While in London we managed to check out two temporary exhibitions that, wouldn’t you know, were fashion related (I swore to my boyfriend it wasn’t on purpose).
The Favourite costume display
The costumes of the recent award winning movie “The Favourite” are currently being displayed in Kensington Palace. It has an Oscar nomination for best movie, and the costumes were made by 3 time Oscar winning Sandy Powell.
The color palette is very neutral – mainly black and white, particularly the women’s outfits. Like Rachel Weisz says in an interview, the characters of the court look like chess pieces, which is an interesting stylistic choice considering the plot. The materials were modern, but that worked well for most outfits, in the sense that they didn’t take away from the overall look of that historical period.
I only really had a problem with the servant’s denim outfit – to me it immediately stood out as something that didn’t belong to the era. Denim looks too modern for me and it was a bit of an eyesore in that context (although I would totally wear that corset this spring).
I could literally wear about 90% of the men’s outfits. Those shoes!
Diana: Her Fashion Story
The other exhibit at the palace was Diana: Her Fashion Story. It ended on February 19th, so we were lucky to get to see it just before closing.
Throughout the exhibition you were reminded of why she was so captivating. Her story had an amazing “character arc”: from shy and unexperienced to rebel and fashion daredevil to humanitarian and working woman. And all of that was vividly expressed through her clothes. That’s a designer’s dream woman.
The press couldn’t stop obsessing over her and she very quickly learned to take control of that. She stopped following the royal tradition of always wearing gloves and hats. She kicked demure to the curb. My kind of gal.
Victor Edelstein, who designed the famous dress she wore while dancing with John Travolta at the White House, said she would go the rehearsals of fashion shows, instead of the actual shows, because the press would not pay attention to the show if she was there.
She would wear dresses specifically designed to honor the host nations on official visits. These garments, even 30 years later, managed not to look tacky or too themed. The dress with which she visited Saudi Arabia had embroidered falcons, the country’s national bird, on the bodice and along the tail.
For her charity causes, she requested a more work-appropriate wardrobe. When working with children she often wore accessories that the children could play with.
She was the embodiment of choosing what to wear to send a message.
My favourite dress was right at the end, inside a circular dome – it was made by Versace, and staying true to it’s designer, very vavavoomy.
Shopping at Harrods
The Harrods department store in Brompton Road in London is a building worth admiring, and I recommend a visit at the end of the day to see the nearly 115-year-old architectural beauty lit up entirely. We went in there after walking through Hyde Park and because I wanted to do a little makeup shopping.
The architectural choices on the inside of the building are also very peculiar – it looks like a mall inside an Egyptian pyramid.
It might have only been a funny coincidence, but it seemed like everywhere we went there was a display of women’s handbags. Accessories section? Here’s some handbags. Makes sense. Women’s fashion? Look at these bags. Ok, still related. Souvenir section? Why don’t you take a handbag home. Bit of a stretch.
Staying on the subject of being trendy, at the bottom of one of the escalators, in a section dedicated to (yet again!) handbags, I saw a stand full of Danse Lente handbags right at the forefront. Danse Lente is a London based brand not even two years old yet, and it recently caught my eye with their creatively structured quirky designs. I was surprised to see such a big selection already at Harrods.
Another visit to a popular London shopping area, formerly a fruit-and-vegetable market, this place wasn’t initially in our itinerary but ended up being a nice detour.
Covent Garden also houses some trending brands stores, one of which I entered and did some shopping in: the Deciem shop, owner of the (in)famous brand The Ordinary.
I think the shop was meant to look like an old laboratory, and the displays had that overall feel but the luminous sign on the white wall tiles looked more like a butcher shop to me. Regardless, even though there were a lot of customers, they were well stocked, and the girl who helped us was incredibly nice. Worth the visit.
When we got out of the Camden subway station on a Saturday morning, the streets where filled with people, sounds and smells that overpowered the senses. Up to the actual market, there was a road of thematic shops whose merchandise overflowed to the sidewalk. The energy of the place reminded me of a funfair.
Past the entry sign to the market, the scenario changed somewhat – there was still a sea of people, but the stores of mass-produced goods were replaced by small wooden stands of hand-crafted or vintage items.
I regret not getting a copper water bottle at the market. We were holding out to check out the Portobello market later that day, but when we arrived it was already wrapping up. We did have lunch at a mac’n’cheese stall – first time I ever tried it (it’s not really a part of Portuguese cuisine) but I quite enjoyed it. Was to be expected though, I love cheese.
Do consider stopping by Camden Market if you’re in London. It was a more street-style, pleasant experience.
Photos by https://www.instagram.com/diogomafra/