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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fashion's golden age of theatrical excess

In recent decades we’ve experienced a resurgence of arty excess in the fashion world, and can probably all admit to the occasional theatrical indulgence when it comes to dressing up for an evening out. I hope, amidst everything you’re up of a day or an evening, you get a chance to visit the ‘Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes’ exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Living the crazy life us Londoners do, I barely had time to whiz around the rooms – and this exhibition seems larger than most, with an awful lot to see. I’m not going to talk about the collections here, as they’ve been widely reviewed elsewhere - and there’s plenty of background information on the V and A’s own website. But I’d just like to point out a few things I noticed:



Firstly, the curator of the exhibition, Jane Pritchard seems to use the word ‘curious’ an awful lot. Perhaps she picked this up from Serge Diaghilev (variously known as a charlatan, devil, director, dictator, sorcerer, charmer and impresario) who believed himself to be much like the King of Spain,“I do nothing, but I’m indispensable, curious and elusive.”

Secondly, never mind the dancers, the creativity behind the scenes is responsible for the bulk of what’s on show here. Take the extraordinarily large and stunning backcloth for the 1926 production of the Firebird, for instance, which is said to be the largest single object currently on display at the V and A.



 


Thirdly, what this event showcases best is an amazing collection of costumes and illustrations for costume, advertising and set design by a whole host of world renowned artists and designers - including Matisse, Picasso, Bakst, Cocteau, Berard, Miro, Braque, Dali, de Chirico and even Chanel.

And, if that hasn’t whetted your appetite, here are few of the arty pieces currently on offer at ShopCurious, which bear more than a passing resemblance to some of the musuem's unique exhibits:

The collectable vintage silk kaftan coat above reminds me of the trousers worn by the Polovtsian Warriors in Prince Igor, as well as the costume worn by the Chief.




This embroidered Chinese silk dressing gown is vaguely reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s costume for the Chinese Conjuror from Parade, which is apparently the most expensive costume ever purchased by the museum. There's also a costume for a Mandarin, that looks a little like another of our jackets.

I adore the stunningly simple, but very arty design by de Chirico (shown at the top of this post), which is slightly similar in style to our hand painted, swishy-skirted number. Of course, there are plenty of jewel embellished ballet tights too, just like the fancy pairs you’ll find on our website. And we haven’t even got on to the jewellery and headwear yet, but I’ll have to leave those for later…




It's possible to lose yourself in ballet's fantasy world at this exhibition, but don't get too carried away - I have a feeling that fashion’s golden age of excess may soon be coming to an end...

Do you?

5 comments:

Ivania santos By DIAMOND said...

Woow...

i love it <3

worm said...

I'm currently in fashion's 'dralon' age. Soon to move wholesale into top-to-toe Marks and Spencers. Navy blue cotton jumper and bottle green cords. sensible brown shoes.

janettaylor said...

OMG! :)

Jill said...

All three are great. Not sure if I could pull off the tights though.

Susan said...

Sure you could easily pull off the tights Jill - just the same as you put them on in reverse... (is that what you meant?!)