Deborah Bowness
New Ribbon
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'FUR: AN ISSUE OF LIFE AND DEATH' EXHIBIT OPENS

Fur. The mere mention of the word makes many cringe. In western urban culture, it's a contentious topic that divides us into two groups: those who deem fur fashion READ MORE...
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RED HOT: EXHIBIT OF GINGER MEN IS NOW A BOOK

Earlier this week, I was in the comments section of a blog I frequent, and someone had posted a photo of a shirtless, young guy with red hair sticking his tongue out cheekily READ MORE...
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A MODERN CHRISTMAS AT THE SLEEPER HOUSE

The Sculptured House, also known as the Sleeper House since 1973 when it featured in Woody Allen's sci-fi comedy, Sleeper, is so cool it's painful. An elliptical curiosity in concrete and glass perched on Colorado's READ MORE...
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FASHION FILMS TO FEATURE AT ASFF

The BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) has teamed up with London College of Fashion to establish a new fashion film strand at this year’s event, showcasing READ MORE...
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'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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October 20, 2014

Review: JML Magic Layer Top

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I was recently asked if I would like to review the Magic Layer top from JML, which you may have seen advertised. When I read that the top promises to retain heat yet doesn't feel like you're wearing an extra layer due to the ultralight Tactel fabric, I was curious. I hate feeling cold - who doesn't? - and right around that time we had our first few chilly days of the season and I was not ready. As I've mentioned, I live right by the sea and there's a damp chill in autumn and winter (and sometimes spring and summer) that can't be escaped by going indoors, thanks to the general lack of insulation. (This Canadian will forever lament the lack of pink stuff behind the walls in British homes!) Add to that my grudging resolution to make it to November without turning on the heat because it is just so painfully expensive, and I have the ideal conditions in which to try out the top both in and out of the house. I decided to wear it one morning when my phone was telling me that it's currently 7 degrees but feels like 4, and is windy. You know, those dark, gloomy mornings when you just want to cry but you settle for a huff and feeling sorry for yourself. 

I received my top in black in size Small/Medium (it also comes in white and beige and in size Large/Xtra Large). I would know right away if it was something I would wear, regardless of its heat-retaining capabilities, based on whether it was comfortable or annoying. I've got lots of stretchy scoop-neck tops but I would never wear one under a jumper, that would just feel weird, so would this 'Magic Layer' do the trick without making me look and feel like the Michelin man? I put it on. It is remarkably light, like a couple of layers of mesh, yet it was surprisingly opaque. Maybe the black is especially forgiving and I suppose it depends on how tight the top fits you - mine was snug but not taut - but it certainly didn't leave me feeling like I wasn't dressed. I was dressing for chilly weather and I was going to be walking near the sea, so I put on a wool turtleneck jumper that also fits close. I was very happy to find that I was completely unaware of anything underneath. The top moves with you and adds no bulk whatsoever, and doesn't constrict around bent elbows. I went out and I wasn't cold. Of course I was dressed properly with a coat and therefore it was kind of hard to tell. So I did an experiment when I got home. I sat by a window with just the jumper on. (And pants and socks, I mean I just took off the Magic Layer!) I was cold. Then I put the other top back on under the jumper and sat down again in the same place. I was noticeably warmer. It made a big difference. It's hard to say whether simply having a second layer did the trick or it was the special fabric, but what I did appreciate is that I could be warm and still comfortable. It kind of sucks having to put on a bunch of bulky layers in your own house or trying to fit them all under your coat when going out, so it's worth it for the fact that it really does feel like nothing. However, a few unseasonably lovely days returned but I had already gotten used to wearing the top underneath which is the real test, that you will make it part of your routine, and I immediately felt really hot once I got outside. I had to take it off as soon as I got home, so I think there is actually something magical in that Tactel. 

In case it's not obvious, my verdict is that the Magic Layer does its job of keeping you warm while remaining undetectable. I would advise tucking it in because it does have a tendency to roll up, but you can't even feel it when it does, it's that light. I just noticed when I specifically went to check where it was. I'm buying two more because I can't find where I put mine after taking it off the other day and I don't want to head out on a chilly morning without it! I think it works well psychologically as well as physically, I feel better just knowing it's on. Pretty good for something that costs £12.99. 

