Pandemonia’s Social Diary ☀
✦ Walking for Manish Arora – Paris Fashion week
I step off the Euro Star, Gare de Nord and hop in the first cab I find. Arriving at Comptoir General, I am immediately made to feel at home by Manish and his team. They are very friendly and show me the outfit they wanted me to wear. Finding myself fourth in line, I am bit a nervous, but Mei the model in front of me puts me at ease.
Several stylists buzz around, dressing me. It’s a strange experience wearing someone else’s fashion. It was fun to watch Pandemonia stripped of her tropes, slowly becoming an element of Manish’s vision.
The preparation is intense as we all get ready. I see some familiar faces from London modelling, singer Bishi and Artist/ Model Tessa Kuragi. I keep a look out for Mei, so long as I’m behind her I’ll be in the right place. There is a lot of shouting, it is a bit chaotic even. A blue dog called @Fluffy_the_Dog appears from somewhere and then… we are on!
After the walk, ever so quickly, all the girls change back to their street clothes and disappear into Paris. Afterwards in a bar around the corner I get Manish to tell me about his collection:
“The idea of the collection was: life is beautiful.
That’s how I began.I always believed that,
while it’s not always easy,if you start thinking like that,
it just happens. I wanted to bring that feeling into the show.”
“I like your pop aesthetic.
I have a Western aesthetic too,
but yours comes from somewhere else.”
“I think it was Suzy Menkes who told me
that my work is definitely not ethnic
but that only an Indian designer
could design something like that.”
“Your toaster handbag was great!
Especially the toast bit being the purse.
Money, the bread of life.”
(Why didn’t I think of that one!)
“It’s quite from your world.”
“How did you feel about the show?”
“You know, I haven’t seen it yet, I was back stage.
But the way it went off, the energy and reactions,
seem it was really nice… After I go home I will crash out
for a couple of hours, wake up, check everything and see how it went.”
✦ Frieze Art 2016 Private View
Walking into Frieze, I bumped into was none other than the glamorous Nancy Dell’Olio. My doggie, Snowbell, instantly noticed her Louboutin Cataclou wedges sparkling on her feet, so we cozied up for some photos.
Following signs for my friend, Julie Verhoeven, I was surprised to find myself in the bathroom where she was manning her Toilet Attendant installation.
“Last time I met you was at the Melissa Pop shop Covent Garden…
So this is your toilet?”
“Well… I’m in charge.
Five day shifts, 11 to 7 the majority of the days.”
“How are you finding your new career?”
“So far everyone’s being very well behaved.
I’m waiting for some shagging though
I suppose that will happen after hours…”
“Wait until Friday night!”
People need to put the seats down.
Keeping an eye on that.
I’m selling a few wares.”
“What do you have to sell?”
“Oh!… Are they going like hot cakes?”
Moving back to the hall, I was drawn to the Silberkuppe Gallery’s, Anonymous Was a Woman by Margaret Harrison. Like a feminist Mount Rushmore, it features women prominent in politics and culture whose work brought them to nasty ends.
Later on, I met with Clelia Colantonio of the Frutta Gallery whose exhibit, she told me, was inspired by an Italian trattoria. It featured Lauren Keeley, a British Artist and her sight-specific pieces. Built up on plywood, the pieces are somewhere between sculpture and painting. They convey an interesting Trompe-l’oeil feel, but are actually built in three dimensions.
Around the corner, I was impressed by Jesse Darling’s “March of the Valedictorians”. The chairs, with extended legs bent into anthropomorphized shapes, were clearly inspired by Modernist tastes. Zhoe Granger of Arcadia Missa explained that Jesse often uses steal or other industrial materials, subverting the elements by coaxing them into more fragile organic forms.
Turning to another wall I spot some paintings with the Evisu logo.
The works are by a musician and artist named Dean Blunt, who chose Evisu because it was very prominent brand within the Hip Hop scene, commenting on the commercialization of hip hop culture. Zhoe stressed the representation of the rampant flattening what was once organic black street culture.
Afterwards, I disappeared into the art fair bumping into fashion designers Pam Hog, Victoria Grant, photographer Diana Gomez and Bip Ling amongst many others.
✦ Vin & Omi, 6th Oct
Dressed in black, hoping I’m not overdressed, it’s off to cocktails at the Sanderson Hotel where fashion designers Vin & Omi are launching MERGE, an exhibition of their favourite artists.
James Unsworth’s graphic cigarette prints took my notice before I was spirited away by the glamorous Earl of Earl’s music. Earl told me she originally came from Alaska singing gospel in the local church choir. Moving to London, she decided to produce her own music. Discussing our looks, she let slip she wasn’t always blond. I reassured her that my hair wasn’t always blue. All the while, Saul Zanolari’s “BB the Green Boy” was smiling down at us.
Snowbell’s tummy rumbled as he had sniffed out the Alison Jacques Gallery across the street, where Takuro Kuwata confectionary-like work is on exhibition. Alison explained that Takuro’s work is rooted in traditional Japanese ceramics, but with “so many references in the work, even geographical ones with Japan being on a fault line. And there is a historical angst there”. On contemplation, I felt his work expressed a sort of elemental energy.
Colnaghi, 7th Oct Night
With an invitation to one of the oldest galleries in London, I set out to Colnaghi’s unveiling of their new 4,000 sq ft gallery & Vanitas exhibition opening. A subject close to my heart!
Vanitas is a selection of 30 Spanish paintings and sculptures from the 16th to 20th century on the theme of Memento Mori. It is dedicated to the genre of symbolic works that remind the viewer of their mortality, and the transient nature of our existence. Arriving at the gallery, I was struck by the live-action Mary Magdalene “painting” in the front window. For authenticity, the stylist brought all the cloths and props, even the slate floor, from Spain.
The gallery was replete with stunning old masters, while creative director Diego Fortunato designed all the sumptuous interiors. The crowd was impressed with both. Snowbell meanwhile had her eye on the canopies, as did David Pun who I noticed was in attendance. I had a moment with DJ Blonde Ambition, a girl of like-mind who transmogrified the gallery space into a party with some fresh beats. By the end of the evening all dour warnings all cast aside, we guests all enjoyed ourselves in our own happy bubble. *POP*
19th October 2016