Monday, 25 September 2017

Here We Are, Burberry

"They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh," said Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Executive Officer of Burberry on the many beautiful photographs housed in the Here We Are exhibition. Featuring over 200 works by photographers Alasdair McLellan, Dafydd Jones, Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin, Shirley Baker, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Ken Russell, Charlie Phillips, Karen Knorr, Janette Beckman and Andy Sewell, the exhibition is a celebration of British life and reveals the inspiration behind the latest Burberry collection.

On an Indian summer Sunday, my sister and I headed to Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, the site of the exhibition, to dose ourselves up on art and culture. Isn't that what weekends are for?


It's a well-documented fact that I am a lover of all things Burberry. It's innovation and creativity never ceases to amaze me and their wearable designs are nothing short of beautiful and interesting. Burberry embodies everything British in design, spirit, irony, eccentricity, rebellion and truth.

Situated in the heart of Clerkenwell, once a run-down industrial district of London but recently gentrified, the young and hip area was wonderfully fitting for the brand's latest collection that was certainly 'young and hip.' Here you'll find workspace cafés, French bistros, gastro-pubs and quirky interior design shops. Head to Exmouth Market for some of London's best-loved restaurants.

And until October 1st, you'll also find the photography exhibition in a Grade II listed building, Old Sessions House. 

Step inside, and you'll see the charming, run-down beauty of the place with pastel, stripped walls, bare wooden floors, exposed, draping lightbulbs and velvet sofas. All very Scandinavian and French in aesthetic for such a British brand.

Our noses drew us into the Thomas' Cafe.

But we promised to rest our legs post-exhibition.

Around the corner, we encountered the first photographs as part of Here We Are, documenting British life for over a period of almost 75 years.

Raw, rebellious and real are just a few words that sum these up.

The building alone is a feast for the eyes with its floor-to-ceiling glass, Parisian grand staircases and Georgian design. Oh and did I mention chandeliers? Duuhreamy.

Upstairs you'll find the September 2017 collection. I love how Bailey referenced Britain's many and varied tribes that span throughout all different classes and clans. The reference of its decline with 80s lad culture, hooliganism and knock-offs (which gave Burberry the title of "council house chic"), only served to highlight the humility, wit and irony so natural to us Brits.

Sheer plastic macs in a wash of pastel shades sheltered plaid, check, tweed and wooly vests and dresses, while socks and heeled sandals were the shoe of choice. One statement silver earring, grazing the collarbone in the most elegant and yet brazen of manners, accessorized each look.

The photography is separated into different categories, all encompassing different moods, tastes and moments within Britain.

My favourite room was by far the 'Revelry' which is described as "dancing on tables, whirling upside down, jiving, parading on the street, throwing eggs at someone you love, wearing a huge jumper over your ballgown because it's cold, cartwheeling with joy or even auctioning a cabbage, jumping off into a river, rolling down a hill for fun." In other words, it's British eccentricity in all its glory.

Snapshots of cigar-smoking teenage boys in Belgravia, naughty and punk-ish Eton boys and girls spilling out of their gowns at lavish, wild parties line the room. Ken Russel, Shirley Baker, Armet Francis, Homer Sykes, Ian Macdonald, Jo Spence and Colin O'Brien's work all serve honesty and give a cheeky grin to the viewer.

A picture speaks a thousand words, and boy would I have loved to have gone to one of those wild Belgravia parties...

Wearing a warm and fluffy cashmere from here (I promise I'm not 40 years old by shopping here, but it's the best cashmere)! You can grab yourself the shoes here too, and the bag, but sadly the trousers are no longer available. Alternatives below!

^ One of my favourite photos of the bunch. Oh what charm!

And another on the right hand side. I would never think of taking a photo like that, but how marvellous it is.

The photography and models blend together to create one masterpiece of an exhibition. I love the fact you get the chance to see and touch the exquisite garments up close. You can really witness the true craftsmanship that goes into making Burberry clothes and why they're worth their four-figure price tag.

I'm declaring that you MUST go to this exhibition before it finishes this Sunday (October 1st). Just make sure to wear your very best, you'll be rubbing shoulders with London's fashion elite. Pop into Thomas' Café while you're at it and buy an inspiring photography book in the shop too. And then, if you're feeling extra outgoing, pop to Exmouth market for a whopper of a pizza at Panzo.

September 18th - October 1st 2017 Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, London.

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