Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jean Paul Gaultier in Montreal

The word on everyone’s lips lately in the design world was the recent Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art says its recent exhibition of costumes by the late designer Alexander McQueen was among its top 10 most-visited shows, with 661,509 people traipsing past some of McQueen’s most beguiling creations. Alas I was not one of them.

However another opportunity to see a very similar exhibition this weekend in Montreal has presented itself. (Oh, did I not tell you we are headed off to Montreal this weekend as it is a long weekend?).

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first international exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier. Gaultier launched his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and founded his own couture house in 1997.

This exhibition has kind of gone under the radar, eclipsed by McQueen. Dubbed fashion's enfant terrible by the press from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades.

Very early, his avant-garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society's issues and preoccupations, shaking up – with invariable good humour – established societal and aesthetic codes.

Created between the early 1970s and 2010, these pieces have, for the most part, never before been exhibited. Many other exhibits are also being presented for the first time. Sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, videos, dance performances and even television programmes illustrate Jean Paul Gaultier's fashion world.

So what exactly does fashion icon Jean-Paul Gaultier think he's learned most about himself after seeing 30-plus years' worth of his eye-popping creations together in a new show at Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts?

Looking as surprised as someone who's just seen their first cone bra, Gaultier has to think a minute about the question.

"To see all that work at the same time, it's emotional," he says, warming up to the topic. "It's emotion, what I have learned, that I am always sensitive to emotion.

Gaultier said he was pleased with the Montreal museum show, saying he was reluctant to have exhibits in the past "because for me, it's a funeral, an exhibition in a museum."

"I thought the shows were enough because I am alive," he added.

"I am very happy and proud of this exhibition. I feel at home," he said. "I could even sleep there."

Following its presentation in Montreal, the exhibition will embark on an international tour, with presentations at the Dallas Museum of Art (November 13, 2011 - February 12, 2012), the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young (March 24 - August 19, 2012), the Fundación Mapfre – Instituto de Cultura, Madrid (September 26 – November 18, 2012), and the Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands (February 9 – May 12, 2013).

Of course faithful Savoir Faires I will give a full report on my return. Have a wonderful weekend all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is this Where Lady Gaga Gets Her Inspiration?

The door to the room where we sat chatting suddenly opened. A dead woman entered. Her superb body was modelling a dress of white satin that was wrapped around her like a shroud and dragged behind her. A bouquet of orchids hid her breast. Her hair was red and her complexion livid like alabaster. Her face was devoured by two enormous eyes, whose black pupils almost overwhelmed her mouth painted a red so vivid that it seemed like a strip of coagulated blood. In her arms, she carried a baby leopard. It was the Marchesa Casati. –

Gabriel-Louis Pringué -1914

Was she the Lady Gaga of her day?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Snakes Alive at Lalique or Tempting Savoir FAire

Lalique, the expensive, ubiquitous, famed master glass maker famed for their fabulous glass, crystal, perfume and jewellery has had a fascination for snakes in their long history. Lalique and their slippery serpents have tempted me for years.

I love it when companies such as Lalique constantly delve into their company’s archives to update designs to reinterpret them for a changing customer base. Birds hiding amidst twisted foliage, snakes coiled around trunks of trees . . . fern-crooks . . . feathers . . . scarabs . . . naiads swimming . . . knights in full armor. ...have all had a place in past and current Lalique designs.

Starting off making jewellery with fabulous art nouveau designs Rene Lalique moved to the production of glass objects after the WW1. His company produced an array of items, from decorative pieces for the home through to light fittings and panels for ocean liners.

Snakes have been a theme in jewelry since, well since people started making jewelry. Every culture and every generation has translated this creature into rings, earrings, pins and bracelets. Lalique carried this over to his glassware producing and an amazing array of vases and perfume bottles with the snake as a main decorative feature.

Objects of fashion such as the evening bag below were not exempt from this decorative treatment. Lalique’s use of fighting snakes as guardians for the contents of a purse references not only the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but the general mood of titillation that was central to Art Nouveau. The work’s realism is underscored by the slippery-looking snake skins embroidered into the bag’s surface with silver thread.

The snake has been updated in Lalique’s portfolio in these serpent pendants with onyx and carnelian stones and other fashionable pendants for the woman with a bit of individual style.

However perhaps the ultimate was the release in December 2010 of theSerpent Necklace, based on an original René Lalique design dating back to 1898. This one-of-a-kind necklace, shaped like a coiled serpent and studded with diamonds and emeralds, pays homage to the 150th anniversary of René Lalique’s birth by bringing his original design to market now for the first time. The Serpent Necklace, a fine example of Lalique’s commitment to craftsmanship today, required more than 700 hours of work.

Are you tempted yet?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

I have always been influenced by packaging. For years ever since I was small I would save the boxes with which things would come in especially perfumes and luxury goods. I have amassed a collection which is quite large much to the chagrin of those around me. Living in a rather isolated community when young these were the links to a world of style and glamour that was beyond the boundaries of our small town in Australia.

So lately we have seen certain orange boxes being taken to new heights and used as a decorating feature.

One has to admit that Hermes boxes are a perfect shade of orange. I do not have one, however what a thrill it must be to have one in your hands direct from the store and opening it to see what is inside! I guess there is a reason that they have been called one of the most desirable boxes to receive.
As packaging design goes I do think it is brilliant. The most perfect shade of orange teemed with the chocolate brown details and logo, is a tour de force in understated chic.

