London Culture Vulture Day 2
To start my second day I decided to explore the city on foot, and walk from my hotel in Bloomsbury over to Knightsbridge. Now as any true fashion fan knows, this area of London is known for one thing and one thing only, the upmarket boutiques around Brompton Road and the streets leading towards Sloane Square. First stop for the day was Harrods, which until a few days ago was home to a pop up exhibition on the history of Prada, called Pradasphere.
For everyone Prada needs no introduction, as everyone is already aware of this legendary Italian fashion house and it’s legacy on the world. The Pradasphere exhibit allowed people to delve into the rich history of this iconic luxury brand, explore a lot of classic Prada clothes, shoes and of course the handbags up close. Also added in this was a selection of some of the fashion week invitations, which have been sent out to special invited guests over the last decade.
All I can say is that it was amazing to get to see such a selection of items from this iconic fashion brand up close, and made even better by the fact that Harrods and Prada were happy to let you take photographs of everything. In true Harrods style they had all of the iconic store window displays dedicated to various items from the Prada range, from clothes, shoes, handbags, even luggage. My favourite was a full size window display made up of bottles of the new Prada Candy Florale perfume.
My true intention for being in this part of Central London was actually a short walk up the road in South Kensington at the Victoria & Albert Museum (The V&A). Beginning in April this year, until late July is an exhibition entitled The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, covering the history of Italian Fashion in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War to the present day, not only through Haute Couture, but also jewellery, shoes and handbags.
The exhibition is basically a who’s who of luxury and high street Italian fashion over the last seven decades, featuring such names as Prada, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Fendi, both Gianni & Donatella Versace, Valentino with his signature red, Giorgio Armani, Emilio Pucci to Dolce & Gabbana and that’s just for starters! The exhibit even includes some items from Benetton, now hands up who had something from here back in the 90’s? I know I did!
The exhibition is organised in almost chronological order, with some slight adaptions to focus on geographical regions including Rome’s time as ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ from the 1950’s to 1960’s involving some of the most iconic movies in history being made in the city, that of Cleopatra, Roman Holiday, War & Peace and who can forget La Dolce Vita and the iconic scene in the Trevi Fountain. There’s even a genuine Vespa scooter on display for this section of the exhibition! The choice of items in this exhibit are visually stunning, from the first Italian couture gowns made for the 1951 fashion shows held within the Sala Bianca in Florence’s Pitti Palace, to outfits worn by such icons as Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Lee Radziwill (sister to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) at Truman Capote’s famous 1966 Black & White Ball, to even JFK himself. For those not major fans of clothes, and shoes or even handbags, there is one standout piece of iconic jewellery on display at this exhibition. That is Elizabeth Taylor’s famous emerald green Bulgari Necklace given to her by future husband Richard Burton on the set of Cleopatra, most people myself included can say that this item is almost as infamous as this couples relationship history. A must visit go see before it ends, well worth a visit!
As the weather was so nice, I thought it only right to walk back across the capital taking in the fantastic view through Hyde Park. If you’re ever in London go and take a few hours of your day, and go explore the many sights and sounds of this iconic park, sit with a drink at one of the cafes either near the Lido or the Serpentine and just watch the world go by.
After my visit through Mayfair the day before window-shopping, I felt it only right to go and explore one of the stores in that area. Shop of choice being Marc Jacobs, as a bit of a fan of fashion and all the major monthly glossy magazines it hadn’t escaped me that Marc Jacobs had launched a line of make up. Unfortunately this was launched at Sephora, and as the UK no longer has this store the range was never released over here. Through reading other blogs, I found out that the range had been quietly released over here back in April, so had to make a stop in Marc Jacobs to look at this further.
The range is typical for what you might expect, lots of foundations, eye palettes, blush, mascara, eyeliner, nail polishes and lip shades in both lipstick and gloss. The range is really good quality, and priced similar to what you might pay at Chanel, Dior & YSL to name but three high end cosmetics brands but you really do get what you pay for. While in there I treated myself to one of their lipsticks, a Marc by Marc Jacobs with the Latin saying Veritas Inlustrat, a note book from his Bookmarc range, a mini ‘to do’ list cleverly entitled shit I’ll never get done, and my fourth copy of the fantastic Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
Last stops of the day before my train home were one of the other iconic London department stores, no not Selfridges but the wonderful Liberty. Housed in a gorgeous Tudor building in between both Regent Street & Carnaby Street, this store is utterly eclectic and attracts a wide range of people everyday for it’s iconic Liberty print scarves and haberdashery department. For me no London visit is complete with a stop in Covent Garden to experience the outdoor performances on offer, now Covent Garden is turning into its own mini Bond Street, with such iconic brands as Dior, Chanel & Burberry all opening beauty stores within the well known piazza. Each one is actually next to the other, a must for any fashion or beauty fan, the staff are great and don’t mid you taking photos as well so go and explore.
That’s it from me now, until my next visit in three weeks! x