Daisies comes to the big screen!

Daisies by Vera Chytilová is one of my favourite films for style inspiration (you can see my post about it here) so I was excited to see that Test magazine are bringing it to the big screen at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green.

Part of their Test Presents… series of screenings and talks, Daisies has been chosen as an inspirational piece of essential viewing by Fashion in Film festival curator and director, Marketa Uhlirova.

As well as a screening of the new wave feminist comedy, Marketa will also host a discussion on the theme of colour in costume with a look at two visually stimulating early Pathé shorts films.

The screening will take place on Thursday 19 January at 7:30 and tickets are £5 from here. Free drinks come courtesy of Peroni. Rad!

Council Chamber Screening Room, Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green, London E2 9NF

A bunch of books I got for Christmas

Not quite a Christmas ~haul post, but I did get rather a lot of books for Christmas and as I always enjoy seeing what people are reading, I figured I’d share.

Clearly I haven’t read all of them yet… Actually half of them are still in Sheffield because books = heavy, especially in a suitcase which is also stuffed with Christmas cake and cheese. I actually can’t remember what all of them are, but here’s what I’ve got from memory – and don’t forget you can follow my IRL-time progress on GoodReads.

1) Good Evening, Mrs Craven – Mollie Panter
A collection of essays covering a housewife’s life during wartime (this ain’t no party),  originally published in The New Yorker and now republished by Persephone.

2) Art Deco Complete – Alastair Duncan
Possibly the heaviest book I own, this glorious tome is packed with art deco porn. It’s coffee table stuff, if your coffee table can stand the weight.

3) The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess de Janze – Paul Spicer
I really, really like biographies of rich women in the 1920s and this one ties in with another favourite ~scarlet woman – Idina Sackville, who was profiled in The Bolter (and in several Nancy Mitford novels). I’m quite into the Happy Valley business, so this should be a treat read.

4) 1920s Britain – Janet and John Shepherd
I’ll be honest. I added this to my wishlist in a bid to fulfil my desire to own every book about the 1920s on Amazon, without really reading much about it. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s basically a school textbook.

5) Westwood – Stella Gibbons
I’m well aware that this is a classic I should have read – forgive me, I’m on the case.

6) Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Yes, and this. My step-dad was vaguely horrified at my lack of Stella Gibbons reading, until I pointed out that as the person who raised me it was kind of his fault. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

7) Kitchen Essays – Agnes Jekyll
Another Persephone compilation, this time featuring a series of recipes and food essays written for The Times in the 1920s.

8) West End Front – Matthew Sweet
I’ve wanted this book for a while (since November 11 precisely) and it’s next on my list to read. If you’ve missed hearing about it, it’s essentially about life behind the scenes at the Ritz and other posh London hotels during the war – PROPER SCANDAL. If you like posh scandal, I also recommend a favourite trash read of mine – Stately Passions: The Scandals of Britain’s Greatest Houses by Jamie Douglas-Home.

9) The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Another classic I’ve somehow missed along the way. Added bonuses; it’s about a butler and it’s set in the 40s.

10) Miss Hargreaves – Frank Baker
I added all of The Bloomsbury Group series to my wishlist and got four, which is a superb start. It sounds like a combination of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day x Mary Poppins, so looking forward to cracking on with it.

11) The Thirties: An Intimate History – Juliet Gardiner
In a bid to move on from my 1920s thing, I’ve got a book about the 1930s see?

12) The Brontes went to Woolworths – Rachel Ferguson
Another one from The Bloomsbury Group series – it just so happens to be a trio of sisters in a bohemian London family in the 1920s, that’s not my fault.

13) Love’s Shadow – Ada Leverson
Another Bloomsbury book! This one shows the slightly OTT covers they all have, which I’ve been attempting to disguise. Pretty sure anyone observing me reading this will assume it’s shit chicklit, when in fact it’s an Edwardian novel about a London couple. IN YOUR FACE, IT’S OLD-TIMEY-CHICKLIT.

14) The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford
Well, you all know what this is. Of course as a Mitford monster I have read ’em all, but my life wasn’t going to be complete until I had this doorstopper-sized anthology too.

15) Henrietta’s War: News from the Home Front 1939 – 1942 – Joyce Dennys
A final Bloomsbury book – this one is described as a 1940s version of Adrian Mole, so I can only assume it will be amazing.

16) The World of Jeeves – PG Wodehouse
Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Wodehouse.

17) Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City – Stella Dong
The Wallis Simpson biography I just finished got me pretty interested in Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s and a bit of searching threw up this book as a good source of stories. This is what I’m reading at the moment and while it is mega interesting, it’s less about casinos and opium and glamorous hotels, more about gangland murders and finances. Still, I’m only half way in so we shall see – it is totally fascinating though and a dead good read – again, my fault for not reading more reviews.

