Tag Archives: Balenciaga
Sorry PRs but my big highlight of Paris Fashion Week wasn’t the shows or the parties but the new exhibition, Dries Van Noten: Inspirations. Showing at the Arts Decoratifs Museum until 31st August, Dries Van Noten and curator Pamela Golbin have coincidentally created an assemblage of exhibits that encompasses a number of my own favourite themes.
Downstairs is big on the foppish overlaps of masculinity and femininity, the romance of youth subcultures and a fascination with British monarchy and society. As you enter the exhibition through Azuma Makoto’s giant floral fantasia, you’re greeted by a room wallpapered with pop culture references. From camp Divine posters to Interview magazine covers, these are easily recognisable to anyone who grew up in the 80s. Dries Van Noten’s early designs from his student days at the Antwerp Royal Academy (his 1981 sun motif coat looks especially contemporary) sit alongside influential pieces by Kenzo, Mugler, Versace and Worlds End-era Westwood, culled from the museum’s own archive.
The subsequent vitrines are grouped in themes such as ‘Iconclast’, ‘Graphic’ and ‘Butterflies’ and display seemingly disparate items – a film clip, artwork or ancient textile piece – alongside examples from a chosen Dries Van Noten collection, to demonstrate his creative through process. It’s funny to think this is the first time a designer exhibition (it’s not billed as a retrospective) has been presented this way because it really makes a lot of sense in revealing the common passions and aesthetics of the brand and the man. Continue reading
Sad but true: I have the heating on in July. Retailers are taking advantage by pumping out their early fall merchandise – jumpers, jackets and coats – to compensate for the lack of summer pick-up. You can’t blame them, winterwear makes more money than summer because knits cost thrice as much as tees. Ah well, here’s my early fall fantasy shopping list…
ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT:
TOP: J W Anderson top, £360; Maison Martin Margiela jacket, £599; Christian Louboutin shoes, £495
MIDDLE: Chloe sweater, £575; Balenciaga skirt, £419; Acne jacket, £850
BOTTOM: A.P.C. blouse, £165; Chloe boots, £743; Isabel Marant sweater, £265
So today was one of those fun days. First a 9am meeting at Fresh Britain, a brand consultancy who have had a big hand in the successful rebranding of Dr Martens. My contact alerted me to Marc Hare’s most excellent shoe blog, Mr Hare’s blog. Hare is a mens shoe designer but his background is in retail so he has an interesting take on things. Back in the day, he ran a shop called Something in Westbourne Grove where I remember having a crush on a pair of Bruno Frisoni sock-boots. Hare has a keen eye for a snazzy shoe, that’s for sure.
(Just read on the Sadie Coles website that Elizabeth Peyton’s Live Forever exhibition that I managed to miss in New York last year by a matter of days, is finally landing in the UK in July.)
In Balenciaga, a very jolly salesman let me have a good poke around undisturbed while he dealt with a customer fussing over a bag. Can’t wait to go back. Then to Lanvin which felt like the ultimate, expertly-curated fashion museum. I didn’t feel the urge to own anything though, just to look was enough.
Thinking of buying a suede bag? Perhaps YSL‘s mock-croc print number or 3.1 Phillip Lim‘s reversible tote? Well take my advice, don’t do it. Unless you have a full-time driver or live somewhere with extremely agreeable weather. I lusted after Baleciaga’s cherry-red suede slouch bag for, oh months, before I finally came face to face with it in a boutique and did the classic ‘if I don’t buy it now it won’t be here next time’ panic splurge. It first gave me come-hither glances from the back page of US Vogue which I subsequently tore out and carried around with me. I fantasised about what I’d wear it with – a bit Frankie Rayder I fancied, in gently faded Levis and a just-fitted-enough white tee – and what it would smell like (I have an unhealthy obsession with sniffing leather and suede). When you see something like that in the flesh after investing so much time and energy in the fantasy, your real-life logic doesn’t stand a chance. I gave it a cursory try-on in the shop before the adrenalin got the better of me and seconds later it was in the carrier bag and in my hand.
A few years down the line and I can count the number of times I’ve used it on three fingers. The simple fact is a suede bag and unpredictable London weather do not a good combination make. Time after time I’ve rediscovered it, tenderly unpacked it from its dustbag, given it a gentle stroke and a sniff and vowed to use it the very next day. Come the next morning, sensing a hint of darkness in the sky and the threat of a downpour it’s back to the PVC Marc shopper and boring reliability.
We all know that the fashion industry is based on fantasy and this example goes to prove it. Every time I see the poor bag it’s an expensive reminder of that seductive back-page-of-Vogue photo and the promise that it would change my life. Sucker! So what now? The bag has been unpacked for the very last time and tomorrow it makes its way to Rellik, the queen bee of vintage stores. It’s not an It bag and it’s not strictly vintage but it’s Balenciaga so Stephen Rellik has hinted he might be up for a swapsies consultation. We can but wait and see.