Reviews, Social Commentary

Christian Dior Exhibit at the V&A: Designer of Dreams


Dior Exhibit V & A Museum. NHYM 2019. All photos my own. 

A long, long time ago, years and years ago, so long ago before the birth of civilisation – well, the birth of my children – I used to have a rule with my then husband (now called father-of-my-children), to do one cultural activity a month. No, going to the movies does not count nor does watching a documentary on Versace on Netflix count. It was a great rule which in a sense forced us to enjoy some of the best things about London. We have at our fingertips some of the greatest museums, art, music, fashion and we shouldn’t forget how easily accessible they all are.


So, when I was invited to a private view of the sold out Christian Dior exhibit at V & A museum the other day, I was so excited to go to the show: Fashion + Art + inspiration = success.


Sample dress from his Ateliers. NHYM 2019. 

Christian Dior was born in 1905 and started his own fashion line in 1946 which dominated the fashion world after World War II. He was instrumental in regaining Parisian fashion’s popularity for a decade with his ‘New Look’ of cinched waists and voluminous skirts, a break from wartime austerity.


So influential was he that he designed Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday party dress, which is on display at the V & A.


Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress. NHYM 2019. 


Dior particularly loved designing fantastical and fairytale ball gowns, drawing on his love of historical costumes: ‘evening clothes are the most glamorous and fascinating thing a woman can have as the evening is the time when you escape from the realities of life.’


There is an entire floral room showcasing some of his most ethereal, feminine gowns that make you dream.


The exhibit features over 500 objects, gowns, photos and memorabilia from Dior’s collections.


‘A ballgown is your dream, and it must make you dream.’


This is how I feel most days.


Gian Franco Ferre. NHYM 2019. 

After his death in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent took over as Head designer and there have been a string of great designers which have continued Dior’s legacy.


Maria Grazia Chiuri. NHYM 2019.


I love Christian Dior’s elegant, elaborate, whimsical gowns and the femininity that they represent, in contrast to some of the more masculine designs that have dominated. When I see these dresses, I am taken to a time when femininity was a sign of strength and beauty and when femininity was celebrated for its grace and wisdom.




In the Press, Reviews

VIP Collector’s Preview Day Frieze Art Fair 2014 & PAD 2014


(All photos in this post courtesy of NHYM Copyright 2014)

I was lucky enough to get invites to both the VIP Collector’s Preview Day at the Frieze Art Fair 2014 and the VIP Collector’s Preview Day at PAD Art + Design Fair this past Tuesday October 14th 2014. Two fairs, one person. What to do? A bit of Art hopping and hobnobbing was in order. Not that I am Art expert or a major Art collector to deserve the honour. For those who may be intimidated by the whole ‘Art world,’ and view it as inaccessible, abstract, cultural elitism, don’t be  fooled. Frieze is just about creativity as it is about the economic Art market. An auctioneer once told me that the big auction houses are just like vultures, when a big art collector is dying, the auction houses circle around until the last breath and then pounce. The condolence cards could just as well read ‘We are very sorry for your loss and will happily find buyers for your collection.’


The Fair

Frieze week has become more than two Art fairs (Frieze and Frieze Masters) in Regent’s Park. It is one of the cultural events of the year, with gallery parties, openings and shows all over town, auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctioning away, and this week attracts some of the biggest Artists, Art dealers, Art collectors, gallery owners and Art lovers coming from every corner of the world. The Frieze VIP Collector’s Preview Day is one of the hottest tickets, reserved for serious collectors, gallerists, Artists, Art dealers, a few celebs, the press and a few onlookers like me. This year, after 11 years of practice, the fair seemed cozier than usual, more mature, and less souk-like.


The People

I arrived at the Frieze Preview Day late afternoon, where I met Mr. X, and entered the fair at the same time as Sienna Miller, who was sporting her baby-accessory on her right hip, along with her husband, on the other hip. For just a split second, I had baby envy: no, not hers, I wanted my little one with me hanging off my hip, bringing her around to hip events like the Frieze. That thought quickly was banished from my mind, imagining myself dragging a toddler around an Art fair who would be more interested in deconstructing the art, rather than appreciating ‘art deconstructionism.’

The ‘Arterati’ provided excellent people watching, as usual, from the green haired up-and-coming artists, the proven artists (Tracey Emin spotted), the leather and fur wearing collectors, and many, many dealers. This year’s preview felt overpowered by the dealers rather than the collectors, brokering deals with their clients over their Android phones.

For a real insider’s guide to the Art World, read Sarah Thornton’s ‘7 Days in the Art World:’

The Art

The question around Modern Art is always, ‘What constitutes Art?’ ‘And when does something become a piece of art?’ A shoe in a glass case. A cereal box. The Thomas Dane gallery, who is credited for starting Steve McQueen’s career, had on display supermarket crates as a piece of Art. Can anyone tell me the meaning/expression of supermarket crates? Did I just miss the point of it? Does it mean consumerism, waste or just that someone forgot to return the crates after they were done unloading the Art?

My equations of Art:



Art+Collector=Lots of Money. 


Victoria Miro Art Gallery exhibiting the likes of Kusama Yayoi.


