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'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

London - Chatsworth, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is set to officially open the doors of its largest fashion exhibition to date: 'House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth.'

Opening its doors to the public on Saturday, March 25, the exhibition is set to showcase the style of women emblematic of the life the castle over five centuries. As part of the fashion exhibition at Chatsworth, the castle's salons have been transformed into exposition halls featuring haute couture dresses, tiaras and headdresses as well as baptism, bridal gowns and coronation gowns from leading icons throughout the ages. In addition uniforms, outfits and costumes spanning from the 16th century to the 21st century will also be displayed.

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

Chanel, Gucci and Balmain featured in the 'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth'

The exhibition aims to explore the style and personalities of some of the famous women to have grace the Chatsworth House salons, such as Duchess Georgiana (innovator of fashion in the 18th century), Duchess Deborah (one of the famous Mitford sisters), Adele Astaire (sister and partner Fred's dance), Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (sister of JFK) and former top-model Stella Tennant. Divided by theme, the exhibition ranges from Coronation Dress; The Devonshire House Ball, Bess of Hardwick and the Tudor influence, The Georgiana Effect, Ducal Style, Country Living, The Circle of Life, and Entertaining at Chatsworth.

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

'House of Style' ends in a exhibition of the costumed balls gowns created for guestas visiting the Chatsworth house and includes magnificent couturier outfits from the likes of Chanel, Balmain, Vivienne Westwood, Dior , Tom Ford and Erdem. The exhibition, sponsored by Gucci, also includes two dresses personally designed by creative director Alessandro Michele for the Duchess of Devonshire and Lady Burlington. The dresses are said to have been inspired by the books of Maria Sybilla Merian of the Devonshire Collection. The Duchess's dress is set to be displayed in the State Closet, while the dress adorned with many Lady Burlington beads will be displayed in the State Music Lounge.

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

The idea for the exhibition stems from when Lady Burlington went in search of a baptismal dress for her son James in the castle archives and discovered a huge amount of boxes filled with clothing. She hired Hamish Bowles, American Vogue's international editor-at-large to catalog the collection, who went on to become the curator for the exhibition after realizing the magnitude of the archives. Six years in the making, the fashion exhibition includes key items such as a golden brooch from Duchess Georgiana, crododile shoes from the 11th Duke of Devonshire and Tennat's wedding dress.

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

"It is so exciting to see the designs become a reality for this complex and layered exhibition. House Style has developed over the last six years to encompass far more than we originally envisaged when we first started delving into the Chatsworth archive," said Lady Burlington in a statement. "In some cases, clothes that haven't seen each other since the 19th century are being reunited. I hope visitors will appreciate the scale and ambition of the exhibition, and enjoy exploring the stories that this clothing and memorabilia reveal about the Cavendish family.”

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

"Amanda and I are very grateful to our daughter-in-law Laura Burlington and the team for having the vision and determination to bring this exhibition to life. The breadth and diversity of what is on display in House Style, combined with the manner in which it is shown, makes this our most ambitious exhibition to date," added The Duke of Devonshire. "As someone who does not claim to know a great deal about fashion, I would certainly recommend House Style to all-comers, as the clothes are really a jumping off point into different moments of 500 years of history.”

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

The 'House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' runs from 25 March to 22 October 2017.

'House of Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth' Opens

Photos: Courtesy of Gucci, copyright Chatsworth House

Penelope Cruz will play her first major television role as Donatella Versace in FX's "Versace: American Crime Story," the third season of the hit show, the network said Monday. The Oscar-winning Spanish actress will be joined by Edgar Ramirez ("Point Break," "The Girl on the Train") who will play Gianni Versace in the series looking at the fashion designer's murder in 1997.

Filming is scheduled to begin in April and the show will air next year. "Cruz has proven herself to be one of the most versatile actresses by playing a variety of compelling characters, and becoming the first actress from Spain to be nominated for and win an Academy Award," FX said in a statement.

The 42-year-old's Hollywood output includes "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001), "Gothika" (2003) and "Volver" (2006), for which she earned a best actress Oscar nomination. She went one better with a win for best supporting actress for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) and was nominated again for her support role the following year in "Nine."

The first season of "American Crime Story" -- "The People v. O.J. Simpson" -- ended its initial 10-episode run as cable's most-watched new series of the year, pulling in an average seven-day audience of 7.5 million. It also won nine Emmy Awards, including for best limited series and acting statuettes for Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown.

