Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Burberry Makers House: Henry Moore Inspiration & Process

A nice collaborative mash-up of art and fashion this, which is increasingly becoming a thing. A very good thing, which can surely only benefit the whole of the creative arts. We've had fashion and jewellery houses Louis Vuitton and Cartier in France specifically creating foundations to showcase their art collections, and then this - Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process At Makers House - Burberry's collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation at the former Foyles book shop building on Charing Cross road. 

It was strange initially, going into the shell of a place I regularly frequented for the latest tomes on art, design and illustration, to see how all of that has now gone, and how the building has been brutally stripped back to its concrete bones. Plus ├ža change.

There are sections in this show devoted to Moore's exhibition posters and some wonderful maquettes, and found objects which informed his sculpture.

There were other sections devoted to Burberry's February runway collections displayed on mannequins, but the showstopper as far as the clothes were concerned was The Cape Reimagined section. This showcased 78 amazing couture capes created from a variety of materials. It was easy to make the links between the clothing and Henry Moore's work as the capes were indeed beautifully sculptural. It was a fantastic opportunity to closely inspect the processes and techniques employed by specialist artisans working in ateliers to create couture garments. The beading, pleating, lacework and embroidery are just so exquisite.

The sculptural qualities of the metal cape above complemented the figurative forms of the Henry Moore sculptures.

I loved this wall featuring the tools of the trade, and the cabinets full of Moore's maquettes, and collection of found bones and pebbles that fired his imagination.

Also of great interest to me was the section showcasing the fashion designers thought processes and techniques, and how these are then translated into wearable garments.

Really happy to have caught this exhibition, and it was a pleasant change to visit a show based purely around the sculptural aspects of couture fashion and fabric, as well as Moore's metal and stone pieces. I also really enjoyed observing the fashionistas and their outfits. Fabulous Darlings!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

When In Rome...

I'd had a less than lovely experience when last in Rome. This unfortunately coloured my views on this city and country for a long time. This recent visit however, went some way to compensating, and I was able to view the city and its people through fresh eyes. Although some things change, others remain the same.

I was pleasantly surprised on this visit to discover exactly how physically small Rome actually is, in comparison to say London, or Paris. It is a great city for walking, as none of the furthest main tourist sites are ever more than a 40 minute walk away. So suitably shod each day, I set off in search of my very own slice of la dolce vita.

The Nicola Salvi designed baroque Trevi Fountain is spectacular, I was lucky enough to be based a short stroll away from here and used to enjoy a quick visit in the morning, and last thing at night, on my evening constitutional, before retiring. Watching the crowds here posing for selfies was an entertainment in itself.

The Pantheon, is a wonderful architectural space, and last resting place of artist Raphael. The huge concrete dome is awe-inspiring with its all-seeing oculus which gives some fantastic light effects. I enjoyed returning at different times of day - opening to closing - to see the different nuances of light and record the progress of Apollo's sun-spot across that spectacular vast dome.

A Bernini elephant sculpture in the Piazza della Minerva.

Piazza Navona, with classical fountain statuary, again courtesy of Bernini, and some less than convincing modern statuary, (it's a living of sorts). The painted interior of the domed church here is absolutely stunning.

The architecturally impressive Colosseum and other remnants of ancient Rome. 

Views of the Fori Imperiali.

Hail Caesar!

It was a bit of a shock to see the numbers of armed soldiers deployed all over the city 24 hours a day, and 'Action Man' (with eagle eyes and gripping hands), below, stationed outside my hotel.

 Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

The area around the Spanish Steps above, is heavily littered with other tourists enjoying the sunshine, and also home to Rome's designer fashion shops. I found lots of fresh inspiration (especially in that die-punched leather dress), for a new series of Scissorhands dresses that I aim to create.

Castel Sant'Angelo on the banks of the Tevere/Tiber. The bridge is lined with angel statues and the banks of the river were a very peaceful retreat from Rome's traffic.

Along with lions - bees (representing industry) - are celebrated all over the city in stonework from the period when they were incorporated into the papal Barberini family coat of arms.

Even for a Catholic country I was surprised at the sheer number of churches here. There is literally one on every corner, each beautifully ornate and decorative, vying to outdo the others with either a bigger cupola, more intricate marble carving on the frontage, or more gilded statuary inside. 

The painted ceilings in each church are very beautiful, and I enjoyed popping in to sit for five minutes or more peaceful contemplation at each one I encountered.

This clerical outfitters window reminded me of one of the lovely illustrations in Eric Ravilious's book - High Street (below).

This monument to Vittorio Emanuele II teased me, as I could see it from different vantage points across the city and couldn't work out what it was. It was only on visiting the Colosseum that I realised how close it was. I just had to visit it, and I was well rewarded. Not only did I come across an Edward Hopper exhibition but I was able to explore the monuments interior. It is a magnificent piece of architecture which has an equally impressive regal interior, and several viewing platforms giving great views across the city.

Orange trees in full bloom in the middle of February in the Barberini district. 

"Beware the Ides of March"... The spirit of ancient Rome was evoked, and very much alive in the form of these modern day soothsayers plying their trade on the street.

Dining out was a very good experience. Great food, great wine, and very good coffee.

(Not to mention the excellent gelato!)

Thoroughly enjoyed my Roman Holiday. Arrivederci Roma!