UNITED GALLERY. One of the most talked about exhibits, the famous Fukushima soup, ‘Does this Soup Taste Ambivalent?’ from the United Brothers, is a soup made by their mother from radishes from Fukushima. It defies the viewer to try the soup, which may or may not be radioactive. Needless to say, I did not see a line of people waiting to try the soup.


Frieze Project: Nick Mauss ‘Living Stage.’ Performance Art featured highly at this year’s Frieze like this ballet performance.


Another performance, this time involving the public, who seemed to read off a script for what looked like a Film audition.


Playful children’s themes, like Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Cereal boxes and stuffed animal displays brought a light side to the Frieze.



This B&W photograph of books was one of my favourite pieces of Art at the Frieze. To me, it evoked my love of books, and my personal feeling and emotion of comfort and safety from being surrounded by books.

PAD: Pavilion of Art + Design Fair, Berkeley Square

If the Frieze were a colour, it would be white; white tent, white paths, white walls, whereas the PAD Art+Design Fair would be Black, black walls and blackouts (there were about 6 blackouts throughout the preview day). Despite the blackouts, the fair was a sleek, sparkly and shiny, furniture-heavy event. There was a mix of ethnic, contemporary, jewellery and design pieces. An aquamarine necklace was on sale for £400,000 and had its own personal jewellery bodyguard. There were some great light installations, sculptures and an art deco table that I could see in my house. There were more pieces at PAD, in my opinion, that I could live with than at Frieze.


A furniture display that could easily fit in my home.




Alexander Calder.

We finished off our night at the Arts Club, where we saw Beyonce and Jay Z at the Upstairs bar. I am pleased to say that I was feeling on trend, wearing black leather trousers and a black blazer, just like Beyonce. I must be recovering from my Fashionitis ;).





Photos, Spotlight On..., Travel

T5 Butterflies in Flight


Designed by Notting Hill Neighbour, Dominic Harris, director of Cinimod Studio

** Please read my post Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour Dominic Harris: **

Spotlight On...

Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour, Dominic Harris, interactive light designer and artist

‘ And the winner of this year’s best lighting dimmer switch goes to…’

Dominic Harris has just won the 2014 “Best Luminaire’ Award at the Lighting Design award (the Oscars of the lighting world, for those of you who aren’t in the know), yet he is still not satisfied. He won the 2008 ‘Breakthrough Talent of the Year’ at the FX International Design Awards, the FX ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009, the 2012 ‘Small Projects’ and ‘Small Retail’ awards at the Lighting Design Awards, and multitudes of other awards and accolades, yet he is still not satisfied. How much more ego-stroking does this artist need to finally be satisfied?

It is probably this perpetual dissatisfaction and quest for perfection that has made him such a brilliant, innovative and unique artist. The Oxford dictionary’s synonyms for artist are ‘creator, ‘originator,’ ‘designer,’ ‘producer,’ and he fits the bill. His art combines lighting, architecture, electronics, motion graphics and a number of other disciplines to create small-scale pieces of art to large-scale interactive commercial and public events, products, and exhibits. He founded his studio, Cinimod Studios, in 2007 and has already moved offices once because it has grown so quickly and is currently looking for new space to expand his workforce and workspace. When you enter his studio, it looks more like a trading floor than an art studio, with rows of tables and computer screens in a large open space, but it’s not until you enter his workshop and viewing room that you understand the balance of art, design, and technology.

I am sure you still have no idea what Dominic does, but for those who live in London, you will most likely have seen his art in a commercial or public setting. The ITSU butterflies, particularly the T5 Heathrow butterflies, are my personal favorites. For those who like frozen yogurt, his studio is behind the SNOG outlets, winning him ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009. In 2012, he created a 50 ft., 3.2 ton ‘Halo’ illuminated by 200KW LED light flown over the Thames by a helicopter, making an illusory effect of a flying UFO, for the launch of the Halo 4 Xbox 360 game. The V & A commissioned an exhibit for their Exhibition Rd tunnel entrance that allowed the visitor to control the light through their movement. In Peru, he illuminated the Peru National Stadium with the crowd’s cheers by creating a mood analysis system that processed sound in real time and translated it into changing lights on the outward façade of the stadium. EDF Energy commissioned an interactive art installation in the London Eye where a viewer could change the lights on the London Eye with their heartbeat. It is with cutting edge motion graphics, electronics, thermal tracking devices, industrial design and architecture fused together that he manages to create groundbreaking art.

His smaller pieces have become a must for wealthy design collectors. Billionaires, pop artists, entrepreneurs, and fashion designers have one in their homes. He exhibits in art fairs all over the world, from Art Basel in Miami to art14 London just last month and it was at a Kinetica show that he met Ron Dennis, CEO and chief executive of McLaren, who has now become his principal investor and mentor. It was with Ron Dennis sitting by his side that Dominic accepted the ‘Best Luminaire’ award this year for his Moon OLED chandelier. The moon OLED chandelier can be commissioned with any number of spheres, each sphere made up of a flat light layer in a polished acrylic sphere rendering the light source invisible when viewed on certain angles or made to look like a moon crescent from other angles. He is currently working on a second, more perfect version of the Moon OLED chandelier, being the consummate perfectionist, and a sculpture at Heathrow T2 for the Caviar House on top of many private commissions for famous people who are too famous to mention here. Ron Dennis, his most famous public collector, saw the potential of the rising star a few years ago, but this star has now clearly already risen.