Tuesday, 21 February 2017
“The allure, the odour of silk, the feel of velvet, the crackle of a satin – what intoxication!”
"The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress."
“To have style is to have a feeling for what is currently fashionable, and still to simultaneously remain true to oneself.”
“Dressing a woman is to make her more beautiful - isn't that the point of it all?”
He was adored by the superstar "celebrities" of his day; the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly relied upon him to provide their classy public image, and Audrey Hepburn (for whom he designed that little black dress for Breakfast at Tiffany's) would not wear clothes by another designer. One of his mega-rich clients, a certain Bunny Mellon, even had him design her gardening clothes.
Revered as one of the greatest couturiers of modern times, he celebrates his 90th birthday today.
Many happy returns, Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy (born 21st February 1927)
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Thursday, 2 February 2017
“Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. Revered by his contemporaries, including Coco Chanel and Hubert de Givenchy, his exquisite craftsmanship, pioneering use of fabric and innovative cutting set the tone for the modernity of the late 20th century fashion."
Thus, curator Cassie Davies-Strodder announced the V&A's new summer exhibition dedicated to the art and technique of one of the greatest couturiers of the 20th century and (coincidentally, in the week we are counting down to our holiday in Benalmadena) Spain's most influential fashion designer. He was described as as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior [with whom he shares a birthday] and as "the only couturier in the truest sense of the word" by Coco Chanel.
Señor Balenciaga was born in the Basque country. Even as a teenager, however, his skills in tailoring were recognised by influential patrons, and with their assistance he moved away to study in Madrid. By the time he was in his twenties his clothes were being worn by members of the aristocracy and even royalty. In his day he dressed some of the most beautiful and most photographed women in the world such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Barbara Hutton, Ava Gardner and Queen Fabiola of Belgium, yet he inevitably favoured unattractive older women as his models so as not to distract from his clothes.
Notoriously private about his affairs, in his entire career Balenciaga only ever granted one interview with the press. In 1948 he almost quit the business when his lover the milliner Vladzio Zawrorowski d'Attainville died, but in the end carried on until 1968, when he closed his salons. He went on to teach and inspire such luminaries as Oscar de la Renta, André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro - and Hubert de Givenchy remains today the honorary patron of the Balenciaga Foundation and Museum.
We are looking forward immensely to this exhibition...
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will open at the Victoria & Albert Museum on 27th May 2017.
Monday, 30 January 2017
"The greatest living actress" [© Dan Callahan] is 80 years old today...
"I think the theatre is as essential to civilization as safe, pure water."
"I don't consider myself beautiful at all, I'm usually running around like a scruff."
"Of course, I am misrepresented very often, but so is everybody who has got something to say."
"Integrity is so perishable in the summer months of success."
"I discovered a long time ago that the camera does lie, and thank God it does."
Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30th January 1937)
Saturday, 28 January 2017
"It would be difficult to have any unfulfilled ambitions because I don't have any ambitions. I've never been that kind of performer."
"Pretending to be other people is my game and that to me is the essence of the whole business of acting."
"We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know they're all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how?"
"I never had any ambition to be a star, or whatever it is called, and I'm still embarrassed at the word."
"Someone once asked me, "Is there anything you regret?" and I said, "Everything!" Whatever you do, there was always a better choice."
Caligula in I, Claudius, "Max" in Midnight Express, John Merrick in The Elephant Man, "Winston Smith" in 1984, Stephen Ward in Scandal, the "War Doctor" in Dr Who; from one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time - the monster bursting from his stomach in Alien - to Harry Potter, from King Lear to the voice of "Hazel" in Watership Down - he played them all.
One of his most memorable roles, of course - and one which made a significant impact on one sad, closeted little Welsh boy [moi] back in the 1970s - was his magnificent portrayal of Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, from which this is a mere snippet:
We have lost a giant of stage and screen.
RIP Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017)
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
From the NME:
David Bowie is to be honoured with a set of 10 Royal Mail tribute stamps.The stamps will go on sale on 14th March but fans can pre-order now from the Royal Mail website.
Six of the stamps will feature images of Bowie album covers: Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Heroes, Let’s Dance, Earthling and Blackstar.
The remaining four stamps will feature images of Bowie performing live on different tours: 1972’s The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1978’s The Stage Tour, 1983’s The Serious Moonlight Tour and 2004’s A Reality Tour.
The Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015 are the only previous music acts to be honoured with an entire “stamp issue” of this kind. Bowie is the first solo music artist to be honoured by Royal Mail in this way.
Royal Mail’s Philip Parker said in a statement: “For five decades David Bowie was at the forefront of contemporary culture, and has influenced successive generations of musicians, artists, designers and writers. Royal Mail’s stamp issue celebrates this unique figure and some of his many celebrated personas.”