Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

WHEN you hear the name Cristóbal Balanciaga, most people can picture one of his modern, graphic shaped couture dresses. Known as the master of shape, the Spanish designer was famous for his exaggerated silhouettes, modern simplistic patterns and clever tailoring. Designers have been inspired by his work for many years with his designs still being classed as modern now, 45 years after his death.

 “His work is still so modern” Nicolas Ghesquiére

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A is a chance to see some of his original houte couture upclose. From his cutting patterns to his fitting techniques, it's a fascinating insight to the man behind the garment and some of his most iconic fashion designs. Upstairs in the exhibition there's a chance to see first hand how Balanciaga has inspired some of the most successful designers of today including the likes of Paco Rabane, Oscar de la Renta, Nicolas Ghesquiére, Hulbert De Givenchy, Issey Miyake and Gareth Pugh to name a few. Divided into sections to represent each of his particular design traits, it really gives you an idea of how he has contributed to shaping the future of fashion.

“He laid the foudations of modernity… entirely” Emanuel Ungara

Balanciaga was clearly a very influential designer and the impact he had on the fashion world has been phenomenal. I love how so many great designers have been inspired by his work. Not only have I gained a better understanding of his design style, technical abilities and creative process, I now find myself recognising particular Balenciaga design characteristics in todays fashion that he may of inspired. L

Left: Balanciaga dress, Right: Sybilla dress inspired by Balanciaga

Left: Balanciaga dress, Right: Sybilla dress inspired by Balanciaga

Balanciaga: Shaping Fashion is on at the V&A until February next year. For further information and tickets visit the V&A website.  

Julien MacDonald - LFW AW17 Show

HIGHLIGHT of London Fashion Week for me was Julien MacDonald's show. Held at the beautiful Goldsmith's Hall in St Paul's, the show had a grand and regal setting. Guests were handed cocktails and handmade luxury chocolates on arrival, all adding to the luxury romantic ambience.

Julien's AW17 collection showed party wear at its best and featured his signature sequins, embellishments and cut out details. The dresses glistened and sparkled under the grand chandeliers of Goldsmith's Hall and looked breathtaking. The show was closed by Winnie Harlow in a cut-out sparkly black number.

Celebrities in the FROW included Amber Le Bon, Ella Eyre, Dougie Poynter, Lisa Snowdon and Rosie Fortescue (all of whom you can spot in my videos below) L

The full collection can be viewed here.  

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers

Bruce Davidson ,  Older Woman Sitting for Coffee , London 1960 © Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson, Older Woman Sitting for Coffee, London 1960
© Bruce Davidson

YESTERDAY I finally got around to visiting Strange & Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The exhibition opened in March, I'd been wanting to visit for a while and I'm really glad I did before it closes this weekend.

The exhibition brings together over 250 photos from 22 international photographers, curated by Martin Parr.  It features photos of Britain from overseas photographers and shows how they perceive our nation. All the images are very narrative and atmospheric creating a story of the life and history of Britain.

Many of the photos told the tale of the nations past and present, focusing on social and political issues, such as war, poverty, unemployment, social inequality and violence. However there were plenty of photos that used humour and made me smile focusing on British quirks and eccentricities; including the nations obsession with tea, the British weather, fish & chip shops and the eccentric fashions.

I think what makes this exhibiton so facinating is that the viewer can relate to the people in the photos. Whether it's an image of friends on the beach, people working or mourning at a funeral, at one point in life we've all been in the same shoes as one of those subjects.

There's so much to see and I won't go on to list all 22 of the photographers but I will mention a few of my favourites from the collection. Bruce Davidson has some great photographs of British rituals and quirks that really made me smile and I loved Gian Butturini and Frank Hibicht's photographs of the 1960's, as they really captured the swinging 60's anti war and peace vibes. Raymond Depardon's harrowing cinematic images of 1980's Glasgow really made an impact, his use of colour  created atmosphere to his images. I was  facinated by Bruce Gilden's reportage style portraits of people with a 'face that tells a story', the shear scale and detail makes a really striking image.

From a photographers perspective there's a real mix of different portrait styles and street photography styles. Every picture told a story, created atmosphere and emotion. I came away inspired with a million ideas of new ways to experiment with my camera whilst out and about in London, as well as different portrait styles I'd like to try in the studio. L

If you want to visit the exhibition you'll have to act fast, Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers ends it time at the Barbican on the 19th June 2016. For those who have missed their chance to visit the London exhibition, there is some good news as the exhibition goes on tour to the Manchester Art Gallery from the 25 November 2016 – 29 May 2017. For more information click here. 

No War Demonstration, Gian Butterini  1969 © Gian Butterini

No War Demonstration, Gian Butterini 1969
© Gian Butterini

Part of the Scene  (Girl at Rolling Stones Concert)  Frank Habich t, 1969 © Frank Habicht

Part of the Scene (Girl at Rolling Stones Concert) Frank Habicht, 1969
© Frank Habicht

Raymond Depardon, Glasgow 1980  © Raymond Depardon

Raymond Depardon, Glasgow 1980
© Raymond Depardon

Sherry, Romford, Bruce Gilden  2013   ©    Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos

Sherry, Romford, Bruce Gilden 2013
© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos