Monday, January 31, 2011

Balenciaga: Spanish Master

Every now and then an exhibit arises which has the potential to thrill those in the fashion world through to the bone. When I was in New York just before Christmas, there were plenty of events listed in the "all things fashion" section of my diary. Top of the list was Balenciaga: Spanish Master. The exhibit was the talk of the town when we arrived and my word did it live up to its expectatation.  Exhibits can quite often be large spaces filled with a selection of materials and garments, it might well look impressive but it lacks one thing - emotion, the ability of an exhibit to move you and get you thinking. In this case the life and times of Cristobal Balenciaga.


There is no place more appropriate for a Balenciaga exhibition than the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute. From the beginning the venue alone gives you the impression of the grandeur and the times that Balenciaga himself lived in. He is widely known in fashion circles as “The Spanish Master” - a designer that has become synonymous with the golden age of haute couture and supreme style, with his ritualised costumes, intricate designs and golden creations.

Referred to as "Fashion's Picasso" by Cecil Beaton, and "the only couturier” by Coco Chanel, Balenciaga painted a new image of illustrious style for generations of the best-dressed women in the world. Conceived by Oscar de la Renta, the sparkling exhibit highlights the intoxicating influences of Spanish art, culture, religion and history on Balenciagas creations. All of the creations in the exhibit are as a result of inherent influences on Balenciaga as a child, both what he grew up with and around. It is clear for all to see that he drew his inspiration from within as opposed to external knowledge.

The stunning contrasts between the austere and extravagant luxury of the Christian religion is an amusing highlight of the exhibit. A modest jacket that recalls the robe of St. Francis painted by El Grec is donned by a mannequin that jokingly gestures to a grand, elaborate wedding dress across the way. The wedding dress evokes the vestments created for the Madonna figure carried thorough the streets during the holy days. This contrast continues to flow through the exhibit, speaking to Balenciaga’s childhood as an altar boy (his uncle was a priest) and it seems some of Cristobals designs were made for what he conceived in his head as what a female priest would wear. Religious opulence!

Divided among three floors, the truly inspiring exhibit takes its viewer on a voyage that illuminates the relationship between the designer and his homeland that resulted in technical mastery and supreme style. Some of our favourite pieces included the scarlet silk evening coat, the very wearable camel and black wool dress from the 1960’s, the ‘eisa’ wedding dress and the metallic tunic from the 1960s that evokes Spanish armour. Its sheer beauty would stop a bullet in its tracks. The exhibit, which spans the period from the 1930s to the late 1960s, reveals Balenciagas growing love for abstraction as he matured. This passion can be seen in the 1967 evening ensemble that features head-framing ruffles. The third and final floor of the exhibit contains a video depicting one of  Balenciagas original fashion shows.

Balenciagas lavish creations continue to seduce generations today. This exhibit is one that gets you thinking and is well worth a look. Balenciaga is an inspirational designer to those who want to design garments that they believe in! 

David Greene

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

(Photos courtesy of Queen Sophia Institute)

Monday, January 17, 2011

New York New York

Concrete jungle where things are made, oh..
There's nothing you can't do,
now you're in New York...
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you,
Lets hear it for New York..

I echo that, lets hear it for New York! Just before Christmas I experienced my first trip as part of the StyleWARS prize. What better place to go on a fashion expedition in search of all things cool and inspirational for the visual and creative team at Oasis. What we managed to see in four days was nothing short of spectacular. With aching legs from all the walking between Manhattans ridiculously lazily named neighbourhoods (TriBeca, NoHo, Nolita and so forth), we soldiered on, cameras in hand, on the hunt for creative stores throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. I'm here to bring you the best of those stores.....

My top stores for those lucky enough to escape to the concrete jungle in 2011 are:

203 Grand Street
Williamsburg, BK
NY 11211

An ecclectic mix of mens and womens fashion pieces from some well known and some underground designers - a gem of a find and a beautiful shop too.  

186 Grand St,
Williamsburg, BK
NY 11211

To find so many amazingly edgy shops within the one area wasn't easy, but they are out there. Head to Williamsburg, it still has that raw Brooklyn vibe thing going on. Life:Curated stocked so much stuff that I wanted that I found it hard to leave. My favourite piece was a quited leather t-shirt with oversize sleeves. Take my word for it, fabulous!

Fille De Joie
197 Grand St,
Williamsburg, BK,
NY NY 11211

Look at the image below of the owner opening her shop - she must LOVE going to work everyday. Inside she has a brilliant collection of designer vintage clothing, everything from Versace jewellery to Gucci medicine bags - you name it, she has it. My find was in the sale section of the basement - a vintage japanese fur-lined aviator hard hat. I loved it so much that I just had to buy it. The price tag - a bargain $40. I love it even more now that I've discovered it doubles as a Russian top-hat. Chi-Ching!

more to follow......

Kiss Kiss, Bam Bam xx

Friday, January 14, 2011

A quick ode to Beijing!

This snap was taken in Beijing a few days ago - I don't know what this girl is picking but thank god she's picking it because this ring is poxy mental - I love it!

Pikachuuuuuuuu Power.

Bam Bam xx

Monday, January 10, 2011

Amen to Men Style - The High Street

As promised here's the high street alternative to yesterdays designer look. This outfit has the same idea, a relaxed spring look, suitable for a last minute night out or one of the many spring/summer festivals coming up that we just can't wait to get outfits ready for....

All Saints - Sleeveless Biker - £98.00

Horace - Geo V Hem Tee - £48.00

Van Dale - Pele Shorts - £60.00

Swear - Ripped Leather Trainers - £48.00

Faboosh - BAM BAM xx

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Amen to Mens Style

For some time now I have been asked by so many different people to do a blog on mens style and fashion so whilst I was infecting everyone within a twenty metre radius with my sickness over the last few days (stuck in my apartment feeling like Sigourney Weaver in Copycat - god love her), I decided to brainstorm new ideas for the men that read the blog and like my style. As someone who constantly browses the rails of both designer and high street online shopping sites - I decided that it might be a good idea to style outfits for those who have the moolah to splash out and for those who have a smaller budget but still want to look and feel amazing. Keep in mind that there is 'nearly' always a high street or cheaper alternative to a look - it might not feel as nice but you'll still look high fashion!

Lets beat those January blues! What better way to do it than with a black outfit (contradictory, I know) that you can wear throughout the year. Black is never going to go away - it's a wardrobe staple and you will use these key pieces no matter what the event.

Leave the jumper out,
Pull the socks up,
Tie your trainer laces (don't tuck them in)

and FABOOSH - you're away in hack! Whether its a night out or a festival this outfit has you covered. Bam Bam!

Balmain Suede Biker Jacket - £2399.00

Tim Soar Mesh Jumper - £105.00

Odyn Vovk Drop Crotch Shorts - £194.00

Damir Doma - Slashed Leather Trainers - £374.50

Comme des Garcons - Houndstooth Stockings - £15.00

Oh and if anyone wanted to buy me the Balmain jacket - well, I mean, it would be rude to say no! x

The High Street alternative will be posted tomorrow on