Monday, 3 August 2015

Style is Eternal


I travelled up to Barnard Castle this weekend to see the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Bowes Museum, a (deferred) birthday treat arranged by my good friend Patsy.


Et voila! 

A French chateau in the middle of County Durham may be a little incongruous, but it is a magnificent building. 


Interestingly, it was always intended to be a museum, built by John and Josephine Bowes to house their collection of European decorative arts; the museum first opened to the public in 1892.  


We took full advantage of the excellent backdrop, of course...


and were very excited about seeing the exhibition.


See?


Fashionable eyebrows were raised when the Bowes Museum was chosen as the venue for this YSL retrospective, the first ever shown in Britain. It is certainly a huge coup for Joanna Hashagen, the museum's fashion curator. But why not? London gets most of the interesting exhibitions, so it makes a refreshing change for the provinces, especially the North, to get a look in. 


The clothes are spectacular.

I wasn't sure if photography was allowed (it usually isn't) but I surreptitiously snapped a few of the exhibits.


The bright pink Zepherine dress (far right) is from 1958, when Saint Laurent was designing at Dior; it featured in a fashion show attended by Princess Margaret at Blenheim Palace in that year, and has only recently been rediscovered.
 
 
The famous Mondrian dress, 1965; the influence of art is evident in many of the designs. 
 
 
 
 
   
 
I love the exuberance of this 1960s magazine spread.  


Chic tuxedo, 1966.
 
 
Le Smoking.
 

Sheer brilliance. 
 


 
 

Matisse dress, 1980.


There are so many iconic designs in the exhibition, it was a real pleasure to see them up close and beautiful. 
 
 
 Barnard Castle is a pretty market town, and Patsy and I had lunch and checked out the charity shops. Of course.


And I found my own little bit of 1960s glamour...


a Hong Kong-made silk and sequin top and skirt set.


The top fits, but the skirt is tiny. The pieces were hung separately in the shop, priced at £4.99 each, and although I have no idea what I will do with the skirt, it seemed wrong to leave it behind. 
 
(If you have a miniscule waist and hips, and don't mind paying high postage costs - it's very heavy - email me and I'll send you the skirt; it deserves a good home.)
 
 Silk palazzo pants - flea market
 Sandals, bangles and 1970s magnifying glass pendant - charity shopped 
 
I'm hoping a soupcon of YSL magic has rubbed off on me!

xxxx

41 comments:

Goody said...

How lucky you were able to see the exhibition. I've been reading about it, and wishing I could.

The way you paired the wide trousers and sparkly top is quite chic, and a very good look on you.

Goody said...

First!

Patti said...

How great to see the exhibit - it looks like one not-to-miss, as we remember those fashions from our own youth! And you look smashing in your sequined top with black palazzos. It's a chic and eye-catching look. xox

Sheila said...

Freakin' love that top with the wide-leg pants - very YSL! How cool to see that retrospective - and what a fab venue!

Connie said...

What a fun exhibit. And isn't Barnard Castle just the prettiest? I love the photo of you in your bright maxi in front of all that grey stone. And what a perfect homage to YSL in your beaded top and flowy pants. Tres 1960's Cherie!

Trudie said...

What a stunning day to see that exhibit I would have adored ventrimg through all that. Love your sparkly find.

Fiona said...

What a marvellous birthday treat and a fabulous venue too. I would love to have seen this exhibition...so interesting and with wonderful photographs of YSL and his creations. Your beaded top looks great with those wide trews, hope the skirt finds a home...I'm thinking Patsy, she looks tiny. x

Louise McDonagh said...

I love Bowes museum. Such an amazing quirky place. Did you see the swan?

señora Allnut said...

glad you enjoyed that amazing Yves creations, it looks like a very interesting retrospective (I'm loving that famous Mondrian dress)
And I'm admiring your thrifting mojo!, you've purchased a really great piece, you're gorgeous!, even if skirt doesn't fit you, you've got the top to play with and that's fabulous!!
besos

Winter Moon said...

What an amazing exhibition! I love the dress you wore for the day, and your sequinned 1960s outfit is gorgeous, too. I hope the skirt finds a good home xx

thorne garnet said...

lucky you! I'm in love with the gold cape, the sheer dresses, not so much. The big city isn't the only place people want to see this kind of exhibit. Those of us who live in the hinterlands tend to get over looked. You look amazing in your thrtfted outfit.

