Cosmo Bourgeoisie in Current Issue

Photography by Ram Shergill

Fashion Director Margherita Gardella

Creative Direction by Daen Palma Huse

Hair by Issey Hide

Make Up Barrie Griffith

Dress by Luigi Borbone Haute Couture, Cuff and necklace by Bentley and Skinner, Hat by Stephen Jones Millinery  

Dress by Luigi Borbone Haute Couture, Cuff and necklace by Bentley and Skinner, Hat by Stephen Jones Millinery

 

Beauty presents an indeterminate concept of Understanding, the sublime an indeterminate concept of Reason.

Immanuel Kant

 

18 Stafford Terrace

Photography by Ram Shergill

Fashion Editor Aiden Connor

Creative Direction by Daen Palma Huse

Hair by Sofia Sjoo

Models Dovydas Krievys, Emile Wilmott and Joe Granum

Text extract from The Protagonist Magazine Issue 3 written by Daen Palma Huse

 

Edward Linley Sambourne was a graphic artist that lived in Victorian London at 18 Stafford Terrace, a house situated in London’s South Kensington in close proximity to Lord Leighton’s studio and home. Sambourne, for most of his life, illustrated for the weekly magazine Punch, which was highly influential in the 19th century, commenting satirically on society, politics and cultural life of the time. Deadlines were tight and constant, with weekly Punch meetings on Wednesday deciding on the coming week’s content. Beginning in the 1880s, Sambourne worked from photographs to aid in producing his weekly cartoon for the magazine. Sambourne would usually produce two cartoons every week for which he took exact photographs, sometimes clothed, sometimes nude, or in in-between stages to study the body of the model and its position. This would take place every Thursday after the weekly Punch meeting. Everyone at 18 Stafford Terrace would be part of the spectacle, except his wife Marion who sometimes chose to be away in Margate, especially on weekends, while her husband was working hard to complete his drawings. She wrote in her diary “Lin at those everlasting photos” or “Endless, endless, endless photography!” Quite understandably she must have felt the constant removal of furniture from her house into the backyard an annoyance as well as the commotion caused by all the household staff being convinced by Linley Sambourne to help organise, arrange costumes from a costume hire, and more often than not assist or pose for his photographs. Sambourne repeatedly photographed himself, for which he instructed members of the household to release the shutter for him. Postle writes that Sambourne did not only lead a busy and varied life but took time to organise and compartmentalise his daily activities very well. Sambourne’s diaries are filled with notes on his work and life and details on models, revealing that Sambourne was “a man wedded to routine” – at the same time he strikes us as very humorous, lighthearted and enjoying his creative profession to the utmost.

Born in 1844, Edward Linley Sambourne had little formal training in art. His father’s sister Jane Barr, who was a talented amateur watercolourist, had introduced him to painting early on and when Sambourne was 16 years of age, he attended a few months of classes at the South Kensington School of Art and later some evening classes at Clipstone Street Academy, where students would comment on each others work, however, without a teacher. Sambourne was destined by his father to become an engineer, apprenticed to John Penn and Son, manufacturers of marine steam engines operating in Greenwhich, Blackheath and Deptford. During his time there, Sambourne was promoted to the drawing office when Penn discovered his talent, and henceforth dreamed of devoting himself fully to drawing and a career in art. In 1866 his father passed away – and in 1867, fate had it that fellow employee Alfred German Reed showed Sambourne’s drawings to his father Thomas German Reed, a “well known musical entrepreneur,” who put the drawings to the attention of Mark Lemon, founding editor of Punch. Without further ado, Sambourne’s very first drawing, which was an elaborately decorated letter ‘T’ heading a short article, was consequently published in Punch the very same year on 27 April 1867.

