Last week I wrote to you about my California "life" house in Del Mar, my design studio in Solana Beach, wonderful social life and clients in San Diego, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles... Now I am back in my rainbow penthouse on the top of the Fashion & Textile Museum, London.
No sooner did I arrive in England, but one of my closest friends David Sassoon invited me and my colleague David Reeson, creative director of the London Fashion and Textile Museum, to travel to Spain to visit the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum. Although Balenciaga's name evokes 'Paris Couture', in fact he was a native of Spain and his earliest lessons in sewing were from his mother, a seamstress who lived and worked in the coastal town of Getaria. How appropriate therefore that this museum was established in a nineteenth century villa in Getaria which belonged to one of his mothers clients. A sleek modern building is annexed to the villa. The museum was completed less than one year ago, and it is dedicated to Balenciaga's lifetime of work with rotating exhibits of other important designers.
I do need to stop to think how similar my start in design was to Cristobal's, as I too first learned drawing and sewing from my own mother who had been a fitter in the House of Worth, Paris (before I was born!).
To reach Getaria, we traveled first to Bilbao, home of the Frank Gehry Guggenheim Museum, one of Mr Gehry's more spectacular buildings. From Bilbao we drove through the Basque countryside. The one-hour drive took us through breathtaking mountainous landscape, all the more spiritually and historically exciting because it follows a portion of the Santiago de Compestela Pilgrimage Route, also known as The Way of Saint James, a path pilgrims have walked for over 1000 years; it was recently the subject of a wonderful film The Way, a collaboration between Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.
Back to the Balenciaga exhibit... we were so privileged to be one of the first to enjoy a private preview...
The exhibition has been designed with great style to enhance the beauty of the works themselves on display, which are magnificent. Thoughtfully the captions are provided in English, French and Spanish.
This is a must do!
While traveling David Sassoon and I had the chance to discuss his own forthcoming retrospective. David's career is so impressive! He was invited by Belinda Bellville to join her salon in 1958 and their collaboration was so successful that in 1970 it became Bellville Sassoon. David's clients have included many socialites including the Spanish Royal Family and the Queen of Jordan, some of the world's most beautiful celebrities (including Blaine Trump, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Jerry Hall), and most women in the British Royal Family, including Princess Michael's wedding dress, and particularly Princess Di, for whom he made more than 70 dresses! David has said that he is "probably the only designer around today who has dressed every female member of the royal family except the Queen."
It would be a great help to David, as he organises this museum retrospective, if former clients would reach out and be generous enough to loan their garments, particularly those from the 1960s to the 1980s, as his work is in some of the most famous closets throughout the world. It would be so generous if his friends and clientele could help gather items for display as this exhibition will honour this most important UK designer!
Next time I write I shall be back in America. For now, I simply must get back to work: designing for clients including San Diego Opera, my newest line of jewellery and of course new textiles and designs for my next collection in my London studio.
Bye for Now,