Monday, 26 January 2015

Winter Decorative Fair 2015

It is always a pleasure to hotfoot it to Battersea Park to wander and wonder around the thrice-yearly event, which is the The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair. 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Decorative Fair! This year's foyer theme, Chalet Chic, suited the season with its skis, sledges and snowy scapes, along with reindeer fur and boiserie. If there was simply nowhere else to shop in the world for interiors, you would likely find everything you desired for the fashionable home. There are commodes and chandelier aplenty, French day-beds and chaises to languish upon, Swedish Gustavian pieces, art and collectables, and magnificent one-offs, such as a submarine-shaped beaded light, reminiscent of a Jules Verne story and the charming in the form of Barbudian shell valentines, made for passing Victorian sailors. All in all, a marvellous feast of interior styles!
Save the dates for the Spring Fair: 21 - 26 April.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Harald in his heyday!

If you think of one statement colour, I immediately come up with red. Here, I'm in my stand-out and rare vintage coat by Harald, late of 39a Curzon Street, W1. Who was Harald? A Nordic contemporary of Amies and Hartnell in '50s Mayfair? Little is known about this couturier (1904-1994) save that the likes of British stars, such as Vivien Leigh, favoured his designs. The Dolce & Gabbana butterfly-print boots hover prettily beneath the cerise dress-coat. I hope Harald would approve!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bring on 2015!

January is the corridor month into a new year and how you approach it is often indicative of the year to come. It is also when one takes a brief backward look over one's shoulder at the previous year and then one looks firmly forward into the new one, ideally from the comfort of home, precisely my living room.
Last year had so many highlights: unforgettable art exhibitions such as the Matisse: Cutouts at Tate Modern which I returned to again and again, for those dazzling displays of colour and form from a master scissorhands and the ground-breaking show at the Royal Academy with Sensing Spaces bringing architecture up close, personal and to the rafters in Picadilly. Also at Tate Modern, the Paul Klee and Malevich shows were both absorbing and inspiring whilst the RA's Summer Exhibition is always a fixture in my calendar.
At the V&A, each exhibition seemed to outdo the next in the glamour stakes: from the peerless Pearls show to the Glamour of Italian Fashion and those Bulgari jewels, owned by Elizabeth Taylor, to the more recent Horst show.
In south London, I enjoy my thrice yearly trips to Battersea, with the Decorative Art Fair to make a purchase and discover what exactly is taking the interior designer's fancy at the moment, as well the two weekends in May which celebrate  Artists' Open House. On the street is certainly where I help take fashion from local boutique, Paraphernalia, from CroftFest to Croftmas. It is my only opportunity to dress up in totally different looks, without having to buy the clothes but I inevitably fall for that one piece!  My local gallery, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, always has interesting shows, notably 2014's Hockney: Printmaker and Art & Life and currently has brought Emily Carr to the capital and sparked fresh interest in one of Canda's best-loved artists. And in the shadow of Tower Bridge, the Design Museum showed off the endlessly inventive talents of Paul Smith in a memorable exhibition.
Further afield, we had a grand weekend at Knepp Castle (not as guests I might add) but helping friends with their vintage stall at The Floral Fringe; and a couple of trips to Chichester to visit a favourite, the Pallant, to see the Pauline Boty and J.D. Fergusson exhibitions. The Pallant House Gallery also re-affirms that small is not only beautiful but always fulfilling and a trip to Margate in late summer showed that the Kent seaside town has a showcase gallery in the form of the Turner Contemporary. And for all the above events and excursions, I continue to wear clothes from my wardrobe: old, new, vintage, repaired, reconstituted and reinvented, but always with aplomb. That's really the only accessory required. And a little Dior lipstick!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Twelfth Night

If you're going to have an epiphany, it may as well be on Twelfth Night!
So pull down your Christmas tree, recycle the cards and scoff those festive left-over chocolates...