Colin McDowell Curates Masters of Style Exhibition at London’s Somerset House.

by Katie on July 20, 2011

One of the must see fashion exhibitions of the Summer season currently resides at London’s Somerset House.

Curated by the world famous fashion historian & journalist Colin McDowell and sponsored by stylish Italian beer brand, Peroni Nastro Azzuro, six of the most globally renowned fashion iconoclast brands have been brought together to show their past advertising and editorial images which have helped create and define their auras, moulding them into the fashion giants that we know today, all to celebrate Italy’s 150th year as a unified state.

Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Missoni and Prada’s past campaigns are shown in all their glory in individually set-up ‘brand’ pavilions designed by Carmody Groarke, which are tighter than one would like – these images really need space and depth to fully appreciate the dynamic photography by fashion greats such as Mert & Marcus, Steven Klein, Aldo Fallai and Albert Watson.  

Moving through each of the pavilions, the magnificence of Tom Ford’ s hallowed reign at Gucci cannot be ignored with the memorable series of re-defining Gucci moments when the brand was once again transported into sleek and chic in the 1990’s.  Dolce & Gabbana’s archetypal Sicilian black/white sultry imagery is synonymous with this sexy brand.  The beauty and strength of the brand shines as strongly from its birth to its current inception.  If anything, the change in brand style and direction is most strongly seen at Prada who have now ditched the sophistication of their original beginnings, all cropped black & white portrait shots and product depictions, in favour of a much more youthful and gaudy appeal  In the latest S/S’11 campaign, striped brights focus, loosely in tribute to ‘Josephine Baker’ which veers ever more futuristic with big pops of colour in the Fall/Winter ’11 campaign, which, though highly impactful, seems miles away from its original brand ethos.  Both S/S and A/W ’11 Prada campaigns are photographed by Steven Meisel.
Through the personal stories, reflections and anecdotes of the Italian designers themselves, visitors are given a rare insight into the influences behind their most memorable images, celebrating their lasting impact on the fashion industry.

The crowd in attendance for the opening launch was filled with fashion journalists, PRs and the stray celeb.


Masters of Style: Celebrating the stories behind Italian fashion curator and leading fashion commentator Colin McDowell comments:

“The expression ‘Made in Italy’ has become a global codeword for an embodiment of style, conveying Italy’s position at the forefront of international trends, inspiring and influencing the designers of tomorrow as it has done for over half a century. When it comes to self expression, effortless style and flair, nobody does it better or more naturally than the Italians. Peroni Nastro Azzurro also embodies and upholds these typically Italian values so it makes perfect sense for Peroni to bring these Italian fashion icons together for the first time in what will be a truly amazing and enriching experience for visiting guests.”  

Masters of Style: Celebrating the stories behind Italian fashion runs from  1st July – 14th August 2011 at Somerset House, The Strand, London, WC2R 1LA 


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