Sunday, 14 October 2012


There was a time when I used to go to all the shows at London Fashion Week.  It sounded glamorous, but was utterly exhausting, involving spending ludicrous amounts of time criss-crossing London, never having time to eat properly, and staying out too late every night downing champagne/ passion fruit martinis/ vodka redbull*.  The only thing that inspired me to carry on to the next show was that there were always a few - most usually Erdem, or Giles Deacon, or Christopher Kane - that were so beautiful that I would fall in love with fashion all over again.

Frieze week is not dissimilar - only it is about art, and there is less opportunity to sit down . . .

But, as ever, there are certain shows, or artworks, that remind me why I love what I do.  Either because they're beautiful, or fascinating, or just plain fun.

For beautiful, I can recommend Kandasamy Project's inaugural show:  JAMESPLUMB's 'To Have & to Hold' at the House of Saint Barnabas.  The exhibition reflects the artists' core ethos, which is to look again at the overlooked.  With a desire to treat each piece preciously, they marry apparently disparate fragments into new, and always exquisite, assemblages.  The House of Saint Barnabas was once a women's refuge, and the show encompasses the seldom seen and utterly stunning on-site chapel.  I went to the opening, and the entire space was scented with dozens and dozens of Diptique Feu de Bois candles, making it not only the most beautiful but also the chicest exhibition I've been to all week.

For fascinating, I suggest Lazarides Gallery's collaboration with Old Vic Tunnels on 'Bedlam', which sets out to explore the well intended beginnings, final disgrace and reform of the legendary mental institution.

And for fun, please go and experience Ed Fornieles's Character Date, at Frieze itself.  Ed is the boyfriend of the brilliant Sundance award-winning actress Felicity Jones, star of the entirely improvised Like Crazy - which I mention because Felicity's work on that film was, Ed tells me, a significant inspiration for Character Date.  I was Candace, a poor little rich girl with a serious Daddy fixation, and was sent on a (fake) date with a (fake) Norwegian oil engineer.  We spent an hour wandering around the fair, in character, discussing what we might (fake) buy and discovering whether or not there was any (fake) chemistry between our characters, before being filmed disassembling it all, Cilla Black style.  While it is hilariously funny, there is a well-intentioned subtext to it all, which is that it encourages one to look at art with a fresh eye.  Making this year's Frieze rather refreshing . . . .

*Delete as appropriate, depending on seasonal trend/ level of exhaustion