Art

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Christmas Night Market at the Grainger Market

Last night I headed over to the Grainger Market in Newcastle for a very special Christmas Night Market.  If you’re not from the North East then let me fill you in…

 

The Grainger Market is something of a local treasure in Newcastle, housed in a square block between Clayton Street and Grainger Street, it’s been a part of the city since 1835.  With over a hundred shops and stalls under the steel and glass roof, it really has to be visited to give life to the description.  It’s the home of a collective of vibrant, small local businesses and some awesome creatives who thrive on their solidarity as a unit and if you visit the market, you’ll see that in spades.

It’s quirky, it’s cute and ultimately it’s well planned out.  From the original aisles which made up the ‘flesh market’ which now houses local food produce, through to the Grainger Arcade which is the younger, funkier end.  Everything in the Grainger Market has a place that has been carefully considered and every Geordie you meet, will have a favourite unit housed within it.

This year, for the first time ever, the Grainger Market played host to a Christmas Night Market with the promise of mulled wine, local food samples and a VIP tour of that famous hidden air raid shelter.  To be honest Voyeurs, I heard “Air raid shelter” and was there like a shot.

When I arrived, the place was buzzing with life, a choir was singing with an audience of smiling faces and Christmas jumpers as lights projected out across the glass ceiling, transforming the Grainger Market into a Winter Wonderland.  I registered for my VIP wristband and map, and headed straight to Pet Lamb patisserie to stock up on festive treats made with a local touch.

One of my all time favourite stores is in the Grainger Market; Ellen’s Cosmetics is a secret staple for many a Beauty Blogger, known for sourcing hard to find items and products, and stocking brands that you just can’t find anywhere else.  It’s my go to for hair toners.  Yup, that’s right Voyeurs, when you see me with my many shades of pastel hair, this is my supplier and I picked up some new ones last night taking advantage of their 20% off offer exclusively for the Night Market. 🙌🏼

I also managed to get a tour of one of the two hidden air raid shelters under the Grainger Market, something I’ve wanted to do since I heard about it in The Chronicle earlier this year and it didn’t disappoint.  I headed into the dark tunnel with fellow Bloggers Ami Littlefair and we were given the lowdown on how it would have been used by the most adorably City Tour Guide.

From the surface, it’s pretty easy to, it’s the entrance despite being wide open & surrounded by metal barriers, it’s hidden in plain sight.  The steps lead down to a chamber which eerily splits off into two narrow corridors, it almost feels like picking your fate….

Filled with vintage props, the shelter has been preserved and still has original drawings on the walls.  Not my usual post but I’m actually super interested in this kind of thing so next on my list is The Victoria Tunnel tour.  I also kind of have to take some responsibility for Rachel bumping her head on a steel joist on the way out, soz dude.

After a good stroll around the market and it’s various entertainment spots, cue buskers, Newcastle Roller Girls Head Coach Kalamity James (and my awesome mate) whizzing around on quads, I headed home feeling slightly less grinchy and munching on a bag of sweet treats.

If you’re the kind of person who seeks to support local business over larger chain stores and you’re in the North East then give the Grainger Market a look.  There are quirky independent stores hidden within those old walls and some great places for food that still remain a bit of a Geordie secret.  Also, it’s looking super Christmassy in there right now, which is always a winner in my book!

Pixie xo

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LFW: CIMONE SS17

Carli Pearson, Founder and Creative Director of new womenswear label, CIMONE was trained at Central Saint Martins and prior to launching her own brand, she honed her craft in a variety of senior positions at some of the world’s top houses. She spent her first seven years at Stella McCartney, later moving on to become Design Director at Alexander Wang, Head of Show Collection at Pucci, and Head of Womenswear at McQ, Alexander McQueen.

Her second collection for spring/summer 2017, and first runway collection was shown as part of London Fashion Week’s SS17 season and received to rapturous applause.

A web of contradictions, the collection saw control versus chaos and high-end production values paired with repurposed textures; focusing on the interplay between naivety and self-assuredness.

statement pieces featured unique, interactive embellishment, moving with models bodies and reacting in unique ways, never appearing the same way twice.  A subtle and muted whitewash was brought to life with a vibrant injection of juxtaposed bold colour, appearing as splashes and stripes.

Very obviously influenced by the late Lee Mcqueen, Pearson has focused on confidence as the recurrent theme throughout the SS17 collection - with a little fun thrown in for good measure.

Pixie xo

 

 

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Fun Affair: Girls Grow Up at LFW

If you’re familiar with the London Fashion Scene then you’ll already be aware of Fun Affair.  Known for it’s gamine aesthetic and off-beat presentations, the brand oozes 90’s cool like no other.  From the in your face logos to the vinyl baseball caps, Fun Affair is one brand that should be on your radar.