Carina Rosenholm said...

What an amazing exhibition ! And that top is great !
xxx

Lesley Extance said...

How wonderful to go and see Curtise , love both your outfits and the pictures are fabulous ! best wishes xxx

Lisa said...

You and your friend look very glam indeed.
What a fab exhibition, an excellent birthday treat.
That Mondrian dress reminds me of 80's hair product packaging!
When I think of YSL it's the tuxedo and black and white which springs to mind, your own YSL look is tres chic.
Lisa x

Laurie Duncan said...

Oh, you do look tres chic! I love that sequin top! My favorites YSL would be the mondrian and matisse! :)

Melanie said...

You OWN that castle I think, well, co-own it with your friend who looks like so much fun to hang out with. I'm glad eyebrows were raised - it takes off years, darling, years!
I would love to see that exhibition but thanks for the photos, the next best thing.
Your beaded top with the palazzos looks amazing on you. I love your photos, particularly the one with your hands on your hips. WOW. I'd jump on that skirt in a second if I thought it wouldn't be too small for me.

SAM said...

I have a great pair of palazzo pants, not really vintage, but super comfy and chic, but I never quite had the right top. Now I totally know what to look for-something with shimmer and shake. I can't imagine mail to the US, but my sister in law is a tiny little thing, and would pull that skirt off in a flash. I bet Vix could find a home for it through her shop if you see her for the handoff. I am in awe of the fashion and the setting.

Jazzy Jack said...

So chic daarling!
Beauuuuutiful dress you wore, and you are nailing the sequin top and pants.
The exhibition was really top notch. So glad it made it to the provinces!
As you say, so many iconic looks, and the backdrop itself is worth the trip. Amazing! We in Oz can only stand and stare. Xo Jazzy Jack

Radostin said...

Maybe that skirt will fit Claudia soon?

Vix said...

Wow! What an incredible exhibition and a fab late birthday pressie. Would you mind popping back and getting me that cape with the doves on it? How fantastic that its not in London either, you're right, us non-Southerners rarely get a look in.
Love the grand setting and that selfie of you and Patsy - you've mastered the art now, love!
I don't think I've ever seen an entire beaded set, the top looks wonderful on you but I can imagine no end of disasters with a white fringed skirt and cats.
Love you! xxxx

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

I swoon! The Yves Saint Laurent retrospective. We are going to London/Brighton for a weekend in sep, and now I have to go to the Google map to find out were this castle is/are(????) located. And you look very YSL! http://www.ulla-marie.blogspot.se/2015/06/stil-igen-dara.html

MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P said...

I am soooooooo glad you have such good treat for your birthday.
Love it all, dear Curtise
I have been many times to Barnard Castle, ahhhhhhhhhhhh memories of cool beautiful England.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx

Delia West said...

wow what an amazing house and the grounds have taken on their own design and art work that garden with the fountain is a piece of art work on its own. The clothes look outstanding what a wonderful collection. One of those places you could hours wondering around and would notice something different on each visit. you and your friend look gorgeous I love you white sequin outfit I have one very similar in emerald green but without the tassels on the bottom it to was made in Hong Kong, dee xx

beate grigutsch said...

a lot of YSL glamour is in you already my dear!!!! i´m sure he always smiles on you down from his cloud!
you just found another interpretation of the famous smoking with this outfit - and so gorgeous topped with excellent jewelry! (would´t the skirt fit one of your cute daughters?)
the bowes museum is a stunning beauty of a house! and you and patsy look like you own that place! and i have to thank you so much for taking the risk to snap some pics of the exhibition!!! looove YSL´s work!! such wonderful events are the only one reason for me wanting to be rich. (and visiting friends around the world!) i just would take the next train......
p.s.: the reasons for reading you´d listed on my blog are exactly the same why i´m here at yours!!!!
love!!! xxxxxx

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Some YSL glamour has definitely rubbed off on you! What an amazing collection in a stunning location. You look like lady of the manor in your maxi dress. xxxx

Catherine said...

i was going to say, after that exhibit you must have had your eyes trained on the glamour of YSL, and of course you picked up that great sparkly set! It looks so fab with your trousers!

Angels have Red Hair said...

What a fabulous exhibition ... and I love the sequinned ensemble. What a shame the skirt doesn't fit but I'd have been the same and couldn't have left it behind. Perhaps a dressmaker could add some extra panels of contrasting fabric in or something???
xx

BadPenny said...

