Florence’s Fashion Family

20/08/2016 1:20 AM

by Flora Naughtie

‘Across Art and Fashion’ is the new exhibition from the Ferragamo foundation and it looks at the relationship between art and fashion.

The work of influential designers from the mid-20th century to today are shown with iconic works of art illustrating the dialogue that exists between the two.

Salvatore Ferragamo, Dartboard , 1958, court shoes in yellow ocher suede and polychrome kid applications.

Salvatore Ferragamo, the celebrated Florentine shoe designer, and his interest in 20th century avant-garde movements provides the basis for the show. His fabulous ochre Tirassegno pump from 1958 takes pride of place; dotted with polychrome kidskin appliqués Ferragamo was specifically referencing his contemporary, the artist Kenneth Noland. Noland’s painting ‘Untitled’- from the same year – is displayed alongside it.

Taking Ferragamo as a starting point the curators expand the trend using other designers and art movements to demonstrate the continuous crossover. Issey Miyake’s 1980 work Plastic Body, on loan from Tokyo, shows emphatically Miyake’s foray into the visual arts. Even more recent inclusions such as Viktor & Rolf’s ‘Irina’ – part of their ‘Shirt Symphony’ 2011 collection  – flirts on the boundary between wearable fashion and outlandish visual art.

Issey Miyake, Plastic Body , 1980, bodice-reinforced plastic fiber. Tokyo, The Miyake Issey Foundation.

Yves Saint Laurent’s famous colour-block dress, inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition paintings, is an obvious but effective choice for the narrative of the show. Another early inclusion, a 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli evening dress loaned from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a perfect example of a collaboration between artist and designer. In this case the superstar Surrealist, Salvador Dali.

Pop-Art also makes an appearance, an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Dress, which plays on one of his iconic images from the later 20th century. Of all of them, it’s perhaps this that most effectively shows how culture and art have been translated into fashion through the decades.

‘Across Art & Fashion’ is at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo until 7th April 2017.

Cruise Control

11/06/2016 2:53 AM

Last week when a line of black Mercedes snaked through the quaint village of Charlbury in Oxfordshire the rumour went around that it was the Kardashians house hunting.
This turned out not to be true, it was the fashion set descending on Blenheim Palace for the Christian Dior cruise collection.
Blenheim is the palatial 18th century home of the Dukes of Marlborough, designed by Sir John Vanburgh (assisted by Nicholas Hawksmoor who designed Easton Neston, the home of fashion designer, Leon Max.)

A private train had taken celebrity guests who included Kate Beckinsale, Emma Roberts and Bianca Jagger from Victoria Station to Charlbury. There, a fleet of cars swept them into the Palace.
This was to be a recreation of the 1954 show when Christian Dior first brought his “New Look” to England and high society went crazy for it. At the original Blenheim show a young Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister was guest of honour.

WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND - MAY 31:  Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier appear on the catwalk following the Christian Dior Spring Summer 2017 Cruise collection  at Blenheim Palace on May 31, 2016 in Woodstock, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND – MAY 31: Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier appear on the catwalk following the Christian Dior Spring Summer 2017 Cruise collection at Blenheim Palace on May 31, 2016 in Woodstock, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

This year Bella Hadid was the star catwalker.
Cruise or resort shows in glamorous locations are now de rigeur for the European luxury fashion houses. The week before Blenheim the fashion set was in Rio with Louis Vuitton.
Two days after Blenheim, it was to the cloisters of Westminster Abbey (unheard of previously as a fashion or social venue) where Gucci showed their cruise collection. It was eccentric and British and retro. There were thigh-high 60s dresses and plenty of punk.
When it comes to Cruise, it seems, Britain rocks.

The First Monday in May

31/03/2016 1:01 AM

By Flynn Roddam

“The First Monday in May” is the hot, new fashion film of the moment and it premieres at next months’s TriBeCa Film Festival in New York. The documentary is about the preparations for last year’s ‘Met Ball,’ the glamorous annual fashion event that raises money for the Costume Institute wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and follows the work of American Vogue Editrix Anna Wintour in putting this event together. Working with Wintour is Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton whose meticulous eye has him travel from China to Ireland in preparation – the exhibition that the ball opens is “China Through the Looking Glass” and it explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion.

