BOOK END No14




“Straight I walked to the trellis vine. Wisteria touched a lifted nostril:

Feelings of beauty diffused, to entwine my spirit with June’s own aura.”

– Ann McGough, Summons –


Here are A-Gent of Style‘s June picks of noteworthy publications.

Don’t forget you can hover your cursor over each image to see the rest of the book cover or click on the image to see the cover in full in a new window.



All books are available or can be ordered from
The Bookshop at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour +44 (0) 20 7351 6854 / @theBOOKSHOPat

And if you’ve missed the previous instalments of Book End, you can catch up and see the other fantastic books A-Gent of Style selected over the months:Book End No1, Book End No2, Book End N03, Book End N04, Book End No5Book End No6, Book End No7, Book End N08, Book End No9, Book End No10, Book End N011, Book End N012, Book End N013.


Happy reading!




“A LONDONER IN PARIS: THE NOTEWORTHY DRIES VAN NOTEN RETROSPECTIVE





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Numerous are the fashion exhibitions A-Gent of Style has swanned around over the years but nothing had prepared him for the revelation that is the first ever retrospective currently at Les Arts Décoratifs museum in Paris celebrating the notable career of Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten. When his friend Christophe d’Aboville highly recommended he saw this exhibition during his stay in Paris last week, A-Gent of Style was uncertain as to whether he would make it to Inspirations as he shamefully knew little about Van Noten who had seldom been on his sartorial radar. Pleasantly surprised would be far too mild an expression to describe the indelible impression the exhibit on the artist’s work had on him.
A-Gent of Style left the museum buzzing, re-energised and completely inspired by this maximalist cornucopia of layers, textures and compositions with cross-cultural, cross-societal and cross-geographical references and visual stimuli.


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Dries Van Noten takes us on an intimate journey into his artistic universe created since 1986 where he reveals the singularity of his creative process illustrating his various and numerous sources of inspiration. This event, expertly curated in the most sterling and intelligent manner, is an eye-opening experience where
Dries Van Noten’s men’s and women’s collections are put together and juxtaposed with iconic pieces from the museum’s fashion and textile collection. The show also includes photographs and videos, film clips (the embroideries and beading ones shot in India are sublime), musical references, as well as artworks by renowned artists, from public and private collections, that have triggered the designer’s imagination throughout his life and career.



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For this beautifully detailed and extensively researched exhibition which takes the form, on the second floor, of a kaleidoscopic hothouse of enchanted wild gardens and blossoming prints on the walls and on the floors, Dries Van Noten has brought together elements which point to other sources of inspiration, such as the Renaissance ‘chambers of wonder’ or ‘curiosity cabinets’ in which collectors amassed memorabilia and souvenirs. He has selected anonymous 19th century pieces and works by emblematic couturiers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and
Christian Dior ans 1980s designers, to evoke intimate subject matters such as youth, the archetype, ambiguity and passion, while highlighting his ‘signature’ themes.

 

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Thanks to exceptional loans, masterpieces by important artists such as Bronzino, Kees Van Dongen, Yves Klein, Victor Vasarely, Francis Bacon,
Elizabeth Peyton and Damien Hirst are on display in each section of the show ranging from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the 1950s, military uniforms, Spanish bullfighters, ’60s hippy chic, Bollywood, African tribes, punk and many more. Major films, including Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange and
Jane Campion’s The Piano, are also part of the event.

The exhibition is the result of Dries Van Noten’s close collaboration with the Arts Décoratifs Museum, which has prompted him to use several 19th century textile patterns in his 2014 men’s ans women’s Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collections that he unveiled in Paris in June and September 2013.


