The eagerly anticipated Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition opens at the V&A on Saturday and already the outstanding reviews are pouring in. So it’s no wonder, in anticipation of this exhibition, Alexander McQueen’s legacy is trending around London.

On the King’s Road Proud Galleries’ exhibition, McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary Wallis, gives an intimate look at the fashion designer, a peek behind the scenes of his early shows and a look at those who were close to him.

Proud Chelsea Exhibition  McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary Wallis

The intimacy of the photographs reflect the close relationship between the photographer and fashion designer: Gary Wallis first met Alexander McQueen when they were both studying at Central Saint Martins.Proud Chelsea Exhibition  McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary Wallis

And in the space of three short years, McQueen climbed the ranks of the fashion industry. His greatest champion was Isabella Blow who also became his muse. Proud Chelsea Exhibition  McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary WallisWallis’s collaboration with McQueen spanned these years and Proud Galleries’ exhibition gives you a “personal insight into the lawless and irreverent life of Alexander McQueen, celebrating a rare moment in time, as this young Londoner became the rebel king of British fashion, pushing the boundaries of convention and reinventing the catwalk, unleashing shock and awe onto the fashion elite.”

Proud Chelsea Exhibition  McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary WallisThe photographs are beautiful to look and at times haunting. The exhibition also coincides with the launch Garry Wallis’s book, something every McQueen fan must look through.Proud Chelsea Exhibition  McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows By Gary WallisProud Chelsea, 161 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5XP.

Chelsea Girl

Yikes, it’s been a month since my last ‘Things to do in London’ post. Where does the time go?

Moving along, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend – here are a few ideas:

1. If you love vintage cars or vintage anything, the Classic Car Boot Sale will be taking place over the weekend on the South Bank. With 100 classic cars involved, there should be something for everyone if vintage is your thing. You can find out more about the sale here.

2. Discover the farmers market on Bute Street. Whilst I’m a huge fan of the farmers market on Duke of York Square, I also love the charm of the weekly Saturday market in South Kensington. It’s smaller, more intimate and has a real sense of community about it. To find out which producers are usually there, click here

3. Proud Chelsea’s latest exhibition is Senna: Photographs by Keith Sutton, which runs until 4th May. I don’t think you have to be a petrol head to appreciate this exhibition. I’m definitely not. But I think most people can appreciate the charm and integrity of this Formula One legend who died so tragically.

4. The weather is warming up and the first day of spring is officially around the corner (20th March). This can only mean one thing! Time to get a pedicure, if you haven’t been keeping those toes tidy over the winter. According to Vogue, Cowshed is number one on their list of favourites. So why not pop over to Holland Park, a hop, skip and a jump from Notting Hill, and have one of Cowshed’s Ultimate Cowshed Pedicures at their Clarendon Cross spa.

5. And finally, it’s St. Patrick’s Day on Monday (17th March) and on Sunday there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Trafalgar Square. Here’s the link, if you’d like to find out more.

Punk has many definitions but when it comes to music, it is more akin to “a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s.” Politically, it is associated with anarchy; a rebellion against the establishment. So I’m not sure I would describe Debbie Harry or her music with her band, Blondie, as punk. Unless I’m missing something?

For example, the 1979 hit Heart of Glass seems to be more akin to a disco/pop track emerging from a nightclub in New York, as part of the American New Wave music scene.

Heart of Glass

Not to mention that in Rapture, Debbie Harry starts to rap halfway through this 1981 hit which sounds more like hip hop or should I say hip pop.

Rapture

But when you look at Debbie Harry’s style and make-up from the 70s and 80s, you could see how she would fit in with the King’s Road punk scene. Her edgy yet sultry look defined Debbie Harry as an icon of her time. And Brian Aris’s collection of photographs for Proud Chelsea’s latest exhibition manages to show us exactly why.

Until 17th February 2013, Proud Chelsea will be exhibiting stills from Aris’s personal archive that include shots from the video shoot of “Island of Lost Souls” on the Scilly Isles as well as sittings in London and New York. These photographs have never been seen before and they are stunning.

bie Harry Queen of Punk: Portraits by Brian Aris

 

bie Harry Queen of Punk: Portraits by Brian ArisSo whether you are a Debbie Harry fan or are looking to appreciate the photos of a style icon, I know you’ll enjoy this exhibition: ‘Debbie Harry Queen of Punk: Portraits by Brian Aris.’

Proud Chelsea, 161 King’s Rd, London, Greater London SW3 5XP

I popped into Proud Chelsea last week to take a look at their latest exhibition: Marilyn: Intimate Exposures Photographs by Bruno Bernard.

On the walls I discovered photos I had never seen before and being a huge Marilyn Monroe fan, this felt very exciting. My favourite photograph was of Marilyn as a young woman still with her red hair, crouching down as she bandaged a dog’s injured paw. This image pretty much summed up the exhibition for me. It displayed the human nature beyond the glamour of this Hollywood star.

In every photograph Marilyn Monroe looks impeccable. Yet, the photos also allow us a chance to feel like we are getting to know her all over again. This is a beautiful exhibition and as it proves, 50 years after Marilyn Monroe’s death, true beauty never fades.

Marilyn Monroe, Circa 1952, classic Pin-up photo © Bruno Bernard / courtesy of ‘Marilyn: Intimate Exposures’ by Susan Bernard

Marilyn: Intimate Exposures Photographs by Bruno Bernard, Proud Chelsea, 1st August – 9th September 2012, www.proud.co.uk

Last night’s launch party for Sex Drugstores and Rock & Roll at Proud Chelsea was so much fun. As the champagne and beer flowed, so did the music and some dancing. Both floors were packed. People spilled out onto the streets and as I looked around the gallery, there were some very interesting faces in both rooms. These faces looked like they had been here, on the King’s Road, when the upstairs photos were taken. They had turned up to revisit history whilst the rest of us admired the images as if they represented a romantic period of a long lost era.

King's Road Boy is Ad Hoc today © Janette Beckman

The photographers involved in the exhibition included: Colin Jones, Janette Beckman, Harold Chapman, William English, Bill Zygmant, Philip Townsend, Romano Cagnoni, Laura Asprey and Terry O’Neil. Their images captured King’s Road at its height; the 60’s to the 80’s. This was a time when The Rolling Stones and The Who were fresh faced and King’s Road was their shopping destination. This was a time when idiosyncrasy defined the street. Shops were boutiques rather than a small part in a large chain and fashion was experimental and a form of expression, from rock and roll to punk.

One of my favourite photos is the one of John Lennon standing outside Apple Tailoring. His flamboyance and style defined the boldness of this era. This was also the first public appearance of John and Yoko: what an historical moment. Over the decades, Apple Tailoring has changed facades but today it stands as Proud Chelsea.

Knowing the history of this venue added something special to last night. It was as if the history of King’s Road had come back to life, if only for a couple of hours.

© Bill Zygmant

Sex, Drugstores and Rock & Roll: A History of the Kings Road, Proud Chelsea, 24th March – 8th May 2011, www.proud.co.uk