To provide a snapshot of the most fashionable and creative designers working in London in the 1980s, this summer an exhibition at the V&A will look at how the impact of underground club culture was felt far beyond the club doors, reinventing fashion worldwide. More than 85 outfits by designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett will be on display together with accessories by designers including Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox.
Included are garments by influential 1980s designers, with a substantial amount of menswear designs by Jasper Conran, Paul Smith, Workers for Freedom and Willy Brown who dressed Duran Duran. Textile design played an important part of 1980s fashion, with designers such as Betty Jackson working with design collectives like The Cloth, helping to create the archetypal early 80s silhouette of loose shirts and bold prints.
London’s clubs in the 1980s acted as a site for the convergence of music and fashion and provided a safe environment in which young people could experiment and mix with those of similar tastes.
Fashion designer Stevie Stewart of Body Map noted that ‘each group of people, whether they were fashion designers, musicians or dancers, filmmakers or whatever, living together, going out together and at the same clubs … had a passion then for creating something new … that was almost infectious’.
Examples of the resultant looks will be displayed, ranging from the exaggerated, exotic styles favoured by the Blitz crowd, through the distressed styles of Hard Times, to the eclectic mixing and individual expression of Taboo, to the dance influenced looks of acid house.
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s runs July 10- February 16, 2014. Tickets go on sale in June.
Sketch for Levi Strauss & Co. denim jacket, ‘BLITZ’, by Stephen Linnard.The exhibition shows a display of Blitz denim jackets. In 1986, Blitz magazine commissioned a group of 22 London-based designers to customize denim jackets provided by Levi Strauss & Co. – See more at: http://www.urbanartantiques.com/2013/london-fashion-in-the-1980s-on-display-at-va/#sthash.3IkKz4R7.dpuf
The iconic garments and contemporary designs of Ronaldus Shamask will soon be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since he presented his first couture collection in 1979 in New York, Shamask’s designs have been shaped by architecture as well as traditional Japanese clothing and crafts, including origami, the art of paper folding. Born in Amsterdam in 1945, Shamask immigrated to Australia as a teenager and moved to London at age 21 to paint and work as a fashion illustrator for The Times and The Observer. In 1968 he relocated to the United States, where he worked as a stage designer for ballet and theatre and as an interior architect. In 1979 he launched his fashion business with Murray Moss and the two remained partners until 1990. In 1996 he launched his own company, SHAMASK. Over his career he has received many accolades including the Coty American Fashion Critics Award for Women’s Wear in 1981 and Outstanding Men’s Designer from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1987. In 1982, Shamask was included in the landmark exhibition Intimate Architecture: Contemporary Clothing Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Kyoto Costume Institute, and The Fashion Institute of Technology. Only rarely are his collections shown on the runway; Shamask focuses on a select client base including a number of luxury retailers.
Ronaldus Shamask: Form, Fashion, Reflection explores the evolution of the designer’s creative process and includes clothing as well as life-sized “architectural” fashion drawings, dance costume sketches, and video clips of fashion shows and dance performances. It also focuses upon his collaborations with fellow artists working in a variety of fields. The exhibition includes iconic garments from his collections and contemporary designs, presented here for the first time.
The exhibit runs October 6 through March 10, 2013.
