Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

Simple, is the first word that comes to mind when checking out the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern. Featuring a selection of artworks following the development of his career and some of his most iconic works, the exhibition felt a little dispersed and incoherent. It also featured concepts simple enough for a very broad audience to grasp.

Unlike the Johan Zoffany exhibition that I saw at the Royal Academy of Art, the Hirst exhibition seemed to lack the same technical triumphs which I witnessed on numerous canvases by Zoffany. The Hirst exhibition really brought to light the inevitable question ‘what is art’ and ‘what should/could be considered as art’.

“I need a doctor, call me a doctor” as Eleven/Amy’s song goes! That certainly couldn’t have been more relevant than after coming face to face with a severed pig’s head with blood and mosquitoes circling, farm animals sliced in half with their insides on display and all in the name of art. To be completely honest, I was absolutely nauseated throughout the entire show as the scent radiating from another “artwork”, (a giant ashtray filled with burnt cigarette buds) forced me to rush through the show in just a few short breaths. A challenge, had you been there and seen the never ending queues of people.

I understand that the desire to push boundaries in art can lead to some rather questionable choices but is this really the route? How about we leave taxidermy and preserving animals and organs in their own category as those interested can simply take a trip to the Royal College of Surgeons and check out the Hunterian Museum. Hoarders, well I assume nearly every family has at least one so just pay them a visit and save yourself the effort of seeing walls after walls filled with pills and pharmaceutical products!

Designer Sample Sale

What better than a designer sample sale to keep one entertained on a rainy Friday afternoon? Held close to Bond Street tube station, it was in the perfect location, The Music Rooms, 26 South Molton Lane. An adorable quiet, little back street that I’ll certainly have to visit again as it had a few promising art galleries and antique dealerships that I’m curious to explore further. A nice break from the busy central Oxford Street.

I found the most fabulous jacket by Viktor & Rolf with a bit of fluff on the sleeves and chest and a bow tie that helped close the jacket in the neck. It was absolutely perfect except for the fact that I’d have to shrink myself in half to be able to fit it. Why?! Urgh, I guess that’s what you get when checking out a designer sample sale. At least no one can say that I didn’t try…

Other than the fabulous Viktor & Rolf jacket, the sale also featured big brands such as Vivienne Westwood, GianFranco Ferre, Margiela, Moschino, Sophia Kokosalaki, Dirk and many more.

A highlight for fellow shoe lovers would certainly be the gorgeous Betsey Johnson shoes that were well worth a look as one can never have too many heels that one doesn’t dare to wear.

One thing that I feel obligated to disclose is that you had to check your coat and bags upon entering so if that’s a deal breaker, be warned. The designer sample sale will be open again tomorrow from 10 am to 6 pm if you’d feel inclined to visit. If not this month, then there’s always next month but at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on May 25th, 26, 27.

Hammersmith Vintage Fashion Fair

Love all things that sparkles? Then the monthly Hammersmith Vintage Fashion, Textiles, and Accessories Fair is certainly something for you. If you missed the one held today, there’s always next month, on the 20th of May. The trick is to do a few laps around all of the different booths so that you know what’s out there and get a better understanding of the prices. And, as long as it’s a deal that you’ll be pleased with at the end of the day, then go for it!

I channeled my inner diva by trying on a few super stylish sun glasses that I only wish I could have pulled off.

The jewelery section is always a highlight for me as the clothes are always in very tiny sizes and frankly, someone’s worn them before me. You may consider that snobbish but with my germophobia I simply couldn’t handle the idea. Although, on several occasions today, I was extremely tempted to overcome and conquer my fear, but to no avail.

With so many lovely things, it proved a real struggle deciding which few pieces to get. It can get a bit pricy as vintage is certainly becoming more popular. This is both a good and bad thing as it’s getting easier to get a hold of which is fabulous. The consequence with vintage being trendy, on the other hand, is that there are only limited treasures to circulate around so it’s becoming increasingly pricy and more desirable. Regardless, I left with a few finds that I was rather pleased with. What do you think? Très chic! I fell in love with both the pink necklace and the fierce green bracelet as I have rings that I got at last months fair that will match very well although they’re not a set. As for the panther bangle, who can resist animal themed warrior jewelery that sparkles? It makes one feel absolutely invincible! Of course I also have a ring that matches :)

Vogue Festival

Ohlala, today was spent at the very first Vogue Festival here in London which is a two day event being held at the Royal Geographic Society.

The main goal was not only to celebrate Vogue, a magazine that all self-respecting fashionistas regard holier than the bible, but also to give a firsthand glance into the magical world of fashion, journalism, photography, beauty, and art.

After having seen the Diane Von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress exhibition last year in Beijing at Pace Beijing gallery, I had high hopes for her presentation. Furstenberg did not fail in giving an inspiring speech about the highs and lows that lead her to the point where she is now, with a worldwide known fashion empire.

After Furstenberg’s presentation, it was fashion question time with British fashion designers Holly Fulton, Henry Holland, Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, and shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. Each known for their unique point of view, the designers spoke about their individual expeditions to creating their brands. I picked up on a bunch of great insider knowledge and fed the ambitious entrepreneur in me.

