Women Fashion Power is a good exhibition that mostly avoids a parody of power. Mostly

Women Fashion Power previewed at the Design Museum this morning.

It’s a very good show, with its best moments in quiet corners.

There’s much in the show – this is just a cherry pick.

A Suffragette’s hat from 1900.

IMG_0015

A Suffragette sash.

IMG_0014

A suit by Chanel from the 1920s.

IMG_0021

Up a far corner is one of the most powerful garments in the whole exhibition.

A pair of beach pyjamas from the 1930s.

It speaks of quiet liberation.

IMG_0023

This is what interested me going round the show – does power have to be something overt and show-off?

A CC41 blouse from the Second World War – clothing that met the goverment’s austerity measures, but which still allowed for print and flair.

IMG_0029

A propaganda printed scarf, from 1942.

IMG_0035

The return of Chanel – a suit from 1955.

IMG_0037

It’s gratifying to see that a suit worn by Margaret Thatcher is not glorified, but just presented as a garment.

IMG_0044

It’s from 1972.

Here’s Thatcher wearing it in 1975.

IMG_0045

This is a huge paraphrasing of the show.

There’s much of worth in it to see.

It’s when it gets to present day that I find it loses authority.

It’s valid to present the extreme catwalk version of power suits – the one on the left by Thierry Mugler, the one on the right by Gianni Versace.

IMG_0049

Critically, here there is no 1980s work from Jil Sander.

And so no sense of the emergence of quiet tailored female power.

The 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s are represented either by extreme or statement dressing.

Here’s a Roland Mouret Galaxy dress, a garment which works by holding the woman in.

An appearance of power rather than power itself.

IMG_0051

A series of shoes by Christian Louboutin – a very shallow idea of power.

A parody of power.

I’m not sure how you dovetail from the Suffragette’s hat to these.

IMG_0053

I’m not sure why, but one of the last garments in the exhibition is a pink Juicy Couture tracksuit.

IMG_0052

I don’t see the women I know today reflected here.

My friends who runs their own companies.

The women I know who run galleries.

The women I deal with day to day for work.

Perhaps what’s needed is a section on Post-Power.

How women of power can dress in the 21st century without needing to convey that power.

Because of their status, because of the way they’ve crafted their own careers, and also because the internet age allows people to work in a more informal way.

In high fashion, it’s the world of Céline, a label sorely missing from the exhibition.

(I found a Céline necklace on one of the garments donated by notable female figures, but as far as I could see that was it).

In real life, it’s something like a grey marl sweatshirt, worn with a pair of jeans and some Converse.

A shame that it misses a true sense of the contemporary.

But this is only the very end.

80% of the show is super good.

Go see – it’s on forever – until 26 April 2015.

A new show Women Fashion Power is about to open. But what about Men Fashion and Power?

At the Design Museum in London, a new exhibition is opening this week titled Women Fashion Power.

Ever since the exhibition was announced a few months ago, the title has played on my mind.

Replace the word “Women” with “Men”.

Doesn’t work, does it?

The word “fashion” connected to “men” and “power” seems frivolous.

And also untrue.

Men of power use the supposed authority of tailoring to avoid any effort with their appearance.

Here’s the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, getting angry last week about something his government had already agreed to.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.53.52 copy

Look at the length of that suit jacket.

Join the cloth at the middle, and it’s long enough to be a dress.

A dress that is badly made and shapeless, without a message of power.

A dress that was totally inert.

Yet because we see the lapel and the tie as details of authority, he is seen as a man of power.

In the United Kingdom, power of men is moving towards an utter rejection of fashion or style.

This is an MEP called Nigel Farage, who is the founder and leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

Nigel_Farage_MEP_1,_Strasbourg_-_Diliff

Farage is a politician who courts populism, mainly over immigration and membership of the European Union.

His use of intentionally unprogressive tailoring – an excess of dull cloth that forms a shell around the body – is part of his schtick.

To appear “straight-talking” to the electorate, you have to dress with mediocrity.