18) Straight on Till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham – Mary S. Lovell
Mary S. Lovell wrote arguably the most famous Mitford biography, so this should be a good read. This book looks at one the most famous female aviators of the 1930s – check out some of my other favourite female fliers from the era here!

19) On Booze – F. Scott Fitzgerald
You’ve heard me harp on about this before – still amazing to get it!

20) The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
One more classic which I haven’t read before – I KNOW, guys. The real question now is, when will I ever be emotionally stable enough to read it? By the way, don’t panic – I have read other Greene, I’m not a total heathen.

All of the art, fashion and design exhibitions I want to see in 2012

2012 looks set to be an incredible year in art and design with more blockbuster exhibitions scheduled than I’ve seen in ages. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many things bookmarked in my to-see folder, although a large chunk of them are abroad which will probably cut down on actual visits.

Here are my cultural highlights for the upcoming year…

Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century
11 December 2011 – 6 March 2012
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands
A strangely un-promoted celebration of Alaïa, should you be in the Netherlands this spring and in need of some fashionable inspiration.

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
21 January – 09 April 2012
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Set to do for the Royal Academy what Da Vinci is currently doing for the National Gallery, this enormo exhibition will house the first major collection of landscape works by Mr Hockney, including a series of newly created pieces as well as works spanning his 50-year career.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton
08 February – 22 April 2012
V&A, London
HRH kicks off her Diamond Jubilee year with an exhibition collating royal photographer Cecil Beaton’s best portraits of Lizzy, from childhood to throne. My favourite picture (SPOILER!!) is this brooding shot of the Queen in a striking cape – what a beaut.

Lucian Freud: Portraits
09 February – 27 May 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London
Scream! A major exhibition of pretty much all of Mr Freud’s finest portraits, with works spanning the late great’s 70-year-career. I imagine this will be a sell-out, so make haste and book now. Don’t forget to go to the Chandos afterwards for a pint to recover.

Yayoi Kusama
09 February – 05 June 2012
Tate Modern, London
The art world’s most famous spot-obsessive takes over a whole floor of the Tate with sculptures, mazes and installations. Trippy!

Picasso and Modern British Art
15 February – 15 July 2012
Tate Britain, London
I’m not the biggest Picasso fan (actually, I hate him), but this exhibition should be interesting anyway as it looks not just at his work, but his inescapable influence on a whole generation of British artists. Work from more than 50 artists who he inspired will be on display at the Tate this spring, including my personal preferences Wyndham Lewis and Henry Moore.

Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs
09 March – 16 September 2012
Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
With everything still to play for in the Dior race, this nicely-timed exhibition celebrates Marc Jacobs’ contribution to the LV label over the last 14 years, as well as looking back at the works of the IRL Mr Louis Vuitton himself and attempting to draw parallels between the two chaps. Clue: it’s facial hair.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
March 2012
Museo Fortuny, Venice, Italy
My favourite museum in Italy is set to celebrate the life and works of fashion editor extraordinaire, Diana Vreeland at this carefully curated exhibition. Details are shady at present and the Fortuny site is a bastard to use, but stay tuned – if I find out more, I shall update.

Designing Women
16 March – 16 June 2012
Fashion and Textile Museum, London
One of my favourite museums on one of my favourite South London streets celebrates the art of textile design in post-war Britain, with a collection of works from the marvellous trio of Lucienne Day, Jacqueline Groag and Marian Mahler. Mid-century textile fans, steady yourselves.

Transformation and Revelation: Gormley to Gaga
17 March 2012 – 30 September 2013
V&A, London
This small but perfectly formed free exhibition looks at design for performance over the last five years, providing an insight into the creative processes of 30 set designers including Es Devlin who has created incredible sets for the likes of Gaga, the Pet Shop Boys and Take That’s giant man. Oh and Es is also designing the closing ceremony for the Olympics, so this’ll be a nice way to familiarise yourself with her work beforehand.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective
25 March – 8 July 2012
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Go bananas for YSL at this indepth exhibition, which boasts more than 200 pieces of incredible YSL as well as photographs, drawings and films.

Gillian Wearing
28 March – 17 June 2012
Whitechapel Gallery, London
Major retrospective of the Turner Prize winner’s photographs and films, exploring public and priviate ideas of identity. Whitechapel Gallery = best bookshop + cafe.

Christian Louboutin
28 March – 01 July 2012
Design Museum, London
The first ever exhibition dedicated to the world’s most famous footwear designer, featuring all of his famous designs and a few lesser known treats. I imagine the opening party will be rad and am already planning how to get an invite. Bloody love the Design Museum and it’s proper near a good Sam Smith pub.

