London. One of the most iconic cities in the world. Dirty, busy and oh so exciting. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in the capital recently and although it’s still my home country it feels like another world. People there live their lives at a faster pace than anywhere else I’ve ever been and there is a constant feeling of needing to get to places, to achieve aims, to be on top of everything. Summer is the best season, in my view, to visit London. The sun casts a warmth and energy onto every fibre of the city (as well as making you feel like you’re an extra in an exceptionally cool film) which quite literally buzzes with a constant anticipation of shows, exhibitions, festivals, markets, film premieres, breaking news and world events.
No trip to London is complete without an excursion to the Victoria and Albert Museum, affectionately known as the V&A, which is both known and greatly respected for the quality of its exhibitions and displays. I was torn between two exhibitions in particular: the life and work of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto and The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900. When it came down to it I just couldn’t resist the opportunity of marvelling at intricately designed clothing collections and so to the Yamamoto exhibition we went! Now the last exhibition I had the pleasure of viewing at the V&A was Grace Kelly: Style Icon in July of last year, and I enjoyed it so much that I felt inspired to write what came to be my third ever blog post about it which you can read here.
Before my fateful visit I’d had a vague idea that fashion was something I’d be interested in pursuing in some respects, but sitting there, watching old film footage of the Princess at her many events and parties, and surrounded by glass cases crammed full of original couture dresses from the likes of Chanel and Dior which had obviously been designed and created to perfection – I knew that I wanted to be involved with the fashion industry. I felt completely comfortable and utterly content - like I had arrived at where I wanted to be. It was with these memories in mind that I entered the Yamamoto exhibition and I can honestly say that if it was Grace Kelly who sparked my fashion ambitions then it was Yohji Yamamoto who reinforced them.
To read the full description of the exhibition then I urge you to visit the V&A site where it is explained in full detail. All I will say about the exhibition is that it proved to me that off the peg, mass-produced fast fashion will never be able to compare to real design and craftsmanship, and also that Yohji Yamamoto really changed the fashion perspective of certain styles being suited to one gender only. This was minimalism in the flesh (or rather, fabric), and the one quote that stood out to me the most of the hundreds in the exhibition was this: “ ‘White is the absence of colour, black is the presence of all colours.’ What a unique concept – what a unique designer. I leave you with these thoughts and photos of the exhibition from the V&A gallery. To see some incredible photos taken live from the catwalk show then take a look at Jill’s wonderful post.