Because any sense of style would cause suspicion.

(A while ago I heard about someone who was trying to get nominated as a candidate for the Labour party. Every decision made about his appearance or lifestyle was tuned to seeming approachable to the electorate. He didn’t get nominated.)

Ed Milliband, making his speech at the 2014 Labour Party Conference.

Labour annual conference 2014

A screengrab from the BBC of Nick Clegg’s speech to the Liberal Democrats party conference last month.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 13.42.11

Possibly the worst example of contemporary male power tailoring yet.

A 32 year-old called William Windsor in due to attain power for as long as he chooses thanks to the constitution of the United Kingdom.

He is second in line to throne, and will be given the title King.

Here he is last week, meeting president Tan of Singapore.

Again, average tailoring as an assumed uniform of power.

The President Of The Republic Of Singapore Makes A State Visit To The UK

The women in outfits of decoration.

The men in banalities of tailoring.

Banalities now the accepted face of male power.

I wonder how this has come to happen?

Probably because the tailored suit was already the accepted form of dress for men of power before the invention of modern media.

Our eye is already used to seeing men of power dressed in mediocre suits.

The dominance of men in positions of power is unquestioned and unthreatened.

And their uniform has stayed the same.

As with anything that doesn’t change, stagnation sets in.

Hence the banalities of tailoring worn by today’s men of power.

Tailoring used to be about solutions for dressing.

Cutting cloth to both flatter and articulate the body.

These garments worn by today’s men of power are not about functionality, but about facsimile.

Aping the look of masculine power.

Whereas women, and I quote from the website for Women Fashion Power, “have used fashion to define and enhance their position in the world.”

Which leaves us at a strange impasse.

Women “using” fashion to “enhance” their position.

As in, to get more power.

Men, already in that position, not needing to give a damn.

Men Fashion Power.

An impossibility.

I’m at the preview of Women Fashion Power tomorrow morning. I’ll post some more thoughts then.

HANDBAG WATCH! VIP EDITION! A deeply scientific survey of the handbags carried at Frieze

!!!!HANDBAG WATCH!!!!

***An incredibly sporadic and entirely unscientific count of the handbags being carried at social events of the world***

+++Usually Frieze Art Fairs+++

Next edition…

***THE FRIEZE ART FAIR!***

—AT VIP O’CLOCK—

Sssshhhhhh

You join us yesterday at the Frieze Art Fair.

It’s 12.59pm.

Yesterday.

The last hour of the VIP viewing, when the big collectors make their rounds.

i.e. women who can afford a handbag.

Or twelve million.

LET’S COUNT THE HANDBAGS.

OMG I wonder if we’ll see any NICOLAS GHESQUIRE FOR LOUIS VUITTON HANDBAGS!!!

???

OK.

12.59pm.

Let’s start the count…NOW.

[Fast forward thirty four minutes]

13.33pm.

STOP.

Shit.

It’s been a brutal round.

BECAUSE THERE’S HARDLY ANYONE HERE.

It’s still VIP only.

So few bags!

Just the cream that has risen.

The results are BRUTAL.

Some brands don’t even get 1…

WHAT ARE THE SCORES?

1st PLACE: CÉLINE – 11 bags.

Mostly that one where the sides pull out and its handle and zip look like a mouth.

A mouth that’s not smiling.

CÉLINE WIN!

2nd PLACE: A DRAW!!!

Chanel and Hermès – 9 each.

BUT… to be honest there’s not that much variety with the Hermès offering.

Mostly Birkins.

Or that one punctured with an H.

Whereas Chanel…

One with a Lego clasp.

One covered in charms.

One of those big padded ones that had Lily Allen in the campaign for a billion years ago.

As well as twelve million 2.55s.

(OK not twelve million – there were six).

So… Chanel win second place on a tie-breaker!

Hermès third.

4TH PLACE: Prada – 7 bags.

But… No new season bags.

No last season bags.

None with the street art on.

None of that new double bag style.

Just, like, Prada bags.

Can’t remember what they even looked like.