October 06, 2014

Nicholas Rose's Full Colour Living

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It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. The Leeds-based designer has an affinity for colour, and combined with a knack for inventing unique, pleasing forms, creates interior pieces that make homes happy. 

Here's a look at Nicholas Rose's latest product launch, his Albino and Tulip lampshades which are constructed from flourescent coloured acrylic brackets, tinting the Lycra fabric covering when the light is on and transforming an opaque shade into one of vibrant translucency. 

The collection is available to buy at www.nicholasrosedesign.co.uk

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September 28, 2014

LFW: Backstage and Beyond at Paul Costelloe

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I think we could all use a dose of soft, pretty and innocent right now. Paul Costelloe brought his unabashed femininity to the runway in his SS 15 collection of throwback dresses, skirt suits and coats, but his 'Angels' had just a bit of Bardot impurity to keep things fun. The look was 'ethereal and ladylike with a 60s twist' with nude faces and the hair manipulated into a wild beehive, sometimes tamed with a black velvet bow. 

The Toni & Guy session team, lead by Cos Sakkas, were a sight to see at work, whipping up the models' hair into a frenzy that made perfect sense once it was pulled into place. 

Want to get the look? Use these techniques and products:

  1. Prep hair with two layers of label.m Volume Mousse, blast dry and then work label.m Resurrection Style Dust from root to tip section by section
  2. At the nape of the neck twist hair and pin into a bun to act as an anchor for the rest of the shape
  3. Backcomb the top section of hair and pin the sides of the hair tightly back adding ends into the bun
  4. Create a side parting through the front and tuck behind ear securing with a bow and finishing with label.m Hairspray

Here's the Toni & Guy team in action, along with some shots from the show which I got to watch afterward. It was held at Simpson on the Strand in a beautiful room befitting the lovely collection:

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Speaking of blondes...this week I got to try the new label.m Brightening Blonde collection consisting of a shampoo, conditioner and balm. I'm always looking for ways to keep the brassy tones out of my blonde but naturally brunette hair, and after using the three products I noticed a difference in the colour immediately after blowdrying. There was an overall lift, and the different tones in my hair seemed more defined. Also, I love how the shampoo and conditioner work when using them in the shower - some shampoos don't feel moisturising even when they're formulated to be, but the Brightening Blonde made my hair feel soft immediately, and the conditioner was also surprising in that it was rich enough that I only needed the same small amount I used of the shampoo - usually I have to use two to three times that amount to get my hair smooth (probably helped along by the very moisturising shampoo!). The balm is lovely as well, and unlike some other products that might dull your colour when applied, this one doesn't compromise colour for softness - it keeps things light and bright. So I can happily say that Brightening Blonde is is a great range for blondes!

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September 25, 2014

My Perfect Cozy Autumn Sunday Brunch

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While I love the idea of going out to eat and catching up with friends, and having everything taken care of for you, there's nothing more enjoyable than creating your own wonderful Sunday brunch at home, just the way you like it.

Sundays are meant for relaxing. So, while it can be a nice thing to prepare an elaborate brunch for guests, when it's for yourself or a couple friends or family, you want it to be simple and quick so you can sit down and enjoy it. But that doesn't mean you have to compromise on the menu! I've chosen my favourite at-home Sunday brunch recipes (from Sweet Paul), with the autumn season in mind, that are delicious, healthy and easy to make.

ParmesanfrenchtoastSavoury Parmesan French Toast with Spinach 

 

Serves 4

6 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan + extra for serving
pepper
8 thick slices of good crusty country style bread
butter for frying
fresh spinach
olive oil

1. In a bowl beat together eggs, milk, parmesan and pepper.
2. Pour the batter onto a plate and dip the bread on each side.
3. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan on each side.
4. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and fry the bread on both sides until golden.
5. Place on plates and serve with spinach, extra parmesan and an olive oil drizzle on top.