The show, which took viewers inside the Simpson trial and explored the chaotic, behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides, is now available worldwide on Netflix. A second season focusing on the response to Hurricane Katrina is due to air on FX next year, shortly before season three. (AFP)

HRH The Princess Royal visits leading UK textile manufacturers as President of UKFT

London - In honour and recognition of the skills and talents which form the UK textile, fashion and jewellery manufacturing sector, Her Royal Highness Anne Princess Royal has embarked on a series of visits across the country as part of the UK Fashion & Textile Association new initiative, Let's Make it Here.

The initiative sees Her Royal Highness visit numerous key manufacturers in the UK, such as West Yorkshire textiles company Joshua Ellis, a cashmere specialist marking its 250th anniversary - and Johnstons of Elgin in Scotland, a 220 year old company and the largest fashion and textile employer in the country. Supplying some of the world's leading luxury brands. Johnstons of Elgin seeks to preserve the traditional craft and conservation of kills and offers apprenticeships to individuals of all ages at its training centre in Hawick.

Her Royal Highness is also set to visit London-based designer jeweller Alex Monroe to mark his 30 years of trading, Toye & Co, based in Birmingham as well as traditional bespoke and military specialist tailors Samuel Brothers as the UKFT's President. "Britain is home to world class manufacturers, producing everything from advanced materials to traditional fabrics used by brands globally," commented Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT. "UKFT is delighted that our President has kindly agreed to this series of visits, in recognition of the skills, talent and heritage throughout the UK."

The UKFT initiative 'Let's Make It Here' has also launched a dedicated website which lets designers and brands search for product type, support services or location to make it easier for them to source in the UK. The website's databases also covers all stages of the supply chain, from yarn, fabric, garments and accessories to ancillary support services, such as pattern cutters.

"Her Royal Highness has always been a strong supporter of fashion and textile products made in the UK," added Paul Alger, Director of International Business Development, UKFT. "Over almost 30 years, our President has visited and met well over one hundred manufacturers."

Photo: Courtesy of UKFT

Fans of the late Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) and his astonishing designs have reason to rejoice, as a new retrospective entitled 'Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir' (Balenciaga is the New Black) opens its doors to the public today in Paris, France. Located in the Musée Bourdelle, the new exhibition focuses on the black garments created by Balenciaga throughout his career in Paris, from 1937 to 1968. Hundreds of designs from the 100 year old fashion house Balenciaga archives will be displayed, ranging from draped crepe dresses to perfectly tailored suits. FashionUnited shares a few images from the exhibition below.

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Balenciaga: L'Oeuvre au Noir is open from March 8 to July 16, 2017 at the Musée Bourdelle, Paris. However it is not the only Balenciaga exhibition to open this year, as the Victoria & Albert in London is set to open another exhibit on Balenciaga later this year.

Photos: Balenciaga, l'oeuvre au noir. ©Pierre Antoine

Two Yves Saint Laurent museums to open this year

Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent has announced that two museums dedicated to the late French designer will open in Paris and Morocco in autumn this year.

The foundation, which is dedicated to the conversation of the designer’s 40 years of creativity, has a collection that comprises of more than 5,000 haute couture garments and 15,000 accessories, as well as thousands of sketches, photographs and objects that will be utilised across the two museums.

The Parisian museum will be hosted in the foundations home, 5 avenue Marceau, where Yves Saint Laurent designed and created his work for almost 30 years, from 1974 to 2002. The dedicated space will allow the public to explore the designer’s heritage through what it describes as “constantly updated displays” of the foundation's collection.

Stage designer Nathalie Crinière and interior designer Jacques Grange, who both collaborated with the foundation on past projects, will rethink the exhibition space, an area that will be doubled in size and refurbished in the style of the designer’s original couture house.

“By walking through the former haute couture salons and Yves Saint Laurent’s studio, visitors will experience the essence of the creation process within the haute couture house,” explains the foundation.

Yves Saint Laurent museums to open in Paris and Morocco this October

The larger of the two museums will be in Marrakesh, located on Rue Yves Saint Laurent near Jardin Majorelle, a garden the designer and Pierre Bergé saved from development in 1980 and that has now become, with its museum dedicated to Berber culture a major cultural site in Marrakech with almost 700,000 visitors every year.

The new space spans over 43,000 square foot and will house a permanent display of Yves Saint Laurent’s work staged by Christophe Martin, a space for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, a research library and a café and restaurant.

It is hoped that the two museums will “not only intend to attract fashion and art lovers, but also aim to appeal to a large audience interested in discovering Yves Saint Laurent’s work, the oeuvre of a major artist of the twentieth century,” the foundation added.

