Go Visit: V&A – Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

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When it comes to fashion exhibitions, living in Scotland often leaves me feeling a little out of the loop. Each year I devour the news and images of each Met Gala and following exhibition, often ordering the accompanying books so I feel like I’ve managed to enjoy at least a sliver of what’s on offer, and usually London’s fabulous V&A exhibition is the closest thing I can get to the hallowed halls of Fifth Avenue.

When they announced the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, I couldn’t resist booking a trip down to see it. Dior has long been a favourite designer of mine – I grew up idolising the dreamy creations of John Galliano, and his couture collections plastered my walls at school.

Obviously, he left the house in disgrace, but I can’t help adoring his whimsical gowns which fall somewhere between dreams and costumes. Bold, brash and full of colour, seeing them in person was an absolute thrill, but it wasn’t the only highlight of the exhibition – which kicked off with the original New Look Bar Suit from 1947.

The exhibition followed the house’s fashion pretty much chronologically, and some of the first rooms, filled with coats and jackets from the 50s and 60s were absolute favourites. Displayed in stunning neon-lit black boxes, the focus was entirely on the clothes, and the sleek lines echoed those in the clothes.

Getting to see iconic gowns like Princess Margaret’s 1951 gown was a real treat. I just adore seeing pieces like this in the flesh, so getting to examine every inch of it was incredible. I just adored the attention to detail – like the star motif in the beading which you can still see in bags and accessories today.

Rooms like the one inspired by Versaille and the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette were an absolute dream to linger in. Dresses from the original Dior archive mixed with those by Galliano and Chiuri. I’m not going to lie – I spent an inordinate amount of time in the room, examining each ruffle and pleat in minute detail.

In addition to the influence of the court of Louis XVI, the global influence on Dior was examined. From Ancient Egypt to the plains of Latin America – all have a place here. Colours are vibrant and jewel-like, worn with abandon by mannequins.

Photos don’t do justice to the room inspired by flowers and blossoms. Again, original Dior designs sat side by side with more modern creations, and I absolutely adored seeing the same motifs appear on dresses decades apart, and the hand-crafted quality of many of the original Diors was absolutely darling.With blossoms cascading from the ceiling, this was the ultimate in whimsy.

 

The later galleries were a celebration of all things glamour and celebrity. With dresses worn by Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence, lights and music changed to create theatrics worthy of the Oscars themselves. It was glorious to linger in, letting the crowds whizz past as I enjoy the sheer beauty of my surroundings.

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It is important to note how popular the exhibition has been. When we visited it was verging on uncomfortably full, with a slow-moving wave of visitors methodically pausing at the alter of each gown. Honestly though, it was worth any hustle and bustle to enjoy, and I’m already planning a return trip. The exhibition runs until September 1st, and tickets are now completely sold out – but there is still a couple of ways to get in! Extra tickets will be released on the 15th July, whilst very limited tickets are available to purchase daily at 10am from the Grand Entrance on a first-come, first-served basis; these tickets are for times throughout the day on that day only. If you don’t fancy trying your luck, you can also do what we opted for, and just buy a V&A membership. They’re £79 per person a year, and you can get in to any exhibition without booking or paying additional fees. You can also enjoy a discount at the gift shop, and have access to exclusive events. Not only this, but you’re also supporting one of the world’s finest museums, and really, who wouldn’t want to do that?!

Try On: Johnstons of Elgin Silver Merino Scarf*

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A couple of weeks back, I was very kindly invited to the opening of Edinburgh’s newest Johnstons of Elgin store. Tucked into the prestigious Multrees Avenue development, the store is a two-storey temple to the very best of Scottish knitwear.

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It’s an absolutely glorious spot, with mens, womens’ and even home products on offer, and it was so wonderful to hear from Johnstons of Elgin Deputy Chairman Jenny Urquhart and Creative Director Alan Scott regarding both the heritage and the future of the brand.

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Honestly, Johnstons of Elgin have been a favourite brand of mine, pretty much for life. There is a standalone store in St. Andrews, and I used to go in (far) more regularly than any student should, clutching my id so I could make use of their rather generous discount. The result is a wardrobe of dreamy cashmere I wear to this day – my favourites being thick, blanket scarves which drape perfectly and look as good now as they did back in rainy Fife.

I’m also obsessed with their new merino scarves, which have been spun using a new technique, which has left them feeling light as air.

We were very kindly sent home with one of them – with a choice of yellow, pink or grey. Since I like to keep things neutral, I opted for the grey, and I’m so, so glad I did. It’s glorious, and I’ve already gotten so much wear out of it, even though, yes, it is June.

It’s the perfect neutral outfit-topper – looped on with a black outfit, it adds a little lightness, and it’s wonderfully comfortable to wear.

Johnstons of Elgin’s Silver Merino Scarf is currently on sale for £69 and is available here.

Try On: Statement Hair Clips

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When I was younger, hair accessories were my thing. I had boxes of them, lovingly sorted into slides, clips, barrettes, bows and flowers. There wasn’t a day I went out without something clipped in, but somewhere between school, extra curriculars, and general growing up, I left them behind. As a rule I’m not the glitziest dresser – I don’t tend towards patterns, bright colours or embellishments, but I’ve been loving the recent trend towards the statement hair accessory.

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They make even the simplest outfit look considered – whether I’m wearing a shirt or sweatshirt, a statement barrette slid into a ponytail makes it look like I’ve put in far more effort than I actually have. If you’re not ready to launch fully into the statement look, a subtle tortoiseshell slide looks chic, and I love adding a little colour with pink resin options. For evening I’ve been absolutely loving the pearly clips. Over-sized and a little whimsical, they add a dash of glamour without too much effort.

Will you be wearing hair accessories this summer?

Try on: Anthropologie Square Hair Clips

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Ok, so it’s true – I can get ludicrously excited about hair clips. I’ve literally got a bag full of them, and I couldn’t be happier about barrettes having a bit of a moment. They’re a seriously easy way to look like you’ve put a whole lot more effort into your outfit than you actually have, and they make a hasty ponytail look chic and intentional. I’m loving these square tortoiseshell clips from Anthropologie. They feel a bit more grown-up than the average clip, and they can be worn singularly or together, depending on how much of an impact you’re looking to make.

Anthropologie Square Hair Clip Set is priced at £22 and is available here.

Sarah Haran Leather Tassel Keyring*

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When it comes to buying luxury accessories – I’m not going to lie – I’m seriously picky. I’ll mull over a big purchase for months before pulling the trigger. So, a couple of months back, I was over the moon to get the opportunity to hear about and to meet Scottish luxury bad designer Sarah Haran. A former tech COO, Sarah Haran knows the needs of a modern working working, and the result is a line of accessories which are easy to wear, made of incredibly high quality leathers, can fit everything you need for a busy work schedule, and most importantly look incredible.

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With handbags which can fit a laptop with ease, and pink interiors so you can find exactly what you’re looking for, Sarah Haran bags truly are a must-have. I’ve been lusting after the Iris Saddlebag here, which is pretty much the perfect everyday purse. At the event, were were very kindly gifted with the opportunity to pick one of the brands stunning Leather Tassel Keyrings. Available in a choice of gold or silver hardware, and in a whole rainbow of leathers, I couldn’t resist this tangerine number! It’s the perfect pop of colour for autumn, and I love it clipped onto a casual bag to add a bit of sass!

Sarah Haran Leather Tassel Keyrings are priced at £49 and are available here

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