Galleries - May 2012
12. GALLERIES MAY 12 G areth Pugh Silver Leather Dress, 2011, image © David Hughes, at the V&A Museum. J ohan Zoffany RA ‘Queen Charlotte’ 1771, oil on canvas, courtesy of The Royal Collection. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Academy. Alexander McQueen Evening Gown (detail) autumn-winter collection 2009 at the V&A Museum (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images) and the silk dress with embroidered bodice by Princess Diana’s favourite, Belville Sassoon, in this season’s must have yellow. More British fashion can be seen in the museum’s major Spring show, 'British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age'. Iconic British style here is no longer a ballgown; instead it’s the subversive street style which hit the headlines with Mary Quant’s iconic mini in the Swinging Sixties and later the punk looks of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren with their nipple revealing shirts, white bondage trousers and Boy kilt. Even classic menswear has a rock 'n’ roll twist – as a Tommy Nutter suit with its edgy lapels and nipped in waist vies for attention with an elegantly tailored Oswald Boateng suit in iridescent purple. Fashion meets art with the couture looks of Hussein Chalayan, whose pink and white frothy tulle dress transforms into an installation piece whilst Alexander McQueen’s voluminous dress from his iconic 2009 Horn of Plenty collection creates a moving silk sculpture as it vibrantly morphs a houndstooth check into a flock of flying magpies. Fashion also meets music as 1970s designer Antony Price makes his mark with a highly stylised stage costume for the ever dapper Bryan Ferry. His sharp sequin jacket and zipped trousers marry the shiny glamour and street punk looks of the decade. Sumptuous British fashion of late 18th century Georgian London also seduces the eye at the Royal Academy of Arts (Map 28) as the royal family of George III and Queen Charlotte, theatre stars such as David Garrick, the British ruling elite of India and newly wealthy merchants don their finery for painter Johan Zoffany to show off their power and purse. Even the artist dressed à la mode in a new top hat to emphasise his hard fought status as a gentleman as well as royal artist. British fashion throws its hat into the cultural ring as the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 reach fever pitch. Making an entrance in truly sophisticated style is the 'Ballgowns’ exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum (Map 20), showcasing British glamour since 1950. Yet it’s not all puffballs and décolletage – vamping up the stakes is Gareth Pugh’s eye wateringly tight PVC fishtail dress whilst high tech looks also dazzle – step forward the hot digital print mini-dress by Mary Katrantzou, London’s fashion 'queen du jour'. Forgotten talent is revealed as Sybil Connolly’s intricately pleated green skirt shows why Jackie Kennedy and others once wore her creations. Surprisingly, the exquisite Grecian drapery of little known Mary Donan could rival that of Madame Grès, the 1930s Parisian couturière who created the effect. Even pieces by traditional royal favourites have a modern feel, such as Hardy Amies’ slinky backless number SEDUCING the EYE Melanie Abrams explores art and fashion . . .
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