I like using this recipe to make a decadent sandwich for lunch sometimes. Add parma ham and rocket between two slices of the parmesan french toast with a smear of dijon for a posh ham and cheese toastie!

 

Breakfast bowl

Breakfast Bowl with Ramps, Asparagus & Lemon Herb Sauce

Serves 4

4 thick slices of country style bread, cubed (or substitute with cherry tomatoes like I do for a healthier dish)

12 stalks mini asparagus, cut in 3
12 ramps (leeks or spring onions can be substituted)
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts + extra for serving
juice from 1 lemon
grated zest from 1 lemon
pinch of red chili flakes
1/2 cup Olive oil
4 eggs
vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 380F.
2. Place the bread (or tomatoes), asparagus and ramps on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. (While waiting you can start dessert, see below.)
4. Place herbs, pine nuts, lemon, chili and oil in a blender and blend until smooth. If it's too thick just add a little more oil.
5. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a little vinegar, poach the eggs for 3 minutes.
6. In a bowl start with the bread, then asparagus and ramps, then the egg, pine nuts and finish off with the lemon herb sauce.


Ricotta-honeyRicotta & Honey

Serves 4

2 cups of fresh ricotta
1 honeycomb or regular honey
flowering herbs to garnish

1. Place a large scoop of fresh ricotta in a bowl and top with a piece of honeycomb.
2. Sprinkle with flowering herbs.

I like to add fresh berries and mint if I have them. Lately I've been grabbing a few blackberries off the neighbour's bush that is growing through our fence - no complaints here!

If you want to make your own ricotta in advance, it's not difficult at all. In fact, it's practically fool-proof. All you need is whole milk, heavy cream, fresh lemon juice or white vinegar, a large pan (a preserving pan is ideal), a candy thermometer, cheesecloth, a sieve and bowl. Curious? You can get the recipe here. If you want a lighter version, you can make cottage cheese by using 2% milk and leaving out the cream, and using the vinegar instead of lemon juice. 

Brew yourself some great coffee or get your pots of tea ready and your brunch is served! 

But what are you wearing? For me, the best match for a comfort meal is a comfortable outfit. However, I still want to feel put together, and the perfect place for clothes that feel as good as they look is Hush. I'm all about easy pieces that move with you (especially after an indulgent brunch!) so I've chosen layers because I love that look, and it's also a very wise way to dress when you live on the coast of the North Sea (or the UK in general, really, as chills seem to be always looming around the corner). I kept with a mostly monochromatic look because there's something serene about greys, while whites feel clean and black is just the most versatile when it comes to accessories. But I do love this cosy cardigan in pinks and purples to brighten things up, and it works beautifully with the grey panelled t-shirt dress. The zip leggings are the ideal Sunday choice as they're super comfy but far more stylish than your standard pair.

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The day is not yet over - it's only early afternoon! A nice thing to do after your lovely Sunday brunch is to take a walk. Not only will you feel a bit lighter in the tummy but it will clear your head as well and prepare you for the week ahead. All ready in my layered outfit, all I'd have to do to go from comfy to cool (but still comfy!) is pull on some biker ankle boots and a hat, (yes, I'm a hat girl but I have to be sure it's not too windy before I step out with one of my favourites), a messenger bag and something for my neck which is almost a must-have for a walk by the sea at this time of year - I love this black and white twisted snood with the mixed cardi for a fun complement to the blacks and greys. 

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I hope my perfect autumn cozy Sunday brunch ideas inspire you to make a great day for yourself. Or add a little something here and there during the week to make ordinary days a bit more special, too!

September 24, 2014

Carmen Dell'Orefice to open Digital Fashion Week Singapore 2014

Carmen Dell'Orefice 1 - DFW Creative PR

Carmen Dell’Orefice...if this is what being in your 80s looks like then I'm looking forward to it! The legendary model, who once declared to Vanity Fair, “If I die, it will be with my high heels on”, is set to walk at Digital Fashion Week Singapore 2014, where she will be modelling designs by local designer Max Tan. At 82 years old, this American grande dame of Italian and Hungarian descent has had an illustrious career that shows no signs of slowing down; she continues as the face of luxury watchmaker, Rolex, and walked at New York Fashion Week just last year. 

