Have you ever been to the Garden Museum? It is perhaps easy to overlook tucked away in St Mary’s church on Lambeth Palace Road, but if you haven’t been then do visit – not only because this self-funded museum relies entirely on its visitors, but also because the museum has just opened Fashion & Gardens Spring/Summer – Autumn/Winter – a tiny but nonetheless fascinating show that charts the relationship between what we grow and what we wear. Kicking off with the incredibly formal gardens of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, curator Nicola Shulman explores how garden design has been woven into dresses, accessories and even head-dresses. There are beautiful botanical prints (made into exquisite silks in Spitalfields) and portraits that illustrate not only how closely the dual themes are interlinked, but also how gardens later evolved through the romantic era. Our only complaint is that we were left wanting more and although it’s the first time this subject has been explored it does make us think that someone surely will take this up on a broader scale – it’s such an intriguing subject. There’s a lovely limited edition accompanying book – the cover has the wonderful portrait of Lady Birley taken by Valerie Finnis (pictured opposite) whose work inspired an entire Burberry collection back in 2009. It was one of our favourite shows with its artfully dishevelled macs and crinkly knits and sublime soft palette – and now that we have discovered Finnis’ work we understand why.
Liberty’s beauty department may be small and kooky and Selfridges’ bright and buzzy but John Lewis’, on Oxford Street, is about to become the best beauty hall of them all. If you’ve popped in recently you’ll have noticed some sparkling new counters and a lot of hoarding but, today at last, the new multi-million pound, 18,000 square feet beauty hall will be revealed in all it’s glory.
What makes it so different? Firstly, it’s very calming. The new layout – with upscale brands like Chanel and Burberry occupying little boutique spaces – means there’s room to roam around without being accosted every five seconds. Jo Malone fans will squeal at the size of its new ‘shop’.
Secondly, it’s retained its great mix of hi/lo: from L’Oréal to Crème de La Mer, Klorane to Dior (they are exclusively stocking their new BB cream until mid-May), plus fab pharmacy finds and good value natural products.
Thirdly, it has the most amazing selection of beauty accessories, from old fashioned – think rows of vanity mirrors and hot water bottles – to whizzy essentials for DIY beauty treatments.
So all in all, it’s gone from pedestrian to rather dazzling, while retaining its reassuringly sensible vibe: you’re not going to lose your pretty head in here and spend a fortune on snake blood skin care. Well, unless you buy something from Rodial, that is.
There are girls who buy great clothes and those who have fabulous style. And then there are those who manage to combine the two. Our old Vogue colleague, Vanessa Barneby, is one such girl so we were pretty excited to hear about a fashion sale put together by herself and model, Poppy Delevigne. In aid of the breast cancer charity, Too Many Women, there will be clothes from Chanel, YSL, Gucci, Issa, Burberry, Mulberry, MiH jeans and many, many more plus vintage designer wear too. And when you’re done shopping, there is even tea and cupcakes, with manicurists on hand too. What more could you ask for, really?
Many fashion brands haven’t embraced the web with very user friendly results but some, such as LVMH with Nowness.com and Burberry, with Burberry Accoustic, have realised that the best way to add to their brand status is by offering readers strong, interesting content. Christopher Bailey, the designer for Burberry, is well known for this love of music and the Burberry Prorsum shows always have a great soundtrack. Burberry Accoustic gets together some of Bailey’s favourite bands and films them performing out and about with just a guitar or two. With a great choice of some of the best up and coming bands, it’s a fantastic showcase for them and a feather in Burberry’s cap.