 

Integrating abstraction exotica, minimalism and subversion, designer Xi Zhu strives to create an avant-garde and elegant sphere of design.   Zhu merges her oriental heritage with European romanticism and modernism to define her signature: ‘rebellion meets optimism’.  Seemingly on a mission absolute to manifest extreme beauty, marrying oriental beauty with mystery, stillness and power, Zhu is a designer for the modern day feminist crusader.

Hosted by LFW’s younger, funkier sister, Fashion Scout, the Fun Affair show begins in a perfectly white space allowing the garments to speak volumes.

The Fun Affair SS17 collection is all of that and more and the runway show is a journey from start to finish.  Inspired by the New Romantics, 80’s power dressing and postmodernism.  The SS17 Fun Affair-girl is edgy, feminine and sophisticated with just the right amount of attitude.  A girl gang for a new generation, and one I find myself wanting to be part of.

This season is all about playing with proportion and form. I caught up with Zhu after the show, noticeably nervous, she told me “It’s about women’s strength and rebelliousness, did you see the last look?  That’s my favourite thing I’ve ever created”

Highlights of the show and top of my shopping list were oversized bow knot shirts, high gloss 90’s style slipdresses, high-waisted jeans & baseball caps, and yes, the last look was my absolute favourite, in fact I’m working on recreating it right now….

Pixie xo

 

 

VANCOUVER, BC - SEPTEMBER 23:  A model walks the runway wearing ALEX S. YU at Vancouver Fashion week on September 23, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Arun Nevader/Getty Images for VFW Management INC)

Key Micro Trends from Vancouver Fashion Week

The 28th consecutive season of outsider Vancouver Fashion Week only just finished and six key trends appeared from what is considered one of the world’s top gateway fashion weeks.

Our very own Monarchs Prince William and Kate Middleton were in the host city during VFW, obvs they didn’t attend the shows, however the FROW was notably  celeb packed, cementing VFW as a fashion fringe event to pay close attention to.

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Silver appeared in several collections with Alex S. Yu, Evan Clayton, JKline and Maryam Niyazi all giving SS17 a silver spin on dresses, jackets and separates.

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We al know that the 90s were the best era for both fashion and music and that trend shows no sign of abating,  90s rave influenced a handful of collections including Angus Chiang, Balaclava, Lillz Killz and Naovoe. Acid colours, playful shapes and attitude in abundance moved this trend from the fringe to the frow.

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Texture clashing was prevalent across multiple designer shows – plastic pailettes, leather, metal, faux fur and cotton was combined, layered, juxtaposed and manipulated to create awesome contemporary looks.  With Alex S. Yu, Clio Page, HUY-HUY and Moon Choi leading the charge.

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Simplicity came in the form of purest white – swing dresses, shirts and daywear gave a nod to purity.  With Vestige Story, TKC Design, GH by German Hernandez and Zi Xia leading the pack on all things pure and simple.

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Pale pink was elevated from girly to focal and ended up in an array of collections as an accent colour or focal hue. Alogon, INSOMNIA, Angus Chiang and JKline pinked up their palettes to perfection and remember the golden rule, on Wednesdays, we wear pink….

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Ruffles, if ever a trend was created with Lawrence llewelyn-Bowen, this is it.  Solid hues, patterns and a deconstructed shirt saw ruffles taking centre stage and not small, understated ruffles, these were super sized and in your face, made to be seen ruffles.   Hannah Vanderveen, Moon Choi, Alex S. Yu and Nuska added one of fashion’s oldest embellishments to their spring/summer collections.

With another Fashion Month over we’ve been moderately treated to a variety of new trends and even in some cases a new way of buying.  With a relatively underwhelming start to show season (mentioning no names NYFW), London came through with the lift we needed.  After Scout, MFW and PFW, Vancouver has given us a whole host of micro trends to play with and I might not even wait until spring to get started…

Pixie xo

 

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YSL: Style Is Eternal Exhibition

“If Chanel gave women their freedom, it was Saint Laurent who empowered them.” Pierre Bergé

Two years in the making, months of planning and an iconic dress restored to its former glory just in the nick of time.  - Of course I’m talking about the arrival of the hotly anticipated Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal exhibition to The Bowes Museum.

Business Partner and one time life partner of Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé arrived in County Durham on Wednesday ahead of the exhibition’s launch accompanied by staff from his Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, and long standing friend of the pair, Baroness Helene Ludinghausen.

At 89, Bergé is still very much the lifeblood of the Fondation he so painstakingly created in order to preserve the legacy of Saint Laurent.  He admits that still now, he is surprised when he comes across something in the archives that he had forgotten about and how Saint Laurent’s genius is apparent in everything he ever created.

Bergé had a reputation for being cold and hard in the days of the Yves Saint Laurent house of couture, and when Saint Laurent died in 2008 this appeared to soften him.  At the press conference for Style is Eternal, Bergé was surprisingly open and frank in sharing his love for Saint Laurent.

