Vogue 100: A Century of Style


This Monday I personally got my peepers on the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, goodness, so much beauty for my eyes to behold. Celebrating the 100th birthday of British Vogue, this is somewhat of an epic exhibition, I mean, maaan, where do you start when trying to curate an exhibition showing the highlights of 100 years worth of fashion and photography from the worlds most prestigious fashion bible? A magazine which has launched and defined the careers of so many models, designers and photographers. A hard task, the selection and editing must have been pretty intense. But this, is a stunning exhibition. Beautifully, simply and elegantly executed, with no gimmicks and no unnecessary pomp. It’s a big exhibition, I mean, it kinda had to be to do justice to the subject, but it doesn’t drag and it’s spaced to perfection so you can take in each image on it’s own whilst also enjoying the continuity and splendor of the exhibition as a whole; perfection. It gets busy and if it had been any busier we would have felt cramped but, it had a lovely atmosphere, all ages sharing the space together for an hour or two to soak up some mesmerizing talent and beauty. It is a little pricey, it costs £19 for a regular ticket which is definitely a little more than most exhibitions in the city, but is it worth it? Yes, I’d say it is, but only just. A few pounds cheaper would seem a better price. Shown in a reverse chronological order, we see the best images from the magazine now, and go all the way back, through the decade dedicated rooms, to it’s launch in 1916. My favourite section? It has to be the 1990’s room where we saw the start of Kate Moss’s career, the photography of Corinne Day and the familiar faces of Princess Diana and Posh and Becks in their heyday. My era. Loved it. Get yourself there before it ends on 22nd May and let me know your favourite era of this massive magazine.



Meeting Manolo Blahnik; My High Heel Hero


blondieanchors_manoloblahnik-copyIt’s true. Some girls don’t wear high heels very often. Some girls prefer to have flat and comfortable feet. Can you believe it? I am not that girl, I mean, heck yeah I run around in my tatty Converse on an average day but, I’m a girl who likes her heels, and walking around a city all day with height is something I am known to do. Call me cray-cray, but I’ll suffer a little if it means I can get my sass on and feel like I’m strutting. I like that feeling. The strut. Not the ache and rub. But I’ll endure. I enjoy wearing heels, I genuinely do.

So when the V&A announced ‘An Evening with Manolo Blahnik’ I hot-footed it down to that place pronto, to meet in person, the ‘Holy Man of Heels’! After my gorgeous evening here with Cindy Crawford, I know these V&A events are ace; relaxed and informal and a great insight into iconic people. Packed in the small lecture theatre on a Friday night, the audience was, again, mostly women but we were all united, all adorers of this man’s magical SHOES! Swoooon.

Blahnik is a cute guy, a 72 year old Spanish man who gestures so much with his hands that the microphone he was holding was only intermittently near his mouth, so there was a genuine humour to the chat. He was talking with Italian Editor of W Magazine, Gianluca Longo. Watching the two men speak together with moving microphones, neither in their mother tongue was unintentionally and endearingly comical. Blahnik is a funny guy, he reminded me of my German Grandmother with his sweet humour; ‘After the war it was hard, we couldn’t get copies of Vogue’ he said as the room giggled, he too found the funny in his comment.

Blahnik chatted about his inspirations – many from historical references – Italian classicism, museums, ‘I love what the beauty in them tells me’, and old silent movies. His work is exceptionally well-known because of movies and TV. Sex and The city is the biggie which made us all fall even harder in love with his work. His shoes are iconic in status and I adore them. I love them differently to how I love my other favorites; Louboutin’s. Blahnik’s shoes feel more feminine,more theatrical, more enchanting and magical. But I love Louboutin’s equally for their unashamed sexuality and sharpness. I want to own shoes from both designers. OBVS.

Asked why he became a Shoe Designer, he seemed to feel he always had a natural obsession with shoes. He remembers his Mother going out in heels. I guess we all see our Mother’s shoes from close-up when we are young and it triggers a fascination. I personally remember drawing a smiley face into a hole in my Mum’s tights when she was standing doing the washing up. What we look at when we are young goes towards defining what appeals throughout our lives, I guess. Seeing women wear high heels from a youngsters viewpoint, from a low down angle, it would make sense to grow up loving women’s shoes.

