Friday, 28 June 2013

Kaffe in Colour

I had a lovely relaxing and interesting evening at the London Fashion and Textile Museum last night.  As part of the Kaffe Fassett exhibition there, the master himself was giving a talk about colour.  The room was packed (mainly with women!) and he showed us a stunning slideshow of photos of his work, photos he and his colleague have taken, images they've found in books, on their travels, that have been sent to them .... and spoke about what inspires him, how he uses some images he's taken as inspiration for various pieces of work.

It was an absolute delight and a lovely way to finish my working week!

We then had the added treat of being able to wander around the exhibition again.  I was quite pleased to have the opportunity to take some photos, as you may remember that last time I was there my camera battery had died.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dedicated followers of fashion

My visit recently to a fashion exhibition and a gift from MIL and DNc inspired me to write about my small collection of fashion prints.

Almost until I left school, I was determined to study fashion or textiles in some shape or form.  Unfortunately, the choice of A level course that my textiles teacher made showed up her weaknesses and although it was great for me, this led to us not getting on.  I stuck it out, but along with a lovely trip to Germany to practice my German before my exams, I changed my mind in the upper sixth and opted for languages instead.  I'm glad I studied German, but am still fascinated by textiles and fashion (particularly historical).

Anyway, way back then, I bought myself a fashion plate from the 1850/60s - crinolines to those of you who aren't familiar with fashion history.  Then, on a school art trip to Paris, I bought myself another two from a book seller on the banks of the Seine.  They're double sided (obviously from a book originally) and are from the early 19th century (Empire lines, Jane Austen etc) - this was one of the periods I concentrated on for my A level course (along with the Edwardian/turn of 19th to 20th centuries and the 1960s, and also the designers Worth, Schiaparelli and Laura Ashley).  I also found some fashion plate style cushions in Past Times ages ago and had them as scatter cushions on my bed for years.

My first fashion plate
The two from Paris
Fast forward to married life and visits to my in-laws in East Anglia.  My MIL and I have quite a few interests in common and she has a fabulous collection of fashion plates that range from the late 18th century to the 1940s.  She has them all framed and hanging in her 'dressing room' - the smallest spare bedroom.  I absolutely adore them and drool everytime I see them.  When we moved into our house, she very kindly gave me 5 to add to my three and I now have them displayed together on the landing.

The collection to date
Well, the other day, DH visited his brother and came home with a present that MIL and our 2 and a half year old DNc bought for me - another Victorian fashion plate!  They went on a shopping trip together and visited MIL's favourite print shop.  There the owner placed a selection of prints on the floor for DNc to choose from and this was what she opted for!

The latest addition to the collection

Monday, 3 June 2013

A sight for sore eyes

I had a highly enjoyable day out with friends on Saturday.  We'd arranged it ages ago - thanks to the most organised of the three of us - but it came around really suddenly.

It started with an unexpected military escort!  I had plenty of time for once, so I thought that I'd get off the tube one stop early and walk through Green Park to the Queen's Gallery instead of going to Victoria and walking along a load of grey streets.  However, that was a really bad idea as Saturday was the Queen's Coronation celebrations and all the Piccadilly Cowboys (or the Royal Horse Guards as I believe they are called officially) were lined up in their finery outside Buckingham Palace and it was impossible to cross the Mall from Green Park to the Queen's Gallery.

So, after a brisk walk around the boudary of the Queen's back garden I met my friends outside the gallery to see In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion.  It is mainly paintings from the Royal Collection, but there are also some beautiful examples of items of clothing from the period and the whole exhibition clarifies and explains the fashions, they whys and wherefores etc of Court clothing.  The Queen's Gallery isn't a huge gallery and I could quite happily have seen twice the amount that was on show.  Nevertheless, we spent a few delightful hours looking at wonderful paintings and drooling over amazing needlework ranging from Cavallier lace collars to Henrietta Maria's hand embroidered (tiny) slippers to coats of armour.  My favourite item, I think, was a stunning lady's waistcoat embroidered with scrolling leaves and roses, rosehips, bluebells, periwinkles and other beautiful flora and fauna. The condition was fantastic and the needlework was outstanding.  There was a short film included in the audio guide to the type of embroidery on this waistcoat and the professional embroideress giving the demonstration said that she couldn't do that type of work under the conditions of that period full time!  I just HAD to buy myself the exhibition catalogue to drool over in my own time, along with a spoof 'Vogue' magazine, called 'Robe' - hilarious.

The young Elizabeth I
Charles II in his first 'grown up' suit - with his siblings
Amazing detail by Rembrandt
After a civilised lunch in St. James' Park we headed south to Bermondsey to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles to see the Kaffe Fassett exhibition.  I've a couple of his books (Glorious Needlepoint to name one), so it was fabulous to see his work, including many of the items from his books.  I must admit that I'd 'lost touch' with his work recently and hadn't realised that he'd branched out into quilting too.  I'm not a great knitter, so this was a real treat for me.  As you can imagine, if you're familiar with his work, it was a riot of colour and bold in all senses of the word.  Unfortunately, my camera battery had died by then, so I've only some poor quality mobile phone photos for you.