Monday, 4 July 2011

Masters Of Style At Somerset House

D+G; SS11 Steven Klein
D+G; AW89/90 Steven Meisel
Last Thursday I was flattered to be invited to the preview and press party for the new Somerset House exhibition, Masters of Style. Curated and (on the night), hosted by fashion historian, commentator and journalist for The Sunday Times, Colin McDowell; this groundbreaking exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification.
Missoni; SS96 Mario Testino, AW03/04 Mert + Marcus, misc. illustration
Oozing with the panache and sophistication Italians are renowned for, Masters of Style brings together six of the nation’s most influential fashion houses to celebrate the stories behind Italian fashion’s emergence on the international stage. Synonymous with the variety, style, originality, workmanship and high quality of the Made in Italy label, the six iconic design houses under the spotlight are Armani, Dolce + Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Missoni and Prada.
Gucci; 2000
With each designer personally choosing his or her favourite images from their illustrious back catalogue of advertising campaigns, the resulting hand-picked selection from their archives, brings to life pivotal style moments, which epitomise Italian culture and design, whilst offering an insight into the passion and influences of the revered designers themselves.
Prada; Steven Meisel, AW 04/05 Steven Meisel
Prada; SS03 Steven Meisel
A heady cocktail of sex, glamour and sophistication many of the images (mainly black and white), are steeped in history depicting the many highlights the brands have had to date. With a separate white muslin labyrinth for each of the six designers, the mini galleries or series of tiny exhibition spaces helped to add to the exclusive atmosphere, with groups of guests huddled in corners where we’d have to rotate in circles to stand in front of each photograph.
Armani; AW90/91 Aldo Fallai, SS08 Mert + Marcus, AW09/10 Mert + Marcus
Depicting defining moments shot by the world’s greatest fashion photographers (Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, Peter Lindbergh and Mert + Marcus), and featuring the top Supermodels and celebrities (Giselle, Kate Moss, Amber Valetta, Gemma Ward, Isabella Rosellini and even Madonna), of the last four decades, this is a stunning exhibition which perfectly sums up the Italian design legacy.
  D+G; AW08/09 Steven Klein
With champagne, an endless supply of (exhibition sponsor) Peroni and raspberry/ orange juice cocktails on offer, guests were shall we say, well lubricated. Canapés were provided by Zafferano and were beautiful; crab and cucumber rolls, mini bruschetta with tomato and mozzarella, beetroot and melted cheese on rustica and many other delectable delights.
D+G; SS00 Steven Miesel, SS88 Ferdinando Scianna
As always with an event like this, the guest list read like a who’s who of fashion with all of the top journalists, stylists, buyers and clinger-on dressed in their finest of outfits to pay homage to this brilliant group of innovators.
Prada; AW88/89 Albert Watson
Masters of Style is showing until 14 August.

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