They were just… Prada.

5th PLACE: BALENCIAGA – four bags.

6th PLACE: CHRISTIAN DIOR – three bags.

Oooh though!

All are Raf Simons era!

One plaid quilted.

One a mix of patent and plaid.

The other had something going on with it. Can’t remember.

7TH EQUAL: LOUIS VUITTON and BOTTEGA VENETA – two each.

Bottega are just regular Bottega’s.

Louis Vuitton… Two regular styles.

Special mention to Alice Rawsthorn wearing an actual head-to-toe Ghesquière look.

Is there a Ghequière bag though?

Is there?

No.

SOMEONE RICH GO BUY ONE OF THOSE MINI TRUNKS.

But for Alice Rawsthorn’s outfit, Louis Vuitton wins on points.

They’re 7th, BV 8th.

9th EQUAL: MICHAEL KORS AND KATE SPADE – 1 bag each.

I did just write those words.

Really.

I will write no more.

Let’s just draw a veil.

THAT CONCLUDES THE SCORING.

Literally.

So that means, under the highly scientific controlled experiment conditions of HANDBAG WATCH, there were no bags by:

Saint Laurent.

Gucci.

Loewe.

Stella.

Whoever.

Anyone else.

BRUTAL.

But that’s the VIPS for you.

Brutal.

****HERE ENDETH THE CURRENT EDITION OF HANDBAG WATCH!!!****

^^^JOIN US AGAIN FOR MORE HANDBAG WATCHING^^^

—PROBABLY AT THE NEXT FRIEZE TO BE HONEST—

First look at Frieze: Jordan Wolfson, George Henry Longly, Ed Fornieles, Korakrit Arunanondchai etcetc

Hey so I’m at Frieze, it’s super super good – new tent, new sense of purpose.

I’ve got approximately 5.6 seconds to type this so I won’t go on.

Here’s some of the good stuff.

New works by Jordan Wolfson on Sadie Coles HQ.

IMG_9807

Another.

IMG_9806

SO SO GOOD.

IMG_9805

Justified And Ancient by Jeremy Deller on Modern Institute.

IMG_9804

Close-up of an immense new Wolfgang Tillmans work of static.

IMG_9813

The insanely amazing George Henry Longly, on Kendall Koppe.

IMG_9801

Galerie Buchholz has some Isa Genzken.

I just met the person who’s got this on reserve.

IMG_9821

AMAZING.

IMG_9820

Another.

IMG_9819

Another.

IMG_9823

Among them is a portrait of Isa by his friend Wolfgang Tillmans.

IMG_9822

Ella Kruglyanskaya on Gavin Brown Enterprises.

IMG_9829

Another.

IMG_9827

He also has a super jolly Bjarne Melgaard.

IMG_9832

OMG though the stand by Carlos/Ishikawa.

It’s INCREDIBLE.

A collaboration between their artists Oscar Murillo, Ed Fornieles and Korakrit Arunanondchai.

You can get your nails done on Oscar’s table by some nice people wearing clothes made by Ed and Korakrit.

IMG_9833

Obviously I got my nails done.

IMG_9853

Korakrit’s walls.

IMG_9855

Ed’s big nail.

IMG_9856

Oscar’s stuff.

IMG_9857

BEST STAND EVER.

So good.

OK.

Gotta run.

More later.

Or tomorrow.

Including….

!!!!!!HANDBAG WATCH!!!!!!!!

Richard Tuttle is opening this week at both the Whitechapel and Tate Modern. A preview

Richard Tuttle has an exhibition opening across two institutions in London this week.

A show at the Whitechapel, and a major new work in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern.

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a show of his work.

Tuttle is an American artist, now 73.

He was at the Tate this morning, where he’s been for the past while, making his installation there.

It’s his biggest ever work.

IMG_9712

Crucially, it’s an installation in the Turbine Hall, rather than part of the Turbine Hall series, which has paused during the construction of the new wing.

And a change of sponsor.

Despite its scale, the work is quieter than the Turbine Hall commissions.