British Design 1948 – 2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
31 March – 12 August 2012
V&A, London
As 2012 increasingly turns into a ‘YAY BRITAIN IS AWESOME’-fest, the V&A squeezes in another exhibition marking stuff what we’re good at. This celebration of the best of British post-war design covers just about everything from iconic 60s fashion to my favourite mid-century furniture, household ceramics and sculpture. I bet the gift shop will be AWESOME.

Damien Hirst
04 April – 09 September 2012
Tate Modern, London
Ol’ shark-butcher himself gets his first proper retrospective at the Tate this spring, with all his iconic works on display including – YES! – the glorious platinum and diamond skull.

Bauhaus: Art as Life
03 May – 12 August 2012
Barbican, London
A celebration of the world’s most famous art school at the most amazing building in London. All the usual suspects are covered with painting, sculpture, textiles and installations from the likes of Kandinsky, Klee and my step-dad’s number one, Moholy-Nagy.

Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion
10 May – 19 August
Met Museum, New York, New York
Easily the greatest fashion exhibition of the year (even though we don’t know too much about it yet), this treat of a concept combines together two of the greatest Italian designers of all time in one spectacular show, which promises to explore affinities between the two women. Would it be weird to go to New York for the weekend for this? I mean… 1920s surrealism x 1990s Prada = two of my favourite things.

The Queen: Art and Image
17 May – 21 October 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London
My birthday sees the opening of this rad exhibition, featuring sixty of the most interesting portraits of HRH. Another one to mark the jubilee, works here come from a diverse range of artists including Andy Warhol, Dorothy Wilding and lovely Chris Levine (whose portrait is my personal favourite).

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950
19 May 2012 – 06 January 2013
V&A, London
The V&A celebrates the reopening of its Fashion Galleries with two whole shiny floors of spectacular dresses, covering designers from Normal Hartnell (and a few other royal designers, it is the jubilee right?)  to Hussein Chalayan and McQueen.

She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea
26 May – 23 September 2012
Turner Contemporary, Margate
Tracey Emin makes a triumphant return to her hometown at this exhibition in sunny ol’ Margate. Topics are all Emin’s usual suspects (love, sex, relationships and they’re imagined in drawings, prints, sculpture and plenty of her glorious neon.

Van Cleef & Arpels
20 September – 10 February 2013
Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
A sparkling celebration of the legendary jewellery label, with 400 pieces dating back from the brand’s inception in 1906 – including Wallis Simpson’s Zip necklace.

ETA There are loads, and loads, and loads more exhibitions on in 2012 – this is just what I want to see. Definitely going to be the year I get cultured up to the eyeballs.

Dreamy deco paintings by Gerda Wegener


Gerda Wegener is best known for her erotic art deco prints (and my, how erotic they are) but she also produced some slightly less NSFW works featuring flappers in their natural surroundings – bars, bedrooms, salons…

I just really like them, nothing more to add.

Except – you should read about Gerda and her first husband Einar here. Einar was one of the first people documented to have undertaken male-to-female sexual reassignment, and their life together is pretty interesting.

The Other F-Word: Punk rock papas talk fatherhood


I’m not interested in children as a general rule, but this trailer for an upcoming documentary about punk musicians and their offspring managed to stir even my withered heart.

Featuring names including Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), Ron Reyes (Black Flag), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Fat Mike (NOFX) and Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), The Other F-Word examines how parenthood changed the lives of these alternative icons punk rock, drinking and drugs into something slightly more domesticated.

It’s not all schmaltz though – the film looks pretty funny in parts and anything with Fat Mike can’t really be that emotionally challenging. That said, the bit with Flea talking about his kids in the trailer did make me tear up in a most embarrassing fashion.

Not sure when it’s out in the UK, but you can find out more about the film and its international screening dates on the website.

Gratuitous picture of Dave Grohl on a slide (even though he’s not in the film):

Chichester: Frida, Diego, Dogs, Pork Pies

Last weekend Andy and I had a day out in Chichester to see the Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery. As a predictable Frida fangirl, I already had a pretty good knowledge of her and Diego’s relationship but this is the first exhibition I’ve seen showing their work together and looking at them as a couple.

The small but perfectly formed exhibition fills three rooms, with the first containing Diego’s work and the other two focussing on Frida – clearly she’s the better of the two, right? All the works in the exhibition are from the Gelman collection – Jacques and Natasha, who had an enormous amount of Mexican art and who were good friends of Frida and Diego. Both of them painted Natasha actually, and the portraits are on display (and also here and here).

I might be biased as a fangirl but I thought it was a cracking little exhibition and the observations it highlights are interesting – particularly the contrast between Rivera as a socialist hero who painted crowd-pleasing political pieces vs Frida as a feminist icon whose work was intensely personal.

