Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dries Van Noten Exhibit- Paris

Remove yourself from this world we live in and enter the mystical wonderland of Dries Van Noten’s mind. Part of the program at the London College of Fashion is a five-day trip to Paris. During the Paris trip we visited the “Dries Van Noten — Inspirations” exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. It was an exclusive opportunity to be taken into another world.

Dries Van Noten was one of the Antwerp Six who successfully debuted in London in the mid 1980s. With his self financed company, he owns five boutiques and his label is sold in more than five hundred stores worldwide. In addition, he won the CFDA Prestigious International Award in 2008.

You enter the exhibit through a doorway covered in printed flowers, this is the moment you leave the realistic world and enter the wonderland. The first sight is a black room with white inspiration words printed on all dimensions.

According to Dries Van Noten “it is all about being inspired by somebody else’s work and transposing into a different setting.” This idea is expressed throughout the exhibit as it directly showcases Van Noten’s designs and the corresponding inspiration items.

This exhibit is both an art and fashion exhibit. When asked about what he would like people leaving the exhibit to know, Dries Van Noten said “of course I hope that most people go for the relation between the works of clothes and arts as we showed them.”

The experience of walking through the exhibit is just as priceless than the artifacts itself. In transition between the first and second floor is a black room with mirrors and a projected video of people dancing in slow motion as a helicopter sound plays. The whole atmosphere of the room makes you feel like time is slowing down and it feels like a break from the outside world.

The stairway that leads to the next floor is covered in a floral print in all dimensions. Entering this part of the exhibit is like entering a mysterious secret garden. Within the Garden Beaton collection is a body form with a rabbit head that reiterates the spooky wonderland feeling.
While on the first floor the visitor experiences history, on the upper floor, the visitor is taken around the world. Van Noten showcases his collections inspired by different themes as well as international cultures. His oriental inspired collection takes the visitor back to the elegant dynasty decades while his Mexican collection gives the visitor the spooky experience of Day of the Dead.  

According to the curator, Pamela Golbin, “more than half of the 400-plus pieces on display were borrowed from other museums and private collections. The challenge was… to get the precise pieces Mr. Van Noten had in mind.” In addition, Van Noten said, “it is really an exhibit about my inspiration and how I work.”

Dries Van Noten takes the visitor into the world of his creative mind. This exhibit allows the visitors to experience various emotions such as nostalgia, relaxation, suspense, and amazement. This is a unique opportunity that those who seek inspiration and adventure should not miss.  I strongly suggest anyone in Paris to visit the exhibition.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paris, The City of Love and Lights.

Paris, the city of love. Included in our trip and stay at the London College of Fashion, is a 5 day stay in Paris. During the trip Basia, the study abroad director at London College of Fashion, showed us all around London. We went on a boat tour to see all of the amazing tourist sights in Paris. We visited the flagship Chanel store where Karl Lagerfeld is spotted more often then one would think. We visited many markets to find little treasures and food unique and exclusive to Paris. We visited Versailles, and Notre Dame, and the Dries Van Noten exhibit which was so remarkable and inspiring. We of course saw the Eiffel Tower and explored the Louvre, and my all time favorite part of the entire trip was the view from the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. This experience was one that I will never forget. Climbing up the hundreds of steps to the beautiful Church and seeing the amazing view of the entire city of Paris was absolutely breathtaking. We also went during sunset, which made the experience that much better. This is the moment that I truly fell in love with the beauty of Paris.
Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. 

Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. 

I also visited the Eiffel tower and had the opportunity to travel up into the Eiffel Tower and see the view of Paris at night. Every hour on the hour for the first ten minutes the Eiffel Tower sparkles and lights up the entire sky. People all around it get so excited and run to take pictures. It brings people together to share the same love of lights, design, and the beauty of the architecture. The happiness that surround the Eiffel Tower is contagious and something that can only be felt when experiencing it for yourself.
View from the Eiffel Tower. 

Sparkling of the Eiffel Tower. 

I also had the opportunity to eat macaroons at Laudree. Laudree is a famous macaroon place with the most amazing desserts and sweets. I have never had a macaroon before this but I fell in love.

I will say that after the 5 days concluded, I was entirely ready to get back to London and my own flat. Although Paris is beautiful and the sights are breathtaking, it is London that I call my home. Paris is an amazing place but London has captured my interest and has grown to have a deeper connection with me.