“(Saint Laurent) was very, very nice. Very nice.  He loved people, his family and his staff were important to him and he loved them.  It’s difficult to understand. He was a fascinating man, very, very bright. And as you can see very talented.” - Pierre Bergé, President Le Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent is largely credited with bringing the discussion of gender in fashion to the table, cutting the first trouser suit for women which ultimately lead to the launch of Le Smoking, the now infamous women tuxedo, recognisable the world over.  The designer was a perfectionist, and Bergé smiles when talking about this, “I’ve known him ask people to unpick a dress and start from scratch all for a millimetre.”

When asked about the perfect relationship between business and fashion, Bergé is resolute, “When Yves was sick in hospital, after he was dismissed by the house of Christian Dior and I went to see him, he said you know what we need to do?  Create a house of haute couture.” and from there the house of Yves Saint Laurent was born.  “I didn’t want to be a business man. Absolutely not.  So, of course, I became a business man.” laughs Bergé.  He says that their success together was down to one thing, their respect for each others role.  “I decided to respect the creation above the business. Creation comes first and business after.” Talking frankly, Bergé claims that although there are certainly talented designers around today, fashion is now all about marketing and not about the metier.

 “When we started, Yves and I, marketing meant nothing to us. That’s not a language I understand.”

Some of the most iconic pieces in fashion history have been created by the house of Yves Saint Laurent.  From the safari jacket to the Mondrian dress, each is instantly recognisable.  Described as a fashion maverick, in 1966 , he opened the first prêt-à-porter boutique to bear a couturier’s name, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and it’s there that he worked to create the modern woman’s wardrobe looking to art and history for inspiration.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” - Yves Saint Laurent

So, why The Bowes Museum and not London?  Given the success of Savage Beauty at the V&A some would say that Bergé has missed a trick hosting the first ever YSL retrospective in the North of England in a small market town of 5000 people; “Because they asked” says Bergé, “It’s so very like France, I could be in Paris in this beautiful museum in such a beautiful part of the country, it’s perfect and the weather is also beautiful.”  A 17th century style French chateau in sprawling English countryside - it couldn’t be more perfect for one of the last real couturiers to allow the public to breathe in his work.

The Bowes Museum, already filled with predominantly French objets d’art, has cleared its existing fashion and textiles hall to make way for the exhibition comprising fifty iconic pieces from the YSL archives including the famous Zephirine dress, created by Saint Laurent during his time at Christian Dior and modelled by his favourite model Victoire Doutreleau in 1958 at Blenheim Palace.  The dress was recently rediscovered in storage in the Palais Galliera in Paris and painstakingly restored for this very exhibition - A real coup for both The Bowes and the North East region.  There are over 1000 YSL accessories on display too, from hats to earrings and headdresses as well as swatches and buttons.

The exhibition is delivered over three rooms on the first floor; room 2 is where Joanna Hashagen, Fashion Curator at The Bowes Museum has used existing items from The Bowes’ fashion and textiles exhibition, to marry YSL’s most recognisable pieces with their historical influences.  With the YSL creation as the headline piece in each of the five themed glass boxes, this room in the exhibition is heavily supplemented with period pieces.

Room 3 is where the magic happens.  In a similar vein to Claire Wilcox with Savage Beauty, Hashagen has created five main themes: Art, Spectaculaire, Transparency, Masculin / Feminin and The Alchemy of Style.  The pieces on display in this room are all showstoppers.  Put simply, this is the best of Saint Laurent and it’s right here in the glorious North East.

From the sheer pieces on display in Transparency, which Bergé says were “truly shocking” to people when first unveiled, to the striking tributes to artists Piet Mondrian and Picasso in Art, each piece has its own place in history and the craftsmanship is undeniable.  With embroidery, paillette layering and harlequin patching taking centerstage, it’s hard not to be blown away by the magnitude and importance of this small but perfectly formed exhibition.

“We are honoured to host the first exhibition in the UK of Yves Saint Laurent, one of the most influential designers of all time.  We are thrilled to work alongside the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, on an innovative display that introduces a dialogue between the designers’ body of work and The Bowes Museum’s collection.” - Joanna Hashagen

There are previously unseen sketches, collection boards, toiles, hat blocks and of course, Saint Laurent’s beloved paper dolls on display throughout the exhibition.  The dolls were cut from his mother magazines in his teens and he would design outfits for them using paper, giving us a small glimpse at his early genius.

I attended the press launch in advance of the exhibition opening and had a chance to chat with Helene Ludinghausen, former Head of Couture for Yves Saint Laurent who told me that “The Bowes museum is absolutely the right place for this retrospective and Yves would have loved it, everything about it.”  And I agree, whilst it’s an unexpected choice for an exhibition of this stature, it’s aesthetically and culturally perfect.  she also told me that she loved my Chanel boots and McQueen frock but let’s keep it Saint Laurent…..