Visiting 18 Stafford Terrace today, which looks mostly the same as it did when Sambourne lived there – even with his upstairs bath tub where he used to develop his own photographs – lets us dive into the world of an enthusiastic artist at heart. Objects or drawings we can find at 18 Stafford Terrace might make us smile, some are very curious. Reseaching Sambourne’s work, lead The Protagonist Magazine to photograph in Sambourne’s house, with models that would pose nude, clothed and in different positions that could easily serve as visual aids for drawings. The many females that Sambourne photographed in the nude are here contrasted with the contemporary male nudes, coming together beautifully and perhaps pinpointing at the unfiltered qualities that Sambourne’s photographs possess. We have to remember that these would have hardly been seen by anyone apart from himself during his lifetime – they were a means to an end. All the more exciting it was to visit Sambourne’s archive, which today is split between 18 Stafford Terrace and Leighton House Museum, just to find the same boxes with hand labelled dividers in which Sambourne filed his images over a century ago; a piece of tangible history come to life again. Indeed, his professional creative output combined with the content of his diaries that he kept, make ‘Lin’ appear to us as a vivid character, his personality speaking to us through both his photographs and illustrations – and making him ever so relatable and likable.

Read the full feature on Edward Linley Sambourne, including accounts of his relation with the Royal Academy, the importance of Punch as a cultural container and an assessment of his nude studies in The Protagonist Magazine issue 3, available from https://boutiquemags.com/collections/boutique-men/products/the-protagonist

Visit 18 Stafford Terrace - for more information click here.

Special thanks to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and to Shirley Nicholson for her expertise on Sambourne’s work and life and patience in sifting through the vast archive as well as Ana García and Sam Butler for their organisation and support.

Joe wearing jacket, shirt and trousers by Artefacts, London, scarf by Rokit vintage, bow tie by The Bow Tie, brooch by The Antique Jewellery Company, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Joe wearing jacket, shirt and trousers by Artefacts, London, scarf by Rokit vintage, bow tie by The Bow Tie, brooch by The Antique Jewellery Company, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Emile wears jacket, shirt ,trousers and tie all by Richard James, pocket square by Hermes, socks by Falke, ring and brooches by The Antique Jewellery Company

Emile wears jacket, shirt ,trousers and tie all by Richard James, pocket square by Hermes, socks by Falke, ring and brooches by The Antique Jewellery Company

Joe wears jacket & shirt by Antonio Marras, tie by Dior, trousers by Brooks Brothers, brooch by Chanel, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Joe wears jacket & shirt by Antonio Marras, tie by Dior, trousers by Brooks Brothers, brooch by Chanel, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Dovydas wears jacket, shirt & trousers by Artefacts London, bow tie by The Bow Tie, brooch by Antique Jewellery Company

Dovydas wears jacket, shirt & trousers by Artefacts London, bow tie by The Bow Tie, brooch by Antique Jewellery Company

Joe wears jacket, shirt and trousers by Helen Antony, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Joe wears jacket, shirt and trousers by Helen Antony, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Dovydas wears jacket, shirt and trousers by Artefact London, bow tie by The Bow Tie, hat by Lock & Co Hatters, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Dovydas wears jacket, shirt and trousers by Artefact London, bow tie by The Bow Tie, hat by Lock & Co Hatters, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Joe wears Jacket, shirt and by Helen Antony, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Joe wears Jacket, shirt and by Helen Antony, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Emile wears Jacket and shirt by Helen Antony, tie by Ziad Ghanem

Emile wears Jacket and shirt by Helen Antony, tie by Ziad Ghanem

LEON

Photography by Ram Shergill

Styling by Aiden Connor

Hair by Issy Hide

Grooming by Julia Wren using NARS Cosmetics

Model Leon Brockmann

Shirt, vest, jacket and trousers by Burberry

Shirt, vest, jacket and trousers by Burberry

Suit, belt and shoes by Prada

Suit, belt and shoes by Prada

Jacket by Prada

Jacket by Prada

Jacket, ribbon and trousers by Ziad Ghanem, bowtie by The Bowtie, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Jacket, ribbon and trousers by Ziad Ghanem, bowtie by The Bowtie, shoes by Manolo Blahnik

Jumpsuit by Salvatore Ferragamo

Jumpsuit by Salvatore Ferragamo

Jumpsuit and shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo

Jumpsuit and shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo

Is fashion really about taste? The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined

Our arts correspondent Gulnaz Can visited "The Vulgar" and spoke to Sinead McCarthy, the associate curator of the exhibition at The Barbican.