Pierre Bergé, president of Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, said: “When Yves Saint Laurent discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the place that he decided to buy a house and regularly go back there. It feels perfectly natural, fifty years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country. As for Paris, who needs to specify that it is where Yves Saint Laurent created all his work and built his career?”

Both museums are set to open in October.

Image: via Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent Facebook

Paris to get its first fashion museum

Paris, the world's style capital, is finally to get its first permanent museum dedicated to fashion. The Palais Galliera, which has already been hosting temporary exhibitions on major designers for the last four years, is to become a permanent museum, the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo has said.

New 5.7-million-euro (6-million dollars) galleries will be built under the colonnaded 19th-century pavilion with the help of the Chanel fashion house, she added. They will open in 2019 and will be named after Chanel's founder, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.

The Paris Fashion Museum will also be open all year round and offer a journey through the history of fashion, from 18th-century costumes to the latest looks hot off the catwalk. "Paris is proud to be able to open this exceptional space, proving once again that it is the home of fashion," Hidalgo added.

The museum is located in a wealthy district on the Right Bank of the River Seine opposite the Palais de Tokyo modern art museum, where many of the Paris fashion week catwalk shows are held. (AFP)

Photo: By Mbzt (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The kimono, in myriad iterations from its origins in ancient Japan to its embrace by today's top fashion designers, took centre stage Wednesday at Paris's Guimet museum. While the once ubiquitous garment is now reserved for special occasions and official events in its homeland, it has inspired the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior's John Galliano in the West's fashion capitals.

Around 150 styles from the collection of Matsuzakaya -- the centuries-old Japanese fashion house that became a department store -- are on display abroad for the first time in the Guimet's show, titled "Kimono, The Ladies' Delight". The unique pieces, some of them dazzling works of art, reflect a range of sophistication and difficulty in fabrication.

Variations of the kimono first caught on in the West as part of a general fad for all things Japanese in the late 19th century when bourgeois ladies began wearing a casual version -- without the restraining obi belt -- around the house. Then Parisian couturiers Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet began experimenting with the kimono in the 1920s.

Fast forward to Japanese-French designer Kenzo Takada, two of whose creations dating from 2006 are in featured in the exhibit. "It's thanks to the kimono that I found my identity," said Takada, the 77-year-old founder of the Kenzo luxury fashion house.

"When I opened my boutique (in Paris) in 1970, I told myself, I'm Japanese, I probably know kimonos and Japanese traditions better than French designers and I should take advantage of that," Takada recalled. "Before that I followed Parisian trends. I hadn't thought of the kimono in fashion."

French haute couture designer Franck Sorbier's take on the kimono has been more ephemeral. An organza piece evoking an evanescent white butterfly from his summer 2008 collection is in the Guimet exhibit along with pieces by Galliano and Gaultier. "With its extra long sleeves and its train it has an imperial dimension," Sorbier said.

The kimono adds instant elegance to an ensemble, he said. "Throw a kimono over a shirt, skinny jeans and heels and you're dressed for a night out. No need for an evening gown." The show runs until May 22. (AFP)

'Diana: Her Fashion Story' opens in Kensington Palace

Glittering gowns, elegant suits and bold mini-dresses worn by the late Princess Diana will go on show from Friday on the 20th anniversary of her death in new exhibition charting her style reign.

"Diana: Her Fashion Story", hosted in her London residence Kensington Palace, follows her evolution from the demure outfits of her first public appearances to the glamorous gowns of her later life. The show charts how she not only rewrote the rules of royal dressing with a more informal style but also expressed herself through her fashion choices, before her 1997 death in a car crash in Paris.

"Each of the dresses is like a mini biography... They're not just what she wore but they tell stories," Libby Thompson, a curator, told AFP. Curator Eleri Lynn said: "We see her growing in confidence throughout her life, increasingly taking control of how she was represented".

Some of the highlights include the discreet pale pink Emanuel blouse she wore for her engagement portrait in 1981 and the dazzling ink blue Victor Edelstein velvet dress she wore when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1985.

So iconic is the "Travolta" dress that it sold for 250,000 pounds (310,000 dollars) at auction three years ago. Another gown, a silk velvet dress she wore for private events at Buckingham Palace during the 1980s, is sure to charm many visitors. Tiny fingerprints believed to belong to one of her sons -- Prince William and Prince Harry -- have been found on the material, preserved through the last 30 years.