Dell’Orefice was discovered on her way to ballet class at 15 years old and her first job was shooting the cover for Vogue. Where does a young model go from there? Sitting for Salvador Dalí and posing for Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, and Norman Parkinson. In 1960, she was photographed by Melvin Sokolsky for Harper’s Bazaar. This iconic image, titled “Carmen Las Meninas”, has been collected internationally.

When asked about how she feels about opening for Digital Fashion Week Singapore 2014, Dell’Orefice said, “I'm thrilled to be a part of this exciting fashion event and collaborating with Singaporean designer Max Tan. In doing so, we have become ambassadors for our countries, cultures, and decades."

Digital Fashion Week Singapore will be held from 31st October to 3rd November in collaboration with the British Council and British High Commission. It is supported by DesignSingapore Council and will take place at National Design Centre. The full line up for Digital Fashion Week Singapore will be announced shortly. 

Carmen Dell'Orefice 2 - DFW Creative PR Carmen Dell'Orefice 3 - DFW Creative PR

Here are some favourites of Carmen from her earlier days (is it just me or do these young photos look like Glenne Headley and Sinead O'Connor had a baby?):

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September 23, 2014

Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Covent Garden

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On my way out of London on Saturday, I stopped by Five Guys in Covent Garden around 2pm to review their famous burgers and fries. I'd never been as we don't have a location up in Newcastle, but I knew of their reputation for serving up some of the best American comfort food, so I was curious to see how they measured up. I was greeted at the door by smiling hostess Ilaria - yes there is a door person to manage the queues that form outside - and then manager Zsolt welcomed me in and told me that this year-old location is the busiest of the more than one thousand Five Guys around the world. Not hard to believe after see the thick queue outside! (You can, however, order ahead if you're taking it away, and there's even an app.)

Zsolt took me downstairs to the dining area and offered me a choice of where to sit. Although I would have liked to have eaten in the main room to experience the vibe of the place at one of its most buzzing times, I opted for one of the private booths. (It was the most considerate thing to do to spare the public of having to watch me eat. Apparently I'm still learning how and usually end up wearing part of my lunch.) The booths can accommodate six people and offer a quiet place away from the crowds, though you'll still have the energetic American rock blaring through the speakers to entertain you throughout your meal.  

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I had a quick browse of the straightforward menu of burgers, dogs, sandwiches and fries, with a choice of any or all of 15 toppings, but knew in advance what I wanted. A simple cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard and the cajun-spiced fries I've heard so much about. (I told myself I'd have salad later at home. I didn't.) Although I have quite an adventurous palate, when it comes to the classic beef burger, I go for basic. I want to taste the meat. Zsolt brought me my food in paper bags which included their regular fries as well as the spiced, both handcut and cooked in peanut oil which is actually one of the healthiest cooking oils, and tastier, too. 

First I dug into the fries, alternating between both cartons like a fiend. I liked the cajun, but next time I would opt for the regular - it seems I'm a purist when it comes to the fries, too; when they're fresh cut you don't need anything to help the taste along. Then I opened up the burger and it looked exactly as I wanted it to, which was slightly sloppy. I could see the melted cheese all over that thing, one between the two patties and a second on top. The fresh-baked sesame bun was just slightly greased which is another thing I look for - who wants dry buns? There are no freezers to be found at Five Guys, so the ground beef is fresh with each burger cooked to order, in full view of the customers; there are no secrets here. 

Oddly, halfway through eating the burger, I noticed it got tastier. Like, way tastier. Then I figured out why. Eating a few handfuls of the cajun fries beforehand kind of blocked my tastebuds for the meat, but then I got full of fries and had to stop, and a few bites later I was able to taste the burger properly. Maybe that's just me and my crazy buds, but still I would recommend that if you go for the cajun fries, eat them after the burger so you get the full flavour, because it's pretty good. I also notice when you eat a freshly made, high quality burger that's juicy and not full of filler, you don't feel too heavy after, even when it's a substantial size like this one.  

