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…..


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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Versace Cover Shot

Paris Couture Week: Versace

As the Fashion Flock gather in Paris for Paris Couture Week, I’m sad to say that today I’m cooped up in the UK, not cleared to fly after complications during surgery last week *sadface*.

Couture Week is one of my favourite fixtures in the fashion calendar, it’s when designers wheel out the big guns and the artistry and craftsmanship is second to none.  Let it be said that couture can NEVER be replicated on the high street and if you see it attempted - back away slowly…..

Everything about Couture Week is over the top, even the street stylers take it up a notch during this assembly of the worlds finest couturiers; the gowns are spectacular and the couture brides are to die for, it’s as much about spectacle and marvel and ‘look what I can do’ as it is about beautiful gowns.  First up, Atelier Versace.  After an awful few months for Paris, Couture Week has put fashion firmly back at the top of the gorgeous city’s agenda, proving that Paris will not be moved from what it so beautifully stands for.

The Fash Pack descended on the first of the couture shows and revelled in awe at the bespoke runway consisting of 25,000 real orchids encased under glass creating a violet and golden coloured brick effect.

The show opened with current Versace muse and Vogue cover girl, Lara Stone in a bohemian style dipped hem frock with seventies style colour matched disco boots, setting the tone for the whole show, closely followed by several pastel coloured looks in the same vein.  Very frothy and pretty but tame by Couture Week standards.

With a whole host of Versace muses past and present from Sasha Luss and Anya Rubik through to Lara Stone and Doutzen Kroes, Donatella’s goddess’ were joined by Kendall Jenner making her debut for the house of Versace, and in couture no less.  Nice work if you can get it.

As the shows story progressed, the gowns became more dramatic with that Versace modern classic split characteristic creeping in.  With sheer panels and frothy detailing, gowns appeared to float as their long lines covered models feet.

In what is surely Donatella’s strongest couture presentation since Atelier Versace’s relaunch in 2012, the designer appears to have found her groove and she’s milking it for all it’s worth.  With fashion thoroughbreds, including Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington Whiteley changing into runway fresh gowns for the amfAR dinner later tonight, the brands exposure is huge, and for all the right reasons.

For the climax of the show, Donatella brought out the heavyweights, (or maybe that should be featherweights?)  The gowns were wispy and featherlight, seemingly floating on a breeze.  Gowns trailed past onlookers creating a ‘just descended from heaven’ effect and bodices were fashioned from wrought iron giving a tough, aggressive edge.  This was raw femininity with an industrial vibe.

The show closed with Karlie Kloss in an ethereal mauve gown which she was sewn into backstage, topped with a Coachella worthy crown.  With uber floaty swathes of fabric, the procession of models appeared to glide down the runway, like an aggressive gang of industrial goddesses on a mission.

The collection is strong.  - So strong in fact that there are flashes of 90’s Gianni through it, especially in the structured black numbers.  With Donatella Versace cementing herself perfectly as a prime fixture of Couture Week, I’m excited about what’s to come.  With Dior, Giambattista Valli and Chanel in the coming days who knows what Paris has in store for us…

Pixie x

Every look from the Atelier Versace show is in the slideshow below.

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Paris Couture Week amfAR Dinner

As Paris Couture Week kicks off, we turn our rose tinted fashion gazers to the spectacle that is the Paris amfAR charity dinner.  Hosted by Carine Roitfeld at Pavillon Ledoyen last night, the gala was a hotbed of celebrities and designers dripping in couture.


With Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, and Rosie Huntington Whiteley, the guest list read like a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show roster, and the couture?  Well let’s just say that Versace won.  Hands down - just hours after the Atelier Versace show, Donatella and her army of muses arrived in floor length Atelier Versace (some of which was fresh from the runway).  Others tried and din’t quite make the grade, there was literally no competition for the Italian powerhouse.  Feast your eyes on these beauties:

The event had a surprise DJ in the form of original supermodel Naomi Campbell who took to the decks in an amazing waterfall plunge gown (Atelier Versace natch.) and Joan Smalls stole the show with arguable the best look of the evening (sorry Karlie, it was close).

So, if this is what Paris has shown us so far, I can’t wait to see how the rest of Couture Week unfolds with Dior, Giambattista Valli and (of course) Chanel still to come.  It’s round one to Versace, Paris, you’ve got my attention….

Pixie x


Givenchy SS16 Menswear Show with added Supers

The Menswear Collection Shows are well underway and with Paris as the current setting, today was the turn of Givenchy.  Creative Director Ricardo Tisci is a sucker for a female muse - from Donatella Versace and Kendall Jenner to Kim Kardashian and Jaimie Bechert, it’s safe to say that Tisci is an expert in dressing the female form but today we’re here for his late Menswear offering.

This evening at Parc George Brassens, Tisci unveiled his SS16 Menswear collection featuring a mostly monochrome colour palette with the addition of cool greys, steel blues and metallics and a whole load of catholic symbolism thrown in for good measure.

Models strutted down the makeshift runway in overskirts depicting Jesus Christ and simple shirts adorned with star motifs, all paired with T-bar monk strap shoes in a matching palette.

Tisci went for maximum impact with his SS16 show and it was his unexpected guests who drew the most attention on the runway.  Supers including Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls, Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel joined the men on the maze like runway, with Campbell stealing the show in a metallic blazer, bra, thong and thigh high boots accessorised with a huge aged silver key.  Whilst it’s not uncommon for designers to use female models during the Menswear collection shows, having this many high profile models in a Menswear show is something to get excited about and not the first time for Tisci, Candice Swanepoel walked his SS15 Menswear show in a form fitting blazer dress with matching skull cap.  Kendall was the first high profile model out of the gate and the Fashion Editors on the Frow visibly sat up and started snapping on their iPhones, with some people in the audience doing a double take as she strutted passed.