More of the hand, less bombastic.

Super interesting that both the Tate Modern and Tate Britain both have works in their central halls from artists using wood and cloth.

There’s less fabric used by Phyllida Barlow at Tate Britain, but it’s there.

Both works powerful, in different ways.

That red middle section.

IMG_9723

The other side, looking up.

IMG_9720

The red cloth is scored by a repeat of diamonds.

All of the cloth woven in India for Tuttle.

Tuttle is interested in fabric, its construction and heritage, and its place in society.

How different cultures have their own textiles.

The sections that are like wings of a plane.

Tuttle was once in the US Air Force, and purposefully failed his psychology test to avoid the draft to Vietnam.

IMG_9726

I love that you can see the hand in the work.

If you zoom in, you see rudimentary nailing.

IMG_9733

I always love to see the filled in remains of Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth – the cracked floor – with whatever new work is in the space.

IMG_9731

Over at the Whitechapel is an exhibition of Tuttle’s fabric works from across his career.

The first works you see are super, super small.

IMG_9736

They’re tiny things.

IMG_9737

On the opposite wall, the wire sculptures from 71-72.

IMG_9748

I adored this work, titled The Present, from 2004 (though the titles don’t seem to hugely matter much to Tuttle – they’re present on wall texts, but underneath some words from him explaining the work in poem form).

IMG_9755

The coloured lights are part of the piece.

A close-up.

IMG_9782

This piece is called Walking On Air.

IMG_9758

I loved this one, titled The Right Side Of Summer.

IMG_9766

Ladder Piece from 1967.

IMG_9772

 

This tiny one is, I think, In 14.

IMG_9779

 

His is work that takes time.

It’s not an immediate fun palace.

Which in Frieze Week, is super amazing to see.

Because there’ll be much fun-palacing in the next few days.

It’s five or so hours since I left the gallery.

I can’t stop thinking about the work.

Go see.

Maybe on your own.

The Turbine Hall installation is up until 6  April 2015. 

The Whitechapel exhibition is on until 14 December 2014.

Sigmar Polke opens at Tate Modern this week. It’s amazing. But the pictures are labelled. Discuss

Sigmar Polke: Alibis opens at Tate Modern this week.

It’s the show that’s travelled from MoMA.

It opened there in time for Frieze NY.

It opens here for Frieze London.

Such is the art world calendar.

There’s one big difference between the two hangings.

In New York, there was absolutely no wall text.

None.

Whatsoever.

At the entrance was a map, which gave you all the titles, and any relevant information.

And then, you were on your own.

It was such a liberating experience.

Without wall text to fit into the overall design of the show, Polke’s work was allowed to crowd the walls, and overwhelm.

At Tate Modern, the pictures are labelled.

It’s more discreet than usual, with the labelling at the side of the wall rather than with each work, but it’s still labelling.

And each room has a overall wall text.

Inevitably, the show feels more didactic.

At MoMA you walked through the show looking at the info when needs be.

Here, where information is presented, it feels like it should be read.

Of course, all this is much of a muchness to anyone who didn’t get to see the show in New York.

Which will probably be 99.9998% of those seeing it in London.

But still, it’s interesting to be given a stark example of the impact of wall texts.

And why the experience is better without them.

Anyway.

The work is still the work.

In accordance with the MoMA stance, I barely took notice of any of the titles.

Here’s some early work, from the 1960s, a West German response to US pop.

Some shirts.

IMG_9589

Socks.

IMG_9590

Love these plastic tubs.

IMG_9591

He soon began working with Raster images.

As in, those made up from dots.

This work is called Family 1.

IMG_9594

Flying Saucers.

IMG_9596

The incredible incredible Doughnuts/Berliner.

IMG_9597

Sometimes in his work, he played with the swastika, as in Constructivist.

IMG_9600

With Yellow Squares.

IMG_9601

Stripe Painting.

IMG_9603

At MoMA, the Potato House was sat in the public atrium space before you entered the exhibition.

It gave the sense of the show spilling out of its prescribed rooms.