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You can help yourself to some peanuts in the shell while you wait. (I didn't partake because peanuts make me full very quickly and I didn't want anything spoiling my lunch.) 

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One thing that really stood out to me, which was very surprising considering that this restaurant is located in the heart of one of the busiest tourist areas in London, not to mention the busiest Five Guys in the world - is how spotlessly clean it was. Like, really, really clean. Nothing out of place, no spilled salt or ketchup globs to be seen, all surfaces were sparkling. Before leaving I popped into the washroom, and again, the tile and stainless steel looked brand new and could not have been cleaner. It even smelled clean. My stunned reaction made me realise how rare a sight this actually is, even for high end establishments. This level of cleanliness almost looked out of place! Heck, I've been in high street fitting rooms that looked like dirty bathrooms (there's no excuse at all for that, is there?!), so I was especially impressed with the pride that is taken in all aspects of running this restaurant. 

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I haven't mentioned the drinks yet. I ordered a Diet Coke and was told that refills are always free which are self-serve from a neat machine that has...a hundred different drinks? Did I hear correctly? I couldn't name 20! There are flavours of Coke I'd never even heard of. (I admit my second drink, which I got just to try the machine, was another Diet Coke.) 

The final verdict? Loved the cheeseburger and fries which are far superior to those from the burger giants (not even a contest as this was actual food). So, yes, I would happily go back to Five Guys. And in the end, I didn't even spill anything on myself. I must have picked up on the squeaky clean vibes. I am still in awe of that. 

September 19, 2014

The smart watch: time and money well spent

Intel-smart-watchIntel recently debuted its MICA smart bracelet, a collaboration with Open Ceremony

With no hope of Google Glass becoming mainstream any time soon, it seems the place to wear your tech in 2014 is not on your face, as expected, but on your wrist. Limbs are slowly illuminating with LED lights, flickering screens and a bombardment of information, meaning wrist flicking has swiftly become the new bag-fumbling when the sonorous sound of a notification rings the air. But what are the advantages of these little revolutions, and will they endure?

For Followers of fashion

A crowdfunded project, the Pebble Smartwatch is a super-stylish option that works with both Apple and Android devices, if not seamlessly, certainly better than competitors. There’s currently little distinction made between men’s and women’s watches in the smartphone market, so it’s reassuring to know that this handsome timepiece can be customised with downloadable faces and wraps.

For Fitness lovers

With the increasing popularity of step counter and fitness apps, the smart watch is an obvious purchase for those looking for the motivation of their very own fitness shackle, but it’s yet to be perfected. The most hopeful model has been the Samsung Gear Fit, a 24/7 wearable watch which includes a heart rate sensor and real time coaching in its repertoire.

For all-rounders

The Sony Smartwatch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 are currently fighting it out for a place on your wrist as the best all-round smartwatches. While the Sony wins hands down on slick looks and battery life, the Samsung has the guts and ambition to be a market leader. With heart rate sensor, a built in camera, and a customisable screen, for style, function and fitness, the recently released Gear 2 is perhaps the most exciting option out there on the market today. For $300 dollars, it’ll cost you money, though perhaps save you more than a little time.

Whether for fitness or fashion, smart watches might just have some longevity. It will be interesting to see how they further advance. 

September 18, 2014

LFW: Backstage at Jean-Pierre Braganza with Toni & Guy

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This is what 'sex on a motorcycle' hair looks like! Well, it does to Jean-Pierre Braganza. For his SS15 show, 'Architectonic', he asked the Toni & Guy session team to create 'dishevelled, very beautiful, soft, flowing, long hair' to complement the strong look of the clothes. Some of the designs reminded me of drapey origami, while others incorporated motorbike engines in print. The makeup was created by M.A.C. with artfully lined eyelids in a shape that looked like a bird's wing when closed. The clothes, hair and makeup combined to create one the most beautifully complete runway looks I've seen. Edgy yet very wearable in the real world.