Negatives? Loud HEATHENS walking around talking about Frida’s eyebrows. I like galleries to be silent and while I know that’s partly me being a miserable old bastard, if you are going to talk it should at least be about the art, not the artist’s body hair. Anyway… It’s been extended until 9 October so there’s still time for you to go.

Pallant House is a great little gallery too, with a really good restaurant and sunny patio. We didn’t look at the permanent exhibitions, but it’s definitely a gallery I’ll go back to.

While in Chichester we also saw a couple of vintage shops, but the only place we actually spent any money was Steamer, which is a slightly more chi-chi-Chichester version of Lakeland. Dreamy.

We also found a good real ale pub, because what is a day out without a couple of pints and a pork pie? If you’re ever in the area and in need of a good place to drink you have to go to the Park Tavern opposite the priory. It has an awesome bull dog, nice pints and awesome food. It also has an amazing selection of midcentury glasswear, but who gets excited about things like that, right?

1960s Paris by Charles W Cushman

I’ve just finishing reading The Dud Avocado, which I’m sorry to say I found a bit of a dud. I didn’t hate it or anything, I just expected to fall in love with it totally whereas actually it was more of a fleeing flirtation that I quite enjoyed but haven’t given much thought to since.

Still, the adventures of pink-haired protégé Sally Jay Gorce didn’t pass me by entirely and the descriptions of France in the 1950s will surely stir the sensibilities of any cliché-loving blogger – and I include myself in that, which is why I’ve posted these vintage pictures of Paris.

It goes without saying that they come via How to be a Retronaut and although they show Paris in the sixties, there’s still a feel of what Sally Jay might have seen when hanging out with the Hard Core at Le Select.

[Pics from How to be a Retronaut via Charles W. Cushman]

Bryan Ferry at the Natural History Museum

Last night I went to this crazy party as a guest of Wella Professionals… Thousands of lords and ladies (real ones!) in white tie and top hat gear filled the Natural History Museum and essentially all ran around being awe-struck by the Gatsby-ness of it all. It was amazing. I mean, maybe if you’re a baron it’s part of your weekly social schedule, but for those of us that had to buy an outfit half an hour before and get changed in Starbucks’ toilet… it’s pretty great.

The best thing about the entire event (other than the thousands of pounds raised for children’s charities, I guess) was Bryan Ferry performing a half hour set under the diplodocus in the dinosaur hall. It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. mostly for the surroundings but also because it was a barn-storming greatest hits set – and everyone loves a greatest hits set.

Today I’ve taken no end of grief for being in love with an ageing Tory, but the heart wants what it wants. As I said to Iso earlier, I disapprove of the politics of the Mitfords, PG Wodehouse and Johnny Ramone but I still dig ’em.

Anyway – today I’ve listened to Let’s Stick Together incessantly – how amazing is Jerry Hall in her Antony Price tiger outfit?

Ow ow ow owwwwww!

[Illustration via ShowStudio]

1960s high school fashion by Arthur Schatz

I was admiring the beautiful backdrop of Tavi’s new website this morning when lo and behold, my latest instalment of Retronaut landed with a suspiciously similar theme.

The collection of images, all by Arthur Schatz and found in the uh-mazing LIFE archives, feature high school fashion from 1969. I mean… I can’t… It’s just too good. It’s like a walking, talking, less-explicit Supervixens.

Purple and red is such a winning combination and I love the babe in the tunic with SHORT hair – what a change for this decade. That California colouring, sigh.

Girl on the right has such dream hair.

This reminds me of the two beautiful women in flowing maxi dresses that Twin and I saw outside the M.I.A. concert in Central Park a few years ago. Just wafting along.

Sure the girl in the white ensemble catches your eye, but I’m more about the lime-green mini on the left, Joey Ramone in the back right, and that pink tropical print below.

It was at this point that I started to think the pictures couldn’t be real. That hair!

Such a cool look from head-to-toe. Love the vans, love the bucket hat (who knew?), love the romper. Love her pal in the back with loafers and orange hair bows.

And just in case you thought the teachers weren’t in on it… What a babe!

I could stare at these all day. All that fringing and long hair has got me singing Age of Aquarius and fantasising about rolling around in the grass.

See the rest of the collection on How to be a Retronaut.

Karen Elson and Raquel Zimmerman get down and dance for Lanvin

You may remember that I speculated a while back about what Karen Elson and Raquel Zimmerman were dancing to in the Lanvin AW11 advert. Well, our prayers have been answered. I was wrong, but it’s OK because the results are pretty awesome anyway.

Look out for Alber making a cameo right out at the end.

Boys dancing can be awkward.

[Via FTape]