Bolton seeks only the finest and most authentic pieces and the exhibition includes the works of greats, Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, all juxtaposed against ancient Chinese artefacts, costumes, porcelain and paintings.

And now we can see some of the behind-the-scenes dramas that took place in the lead-up. If you liked the “September Issue” you will love this.

It’s Couture, darling

03/02/2016 11:51 PM

By Flora Naughtie

It’s not hard to realise the painstaking artisan work that goes into each collection in Paris for the Haute Couture. The hours spent dreaming up the designs and the hours spent implementing them – by hand from start to finish – goes far beyond the mass-produced, ready to wear fashion of today.
Ulyana Sergeenko’s two slip dresses – reported by Vogue to have taken five months each to create – illustrate the severity with which designers approach couture week and how tightly the quality is regulated by it’s governing body, the Syndicate Chamber of Haute Couture.

Ulyana Sergeenko Summer 2016 Haute Couture Paris
Ulyana Sergeenko SS 2016, Haute Couture Paris

The work produced this season emphatically belongs to, and upholds, the illustrious tradition of haute couture that stretches back to the early 18th century. Standout pieces from Yacine Aouadi, a newcomer to the couture roster, included an abundance of floral appliqués.
Elie Saab’s collection comprised feminine lace and embroidery pushing the boundaries to a new height of luxe extravagance.
Maison Martin Margiela under John Galliano paid tribute to the late David Bowie with a clear glam-rock edge – think knee high glittering boots and asymmetrical hair and make-up.


Elie Saab Spring Summer 2016 fashion show during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on January 27, 2016 in Paris, France.


Gigi Hadid at the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2016, Photographed by Kevin Tachman.

What matters and creates talking points is not just the garments themselves but also the increasingly adventurous settings in which they are presented. Notable as always was Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel: a Doll’s house presenting the models in compartments. The equally inventive Jean Paul Gaultier took his inspiration from the infamous Le Palace nightclub, the models smoked, drank and high-fived as they walked.

Cool work while you can get it.


Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda SS16

05/12/2013 4:34 PM

Fashion Flashback

Lily Cole’s big break came in 2003 when she was photographed by Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue and was dubbed one of the new faces of the year. Fast forward four years and she was being photographed in the park of Easton Neston for the MaxStudio Autumn/Winter 2006/2007 campaign by Michelangelo di Battista in a sharp country meets moody Gothic set of images that coincided with the year she was filming her role for a movie, in ‘St Trinian’s’. That British comedy was just a small part for the Cambridge student-slash-supermodel who would land her first major acting role in 2009 as Valentina in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.’ All just a little bit of work on the side for the model who had already worked with Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

07/05/2013 10:45 PM

Met Gala 2013: ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’

It was one helluva night last night and the shiniest of A-list stars gave it their all at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute gala ball in New York. While there were hushed complaints on the red carpet that there was nothing ‘Punk’ about this party celebrating the opening of the Museum’s ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’ exhibit it didn’t stop the likes of Madonna going all-out in fishnet stockings, chains, crucifixes and a Givenchy jacket. The other big Givenchy moment of the night was a towering flame-print gown on Beyonce resplendent in a patent-leather bodice. There were elements of ‘Punk’ on Karolina Kurkova and Carey Mulligan who channeled the vibe through the use of safety pins and Rooney Mara who had re-evaluated a white lace gown with a leather strap and zippers: “the romanticism of the lace represents her” explained Met Ball co-chair and Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci. Donatella Versace had no problem keeping to the night’s form with her own custom made gown spiked to perfection. Sienna Miller and Cara Delevingne were spikey too in their Burberry jackets. Sarah Jessica Parker probably wins the most Punk points in this alternative fashion universe – she topped her Giles Deacon gown with a fetching Philip Treacy mohawk. Anne Hathaway got everyone talking with the unveiling of bleach blonde hair and a somewhat sheer vintage Valentino dress while Gwen Stefani kept it simple in black and white. Plenty of starlets including Kate Beckinsale, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Bosworth committed to the pink, the official color of punk.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