If you want the 'Ethereal hippy girl meets biker culture' look and there is no motorcycle to be found, here's the technique:

  1. Create a deep side parting, prep the hair with label.m Blow Out Spray and blast dry. 
  2. Take label.m Curling Tongs 28mm through the ends of the hair to create slight movement but not a curl
  3. Tuck hair behind ears with the top of ear peeking out for a fashion edge
  4. Sweep hair to the opposite side of the head over the forehead, finish off with label.m Hairspray

You can watch the video to see how it's done by the Toni & Guy team, lead by Global Creative Director, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck:

Here are my photos from the very energetic JPG backstage at the BFC Courtyard Show Space at Somerest House:  

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And the man himself, Jean-Pierre Braganza:

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Fans of JPB might want to add this to their Christmas list or keep it in mind for style-conscious family and friends: label.m's latest designer collaboration is a variety of gift sets featuring Jean-Pierre Braganza's bold and beautiful signature prints, including a gorgeous scarf in black, white and crimson: 

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September 09, 2014

#UnlockArt Film Series Ends on a Humorous Note

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The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll.  It was a lighthearted end (though humour was present in each narrative) to a series that achieved exactly what it set out to do. Sharp-witted writers, charismatic presenters we all know, first class production and astute directors addressed topics such as How to Buy Art, Where are the Women? and Pop Art, making high art easy to understand and enjoyable. 

Clearly, I'm a huge fan of the series, I really can't say enough about it. I spent four years in university studying art and art history, and I thought performance art was, well, kind of rubbish to be honest. Misguided weirdos wanting attention and calling it art. That's how I saw it because I didn't understand it. Usually I take the attitude that something shouldn't be dismissed unless you do your part in trying to wrap your head around it, but in this case I felt my assertion was valid. It so happened that the debut film in the series addressed this very subject, and in a matter of five minutes I finally understood what I hadn't been able to get my head around for years. Performance art still isn't my thing, but I get it now, I've made friends with it, and I can appreciate its cultural influence and the place it holds in art history. What a great way to begin. 

And here is the room where the #UnlockArt series officially wrapped up, in Le Meridien's opulent, violet-tinged, Adams Room where all eight films ran on a loop on the wall, providing the backdrop to a fantastic, #UnlockArt-themed dinner, created by Chef de Cuisne Michael Dutnall:

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Franz served up his delicious cocktails, some of the molecular variety: 

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LM-8Le Meridien's Chef de Cuisine Michael Dutnall 

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Our sorbet palate cleansers (in this case it could be palette as well?) were served in mini shopping bags marked SOLD to tie in with the film How to Buy Art. 

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Dessert was served in a themed box, mine being...can you guess? Pop Art, of course.

KAPOW! to my glucose levels indeed, look what was inside:  

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I was too full to even think about dessert (I left out a couple courses in the photos because sweets and tiny food present a lot nicer than meat), but there was no way I was leaving it behind, so this box of goodies came back to my room and I got into it when I woke up. 

Want to know more about Humour in Art? Let's take the last of the tours that art historian and author Linda Bolton (how we will miss her!) designed to explore works associated with the film topic. Here's a selection from the works we saw at Tate Modern earlier that day, which illustrate how humour comes in many different forms, in Linda's words:

Niki de Saint Phalle – Shooting picture, 1961

She did what? Shoot stuff? That was her thing. Niki de St Phalle said she was angry. In her zip fronted white leather cat suit and hard attitude, she told everyone in her sexy French accent that she was angry with everyone and everything. She wanted to shoot everything and everyone. Niki made shooting paintings: she put liquid paint in a bag, sealed the bag, pinned it to the canvas and covered it in plaster. Plaster dried, she shot the plaster, punctured the bag below and the colour bled down the picture. 

Shooting-picture

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Thomas Hirschhorn – Candelabra with heads, 2006

Hirschhorn is known for his sculptures and installations made from everyday materials such as cardboard, plastic and paper, bound together with brown packing tape. This work was originally part of an exhibition called Concretions, a term from geology and medicine that suggests the gradual growth of a solid mass. Hirschhorn related the theme to a broader social and spiritual petrification. Here the faces of mannequins seem to be emerging from – or submerged into – larger biomorphic forms.

