Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent

    ‘This exhibition will take you on an olfactory journey through a series of rooms designed to reflect the inspirations of the scents, from the Moroccan desert a Catholic confessional, a water theme park to a lover’s boudoir.’ Somerset House This exhibition at Somerset House must have been a challenge for the curators Claire Catterall and…

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

I didn’t know a great deal about Cristóbal Balenciaga and his work before I visited the Victoria and Albert’s acclaimed exhibition. Of course I knew the name but I was unaware of the vast influence his exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs have had on fashion. Whilst not on the scale of the Alexander McQueen blockbuster, ‘Savage Beauty’ the…

Textiles and Botany at the SLBI

This summer’s first Advanced Textile Workshop exhibition is open at the South London Botanical Institute this weekend. The show is made up of works inspired by two of the Institute’s projects ‘Botany on your Plate’ and ‘Plant Recording for All Ages’, and is interspersed throughout the ground floor and gardens. Each artist has responded in uniquely different…

The Museum of Childhood

‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ George Bernard Shaw Last week I took the car to get MOTed at the Kwik Fit on Bethnal Green Road. It takes about an hour so I took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Childhood for the first time….

Speed of Light – Terence Donovan

Beginnings and endings, it’s funny how often they affect the way we think about what goes on in the middle. Very often though they have little relevance to what goes in-between. ‘Speed of Light’ is the first major retrospective of the work of Terence Donovan (though there was a show of his work ‘The Eye…

The Ballad of British Folklore

Candy floss, toffee apples, dodgems and waltzers; when I was a wee boy, this is what the Lammas Market meant to me. My gran loved the merry-go-round horses, and I looked at the rides for the big boys, like the rockets, with fear and excitement. Soon, I thought, I will get to climb aboard and…

Cabinets of Curiosities

The Greeks did it, and so did the Romans – the need to collect is almost as old as human culture itself. The reasons behind this urge can be attributed to many things, but what unites them is a desire to catalogue and examine, to collect and explain. It could be religious relics or magical…

Made You Look: Dandyism And Black Masculinity

As a teenager growing up in St Andrews in the eighties, The Face was my introduction to so many things –  one of my favourite bands New Order, the photographer Arthur Tress (his image ‘Hermaphrodite behind Venus and Mercury’ is burnt into my consciousness) and indeed the idea of style itself. It was also my…