Posted on April 24, 2014

The Snail 1953

Is it just us or do you also dream of a job where you can spend all day looking at beautiful pictures? We’ve always had a bit of an obsession with curators who make our favourite exhibitions actually happen. Browsing through great masters, travelling the world and working in amazing galleries to create an inspiring and visual feast for us to soak up and get excited about – what’s not to love about that sort of job? We’ve already waxed lyrical about Tate‘s new Matisse exhibition  - (win tickets to it here!) - but who better than its Assistant Curator Flavia Frigeri to give us a brief lowdown on the legend as well as a little insight into the sought-after career.

Can you give us a dummies guide intro to the Cut-Out and Matisse?

Most know Matisse for his painting and I think that’s why this exhibition will surprise a lot of people as it’s a completely new chapter in his life. He invented a new medium – the Cut-Outs – that was inspired by all of the things that have interested him in the past. Like his earlier work they are very colourful but colour becomes a material here. He physically cuts into the colour and pins the shapes he’s working on to the walls of his studio. He’s no longer limited to a canvas.

What is unique about the exhibition?

These works have never been seen together in such an extended way. This is the most comprehensive. It’s organized chronologically, so it takes you through the period step-by-step and how Matisse created the Cut-Outs as independent works in their own right. You’ll see how the scale changes – at the beginning they’re so small and eventually become so monumental and fill a whole environment.

What are the pieces you are most excited about?

A personal favorite and a standout piece is Jazz. It’s actually made of 20 individual cut-outs and is the illustration for a book. It’s the first time they’ve been shown in the UK, as they belong to the Pompidou’s collection and aren’t widely exhibited. It’s very special.

How do you start working on an exhibition like this?

The most exciting bit is reading and learning about the subject at the beginning. We then draw up an ideal checklist of works we really want that could substantiate our argument and also be visually appealing for those who are going to see the show. Then comes the difficult bit – finding the works. We started planning 5 years ago.

How did you get to your position?

I guess you always have an ambition to work somewhere like Tate. I studied Art History in Rome, then I did MA in the same subject but refined my area every time –  I focused on Modern Art from 1960s – and now I’m working on a phD. I always knew I wanted to go into curating so I did lots of work experience with Fellowships at the Guggenheim and eventually got my place at Tate.

How would you encourage young people keen to get into the field?

Go and see lots of shows! The other option is to do more traditional art historical route or there are more masters programmes focused on curating. Those are the two most direct routes.

Get the inside scoop on the exhibition in the making here:

Want to see the exhibition and more?! Be in with the chance to win an amazing weekend away in London including a night’s stay for two at the Ace hotel, tickets to Matisse and a £500 shopping spree! Enter here. Across the pond? Don’t worry, the epic exhibition will go to MoMA in October. 


Posted on April 23, 2014

Calling all New Yorkers (or those who happen to be visiting in the next month) look no further than the Tribeca Film Festival to get your fill of unique and inspiring film culture! Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca Film Festival has been running for 13 years but has already found its place among the like of Sundance and Cannes in the film festival stakes. I guess that’s unsurprising knowing the talent behind it – Robert De Niro – and the bounty of movie creatives that already exist in New York. That said, there’s an overwhelming 160 films on offer for viewing, so we’ve done the hard work for you and whittled down our favourite moments whatever your taste or fancy!

If you’re a music fan… The Nas documentary: Time is Illmatic

Embrace your New York state of mind! Go behind the recording studio door with Nas in a documentary following the story of Nas’ classic debut, Illmatic. From hearing about his jazz-musician dad to exploring his local neighbourhood, Time is Illmatic opens up Nas’s myriad of inspirations.

If you’re a fashion lover… Dior and I

Start the swooning now! If there’s an haute couture show us Topshop girls are unashamedly poring over, month after it’s happened, it’s Dior. There’s something about that romantic fashion house that is so iconic and now that Raf Simons has taken up the reigns, we’re besotted. Now there’s a chance to get a glimpse at how Simon’s artistic directorship has influenced the house and what goes into those intricately designed gowns. Race you to the front row?

If you’ve got a car… Tribeca Drive-In Screenings

That’s right, TFF isn’t just about classic cinema but bringing back some old school much-loved ways of watching films one of them being the drive in. We romanticise about hanging out in a convertible and watching a classic movie and now you can with TFF’s drive-in screening of Mary Poppins or Splash at the World Financial Centre.

If you’re a wannabe movie maker… Tribeca Talks

Calling all industry insiders here’s a talk you want to be at! Hone your film making skills with news from the greats. Whether it’s soaking up the Art of Sound & Design from the top lot at Dolby or getting an insight into editing room from legendary Martin Scorsese. There’s a talk and a guest that will have you movie-lovers hooked.

Make your TFF plans now and get tickets to all the screenings from their website right here.