Ok, now we come to the decorating thing. While any box is a great storage item, these are gaining popularity as decoration within themselves. Iconic orange Hermes boxes used for display storage: cool or contrived? Are they inspiring or a cliché? It depends on who you are talking to.

Why are we not decorating with red Ferragamo boxes? Or Lanvin or H&M?

I guess because no other box except maybe the Tiffany blue box are tell tales of the wealthy. For those of us who cannot afford to go shopping at Hermes, an empty box is the next best thing and equally as satisfying. At least it is something from Hermes.
The main thing here is a box that is too pretty to throw away, should be put to a good use while being decorative. Do you think the use of boxes such as these could become ubiquitous, like status shoes "casually" dropped on the floor, or are they just a classic element of design?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just Because

Does one really need to explain or write commentary when one comes across a photo like this?

I think not!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Living With Cavalli

There are several reasons why I love blogging. Of course there is the obvious reason, which is interaction with like mind people around the world who share common interests, and the amazing friendships that build over time by following each other’s blogs. Another reason is that while researching information for particular posts, the amount of information that pops up on related or similar topics. We well truly live in the age of information, which suits me fine.

While doing such research I stumbled upon the home of Florentine designer of Roberto Cavalli. Ok, I admit it I am not a fan of Cavalli’s work, while appreciating the colours and patterns, his clothes are a bit too in your face for me. However that is not to say that his abode is not in your face albeit in a different way.

The house created by Italo Rota sits in the hills overlooking Florence, is coated in metallic lace and ivy. This creates a visual that is constantly evolving and changing, thanks to the light filtering through the iron work and the natural wildness of the ivy covering.

Coupled with the ability at the flick of a switch to change colour this is definitely a show stopper. According to Mr. Cavalli’s whim or current mood the house will change colour. So if the day goes good, you’re happy and cheery…. you want bright colors to surround you. The showing in Milan goes bad; you’re gloomy; and voila you’re surrounded by dark hues.

I do love the clean lines and the metal lacework, as it is totally unexpected in this context. The climbing ivy and other plants help to ground the structure into the land it is built on.

Have a fabulous weekend all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carve Your Way With Carven in Spring 2012

It is no secret that I just adore the old names of Paris Couture! From Molyneux to Fath and Balmain, They all have a place in Savoir Faire’s realm of consciousness. I also know that I have beaten Savoir Faire’s followers around the heads umpteen times of the classic forgotten fragrances of these houses, most recently with Carven’s Ma Griffe.

Having had several resurrections in the past Carven is back on the scene with a men’s collection that moves the house out of the office and onto the streets. This new venture for the revived couture house now focuses on ready-to-wear with seeds of couture thrown in for good measure. After the bang-up, back-from-the-dead revival Guillaurne Henry has effected with the house’s women’s wear, the brand’s owners have added a menswear relaunch to the house’s portfolio

Guillaume Henry is the responsible for Carven's new and fresh face for both women's wear and menswear.
Carven is offering a sophisticated take on the schoolboy look with the label's Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Complete with with cropped collared shirts, rolled shorts, and lightweight sweaters all in the mix, it's easy to see the schoolboy touch. There is also a touch of the geek thrown in with pocket protectors!

Usually known for outfitting France’s middle class male in business attire, tradition has been maintained albeit with an updated line. These jackets, shorts, dress shirts, and flat-front chinos with rolled cuffs have a bit of the boy in them but are nonetheless essential for every man's closet.

Colour palette is quite muted and natural, which makes it more casual and daywear orientated: olive, copper and navy colours predominated in this easy to wear and I must say affordable collection.

With the silhouette there is just enough oomph to elicit envy from the friend who is not wearing Carven.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Taking a Seat with Jean Paul Gaultier

While we are all used to seeing Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic looks strutting down the runway, into people’s closets, now we are seeing some his iconic trademarks marching their way into client’s living rooms and bedrooms!

Gaultier has been busy this year translating his distinctive, iconic, daring brand of fashion into interior decoration and furniture with the help of upscale furniture retailer Roche Bobois. The furniture outfit enlisted the infamous fashion designer to create the new pieces, called Jean Paul Gaultier Pour Roche Bobois Paris, to commemorate its golden 50th anniversary.

For the fashionista and interior designer that is lurking within all of us this is a match made in heaven. This eclectic, contemporary and curious collection, mixes some of the iconic trademarks of Gaultier, such as, stripes, vibrant colours and patterns in a chic aesthetic that is perfect is perfect to mix and match, just like his fashion.

Gaultier has proved his distinctive vision with his own designs as well as some reworking and dressing up of some classics which he has reinterpreted. The visually stunning array of items embodies the designer’s unique fashion ID (marine prints and tattoos) as a modern and high fashion approach to iconic concepts, such as the Mah Jong modular sofa.

Designed by Hans Hopfer in 1971, this unique piece of furniture still represents one of the most distinctive and most wanted exponents of Roche Bobois portfolio. Gaultier paid tribute to the Mah Jong’s designer by keeping its modular seating shape while creatively updating the look with upholsteries featuring typical prints: marine stripes, calligraphy, tattoo patterns, glamorous celluloid kissing, pop culture iconography and red pom-poms.

The highlights of the collection also included the Paravent Bed, a distinctive furnishing featuring avant-garde upholstered headboard, chic silver and chromed finish and a pink silk bedding complemented with a fold-out paravent wardrobe.
Is this something you could see yourself taking inspiration from for your own slice of Parisian Chic in your living room?

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