As if there was too much stuff to fit in.

Here it’s in a side room.

It feels slightly confined.

But again, is this reviewing the work, or reviewing the show?

IMG_9607

Polke As Drug.

IMG_9642

The Seventies saw things go screwy.

You know, experimental drugs, cross-dressing.

The amazing amazing Alice In Wonderland, the canvas made of kids duvet covers.

IMG_9653

Supermarkets.

Possibly my favourite work I’ve seen this year.

I’m obsessed with it.

It’s lovely to see it again.

IMG_9618

Into the 80s.

Police Pig.

IMG_9620

One of the Watchtower series.

IMG_9623

An extraordinary work made of soot on four panes of glass.

An extraordinary feat to have it transported and installed.

IMG_9624

As I was going round this morning, the alarms kept beeping.

Like someone was just stealing the whole show.

It was because they were still hanging one of the works.

One of my absolute favourites.

Salamander Stone.

I love seeing works being installed.

Here it is, off the wall.

IMG_9626

A few minutes later.

IMG_9635

AMAZING!

Britta’s Pigs, from 1990.

IMG_9655

The amazing Season’s Hottest Trends from 2003, which again I think was in the public space at MoMA.

This photo doesn’t quite give you the sense of its scale.

IMG_9631

Close up where those cloths join.

IMG_9632

Does it sound like I’m down on this show?

I’m not.

It took a while to acclimatise to the new hang, and the labelling.

I saw the MoMA show twice, so it’s stuck hard in the mind.

But walking back through it to the beginning again, the worth of the work took over from any quibbles about the hang.

A hang which is dictated by the restrictive space of Tate Modern’s current rooms.

A situation which will hopefully be improved when the new extension opens.

As I was walking back through, I saw a man with a temporary pass round his neck.

I’m nosy, and so peered to read his name.

Georg Polke.

Sigmar’s son.

Suddenly the show turned human.

About the bravery, inquisitiveness and liberation of his father’s work.

Here’s Georg, being interviewed for German radio, in front of a picture of his father as a young man.

IMG_9651

Go go go go see.

The show opens 9 Oct, on until 8 Feb 2015.

In January 2004, Veronique Branquinho staged a Twin Peaks tribute. Red Room et al. Amazing

Cannot cope with there being a new Twin Peaks series in 2016.

All directed by Lynch.

Not just the odd episode, as with the original.

Obviously going to need to find a way of coping.

Probably will cope by watching it over and over.

I was thinking last night – didn’t Veronique Branquinho once do a fashion show based on Twin Peaks?

It took me ages to find anything on it.

And then I found it.

It was her menswear presentation for Autumn/Winter 2004.

Held at Pitti.

I was at The Guardian at the time, and I think had only just started doing the menswear shows.

Or was about to start.

Either way, we never went to Pitti.

And so I’d have never seen it.

I remember hearing about it.

It sounded incredible.

She recreated The Red Room.

tumblr_luffus4OdY1qbbjpeo1_1280

The show was a presentation.

A female model there to create tension – a stand-in for Laura Palmer.

And then her men came out.

tumblr_luffwpYi1W1qbbjpe

So few images exist of it online, and the ones that do are put as copyright Alasdair McLellan.

Who must have been there, taking images.

I so remember that long, long double breasted coat.

The final line-up.

3545_6280

Back then, Veronique Branquinho’s menswear was SO GOOD.

She had such control of the garments.

The slightest slight flare in the trousers.

Those jackets that are just a little bit off.

Such important work.

Video footage of the show exists Pitti’s own pages – I can’t find the code to nick it.

I’ve just posted some of it over on Instagram…

But you can see the whole thing by clicking here etcetcetc

The things you find by clicking around.

An interview with the cast on Donahue.

Look at Mike’s jacket.

James, Donna and Maddy singing Just You And I.

This song used to do me in.

I think Bob turned up pretty soon after.

I could go on.

And probably will.