Thomas Hirschhorn – Candelabra with heads 2006

(I have to admit that every time I see this work I feel crampy. I don't need to explain why, do I?)

Stanley Spencer – The Centurion’s Servant, 1914

As we looked at this painting, Linda told us the humorous story (to us, but surely not him) of how Spencer fell in love with a lady called Patricia Preece, married her, yet took his ex-wife Hilda Carline on honeymoon with him. Preece began to manage Spencer’s finances and slowly duped him of his money, even though she refused to consummate their marriage. Stan really didn't play that one right. Find out more here.

Sir-Stanley-Spencer-the-centurions-servant

David Shrigley – I’m Dead

David Shrigley's art is almost always humorous. His Leisure Centre is a funny play on words and concept, as is his I'm Dead placard-holding taxidermy dog.

David Shrigley – I’m Dead

Bruce Nauman – Run from fear fun from rear, 1941

Bruce Nauman makes a fun word play in his neon work. It's a bright, post-pop shout-out for irreverent fun.

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Roy Lichtenstein – Mustard on White, 1963

Roy Lichtenstein makes an art joke in his Mustard on White. The great pop artist makes fun of the American abstract expressionists here. The pairing of colours sounds like the title of an abstract work and at the same time jokingly refers to a condiment on white bread.

Mustard-on-white

And before we go, here's something I found kind of funny from one of Franz's magic molecular demonstrations at the Terrace Grill and Bar - when he lifted the cloche after scent-infusing the cocktails, his head seemed to disappear into a delicious-smelling iquid nitrogen cloud:

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TheSwelleLife-Le-Meridien-Franz-fog (1 of 1)Photos © Dave Watts unless otherwise credited

A huge thank you to Le Meridien for providing what is hands down the most fun and exciting learning experience I have ever had. Sure beats university! (At least the one I went to.) If you want to see posts on the preceding films scroll down here, and to view the entire series of films you can visit the Unlock Art site

Part of Le Méridien’s ethos is to support emerging artists. It furthers this commitment through its Unlock Art™ Programme, which offers Le Méridien guests complimentary access to forward thinking cultural institutions around the world. These partnerships allow guests to explore a local, inspiring cultural experience, simply by presenting the Unlock Art™ room key. Le Méridien’s Unlock Art™ partner in the UK is TATE Modern and TATE Britain

Tate is a family of four galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.  Tate is responsible for the National Collection of British art from 1500 and international modern and contemporary art from 1900. Tate's Collection of over 66,000 works of art embraces all media from painting, drawing, sculpture and prints, to photography, video and film, installation and performance.  The Collection is displayed at Tate's four galleries and through loans to temporary national and international exhibitions and long loans. 

September 07, 2014

Fred Butler Mentors Young Designers at Somewhereto_ Festival

If I had to nominate an inspirational creative to motivate aspiring British fashion designers, Fred Butler would be at the top of my list. Somewhereto_  saw the magic, too, and chose the colour-loving designer and consultant, who has had pieces commissioned by Lady Gaga, Nike, Swatch and Selfridges, to act as mentor  for the Summer of somewhereto_ Festival. Fred donated her time to do workshops and provide one-to-one mentoring to young designers Kay Davis and Shireeka Devlin. Watch the film above to see the exciting things they got up to this summer. (Email subscribers please click the title to view the film on the blog.)

The UK-wide project is delivered by Livity and funded by a £7m grant from the Big Lottery Fund to support its expansion to 2016. somewhereto_ is a free nationwide location finding service which helps 16-25 year olds access free spaces in their communities. 

Whether young people are interested in music, fashion, art, tech, starting an enterprise or participating in urban sport, somewhereto_ offers an incredible opportunity for young people to realise their potential, kick start ideas, sell their products or services, showcase creative concepts and boost their skills.

You can learn more about the initiative at the somewhereto_ website and explore Fred Butler's wonderful world here

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