Picture it: the golden age of Hollywood where the likes of Clark Gable and Greta Garbo were transformed into gods and goddesses who ruled the screens and stole the hearts of adoring movie-goers. Equally significant but generally less recognizable are the photographers who helped launch these icons into stardom through their timeless photographs. This October Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation is making its way to the Toledo Museum of Art, showcasing more than 90 prints by the most important photographers working in Hollywood from 1920–1960. This exhibition celebrates the finest portraits and still photography drawn from the London-based archive of late author and collector John Kobal. The show highlights the importance of photography through the classic images of idols such as Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart. The traveling exhibition was organized in 2008 by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
The romance and fascination of Hollywood’s Golden Era will be on view early next year in North Carolina at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art with a display of the fashion photographs of Edward Steichen. Referred to as American’s first great fashion photographer, Steichen was already a famous painter and photographer on both sides of the Atlantic when, in early 1923, he was offered possibly one of the most prestigious and certainly the most lucrative position in photography’s commercial domain―that of chief photographer for Condé Nast’s influential and highly-regarded magazines, Vogue and Vanity Fair. Continue Reading »
Thinking you know who your customer is and knowing who your customer is are two different things. Knowing your customer comes not through casual observation, but through an ongoing effort to collect data from a variety of sources. Services like Groupon provide some measure of insight, though it may be limited to providing information on your customers tuned into online coupons. Continue Reading »
Exquisite in craftsmanship, unique in detail, and few in number, lover’s eye miniatures are small-scale portraits of individual eyes set into various forms of jewelry from late 18th- and early 19th-century England. Featuring an impressive 98 pieces, the collection currently on view in Birmingham, Alabama is considered to be the largest of its kind, with only 1,000 lover’s eye miniatures thought to be in existence worldwide. Continue Reading »
A ladies’ Cartier Art Deco diamond wristwatch realized $21,000 in Cordier Auctions’ Two Day Antique & Fine Art Auction, the inaugural auction in their new Harrisburg, Pennsylvania salesroom on November 5 and 6.
Watches especially saw several strong results including the top lot of the two day auction, a lady’s Cartier Art Deco platinum, 18K gold and diamond wristwatch. With an inscription dated 1919 and in fine original condition, the wristwatch was set with 30 diamonds and retained its original ribbon band with jeweled clasp. Bidding opened online at $3,250 with several phone bidders quickly jumping in. Despite the internet dropping out at $9,000, bidding continued quickly and strongly between two phone bidders until the winner, a bidder in New York, prevailed at $21,000 to a round of applause.
Pocketwatches did exceptionally well including an 18K James Nardin Locle at $2,250 (estimate $800 to $1,200), an 18K Vacheron & Constantin at $1,700 (estimate $800 to $1,000) and a 14K American Waltham PS Bartlett at $1,600 (estimate $800 to $1,000). The top lot of jewelry was a VVS2 1.83 carat round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring with side diamonds set in platinum. Purchased at well-known Philadelphia company J.E. Caldwell in 1956, the ring sold just above high estimate at $11,000. Other highlights of jewelry included a Victorian gold and diamond bangle bracelet at $1,800 (estimate $1,000 to $1,200) and a 14K gold and gemstone figural dragon ring realizing its high estimate of $1,200.
The multi-consignor sale featured items from over one hundred consignors including estates and collectors. Over 300 people were in attendance during the two days in addition to phone and absentee bidders.
It may just be the vintage capital of the U.S. As you can see from the chart, Austin, Texas is a young city- and its one where while the larger antiques world may be in doldrums, people in Austin are living, eating and breathing vintage. It’s not just clothing either. Walking into a store called Uncommon Objects on South Congress Street you see much of what you might find in an antique mall in middle America. But here it feels different, the formal stuff and brown furniture is gone. The place is packed.
Austin’s vintage is centered around two retail strips. One is South Congress, the other is South First. South Congress is the most obvious and accessible. It’s home to a number of record stores, a book store and a dozen or so vintage clothing stores. Across the wide street is a vacant lot filled with food vendors.
The other street is a few blocks away, South First. You can walk to South First from South Congress, through a funky residential neighborhood. South First is a difficult street to cross, however and it’s hard to walk between the stores once you get there. It is worth the effort, however. It’s home to the men’s version of the popular store known as New Bohemia, this one dubbed New Brohemia.
Vintage makes sense in Austin. There is an apparent anti-corporate mentality. Antiques are green, and shopping for them made the list of five sustainable New Year’s resolutions at the web magazine New Colonist. There doesn’t seem to be soul-draining competition from e-commerce sites either. Austin’s vintage fans are out and shopping. Here its about lifestyle and experience.