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– Photos by A-Gent of Style and Les Arts Décoratifs –







LILY-WHITE MAY DAY



Grace Kelly, 1970s



A-Gent of Style arrived in Paris last Thursday evening on May 1, not only Labour Day in France but also la journée du muguet, or lily of the valley day. On that special day, everywhere in the City of Light and also throughout the gallic country, you will see vendors at street corners selling the delicate green sprigs capped with their tiny white bells.
When A-Gent of Style got reunited last Saturday night with fellow blogger The Parisian Eye, over cocktails (try the lush E.V.A!), this time at the George V hotel, he was bowled over to be faced, as he entered the prestigious hotel, with a wondrous flower installation replete with muguet which suffused the foyer with its seducing scent, courtesy of the brilliant artistic director in residence at the Four Seasons and flower artist, Jeff Leatham. In France, the tradition goes that people should offer un bouquet to their loved ones; a lover perhaps, your mother, grandmother, or anyone special.
It isn’t unusual to see on May men wear a few stems of muguet in their lapel (A-Gent of Style obliged on the day) and women don the delicate flower in their hair. Delightful, n’est-ce pas! There’s a lot to be said about tradition.

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Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris, with floral arrangements by Jeff Leatham

 

Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris



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As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles IX of France, who was ten at the time, was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet. It was a gesture which touched the king so much that he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day.


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Lily of the valley has come to represent happiness, luck, rebirth and prosperity and the traditional Fête du Muguet continues in France today, almost five hundred years later.
When he was a kid,
A-Gent of Style and his family would go every year without fail on May 1 to the woods and after the picnic they would take a postprandial stroll and pick as much lily of the valley as possible. Its scent is now firmly rooted in his consciousness and highly evocative.


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The scent of these ephemeral flowers – in bloom just a couple of weeks each year – has bewitched perfumers for centuries as it is impossible to distil (did you also know that the flowers only grow on one side of the stem?), and its subtle perfume is recomposed in the secrecy of laboratories.

Lily of the valley has been represented throughout the centuries not only in perfume (Caron was one of the first to ‘bottle’ the scent; Dior’s lily of the valley-scented perfume Diorissimo is one of their best sellers to date) but also in fashion (Christian Dior adored the flower so much he based and named several of his collections ‘Muguet en mai’; Hubert de Givenchy too created a few gowns called ‘Les Muguets’; Helen Mirren donned last year a Dolce & Gabbana lily of the valley-print dress, on three different public appearances), in luxury goods (Lalique crystal vases, Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery for instance), at weddings (from Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn to the Duchess of Cambridge) and in candles, room sprays, soaps even teas and macaroons to name a few.

  Come take a look and celebrate le muguet:


calotte en muguet Paulette 1958‘Calotte en muguet’, Paulette 1958



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Arbre_De_Matisse_Lourdes_Gutierrrezby Tory Burch


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Givenchy 56Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy 1956



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The “Muguet”, Lily of the Valley dress (1954) by Christian DiorThe “Muguet” dress by Christian Dior, 1954


Sicily bag in an emerald green hue & weaved PVC Dolce Bag in the very fashionable bucket bag shape.


Robert Doisneau, 1953, Le Muguet du Métro‘Le Muguet du Métro’ by Robert Doisneau 1953


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penhaligon's lily of the valley

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Les Muguets’ (Lily of the Valley)‘Les Muguets’ by Hubert de Givenchy



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Fashion Show, Menswear, Fall Winter 2011, Milan

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1932LALIQUE 'LILY OF THE VALLEY' CRYSTAL PERFUME BOTTLELalique ‘Lily of the Valley’ crystal perfume bottle 1932



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Jean berthet 1964Jean Berthet 1964



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Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky – charm nature Muguet clip, platinum, diamonds and emeraldsVan Cleef and Arpels lucky-charm ‘Muguet’ clip in platinum, diamonds and emeralds


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wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Monaco in April, 1956, dress designed byMGM wardrobe designer Helen RoseGrace Kelly at her wedding to Prince Rainier, Monaco April 1956 in a dress designed by MGM wardrobe designer Helen Rose



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tobu20080521_001_116_50 001by Tory Burch
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