Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Art, medallions and men's summer fashion

My escort for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Preview Party was charming young interior designer, Romanos Brihi, who was seeking works for his clients, and for his own collection.

In addition to possibly being a good investment, I suppose owning a unique piece of art is a way of showing off your taste or wealth, or both - even if you don’t choose it yourself? Art has become so much a part of the luxury lifestyle that the line between art gallery and concept store has become somewhat blurred (see my latest post at The Dabbler): I’m sure it’s all good for the UK economy, but I do think there's too much focus on pure materialism. Should there be such a symbiotic relationship between contemporary art, interior decoration, high-end fashion and designer goods?

Talking of which, I spotted some finely dressed men at the party. Apart from the Olympics, it’s not everyday you see chaps wandering around wearing medals on ribbons around their necks. The Royal Academicians have different coloured ribbons according to their discipline eg red for painting, green for sculpture – and (I think) grey for architecture.

These gentlemen are wearing the red ribbon. I do hope Anthony Eyton (on the right) remembers inviting me to lunch at Brixton Market, the subject of one of his paintings in the show (see below).

Stephen Cox, whose daughter is the first RA poet in residence, models the green ribbon here, rather dramatically set off against a royal blue linen suit.

His granite and gold leaf masks work exceptionally well with greige, rendering them an instant hit with interior designers the world over.

Elsewhere, other smartly dressed menfolk included cocktail waiters in buttoned-up black, Gareth Pugh in a curiously gothic cutout suit,

Nicky Haslam in a wall-matching grey number... and this jolly fellow in vintage-style pinstripes.

There were sunglasses and hats..I wore recycled vintage cotton lace with a feather bolero - and I borrowed a Bakelite butterfly bag from ShopCurious. Plus, there was one elderly gent who wasn’t wearing anything at all.

Towards the end of the evening, as paparazzi and punters clamoured to get final photographs on the red carpet, things became a little crazy…

You’ll have to visit the show yourself to see the art.

Will you?