Balenciaga

Are you thinking of this?

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 07.59.08Or are you thinking of those timeless, iconic dresses and accessories when women “dressed?” Actually, properly, perfectly dressed.

If you want to see actual, proper dressing, head down to the V&A now until next February 2018 and see Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. All the details are on the V&A website.

The outfits are hard to capture through the glass, but you get the idea. Members’ week at the museum and this was the preview night before it opens to the public this weekend.

Forever Hounds (GRWE) Charity Event

With the greyhounds, various groups around the country are always in need of funds to bring dogs into care, get them properly vetted, pay for kennel fees if the group doesn’t have their own kennels, transport dogs to foster homes, and pay for emergency medical costs.

Forever Hounds Trust (formally Greyhound Rescue West of England – GRWE) is holding a fundraiser in London in a few short weeks to help greyhounds and lurchers at their various locations. Most recently, the group came to the aid of over 50 greyhounds in a rather serious welfare case, which you can read about on their website. Due to cases such as this, and the regular dogs brought into their care, raising funds to ensure they have the best help available is paramount.

Fancy a shop at designer L.K. Bennett whilst helping super cute, adorable greyhounds (and lurchers)?

GWRE LK Bennett

PLEASE RSVP so they know how many people to expect! Text WOOF05[space]£10 to 70070 and enjoy!

 

 

Collecting Europe

Here are the results from my sugar sculpting workshop at the V&A this weekend. It was done in part with Tasha Marks of AVMCuriosities and Jon Beck of Scan the World. Sugar sculpture was quite the art form beginning in the 16th century and was a way to show off enormous wealth and prosperity. Elaborate sugar displays often featured architecture and design elements with the pastry chefs showing off design skills, as many carved their own exclusive hardwood moulds. For the workshop, Tasha and Jon spent time taking photographs of objects around the museum to turn into 3D printed moulds for us to use (and with an approximate cost of £0.20 each, it was much less expensive than making moulds by hand)!

The basic recipe:

  • 454g icing (powdered sugar)
  • 28g gum tragacanth
  • 61ml water (or rosewater)

This Weekend

So, a few weeks ago, I waxed lyrical about my new membership to the V&A museum. Woot! I decided to add my dad to my membership for a small fee so he can go to the museum whenever he wants too since he’s retired. We had a very productive, and educational, one-hour tour of museum highlights for the “members only.”

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This weekend, I am going to a free workshop on sugar sculpture as part of the Collecting Europe exhibit/event:

“Renaissance sugar sculpture and 3D printing are combined in this one-off workshop. You’ll learn about the history of sugar sculpture with food historian and artist Tasha Marks, have a chance to make your own 17th-century sugar paste, and cast a sugar centerpiece using one of the 3D printed moulds from Alabaster Ruins. Alongside this taste of history, My Mini Factory will showcase some of their 3D print technology, culminating in a guided tour of the museum where you’ll visit the works that were transformed into AVM Curiosities’ installation, Alabaster Ruins.”

You know how much I like anything free! Stay tuned next week and I’ll let you know how it went!

V&A Follow Up

So, I did get to see Opus Angelicum this weekend. It was amazing. I am absolutely amazed people were able to create such things by hand in crap candle light. No pictures were allowed in the exhibit, but with my phone and ridiculously low lighting, they would’ve just been a dark shadowy mess.

Today, the haute couture fashion houses today are the only ones who use such techniques on a regular basis. And after seeing all the embroidered copes in the exhibit, if you go upstairs to the 4th floor, there is an embroidered cope from the 1800s in the British rooms which looks so basic and pedestrian compared to those in the 1400s!

Here are a few pictures to tide you over from the Cast Courts (all the plaster casts made in the 1800s of other famous works of art) and the British rooms upstairs. There is some video on my Instagram stories of the Cast Courts too (@cindipatter).

The other exhibit I saw since I got in free (woot!) was Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. Surprisingly, it was more popular than the embroidery, but what do I know? I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to see this if I didn’t have a membership, but it was interesting nonetheless. Also, corsets look painful despite making your clothes look amazing.

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Corset, cotton, whalebone, about 1890. (From the signage in the exhibit, this gave the wearer a 47cm waist!) Photo courtesy and (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The other (tiny) perk of being a museum member – free coat check! I was totally prepared to pay (it was only £1 per item) but hey, save £2 and didn’t have to carry around my heavy coat and shopping bag while there! About half way through my time there, I realised how cold it was in the museum and contemplated retrieving my coat anyway.

