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Posts Tagged ‘Victoria & Albert Museum’

stella-bella-1_2390010aThe Victoria & Albert Museum in London often has Friday evening lectures and events. I was lucky enough to be in town on  Friday, November 2nd when British designer Bella Freud discussed her career with Hadley Freeman, American expat and fashion journalist  for The Guardian.

Yes, Bella Freud is related to the artist Lucian Freud (her father) and Sigmund Freud (her great-grandfather) but she’s a force of her own with a long and successful career in fashion. In the 1980s while still a teenager, she left school and worked for Vivienne Westwood. Later she studied fashion design and tailoring in Rome. She has designed for Jaeger as well as her own knit wear line and she was recently involved in the relaunch of Biba.

The Bella brand logo  is a drawing by Lucian Freud of  Bella's dog.

The Bella brand logo is a drawing by Lucian Freud of Bella’s dog.

That evening about 75 of us, mostly women, gathered in one of the upstairs lecture halls in the lovely V&A building. Dressed in smart winter coats and boots, most of the crowd appeared to be fashion students. Ms. Freud sported a chic unfussed look in flowing grey tuxedo trousers and one of her own knit sweaters with 1970 across the chest. Sexing it up a bit she had on a pair of platform shoes. She wears her hair casual-long reminiscent of the 1970s. Indeed, she’s a cross between Karen Carpenter and Patti Smith.

Ms. Fraud commented that she has always prefered boys clothes because she’s attracted to the uniform look that boys wear has. “I like the limitations of boy’s clothes and the potential for the unkempt look of a tie or shirt,” she told Ms. Freeman.

Soft-spoken and not at all a corporate fashionista, Ms. Freud said she enjoys the freedom working on her own allows, although, she appreciates what a large fashion company can offer such as resources and staff.

When it comes to inspiration, Ms. Freud said she relies on what’s going on inside. “The most important part is getting out my drawing book and drawing. Because that’s where it all comes from.”

Film is also an interest and Ms. Freud has made several shorts, three in collaboration with John Malkovich and all including her own costume designs. We were treated to a viewing of Ms. Freud’s latest film, Submission.

The discussion closed with a question about the significance of 1970. Evidently there’s nothing personal about that year for her just that it was, in general, an interesting artistic turning point. Aesthetically speaking, I’d say it’s also a good-looking combination of numbers.

(With an artist father and a bohemian mother, Ms. Freud had an interesting childhood which was fictionalized in her sister’s novel Hideous Kinky. The novel was made into a movie in 1998 starring Kate Winslet.)

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Deborah Nadoolman Landis posing at the Victoria & Albert Museum Hollywood Costume Exhibit.

The secret behind costume design is it’s not about the clothes. We are all about substance over style.

Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Hollywood costume designer.

Dr. Landis is a professor of costume design as well as a celebrated Hollywood costume designer. Recently she was Senior Guest Curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for the Hollywood Costume exhibit running now through January 27, 2013.

It took five years to track down 100 costumes from studios, actors, and private collectors. There are pieces from such iconic films as Hello Dolly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones, Saturday Night Fever, and Titanic. Dr. Landis says, “What’s represented in the galleries is really costume archeology.”

The oldest costume displayed is the rather tattered tuxedo Charlie Chaplin sported in 1915 film, The Tramp.

There’s a lot of buzz in London about this exhibit with patient attendees waiting 45 minutes in long queues just to get tickets. But there’s plenty to see online as well. Check it out.

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Photo courtesy of Street Style London.

I always thought that garments should be made very quickly, spontaneously because if you labor making a garment by the time when you finish, the garment looks exhausted.

Fashion designer Yuki Torimaru told BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s current ball gown exhibit features one by the renowned Japanese designer Yuki. The raspberry-red gown was originally made in the 1970s for the American actress, Gayle Hunnicutt who was married at the time to British actor David Hemmings. She made a splash in this caftan-style gown at a formal Windsor Castle ball where Mr. Hemmings made sure to help show off those fabulous sleeves by whisking his wife around the dance floor.

A big “Thank you” to blogger Jill at Street Style London for sharing her photo with Over Dressed for Life. Check out what Jill has to say about London style: http://streetstylelondon.blogspot.com/

Also, take a peek at Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950.

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