Catch Them While You Can: 3 Exhibitions to See in London This Week

If You Want: More McQueen, or some Digital Assistance with that Smoky Eye…

Visit: Warpaint

The mannequins of Savage Beauty may await their imminent dismemberment, but if you’re craving another McQueen hit to dull the pain, hurry on over to Fashion Space Gallery to check out Warpaint, which explores the inspirations and technical processes behind some of his most iconic runway make-up looks.

The London College of Fashion’s Hair, Make-Up and Prosthetics for Performance students have recreated 13 looks spanning 13 years of McQueen collections, from S/S 1997’s La Poupee to S/S 2010’s Plato’s Atlantis, in mesmeric detail.

The Best Bit? 

You can “try on” a catwalk face or three yourself – virtually I’m afraid, if you were hoping to take a sex doll-inspired “Horn of Plenty” pout out on the town afterwards – however, this may just be your one and only opportunity to document your other half sporting lilac-washed lids.

Warpaint is open from 10am to 6pm daily until Friday 7th August at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, W1G 0BJ. Entry is free.


If You Want: Paintings, Clothes, Bookcases or All of the Above…

Visit: Sonia Delaunay (The EY Exhibition)

From Vogue cover art to student bedroom furniture (via Ballet Russes costumes, silent movie sets and swimsuits) – you name it – at some point during her 94 years on the planet, Ms Delaunay (1885-1979) probably designed it. The definitive consummate creative, her lifetime’s exploration of the evocation of rhythm and movement through colour and geometry – though beginning and ending in paint – spanned multiple art forms (a prime example being her “poetry dresses”) and reached into virtually every sphere of modern life (well, who wouldn’t want a co-ordinating coat and car set?).

No cars – or poetry dresses – on display here (sadly, none have survived to tell the tale), but the Tate has managed to curate 12 rooms’ worth of original paintings, sketches, clothes and furnishings to tell the oft neglected story of a truly incredible 75 year career.

The Best Bit?

The chance to see one of the first fashion films ever made (c. 1925).

The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay is open for entry between 10.30am and 4.30pm (8.30pm on Friday and Saturday) daily until Sunday 9th August at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tickets cost £16 (free for Tate members; concessions available).


If You Want: A Couture House “Salon” Experience…

Visit: Yohji Yamamoto | SHOWSPACE

Yohji Yamamoto hates exhibitions. He wants his creations touchable, wearable and seen for what they are – “just clothes”. Clothes which force you to decide which of four or more sleeves you should slip your (I’m assuming) two or fewer arms into maybe, but clothes nonetheless. Hence SHOWSPACE – an antidote to the traditional museum expo, in which an intimate group of visitors (including anyone who happens to be wandering past an unassuming building in Bethnal Green and fancies a gander) is invited to take a step back in time to the days of the Parisian Salon and the old school fashion show. A live model (representing Yamamoto’s muse – an older woman who, whilst she may look back over her shoulder, is always walking away from him – a notion which may go some way toward explaining his predilection for detailing his garments’ rears) dons various archive pieces, whilst spectator-participants are talked through the inspirational and technical processes behind key design features.

A must for aspiring designers, but the more recreational fashionista should also find much to enjoy, with curators offering interesting counterpoints to the typical narratives expounded around Yamamoto’s designs. For example, rather than drawing directly from his Japanese heritage, they argue, the primary influences on his Japonesque designs are in fact Western appropriations of Japanese design (and perhaps in particular Paul Poiret’s late 19th/early 20th century “Orientalism”) – the pioneer of Eastern deconstruction reconstructing the deconstruction of his Western predecessors? Minds suitably blown.

The Best Bit?

You are positively encouraged to touch, caress and wear the clothes. In fact (if you have the cash), you can even take them home with you.

Yohji Yamamoto: SHOWSPACE is open from 1pm to 7pm daily until Saturday 8th August at Live Archives, 81-83 Mare Street, London E8 4RG. Entry is free.

Samantha Simmonds