The Turner Prize is previewing today. Either Ciara Phillips to win. Or James Richards

Hey so The Turner Prize is previewing today at Tate Britain.

And opens to the public tomorrow.

Either Ciara Phillips to win.

Or James Richards.

You come to James’s work first.

His film Rosebud includes censored images he found in a Tokyo library.

IMG_9248

Apparently the institution has a law banning any image that could cause arousal.

At one point is an image of a man lying on the ground, a boot on his head, him fully clothed except for his dick out, which has been censored.

The notes say this is a censored image by Wolfgang Tillmans.

It’s super considered and involved.

Next door are his blankets depicting those around Keith Haring.

The work is called Untitled Merchandise (Lovers and Dealers).

There are six blankets.

IMG_9237

The facile fashion side of my brain wants to say I love blankets.

Am I allowed to say it?

IMG_9278

I LOVE BLANKETS.

IMG_9277

He’s also showing slides from a theatrical make-up manual, titled The Slides.

IMG_9242

Jolly!

OMG Ciara Phillips!!!

Her room is so amazing.

A screen titled “Springtime will never be the same again”.

IMG_9276

The letters O and K from the Justice For Domestic Workers alphabet.

IMG_9252

A wooden construction called O.

IMG_9259

Inside is a list of New Things To Discuss.

IMG_9256

OMG the screen printed wallpaper!

IMG_9257

Out of the four artists, Ciara is the only one not to use video.

It meant that this morning, her room was refuge for all the film crews.

When I was in there, a woman from ITV kept fluffing her lines as she tried to explain screen printing.

And kept making sure she was pronouncing Ciara correctly.

(Everyone presumed it was pronounced “Cara”)

Here’s a wooden work titled K, with some of the film crews around it.

IMG_9262

Some of the work in the K.

IMG_9271

More.

IMG_9274

Another.

IMG_9280

SO GOOD.

CIARA PHILLIPS OR JAMES RICHARDS TO WIN.

You’ll notice I’ve not even mentioned the other two.

Sat here having a cuppa, I’ve just read in the catalogue that Duncan Campbell’s film in the show includes new choreography by Michael Clark.

Ohgod.

I didn’t watch it!!!

Shall I go back in?

I remember a couple of years ago almost ignoring Elizabeth Price’s film, that extraordinary work about the Woolworths fire in Manchester, which went on to win.

I’d been too giddy already in the Spartacus Chetwynd room (as Marvin Gaye was known then).

Ohgod.

I need to go back and watch the Duncan Campbell, don’t I?

Don’t I?

Hey am sure it’s a Turner Prize that’s going to be right slagged off ie it’s AMAZING.

Go see – it’s open from tomorrow till forever – next January or something.

Rob Tufnell has curated an amazing show on contemporary sculpture. Arranged on a snooker table

The amazing new show at Rob Tufnell’s gallery is a study of contemporary sculpture.

Arranged on a snooker table.

Said snooker table.

IMG_9184

It’s inspired by the collection of 19th century archeologist Lieutenant General Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers, who arranged his finds on a snooker table.

As one does.

Said snooker table.

IMG_9196

The stuff that Rob’s put together is AMAZING.

Tortoise Candleholder Variations by Aaron Angell.

IMG_9186

Radical Facial Jewellery by Laura Aldridge.

IMG_9187

That’s a gum shield it’s attached to.

Hence the facial jewellery.

Two of Richard Healy’s AMAZING Albert Goldman’s Martini Pitchers.

IMG_9188

A coin from the future by Ryan Gander.

It’s from 2032.

Official title is We Never Had A Lot Of $ Around Here.

IMG_9190

Some bronze M&Ms by David Adamo.

IMG_9191

Pessimism Of The Intellect by Andy Holden.

(It’s a bowl made from a melted old 78).

IMG_9192

An untitled massive steel belt by Jim Lambie.

IMG_9198

AMAZING!!!

Such a good show.

Go see.

Rob’s on Page Street, round the back and then a bit of a wiggle from Tate Britain.

I mean, Googlemaps.

Click here etcetc.

The end.