What a fabulous place to visit & the exhibition looks wonderful. Love your glitzy top - lovely with wide legged black trousers x

Sue said...

You do get to visit some lovely places. Love the mirror photo of you girls inside, thanks again for sharing another of your adventures. I would make the small skirt into a cushion cover, that is what I would do with it.

Mim said...

You don't need YSL's magic, you make your own! Those photos of you outside the castle look beautiful. Though you're right, it is great to see such a big exhibition outside London.

I personally would keep the top and skirt just because whenever I've had a set and got rid of one piece, I've always regretted it later. I envy you that set, its absolutely lovely. Going to go and look for something similar in fatgirl size on Etsy...

Beth Waltz said...

The 60s sparkling ensemble is a perfect souvenir of your expedition pour retrouver YSL elegance: You brought it home in a bag!

I've too many curves to wear the Modrian shift, even in my dreams; however, I'm thinking some hommage to Matisse could be managed with a full black skirt and appliques.


Forest City Fashionista said...

Oooo, thank you for snagging some photos of the exhibits to share with us - I would love to see this!! I think Saint Laurent would be quite pleased to have his designs shown in such a beautiful setting. The gardens are gorgeous!

Your beaded top looks marvelous with the palazzo pants - very Glam!

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

OH YES! I'll say the YSL show has influenced you! You look stunning in the palazzo pants and the sequin top is absolutely heavenly!!! Too bad that the skirt doesn't fit...and no, I have no suggestions for alterations that would keep the integrity of the fabric...sigh.

Barnard Castle is equally stunning. I'm still trying to get my head around it's being built specifically to house one's treasured collection.

Love what you wore to the show as well Curtise.

Trees said...

That exhibition looks incredible - I'm so happy you took some covert photos for us. I love ALL those fun 60s shift dresses (so no surprise there). That sparkly set is AWESOME, great find xo

Pennyblossoms said...

Wow! You are looking even more lovely than usual...I think you have consumed essence of YSL!
Truly fabulous and Bowes was so made for you to pose in front of in that dress.
Brilliant and beautiful find - that sequin top and pants 'C'est irrisitible!'.
Zxx

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

What a glorious day!!! A gorgeous setting, an amazing exhibit, and thrifting? Doesn't get any better, at least in my humble opinion. I always love seeing the pictures you post when you're out and about. I've never been to the UK so it's definitely a vicarious thrill. I also love the bits of information regarding the exhibit itself, and the magazine pics are fabulous. Last but not least, your glamorous outfit!! Tres chic. XXXOOO

Mother of Reinvention said...

What fabulous exhibition. I really liked some of the exhibits. Definitely a nod to Schiaparelli in some of his pieces. The museum looks fabulous. What a beautiful building it is in. Glad that you had a brilliant day! Xx

Helga said...

Jaysus, I love those shots of you outside that maginificent building! Gloriarse pix, and what an awesome exhibition! Ilove Le Smoking! It is wonderful to see another town get a treat, usually all the best stuff that comes to NZ only goes to Auckland and Wellington.
The beaded top is super pretty-must have been a busty girl with narrow hips who hade it made, I'm guessing?
Love! XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Natalia Lialina said...

A very interesting post, Curtise! The building and the grounds made me think of French historical movies - beautiful, even though incongruous (a new English word for me!). The exhibit is beautiful, educational, inspiring - so much to learn! I have never attended a fashion exhibit before, but I think I will keep my eyes open for one, thanks to your post. You look glamorous in your new find, love it with the palazzo pants! And you are gorgeous in your favorite maxi dress, as you always are! xxxx

Lynn Holland said...

Feel like I've had a really good day out now after reading your post and I've got a real longing for some of those dresses x x x

freckleface said...

Oh my, what a stunning building. I do believe I've been to Barnard Castle and was rather taken with it. Isn't it wonderful when an exhibition or cultural event comes to the provinces? Gives us peasants a chance to put shoes on and get away from the pigs and chickens for the day. :) now those sheer dresses have reminded me, haven't you got something like that Curtise?! Love the pop art dresses, he really was quite a talented fellow wasn't he, good old Yves. Oh wow to that sparkly suit! Gorge! You look amazing in the top with those palazzo pants, all Louise Brooks, I reckon. Xxxx