‘My idea of fun was watching women in heels, they become something else in them’ Yes. Yes we do. And in yours Manolo, it’s even more wonderful.


On Vogue: The Spice Girls

After my recent face to face with David Beckham I had a think about Victoria and just how long she’s been in the public eye, ooosh a pretty long time. I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t know her face, and so I figured I’d take a trip back to the 90’s and look at some old magazines I have with her on the cover. This, the January 1998 issue of US Vogue is one of the loveliest. Right at the peak of the Spice Girl’s colossal fame they all got the cover of the fashion bible, shot by Mario Testino, which is pretty ace, although Editor Anna Wintour has since said that “I’m not terribly proud of putting the Spice Girls on the cover.” Classic Vogue fodder they may not have seemed at the time but, in retrospect they were five of the most gazed at and idolized gals in music history, even if only for a fleeting moment in time. Fresh as daisies and so indicative of the 90’s look, flying the British flag, these girls suited the cover, and even though Wintour may have regrets about it, the fact that one of these ladies went on to grace the cover a few times more surely says it was a worthy choice. Spice up your life? I should say so.


Dresses in the Basement

Ooh. My.

Such utter loveliness tucked away in the basement of London’s Selfridges!

Throughout the Selfridges summer celebration of all things lovely and British, they are showing a most adorable vintage fashion exhibition in their Ultralounge, which is tucked away in their basement, it’s so beautifully quiet and tucked away I felt like I had stumbled across a secret magical land of dressses….dreamy indeed.

This Britannica exhibition is curated by Judith Clark, a well known figure in the world of Fashion and Museology, she currently lectures on the Fashion Curation MA course at London College of Fashion…. her knowledge is massive.

This exhibition is small but most perfectly formed, it’s really dark, and lit to perfection, focusing on silhouettes and the lines of the clothing. It consists of seven installations inspired by 3 issues of British Vogue. In 1951, Vogue brought out a special ‘Britannica’ issue which was so popular they issued it again for the following two years in February, covering both The Festival of Britain and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The issues looked specifically at Britishness, post war style, culture and Britain’s ability to embrace old traditional style with a fresh nod to the new. In February 1951 Vogue put on a fashion show in Selfridges which then went on to show in other cities in Britain, oh my, imagine how lovely it would have been to see that! These simple wearable patterns sketched in Vogue could be imagined in any fabric and so were considered applicable to many shoppers. The Coronation colour was named Champagne Pink, it would be used again and again to celebrate our ‘English Rose’ Princess Elizabeth.

The exhibition is seven mannequins, each in a scene, seven ‘living pictures’, each figure wearing one of the Vogue patterns, made up in a grey colour as they were first sketched. This exhibition is so enchanting, it’s like you stumble across a hive of gorgeousness and calm where time stands still, hidden under the rush of central London. This is so expertly styled, the dark shades of grey with splashes of pink are perfect, and the clash of quirky hats are by Stephen Jones, I’m not generally a hat gal, but crikey, these designs are amazing and a perfect dash of modernity. In the centre of the room is a large 1950’s stylised clock face, as a reminder of the formality of the early 50’s, dresses are wholly appropriate to certain times and places.

Each outfit shows a different time in the girls day…the first is her at 10am in a grey swing coat holding a silk scarf…

…the second is her gazing at a mannequin in a shop window in an amazing slim skirted suit which has velvet detailing…..

…the third scene is of a presentation of Vogue patterns in a department store…this dress is a heavy wool fabric with embroidered thistles and crowns….

….the fourth shows her at 5pm at a cocktail party in a full skirted dress with black polkadots….this is such an amazing dress, they all are, but this one looks especially beautiful in the spotlight…

…then we see her at 8pm going to The Ball in a regal, full length strapless, sparkle encrusted gown…

…the sixth scene shows her at an urban gallery in a great coat and trousers with a head scarf…

…the last is a country scene where she wears a wool check swing skirt and knitted top…

This exhibition is a small masterpiece, the styling, lighting, colouring and the clothes themselves are just plain beautiful. 1950’s fashions are timeless in their appeal, they just ooooze femininity and are always a shape women are drawn to, every single look in this exhibition translates to todays fashion and could be worn onto the streets above and look nothing but current, Vogue always gets designs so right.

This exhibition is on until 24th June 2012, it’s gorgeous, free and will fill your belly with pure gleeeee!