The arrival of the Supers saw a social media frenzy sending #GivenchyMenswear stratospheric within minutes which was doubtless Tisci’s plan all along.  With the urban backdrop of a park in Paris, the industrial styling and the labyrinth styled runway, the whole show was a slick and stylish affair before we even get to the garments which were heavy on the religious symbolism (think early McQueen).  Campbell and her school of Supers proved to be the icing on the cake and don’t even get me started on the womenswear, gothic victoriana, delicate widows lace, metallic pinstriping and hella crucifixes, it’s just a taste of what’s to come.

…… And that folks, is how you deliver a Menswear show.

Pixie x

To watch the entire Givenchy Menswear Runway Show click here.

Contact Sheet AW15 2

Rising Star: Kelly Shaw London

Last Sunday saw the close of Capsule in Paris; Capsule is the premiere gathering of the finest apparel and accessories brands from around the world. More than a tradeshow, the brands who participate in Capsule make up a community that is shaping the future fashion landscape.

The FW15 Capsule collective set up shop in Tapis Rouge for three days to coincide with Paris Fashion Week and provided a platform for fresh and emerging talent to showcase their FW15 womenswear collections.  Amongst the designers presenting at Capsule was Brit Kelly Shaw who set up her womenswear label Kelly Shaw London in 2011.    Part of the Young British Designers collective, Shaw is undoubtedly one of the most innovative and exciting designers to emerge from London and her FW15 collection entitled The Liminal Journey, is testament to that.  Clearly influenced by Victoria Beckham, Shaw’s collection is made up of clean, simple lines and bold proportions.


Kelly Shaw has a close working relationship with artist Jem Doulton who creates bold oil paintings borne out of Shaw’s thoughts and ideas and these, in turn, are scanned and turned into digital prints on fabric.  For this particular collection Shaw was inspired by the process of self-transformation, complex human emotions and the paradox of good and bad, of light and dark.

A clever and original way of working this collaboration ensures that the designers personality and flair is translated into each individual piece.  Shaw is confident, her mantra is this; discover your soul, be bold, be yourself, create, rebel, revolutionise and above all, enjoy.  Each piece in her current collection depicts a quiet protest, from the slogan tees and dresses to the bold prints on delicate silk.  Shaw uses British materials and produces her collections in the UK, this is truly a girl who is proud to be British and supporting the British fashion industry.


Despite her roots being firmly in the UK, Kelly Shaw took her FW15 collection to present in Paris, why you might ask?  Well the answer to that is an interesting one and requires some background….

Producing a collection costs money.  Lots of it.  The biggest issue for a young designer fresh to the fold is having the cashflow to meet the level of supply and demand for their current collection, but to also fund the next collection and be able to present it to the masses.  This is something Shaw knows only too well and after taking to the streets during London Fashion Week SS15 in September 2014 with the Occupy movement to protest against the fashion industry’s lack of support for British designers showing at London Fashion Week, Shaw set up a crowd funding project in order to present her FW15 main line collection offering up personal notes, collection pieces, drawings and whatever she could to those who contributed in order to draw attention and backing for the project, and it worked.  Shaw raised the full capital amount required to show her collection during arguably the most prolific event of Fashion Month; Paris Fashion Week.

Fast forward to March 2015 and Kelly Shaw has packed up her collection and her team and travelled to Paris to show her collection at Tapis Rouge, an amazing venue in the centre of Paris steeped in history and a fantastic place to present a fashion collection.  Shaw’s star is rising and Paris may just send her stellar, Kanye West was spotted browsing and as we know, anything Kanye gives the seal of approval has a tendency to skyrocket.

If you’re a fan of British design and British fashion this is one designer you should back; Kelly Shaw has real talent, with a knack for knockout simplicity and a “fuck you” attitude to conforming, Shaw is not afraid to push the boundaries or to challenge proportions.  Edgar Allen Poe once said “There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion” and Shaw’s designs are the very definition of this, with each collection she comes more into her own and with The Liminal Journey I think she’s found her niche.

Prices for the Kelly Shaw London FW15 collection start at a very reasonable £65 for a slogan tee up to £550 for an evening dress and that divine British mohair coat that so many of you have asked about is £1200.

Fashion Voyeur and Kelly Shaw London have teamed up to offer readers a fantastic 20% discount on pieces from the FW15 collection if ordered before March 30th 2015.  This is an exclusive offer not available anywhere else and the collection is not currently available to purchase so you’ll be amongst the first to get your hands on it when it drops in August 2015 for the FW15 season. 

To order at the discounted price simply:

  1. Browse the full collection in the gallery at the bottom of the post
  2. Choose your favourite piece(s)
  3. Email to place your order quoting Fashion Voyeur for your exclusive 20% discount
  4. Sit back and gloat knowing you’re amongst the first to pre-order the Kelly Shaw London FW15 collection and that you got it at a knockout price

Top of my shopping list from this collection:


I absolutely have to have the grey Cloud type dress, (I feel that it will improve my life exponentially & it absolutely will as I’ve already ordered it) and the oversized slogan sweat speaks for itself.  The trend for co-ord dressing shows no signs of abating and this two piece with the mix of print and proportion is absolute perfection.  Lastly the British mohair coat, just look at it, it’s a thing of beauty and in the midst of a British Winter we all need something beautiful!

To find out more visit, the FW15 collection will be available from August 2015 via the Young British Designers website at: or you can currently shop the SS15 collection via the same website.

Here’s the full Liminal Journey collection, pick out your favourite pieces, take advantage of the fantastic discount offer, and circle August in your diaries.

Pixie x

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