of the exhibition, we get an insight into millennial China, from independent artists producing their own limited photobooks and from those documenting the shifting cultural landscape of the last decade of old-into-new China. Of these, I was intrigued by the story of French photographer Thomas Sauvin who discovered hundreds of old negatives in a recycling plant. He then made it his business to edit this unintentional documentary stash into a series of books that demonstrate twenty years of recent Chinese development. The loose themes (TVs and Fridges, Marilyn and Ronald, Leisure and Work…) serve to highlight the westernisation of contemporary China.

BELOW: The photography and design of this 1928 book, PEKING by German photographer Heinz Von Perckhammer is just stunning…
The Chinese Photo book Photographers Gallery

I love the cartoony, illustrative borders of this book layout
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

This was a real eye-opener, from the section called Manchuria and the Sino-Japanese War 1931-1947. Japanese and Chinese books are shown side by side, both presenting their own nation in the best light. The designs of the book are remarkably similar, but the contents couldn’t be more different…
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

BELOW: Here’s the image I mentioned from Front – Manchoukou, An Epic – the typography and layout remind me of something you might see on a Bruce Weber fashion shoot today
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

As you get into the Cultural Revolution years, you see the full scale of propagandist books. In this one, Mao’s vice chairman Lin Biao’s face is crudely obliterated from copies of books following an alleged attempted coup against Mao
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

Beautifully presented handmade books from modern day photographers and artists. This is a fairly recent development; independent artists just would not have had the authority to publish their own photobooks in China before
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

At the end of the exhibition, we get an insight into today’s China from the book Modern Times by the Taiwanese Patrick Tsai (below) and the publications of Thomas Sauvin’s Silvermine (bottom), presented in individual slipcases.
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
11 The Chinese Photo book exhibition Photographers Gallery

THE CHINESE PHOTOBOOK exhibition finishes on 5th July so do try to catch it if you’re interested in photography and history. And if you can’t make it, the book is definitely a worthwhile (if pricy) buy. All the info can be found on The Photographers’ Gallery website.

WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: SIMONE ROCHA, PATEK PHILIPPE, PALLAS, INES DE LA FRESSANGE

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

1. SIMONE ROCHA TO MOUNT STREET

Simone Rocha store to open in Mount Street

I’m gobsmacked at all the independent British designers opening stores on Mount Street and nearby. I can’t help asking myself where all the funds are coming from? Simone Rocha is the latest, due to open her first store during London Fashion Week. The store, which joins Christopher Kane, Roksanda and Nicholas Kirkwood on one of the grandest shopping streets in London, will have a personal, creative look to reflect the romantic Rocha sensibility. (more…)

WGSN Creative Futures: top 3 takeaways

WGSN creative futures summit jefferson hack

Here’s the latest guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP who unpacks her top three findings from WGSN Creative Futures

Fashion industry chiefs, creatives and media socialites gathered earlier this month for the inaugural WGSN Creative Futures event, held in London over two days to join the dots between creativity and commerce. Key themes included: phygital media, retail disruption, real-time social feeds and the important of experience by design. Here are my top three takeaways. (more…)