Posted on April 17, 2014

Cut-Outs are a big deal this summer. And no, we don’t mean cut-out crops or open-back shirts (although they are a favourite for us too). We mean Cut-Outs as invented by legendary painter Matisse, and the Tate exhibition dedicated to his later life’s vibrant work. We’ve seen the hype and read all the papers declaring it the exhibition of the summer so went to check out if the critics were right…

Icarus 1943, maquette for plate VIII of the illustrated book Jazz 1947

From epic wall-spanning canvases to mesmerizing stained glass windows, it’s a feast for the eyes. But it’s not just the size, scale and variety of mediums that have us enraptured, it’s the colours. The petrol blue dancing figures, the geometric burnt-orange collages, the sprawling purple seaweed. Not only is Cut-Outs a prolific and rich exhibition but one that excites our inner creative.

Large Composition with Masks 1953

It’s bright, it’s vibrant and it has made us yearn for summer to hurry on up. The fact that Matisse only came to this form in his latter years, and that it often only took a little paint, card and pins to create most of them, blows our minds! For your Easter weekend culture fix or for any weekend from here til September, we can’t recommend this enough.

Henri Matisse, pictured in his studio. Photograph: Lydia Delectorskaya

This will undoubtedly be a summer sell-out so make sure to book your tickets now and make sure to tell us what you think! 


Posted on April 16, 2014

There’s only two weeks ’til Kate Moss for Topshop hits down and it would be the understatement of the century to say we’re just a little bit excited! Moss has spent a number of busy months with our in-house design team, dreaming up her new collection and overseeing the whole process from initial sketches and fabric sourcing to those all-important final tweaks.

Choosing her beloved summer festivals and poolside holidays as a starting point, the collection is an irresistible ode to the many different sides of Kate’s iconic style. Scroll down to see the mood boards that inspired the collection, listen to the design studio’s Kate Moss playlist and read on as she talks about adding design to her long list of talents…

Talk us through the design process. What is your favourite part?

I like the whole process from hanging out with the design team, deciding on the concept, getting excited about things and realising, “we really can get the quality of the fabrics we want,” and of course seeing the final collection come back.

Were there any challenges? 

Making sure the embellishments were right and making it look chic and glamorous, while keeping the essence of the collection.

When you are designing a collection, what items do you always include?

A jacket is always a good one – our jackets have always been my favourite things. The leather jackets are amazing, and the blazers. But also need the little tea dresses and it’s essential to have the dresses for special occasions, the cocktail dressses, this collection has some great pieces for the evening.

Has designing clothes given you a new appreciation of fashion?

I think it has made me much more aware of the attention to detail, and I can also see how you can achieve great quality clothing and design but still make it affordable.

Has your method of designing changed since your first?

My first collection was seven years ago in 2007. I have grown up since then, and things that I want to wear are different. It is a natural evolvement.

Has it grown up?

I was girlier then, and I could still get away with wearing flowery little things. We still have tea dresses in the collection but they are more grown up now – a bit more sophisticated but you can still wear them if you are young.

Do you feel you’ve grown as a designer since then?

I have just grown up generally. I think I learnt a lot the first time around, because I didn’t know anything about designing then. I learnt a lot from that experience and so I didn’t come in blind this time – I knew the process. Phillip has taught me a lot, I now know about the stitches, the fabrics and the quality.

Could you sum up the collection in three words?

Me, me, me…

Browse the Kate Moss for Topshop collection here and watch Kate at work below.

The Kate Moss Design Studio’s playlist:

- Fleetwood Mac ‘The Chain’

- Patrice Rushen ‘Haven’t you heard’

- Joe Goddard ‘Taking Over’

- Micheal Jackson ‘Rock with you’

- Inner City ‘Good life’

- Sam Smith ‘Latch’

- Primal Scream ‘Rock’s off’


Posted on April 14, 2014

You know those girls who just throw outfits together and look effortlessly amazing every time? Well Nell Kalonji is one of them. The style guru has been lending her discerning eye to cutting-edge fashion shoots for years and after drooling over her work in hipster bibles like Dazed & Confused and AnOther magazine, we just had to get her onboard at Topshop.

This month Nell acted as guest stylist on our ’5 Ways To Wear’ feature, styling up our new floral board shorts for every occasion. From smartly tailored to a new take on festival wear, Nell taught us that one item can go a long way, saving us both time and money… thanks Nell! Watch the video below and read on as we pick her brain for a few more valuable fash tips.

What trends will you be wearing this summer?

I have actually developed a little obsession with culottes so they will definitely be part of my summer wardrobe!

What gets you inspired?

I love old movies and am fascinated by the world of costume. I’ve just bought a selection of Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg movies which will keep me occupied over the weekend. But apart from that I think you can get inspired by anything – books, exhibitions, travels. Anything as long as you are open to it.

What’s been your most exciting shoot to work on?

I would say that’s the first ever shoot I worked on with Dazed & Confused Fashion Editor Katie Shillingford. I had just moved to London for an internship and didn’t know what to expect. Being on set with such creative people was fascinating and made me realise that this is what I want to be doing.

What advice would you give to someone wanting a career as a stylist?

I think interning and assisting is a big part of it. You learn so much more by working for someone and by observing how they approach a project.

What’s on your playlist at a shoot?

Beyonce, TLC… then more Beyonce!

Whose wardrobe would you love to ransack?

Right now Marlene Dietrich, but it changes all the time!

Are you a high fashion or high street girl?

High fashion, high street or vintage – it doesn’t really matter. It all depends on how you put it together!

Browse the full feature >


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