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Bergé’s parting statement about Saint Laurent is poignant; “You have to understand he was a very shy person, a beautiful, shy person.  Shy people are always the strong, tough people.”

With the exhibition opening to the public on Saturday, it’s an absolute must for fashion lovers everywhere and for anyone who understands the cultural importance of Saint Laurent in fashion.  Go, soak it up and then go again, it’s probably the only chance you’ll ever get to be around such iconic master pieces and it’s well worth it.

Pixie x

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal is at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham and will run July 11th to October 25th.  Tickets can be booked here.

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TAT Collective at The Hackney Shop

It’s that time of year again, when the Fash Pack descend upon Hackney for TAT, the Designer Collective who occupy The Hackney Shop for one month every year to host an amazing and unique designer sample sale.

TAT is a collaboration of creative talent orchestrated by young British designer Kelly Shaw London. Each year, Shaw selects like minded designers and collaborators to fill the shop with amazing pieces of clothing, art, shoes, accessories and jewellery and London’s Fashionistas lap it up. TAT Collective runs for one month, but if you want a piece of the action, you have to be quick as the shop is constantly jam packed with people looking for a designer bargain or an amazing one off.

This years collaborators are perhaps the best yet, scouted by Shaw during the Tapis Rouge Capsule Collective fringe event at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year; there’s minimalistic Year One, Urban cool duo Jena.Theo and Kelly Shaw London heading up the clothing department and for all you accessory lovers out there, Fox and Belle have created a capsule collection of collars and silk scarves in bold digital patterns that are sure to turn heads.  Long time TAT Collaborator Muldark & Co. are back this year with a collection of shoes and sandals perfect for Summer, and limited edition artwork is provided by uber cool Artist Jem Doulton.

The shop itself is in good company, nestled amongst the Burberry, Aquascutum, Anya Hindmarch and Jigsaw outlets, but with one main difference: with TAT, you’re not following the crowd, you’re leading it.   You’re buying into something far more urban and unique, think Street Stylers and Wearable Art and you’re on the right track.

I paid a visit to The Hackney Shop this week and couldn’t resist stocking up on a few amazing pieces for my stylista wardrobe. I’m always on the look out for something different and with TAT, that’s exactly what you get.  Shaw’s collection packs a punch, all about quiet protest and challenging proportions, the collection is packed with dresses of various shapes and lengths adorned with digital prints created by artist Jem Doulton. Shaw is on to a winner with her intelligent, punchy slogan tees, reminiscent of early Henry Holland, she has taken the most basic item in a designers arsenal, and made it culturally relevant with slogans such as; ‘Generic’, ‘The Riot Starts Here’, ‘Normal People Worry Me’ and my personal favourite, ‘Living The Dream’.

Jena.Theo are a London based design duo with an amazing selection of oversized muscle vests, tunic dresses and denim daubed with gold and silver for a street flavour.  Winners of the Fashion Fringe Award in 2009, the duo have made a niche for themselves and know what it takes to create a standout collection.  There’s a gorgeous denim dress of theirs that catches my eye, simple and straight in shape with the addition of a tan leather seventies style collar.

Year One are conceptual and minimalistic in style and have brought a collection of all black super soft leather shell tops, pencil skirts, shorts, dresses and jackets including an amazing one off (sorry people, it came home with me), as well as some silk pieces.  the juxtaposition of textures is very Kanye…. If you get a chance to head over to the shop, the chances are you’ll see Shaw working on her Spring Summer 2016 collection, her pattern cutting table has been moved into the shop for the duration of the 2015 stint and she’s busy preparing for London Fashion Week.  The theme for which is ‘Change’.  You heard it here first Voyeurs.

How to sum up TAT? Well, if you’re reading this then you’re a fellow fashion lover and TAT is Young British Fashion at it’s best.  It’s a fashion lovers paradise; It’s fun, it’s intelligent and it’s current. It’s more than a trend, it’s a movement and a sample sale is a great way to jump on board. With huge discounts to be had on some amazing pieces (including one-offs and specially created pieces), it’s a great way to introduce yourself to some new brands and all for prices similar to those on the high street.

If you don’t believe me then consider this, there’s an eye-wateringly beautiful hand painted British mohair coat in there with a retail price of £1200 which is being sold for £250 but you’ll have to race me as I’m back next week for round two……

Pixie x

TAT Collective is open at The Hackney Shop 7th May - 7th June 2015 to Sunday 11am to 8pm 

Can’t make it to TAT Collective?  Fear not, you can shop the current Kelly Shaw London collection at the Young Brit Designers website and the other brands via the links above.