"The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American." F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

London, the city full of Life

As I have completed about 5 weeks of my program at the London College of Fashion, I have wanted to post, but have found myself enthralled in the hustle and bustle of the London lifestyle. Having already traveled to Paris, and Amsterdam I have been busy with schooling and traveling around Europe. I am excited to finally share my stories and love of London with everyone. When I decided to study at Drexel University I promised myself that no matter what, I would make it my mission to study abroad. When I was presented with the opportunity to study at the London College of Fashion in the Summer I knew this was perfect for me.

My love for London is not really explainable in words, but I will try my best! From the second I arrived at the doorstep of my amazing flat, I knew that this city was going to make me fall in love, and I have done just that. The people, the street style, and the outlook on life, is so different and more dynamic then what I am used to. I have developed such a deep connection with the city, which I think you will find in my later posts. At school we are being taught by professors that are actually working in the industry, as well as teaching us. We are being taught by so many amazing professors that have so much knowledge and experience to offer, and their enthusiasm is inspiring. One of our teachers is a celebrity stylist, who has worked with people such as Cara Delvevinge, and the Kardashians to name a few. The fashion in the city and love of self-expression is enthusing and so unique. The city has something that captures everyone who comes into and brings so many people back time and time again.

So far in London, I have made it my mission to see as much as possible and try not to waste a single day, as there is so much to do and see in this amazing city. In Philadelphia, I will be honest, it is not my favorite thing to visit museums, but in London it has become one of my desired things to do. I have seen the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Barbican and it was amazing to see my personal favorite, Madonna and Kate Moss pieces, designed by Gaultier. I have also visited the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery where it is actually a very cool experience to see the pieces that we study in Art History. I know that Art History is not the most fun class but to actually see the compositions in person that we study is an amazing experience that I didn’t think would mean that much until I actually saw them in person. In my later posts I will share more as to what I have experienced and places I have been in detail! Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Food in London

Here in London, the exchange rate is not in our favor at the moment.  To know the price of something in dollars, you need to almost double the number you see on the price tag.  I have found that the difference in price is most apparent at the grocery store or at a restaurant.  During the first few weeks of my stay here, I went out to restaurants and bought a lot of take out food.  At home, I almost never do this, but when I was settling in here, it was the easiest option.  Most of the restaurants I went to were chosen based on price and were inexpensive compared to most others in the area.  The typical entrée was over £10 (around $20).  I still find it shocking that a plate of average food could be worth so much.  At take out places, the food is slightly less pricy.  My average lunch can cost around £6 or slightly under $12. 
I quickly found that buying premade food was draining my pocket money, so I decided to stock up on some basic foods from the grocery store.  I never thought groceries could be so expensive before food shopping in London.  The first grocery store I went to was Whole Foods, the closest store to my flat, which could explain the outrageous prices.  Overall everything cost a bit more than I expected it to.  A bit further down the road are Marks & Spencer and Tesco, other grocery stores with more reasonable price points.  Their selections also fit my needs better, and include things that your generic store would carry, as opposed to Whole Foods, which has more exotic choices.
The easiest way to conserve money here is to make your own meals.  It is difficult to estimate how much you need to buy each time you go shopping because the foods here do not contain preservatives and go bad pretty quickly.  Shopping has become a part of the daily routine in order to avoid buying too much, which will end up being a waste of food and money.  It is definitely different from what I’m used to, but because it helps me save my spending money for other things.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arrival in London

All my life, I have dreamt about London.  Its notorious landmarks, crazy street style, and overall atmosphere of elegance have always enticed me from across the Atlantic Ocean, but it wasn’t until I applied to study abroad that my dream of going to London came to life.  After a bumpy flight from Philly to London, I arrived at Heathrow Airport a day earlier than I need to, so I would be able to catch up on sleep and get used to the time difference before diving right into exploring my new home for the next three months. 
            I lugged my suitcase to South Kensington, and after taking a long and much needed nap at my hotel, I decided to check out the area and find the building I would be living in.  Only a short walk away sat my apartment, or flat, which was white, elegant, and far better than I imagined.  I was surrounded by luxury and pure beauty.  The people walking down the streets were dressed like they were ready to go off to high tea, and the streets were full of Rolls Royces and Maseratis.  Across the road was Hyde Park, which is basically the Central Park of London.  All of it completely blew away my expectations.  Not too far into Hyde Park, I discovered the location of Kensington Palace, the home of William and Kate.  I literally lived down the street from the royal family.  Not too many people can say that.  I knew London was a beautiful city, but the area that I was staying in really added a lot to the overall experience.