And finally, rather than having my tea and lunch in the main dining area (which has great cakes, scones, sandwiches, and hot food at reasonable prices), I had mine in the Member’s Room. The Member’s Room is tucked away in a corner of the 4th floor and almost hidden, but is a nice quiet space when the museum is busy. The food choices are a bit more limited too, but still a varied selection of cakes and scones for your tea and coffee.

 

Best Gift

Hopefully, everyone had a nice relaxing Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year?!?

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So the best Christmas gift I got was a membership to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. While the museum is normally free for standing exhibits, they do charge a fee for special exhibits. As a member, I’ll be able to get to see all the special exhibits as part of my membership! I won’t lie – I really wanted a contributing membership, but a standard membership will work too.

If you’ve never been to the V&A, go! Go immediately! The easiest tube stop is High Street Kensington (Circle/District) and follow the signs, or it’s an easy walk from Knightsbridge (Piccadilly) if you take the exit for Harrods. They have an amazing collection of Medieval and Renaissance art and sculpture, including the entire front of a building that survived the London fire of 1666. They have amazing fashion through the ages (did you see the shoes exhibit last summer or Alexander McQueen?) as well as Middle Eastern art that will blow your mind!

This weekend, I’m headed down to see Opus Angelicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery which is on through 5 February.

 

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Seal Bag, about 1280, England (c) Westminster Abbey: photo courtesy V&A Museum website

 

London

I spent the day in London with my mom (which is rare as she never takes time off work for anything frivolous, real or imagined). The plan was to attend the Bella Freud sample sale (seriously, it was good as I scored 75% off a cashmere sweater), then check out the Christmas offerings at Fortnum & Mason, St. James Square and that general area.

A word about sample sales if you’ve never been to one (most of this is commons sense, but always helpful to get some suggestions, right?):

  1. Get there first thing. If they announce 10am, be there at 945am!
  2. Wear layers (like a thin t-shirt or tank/vest top for shirts, or tights if you may purchase sweats/trousers, etc.). Depending on the designer, it makes it easier to try things on if you aren’t familiar with that designer’s particular sizing, or if you want to be 100% sure of a purchase, as all sales are final.
  3. Leave your kids at home. Unless it’s an event for children’s clothing, trust me, don’t bring them. Politely (or not) wrangling for something amongst 50+ other women doesn’t make it kid friendly.
  4. Set a budget. I’ve never been invited to a Gucci sale (I think you’d have to spend WAYYYYYYYY more than I do there to get that invite!), but you should have a reasonable idea of what the designer’s clothes normally cost. That being said, sample sale prices should be 60% off or more – giving you reasonable “spend” expectations.
  5. Know the style of what you may/not be looking for. Easy, right? But just remember, we all get sucked into the huge savings dilemma. If you know the designer does “fun” clothes and colours, no matter how good a deal it may be, do you really need the lime green and orange dot shirt for £20 that’s regularly £300 if you’ll never wear it when you really wanted a plain white shirt?

For me personally, I got there about 10min later than I hoped due to some tube/train delays. Not a big deal, but there were easily already 50 women in the small conference room literally grabbing ARMLOADS of knits! And in that 10min, I missed out on the candle sets that would’ve made the best Christmas gifts for friends. Boo. I picked up a fun sweatshirt for the price of one at NEXT and a cashmere sweater that I should get lots of use out of!

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Poor lighting this morning, but this is really cobalt blue, with light blue and yellow accents

Plans, of course, went awry, when we had to go to the Apple Store to see about fixing a problem with her phone. Unable to get a set Genius Bar appointment, we (surprisingly) were able to get a “walk-in” appointment within about 3 hours (trust me this is a miracle in itself), but it also meant we couldn’t stray too far from the store as they could text at any time saying the appointment was imminent! So, pounding up and down Regent Street it was! And of course, the minute we finally decided to get lunch, they texted to say it was appointment time – resulting in a sprint back up Regent as it now or never, as there were no more appointments that day! Ugh. Kudos to Apple though as they fixed the problem!

We also escaped London by the skin of our teeth, as we grabbed the tube and train from Kings Cross before the massive tube and train shutdown that plagued the rest of the city about an hour later on Wednesday evening!