“CHIC WICKEDNESS”: MCQUEEN & DAVID COLLINS





Entering an Alexander McQueen store is not just entering one of the most world-renowned fashion houses. It is also entering a phantasmagorical and hybrid world composed of hidden references to flora and fauna, 18th C salon Romanticism, the female body, the macabre, Francis Bacon, Rorschach inkblot test, Antonio Gaudi and HR Giger.


That’s certainly what you will get when you visit the 2,300-square-foot new flagship store which was conceived by Creative Director Sarah Burton and David Collins Studio and which opened at the end of last year in the chic shopping mecca of Bal Harbour in Miami.



Burton stated on the new store concept, “It’s very McQueen to see something from a distance and think it’s one thing and then to look up close and discover something else. It’s important to us that everything in the store feels very precious.” 



“It’s about McQueen as a point of view,” Collins added. “The idea of making a dress out of razor clam shells or sheaves of corn, the manipulation of nature to make ornament. We were thinking about eroticism and sexuality. Everything is exaggerated and very slightly distorted.”






Once again, A-Gent of Style fell head over heels for David Collins’ magic touch and the result felt like an assault on my senses…

First and foremost, the palette: an über-chic mix of off-white, black, hints of gold and an envelope of lavender pink.



Two amazing coffered ceilings enwrap the room with layers of subtle light: a spaceship-shaped one at the front of the store with Art Deco moulding and an imposing chandelier composed of delicate pink Murano glass flowers and a more contemporary and curvaceous one at the back with organic contours and a spine-like light fixture. Both of them reminded me of the shapes you would find in the curvy lines of Antonio Gaudi’s architecture and the surreal, nightmarish and fetishistic world of HR Giger and his Alien the Movies designs.






Burton and Collins have used here as well as in their latest store creations the help of Solomon & Wu, an artisanal company that creates bespoke contemporary mouldings. I visited their studio a few months ago after I discovered them at last year Decorex fair on the Fromental‘s stand. I found their work just brilliant and will make a special feature about them very soon.




Solomon & Wu have developed a hugely elaborate and visual vocabulary that incorporates a miniature world made of wings, leaves and scrolls in the confines of a classical panel that becomes the perfect backdrop for displaying McQueen fabulous clothes. They have also developed cast bronze door handles, clothes hooks, feet and legs for furniture in the shape of McQueen’s emblematic skulls but also real animals – lion claws, antelope hooves, gazelle legs – or even imaginary ones.




Brilliantly executed plasterwork that protrudes like an impasto painting and has the similar complexity of the work seen in the facades of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The panels take the shape of wings but also actually incorporate wings along with leaves, flowers and other naturalistic elements. The symmetrical result looks like a Rorschach inkblot test




A-Gent of Style
 has always adored screens in interiors and instantly fell for the majestic Eileen Gray-esque, multi-faceted glass screens that punctuate the store. The dusty pink with a dash of lavender reminds me of The Paint & Paper Library‘s ‘Diva’, the kind of pink you would find in some of Francis Bacon’s paintings. Divine.




Don’t you love the black marble with white veins, perhaps an Empredor, on the floor and also cleverly used on some of the furniture?




“Chic wickedness” doesn’t get any better.


– Thank you to the World Redeye blog for some of the photos –



SUNDAY IS ‘COLOUR OF THE DAY’





ON SATURDAYS: PUT THE ‘GENT’ INTO A-GENT









THE GREATER LIGHT



 

2009  Melchior

2009 Melchior

 

Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings are a team of two – she is a mosaicist and he is an art critic and broadcaster – making oil paintings that are about colour, light and perception.  They use a mute, blank, intricate form – a series of triangles in a grid – not as an idea in itself, or as a quote from life (wallpaper or golfing sweaters for example) but as an inert container for colour.

Joyful, geometric, bright, multiplying…and a bit Constructivist, a bit Vorticist, a bit Missoni…

….Happy Friday from A-Gent of Style.

 

 

2013 Suspicious Utopia

2013 Suspicious Utopia

 

2012 Toil of our Hands

2012 Toil of our Hands

 

2010 The Unseen

2010 The Unseen

 

2010  A System That Does Not Produce Uniformity

2010 A System That Does Not Produce Uniformity

 

2009 Paintress

2009 Paintress

 

2012 Every Lliving Substance

2012 Every Lliving Substance

 

2008 Primitive Methodist

2008 Primitive Methodist

 

2008 Nile Street

2008 Nile Street

 

2008 Mow Cop

2008 Mow Cop

 

2008 Bethesda

2008 Bethesda

 

2008 Bentilee

2008 Bentilee

 

2008 Knypersley

2008 Knypersley

 

2008 Etruria

2008 Etruria

 

2006 Two Squares

2006 Two Squares

 

2006 The Crown

2006 The Crown

 

BLUMENFELD AT SOMERSET HOUSE





Barbara Palvin, the 'doe eye', 1950

Barbara Palvin, the ‘doe eye’, 1950

 

A show called Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941–1960 held at Somerset House until September 1 focuses on Berlin-born photographer Erwin Blumenfeld (1897–1969), one of the most internationally sought-after portrait and fashion photographers in the 1940s and 1950s. America’s leading magazines including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar hired him for his imaginative and highly individual shots. 

Around 100 colour photographs and originals of Erwin Blumenfeld’s works in fashion magazines provide insights into this key artistic phase in the life of the artist from his photography studio at 222 Central Park South in New York.
 

Self-Portrait, 1961

Self-Portrait, 1961



Next time you are by the Strand, make sure you pop in to have a glimpse at the dazzling world of this little known but iconic photographer.

Lilian Marcusson for Vogue, January 1951

Lilian Marcusson for Vogue, January 1951

 

Evelyn Tripp in Dior, 1949

 

Nancy Berg, Cadillac, 1954

Nancy Berg, Cadillac, 1954








1953

1953

 

Grace Kelly, 1955

Grace Kelly for Cosmopolitan, 1955

 

Decollete, 1952

Decollete, 1952

 





City Lights, 1946

City Lights, 1946

 

Ruth Knowles for Vogue, May 1949

Ruth Knowles for Vogue, May 1949

 

Vogue, 1953

Untitled, 1947

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn, 1952


Untitled, 1950


tumblr_mdgr5yY0og1rq8v57o1_500


3 Profiles, 1952

3 Profiles, 1952

 

Untitled, 1944

Untitled, 1944

 

Girl with Gloves, May 1949

Girl with Gloves, May 1949

 

Erwin Blumenfeld by Gordon parks, July 1950

Erwin Blumenfeld by Gordon parks, July 1950






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