Jean Paul Gautier: from the sidewalk to the catwalk

London’s most eagerly awaited fashion exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, arrives at the Barbican Centre this April.  The show will display over 150 exquisite ready-to-wear and couture pieces from various stages of his 40-year career.

Gautier is renowned worldwide for his ability to push fashion boundaries with his daring designs and outrageous statements, and it’s this facet which has earned him a firm place in fashion and design history.  Well-known for his enthusiasm in erasing the boundaries between cultures and the sexes, Gautier has developed a strong international fanbase which will certainly be rewarded by this unique exhibition.

Highlights from the show include Madonna’s infamous conical corset from her 1990 ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour, a variety of bespoke pieces designed for Kylie Minogue, and stunning footage of some of Gautier’s most fabulous, theatrical catwalk shows.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier is being held at the Barbican in London from 9th April until 17th August 2014, and tickets cost between £7.25 and £14.50. Whilst in London, come over to DUKES London and treat yourself to a luxury Easter break with us. Our Spring room prices include a complimentary upgrade to the next category, sweet treat upon arrival and full English breakfast.

Or why not come and enjoy one of our fabulous cocktails? Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, loved our martinis!

Fashion Rules at Kensington Palace: a truly royal outfit

Princess Diana dancing with John TravoltaThis year, the picturesque Kensington Palace has added an exciting new collection to its existing exhibitions.  ‘Fashion Rules’ is a beautiful display of regal, designer dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales throughout the years.

The exhibition follows the evolution of royal fashion starting from the Queen’s glamorous engagement dresses of the 50s right up to the brightly-coloured ball gowns worn by Princess Diana in the 80s.

The entire range of designer dresses is displayed alongside film and photography from the period to set the scene of fashion trends at the time. Vogue covers adorn the walls alongside the 21 never-seen-before dresses showing how the outfits reflected the trends of the moment; being both fashionable and suitable for royal attire.  A firm favourite among visitors is the stunning red gown worn by Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in 1986.

Whether fashionista, royalist or historian, this exhibition, named “the most interesting, elegant exhibition of Kensington Palace” has much to offer all audiences by giving an interesting and engaging insight into the history of royal fashion over the past 60 years.

A brilliant exhibition, after absorbing the art and culture, come and relax in DUKES London: enjoy our afternoon tea, a three course meal or simply a ‘James Bond’ martini in our bar!

Fashion lovers take note: ‘Valentino: Master of Couture’ opens

Valentino with Liz Hurley at CannesMore than 130 delicate haute couture designs worn by top icons such as Grace Kelly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophia Loren will be showcased by the Italian fashion designer Valentino at a new major exhibition celebrating his life and work. Valentino: Master of Couture opens its doors at the Embankment Galleries in Somerset House, The Strand today and will run until 3rd March 2013.

Valentino is the founder of SpA brand and company and his main lines include Valentino Garavani, Valentino Roma, and R.E.D Valentino. The Italian fashion guru has one simple principle when it comes to design “I know what women want, they want to be beautiful.”

Valentino has designed for princesses, first ladies and Hollywood icons and has often been described as having an ‘abundance of raw talent.’ His dresses are described as clean and modern but completely feminine.

The exhibition will be divided into three sections. The first section offers fashion lovers the opportunity to privately view Valentino’s world through photographs from his personal archive, giving an intimate portrait of his life.

In the second section, Valentino rebels against the typical fashion show by reversing the roles of the visitors and the models. Visitors will be the ones walking the catwalk to view an astounding 130 pieces of haute couture designs.

The final section then unravels the intense yet detailed and precise processes of crafting couture, illustrated initially by the magnificent wedding dress of Princess Marie Chantel of Greece. Visitors will also be given the chance to view a select group of films that peep behind-the-scenes of being a designer.

Highlights of this exciting exhibition include the vintage dress worn by Julia Roberts when she won the Academy Award in 2001 and Jackie Onassis’s wedding dress from Valentino’s 1968 White Collection. Valentino: Master of Couture promises a voyage into the mysterious world of Italian couture.

This elite, fashionable experience is being held at Somerset House, The Strand, London, WCR 1LA, with tickets costing £12.50.

After enjoying some of the world’s finest fashion designs, why not pay our chef Nigel Mendham a visit and enjoy some of the world’s finest tasting cuisine, too?

Image courtesy of Georges Biard