Informal wardrobe

The show will also highlight how throughout her years as one of the world's most photographed women, Diana revealed herself to be a diplomatic dresser. The "Gold Falcon Gown" is a perfect example. She wore the Catherine Walker cream silk dress embroidered with gold falcons -- the national bird of Saudi Arabia -- during a visit to the country in 1986.

But it was by breaking the codes of royal dressing and embracing a more practical style that Diana transitioned from the Princess of Wales into the "People's Princess" -- the term used by then prime minister Tony Blair after her death.

She developed a more informal "working wardrobe" of chic Catherine Walker suits and tailored shift dresses to champion the causes she cared about. These outfits, designed to convey approachability, she wore on charitable outings including meeting people with HIV and visiting children in hospital. Following her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, Diana threw the rulebook away again by adopting a bolder look featuring many figure-hugging mini dresses.

The cream silk mini she wore while attending a charity auction of her more memorable dresses in 1997 is testament to that. Held in Kensington Palace, her residence for 15 years, the exhibition will extend to the gardens where her sons have said they will add a statue of her to mark the anniversary of her passing. (AFP)

Photo: 'Diana: Her Fashion Story' banner

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

Burberry is once again showcasing its collection to the public at its pop-up show space the Maker House. Last season for its inaugural residency the exhibition celebrated British craftsmanship and drew over 20,000 visitors and until February 27, fashion lovers will be able to see Burberry’s spring/summer 2017 “see now, buy now” collection inspire by the late British sculptor Henry Moore.

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

Entitled ‘Henry Moore: Inspiration and Process at Makers House’, the exhibition unveils Christopher Bailey’s bold new direction for Burberry, starting off with 78 couture capes that were showcased on the catwalk during London Fashion Week, which were all inspired by the scale and form of Henry Moore’s sculptures.

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

Visitors then make their way into the catwalk presentation, with each piece from the SS17 on display showcasing both women’s and menswear, as well as key accessories from the show. Highlights include heavily embellished caplets, Elizabethan ruffles, asymmetrical cable knits, and lattice-inspired embellishments, as well as Burberry’s iconic trench coats.

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

Burberry opens Henry Moore: Inspiration and Process at Makers House

As well as showing the latest Burberry collection, the exhibition also offers the opportunity to explore the working methods of Henry Moore, with drawings, working models, maquette, found objects and more than 40 of the artist’s sculptures display alongside the clothes they inspired.

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

There is also a dedicated Poster Gallery showcasing Henry Moore exhibition posters from around the world, spanning 60 years, as well as a room dedicated to Burberry’s inspiration, a Portrait Studio, where visitors can immerse themselves into the catwalk collection, and a pop-up of Burberry’s Thomas’s cafe.

In Pictures: Burberry relaunches Makers House

Open until February 27, the exhibition will hold a number of workshops and events including printmaking, textile printing, life drawing and a wax resist watercolour class, as well as live acoustic performances from Dan Owen, Lewis Watson, Rhian, and Matt Maltese.

Read also: LFW: Burberry SS17

Images: Danielle Wightman-Stone

The Acropolis is not for rent: Greece may be indebted, but the message over its ancient heritage is clear after it rejected a request from Gucci to hold a fashion show amid the ruins. ​

​ The decision was reached unanimously by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), the guardian of Greek heritage, local media reported on Wednesday. "The Acropolis is a symbol for all mankind, which cannot be the subject of commercial transactions," Maria Andreadakis Vlazakis, general secretary at the culture ministry, was quoted as saying. ​

​ The luxury fashion house had reportedly offered two million euros towards the conservation programme for the Acropolis and was pledging to boost Athens' tourism revenues during a time of economic crisis. "We are always open to financial support" but "the country's difficult economic situation" is not an argument for ceding the monument, said the culture ministry official. ​

​ The Greek press was less polite, with a commentary in the daily Kathimerini newspaper describing Gucci's request as a "humiliation" and the site as "shining symbol of democracy". "The argument that it will benefit from the inflow of cash or the promotion is nothing less than a guise for abject cynicism," said the piece. Despite some decisions by the culture ministry facilitating it, commercial exploitation of ancient Greek sites remains extremely rare. ​

​ Greek-Canadian film director Nia Vardalos and America's Francis Ford Coppola are among the few who have been allowed to shoot at the Acropolis. Kathimerini also cited US singer Jennifer Lopez who was allowed to pose at the site in 2008 by a former culture minister, who bypassed the KAS. The most visited heritage site in Greece, the Acropolis is made up of temples including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and Athena Nike. They date back to the fifth century BC, the golden age of Athenian democracy. ​

​ Restoration work has been ongoing for four decades with the help of European support funds.​ (AFP)