Photographer David Bailey proved quite the ladies man as he flirted with Vogue features director Jo Ellison and frankly the entire crowd. He may be old enough to be my great grandfather but that proved little hindrance as the many girls in the audience were clearly charmed by his lighthearted, no-bullshit personality. We got to hear the hush-hush scandalous secrets and gossip that even shocked most of the Vogue staff. What one hears at the festival, stays at the festival…

All in all, it was a wonderful event that got everyone excited and fueled up. A great success and it’ll be fun to see what next year’s festival brings.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Calling all fashionistas and die hard Coca Cola fans! The results of the Jean Paul Gaultier collaboration with Coca Cola hit London stores today and naturally I just had to get one for myself. Then again, who could resist a trip to Harvey Nichols when it involves walking away with a limited edition collectors box? Enough said.

Fierce! Considering the likeness of the Coca Cola bottle to that of the female body, it’s no wonder that Gaultier decided to dress the famous curves in his most iconic statement pieces. These bottles will go so well with my Jean Paul Gaultier Classique body perfumes and not to mention my three Karl Lagerfeld Coca Cola bottles. I wonder who’ll be next?

Society Observed

Archduke Francis, by Johan Zoffany 1775, Oil on canvas, 198 x 145 cm

Darlings, I hope you’ve had an as wonderful day as me. As sad as I am to say bon voyage to Paris, I’ve now returned to London. Wasting no time in getting my art on, I sought out the lovely Johan Zoffany exhibition Society Observed at the Royal Academy of Art. Conclusion: j’adore!

The Gore Family with George, Third Earl Cowper, by Johan Zoffany, c.1775, Oil on canvas, 78.7 x 97.8 cm

It’s an absolute must see and the pictures I took hardly do the paintings justice. To see the meticulously depicted details of the best dressed people in society wearing their finest garments of silks, lace, and embroidery was very inspiring. Reow, the sheer skill behind the vast collections of paintings on display, combined with the motifs and curation of the exhibition made it one of the best that I’ve seen here in London yet. Triumph!

George III and Queen Charlotte with their Six Eldest Children, by Johan Zoffany, 1770, Oil on canvas, 104.9 x 127.6 cm

Is it wrong to wish that I possessed most of Zoffany’s paintings in my own private collection? True, it may seem greedy but I hardly want to compromise. I’m also ready to commission or make my own attempt at a self portrait wearing a powdered wig and fabulous frock. A dream come true. This exhibition really made me miss painting!

Cire Trudon

When in Paris, one shops! Everything is presented in the most lovely manner and naughty me cannot resist the many delights! On my to do list was visiting the romantic French candle boutique Cire Trudon on 78 rue de Seine.

Reow! Getting excited by candle sticks might seem rather peculiar but it’s well justified if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of their stores or seeing and smelling their work.

I left with a rather large and luscious souvenir, a Marie Antoinette candle bustle in pink wax. Très chic! Now the only problem that remains is how I’ll be getting it safely back to London with me. As tempting as it would be to stay forever in this fantastic wonderland, one has to return to reality before the time portal shuts permanently.

The Golden Gates of Versailles

Greetings from the Place of Versailles! I never imagined that I’d make it here but what a triumph! While approaching the magical golden gates I was in awe while it all felt extremely surreal. Like a clip out of the movie The Truman Show (1998) with Jim Carrey where it turns out everything was simply a facade.

I felt a sudden need to faint but also to scream with joy and excitement as it was all just a little too good to be true. Breathtakingly beautiful! The grand Hall of Mirrors was a true highlight, here 17 great mirrors face tall arched windows and infinite chandeliers fill the room. Spectacular!

Since Marie Antoinette no longer occupies her rooms at Versailles, I think it only natural that I be the next in line to live in and care for the lovely floral quarters. After the thousands of times that I’ve watched Sophia Coppola’s gorgeous film Marie Antoinette (one of my all time favorites) I think it only appropriate.

There are only a few awkward facts of history that I’ll have to get over before moving in to my new quarters. The fact that Marie Antoinette gave birth to her children publicly in front of a rather large royal entourage in this very same bed isn’t too comforting. Being the overly sensitive germaphobe that I am, I simply couldn’t handle the reality. An identical modern replica would please me much more.

I absolutely adore costume/period films! I’ve mentioned that Marie Antoinette is one of my favorites but lately I’ve been laughing myself senseless over French and Saunder’s 1999 sitcom Let Them Eat Cake. It’s set in 1782 at the fabulous Palace of Versailles and if you haven’t seen it yet I insist you give it a go! If anyone has any recommendations as to other fabulous costume/period films that I should watch, post a comment and we’ll see if there’s something I’ve yet to see. Exciting!

Now I wonder how I could procure one of these lovely palaces all to myself… mission impossible? As tacky as this might sound, I raided and purchase the entire gift shop which was filled with deliciously glamorous souvenirs in an attempt to recreate what I saw in the palace.

My Utopia

Now it’s true that I talk a lot about finding love and heavenly delights on an almost daily basis but striving after euphoria and finding one’s utopia shouldn’t be a bad thing. Whatever makes you happy! Buddha claimed that life is suffering and if so, shouldn’t we do everything possible to ease it by indulging ourselves? My philosophy is to enjoy the many wonders of the universe; see, hear, taste, and feel. When did deprivation ever lead to anything good?

At the delicious pâtisserie Gérard Mulot, I indulged all of my senses in the heavenly delights seen before you. As much as I wanted to taste them all, my wallet and waistline could only afford one. It was a difficult decision but I went with Amaryllis Passion, which was a large pistachio flavored macaroon with a passion creme center and plenty of framboise (raspberries)! As you can probably imagine it left me craving many, many more :P

If you’re ever in Paris, I strongly recommend you take the time to visit one of Mulot’s boutiques as it’s well worth the trip.