If you’ve spent a moment fretting about what is and isn’t vintage or have been aghast to see items in major retail stores labeled as vintage, you’ll want to listen to a new podcast. Eric Miller discusses vintage and authenticity with Massachusetts dealer Jane Hudson, North Shore Flea promoter Melissa Sands and Jon Jenkins of Jenkins Promotions. You can listen to the podcast here.
The new exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the Dallas Museum of Art opened last weekend. After the huge success of Alexander McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American museums have found a new domain, neglected mostly in the past, to engage and enlarge their audience, especially the younger crowd. (The exhibition tickets we bought were time-stamped, but we didn’t have to wait to get in.) It is interesting to notice that while the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth went high-brow with its current exhibition Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome, the art brought in by the institute in the big D makes sure that looking and looks can be interchangeable. You might call it pedestrian, except you won’t see too much of this stuff on the street.
In fact, the concept of branding and proprietary values hovered around in my head when I walked through the exhibition rooms. One of my friends commented that you can spend as little as forty bucks to get a piece of Jean Paul Gaultier. To counter such skeptics about the overly-stated commercialism, the exhibition labels often put down the number of labor hours spent on a single piece of garment; as if the increased manual labor covers merchandise with a coat of high-brow art.
The installation should have no worry that visitors would confuse these special pieces with some main-line products. Most of them, if there are any, are not publicly presentable (with the exception of the cocktail preview party). Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion world is rebellious, revolutional, and to some extent, revolting. These flashy, funky, decadent garments, by eliciting comments from viewers, annotate and challenge our societal views of self-expression through fashion – whether it is about injecting feminism into masculinity for boy toys with kilts, skirts or bra cups, or fetish leather suit with suggestive bondage and sex staging, or print patches of religious iconography/the Eiffel Tower or tattoo-like; loom large his personal statements. And his idiosyncrasy overwhelms both visual elements and sartorial achievements such as textural layers of plain or graphic or seamless assembly of different material as if they were organically grown together.
It is no wonder that Gaultier found his most support from MTV, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and movies where unconventionality is the norm. Some costumes are used for movies such as Pedro Almodóvar’s Kika or Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. If the sci-fi nature of Bresson’s movie justifies the avant-garde of Gautlier designs, Kika, which remains one of my favorite Almodóvar’s movies, matches perfectly with Gaultier’s underlying sexism.
Two particular garments on display attracted me the most. One is a seemingly ordinary man tartan mohair coat. The strong tartan pattern of dark green and bleeding red reminds viewers of their original usage– Scottish kilts. Yet it is the soft mohair texture that makes it unforgettable. The hair, shuttering in the air flows created by walk-by visitors, breaks the distinctive square patterns into Rothkoish continuity and blurring of two contrasting colors.
The other one showcases how genius designs are best achieved through consummate craftsmanship. I was actually first scared by the sight of an evening gown with leopard skin and wondered where the animal rights groups were. Then after realizing the whole gown is made of bead embroidery, fastidiously sewn together to create Trompe L’Oeil effect, I looked closely at each rosette patterns on the “coat” through a mosaic assembly of tiny beads, and that self-conscious awareness of the process added another dimension of appreciation by mentally getting me involved in that laborious adventure. — It is a state of wonder to be able to decipher how it is made and comprehend what it has achieved. (It took more than 1,000 hours to complete the dress.) The rhinestone claws that the mannequin is holding are also astonishing but also serve as the punch line: The most treacherous is often the most precious. It is a fashion reinterpretation of beauty and beast.
The exhibition features a sensational installation and in some way the multi-media installation almost steals the show. The Montreal-based Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin team created video clips from live models, which are projected onto bland mannequin heads. With their eyes moving and lips in sync with accompanying songs and messages, they look full of life.
But it does not take one long to realize that they reside in their own world. They may have seductive smiles, yet they are aloof and allusive; as much as the clothes that cover their plastic bodies.