Photo Credit: Getty Images

12/04/2013 7:19 PM

Trending for Spring: White Out

Head-to-toe white is a key trend for spring/summer’13 and fashionistas are divided on how best to style this stunning look.  For those who prefer clean, simple lines, our feather light voiles, fine knits and semi-sheer jerseys are perfect for white-on-white layering. Those drawn to the pretty, romantic side of white can slip into our intricately embroidered, floral lace sundresses, tops and blouses. The choice is yours – a sartorial blank canvas.

Shop the Trend

19/03/2013 6:01 PM

Three Is A Trend : Leon Max Cape

Hayden Panettiere is the latest style-conscious celebrity to be spotted in this season’s most coveted cover up. Joining fellow starlets Zooey Deschanel and Jessica Biel also recently seen in this Leon Max Wool Cape, Hayden is keeping the trend going by looking equally chic and polished last week in this standout piece.  

Shop the Leon Max Wool Cape

01/03/2013 2:50 AM

Trends from the Runway Fall 2013 MFW – Wear it Now

Fresh off the Runway from Milan Fashion Week we give you the hottest trends for Autumn 2013 and how to get them now. Purple tops and cocktail dresses, structured skirt suits, white out day looks and evening dresses and statement paillettes ruled the runways. Get the looks now


Skirt Suits

White Out


Photo Credit: Getty Images

22/02/2013 5:38 PM

Trends from the Runway Fall 2013 LFW – Wear it Now

Fresh off the Runway from LFW we give you the hottest trends for Autumn 2013 and how to get them now. Bold red in every shape, dark romantic black tie dresses, fun and flirty heart prints and cotton candy pink day dresses were the highlights. Shop the trends now

Bold Red

Dark Romance

Heart Prints

Cotton Candy Pink

photo credit: getty images

10/11/2011 8:42 PM

England Expects: Leon Max Easton Neston Inauguration Party

It was the last party of the summer before England emptied and went on holiday but as guests wandered the lawns of stately pile Easton Neston, its lights twinkling down on the Long Water on an early evening in late July, thinking about the beach wasn’t even on the agenda. Guests had been greeted by footmen in livery, the bar was in full swing, the air alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot. Northamptonshire was having a Great Gatsby moment as Leon Max had decided to throw open his house for a dance. “Pixie Geldof’s performance was the highlight for me,” he said, “she looked amazing in that orange dress. She was almost better than I thought she’d be.” Pixie’s band, Violet, played as model of the moment Edie Campbell partied with jewellery designer Lara Bohinc and the shoe designer Nick Kirkwood and writer, Plum Sykes. But it wasn’t just the fashion crowd who were out in force; the best of British toffery was there too; auctioneer Lord Dalmeny, gallerist Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Detmar Blow came with Bianca, Lady Eliot. There was gilded Europe – Nicolas Niarchos and Nikolai von Bismarck – as well as young London, model Suki Waterhouse, Charlie Astor, the Hon. Antalya Nall-Cain who had come with her father Lord Brocket, actor Alfie Allen and a rocker from Big Pink, Robbie Furze. Old-school style he had asked three friends to ‘co-host’ it; Josephine de la Baume, the French actress and musician on the cusp of marrying music superstar Mark Ronson, the model, dj and girl-about-town, Mary Charteris, – both of whom would go on to star as the faces of the A/W11 campaign – and the writer, Richard Dennen. “The party was to inaugurate the design studio and introduce it to a certain group of people,” Leon explained. And what a fabulous way to do it.

Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen

09/11/2011 12:28 AM

Trend of the Week: The Cape

17/10/2011 11:07 PM

Trend of the Week: Cocktail Dresses