Barbican, The Vulgar

The Barbican Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, “The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined”, is created by fashion curator Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. This is the second exhibition from this cross-disciplined duo after “The Concise Dictionary of Dress” in the V&A archives in 2010. The word vulgar was discovered by the exhibition creators to have so much to it, that it had to be unpacked. Years of thinking about and discussing this highly charged, economic and societal term led them doing so through definitions, fashion and anti-fashion objects in this exhibition. The associate curator Sinéad McCarthy, however, also adds the labour that was imposed on the visitors of this exhibition: being tested about their personal perceptions and perceived ideas about the vulgar. Making clear to them is that Vulgar is not necessarily a negative thing.

What is vulgar anyway? Why is anything vulgar? Does it sound bad, unpleasant? And why is that so exactly? I must be honest and say that walking through the exhibition did not make things any clearer for me, it actually confused me further. Still, I think that I kept my inner wish, which was to see some revelations from the ‘other’, and things that I don’t often associate with myself. Not that I was looking for some good material for my Schadenfreude, but rather because I simply would not like to be vulgar. So, did I come to see this exhibition rather to see the ‘other’?

Barbican, The Vulgar

Sinéad McCarthy says; “When we see something vulgar, it’s about us. It is not necessarily about what we’re looking at. It’s very much about perception.” She also adds that the concept opens up a good way to discuss how we feel about ourselves and others. The vulgar raises anxieties within us. We often ask if this is vulgar, is what I do or what I wear ok? It’s a movable thing in a double meaning. Another point of double meaning is also raised by McCarthy: “Is it them being vulgar or people who criticize them? Criticizing somebody and making that statement itself can become vulgar.”

Walls and walls of definitions written by Adam Phillips accompany 120 exhibits, encompassing a 500 year timeframe. If you’re familiar with Adam Philips’ scholarly background, it is not hard to see that this is a very Freudian reading of fashion and anti-fashion, exploring desire politics, featuring absence, possession, aspiration, impossible ambitions, mockeries, etc.

Philips, in one of the definitions says: “Vulgarity is wanting something that you can’t be or can’t have.” This suggests that this ‘wanting’ is an endless and never satisfied desire to own/have/be accepted, etc. McCarthy claims that it actually fits so nicely with fashion - You always strive for something, wanting to be fashionable, wanting the next thing. It is never feeling that we have everything we want. Where do we get that satisfaction, she asks. Even if we have enough, are we original, or copying somebody/something?

Barbican, The Vulgar

Vulgar might be the blurred line between the ins and outs of fashionable terms. Though it has been attempted to keep this line clear, and Adam Phillips talks about it as some sort of violence of the categories. The exhibition also covers some non-fashion pieces, books on language or etiquette such as Elizabethan Sumptuary Law and literary references from the 17th century through to the late 20th century. It is very interesting to see how the word ‘vulgar’ was applied in certain periods of literature, and to see the impact of the word in society or in fashion across time. We are told in the exhibition that it was a crime to appear in outfits, which made you look a higher class than you are. It was, at a point, criminal to be aspirational. It is remarkable to see the transition of someone who is trying to be fashionable as well as fashionable objects. To explore the idea of the word ‘vulgar’ meaning one thing hundreds of years ago and meaning something else now; too big today, too little in 20 years time... Judith Clark quotes Mary Quant: “People call things vulgar when they are new to them.” It makes me wonder if this exhibition has a point about tolerance.

The line has also been kept clear through the impossibility of ambitions; a commoner wearing a crown, for example. This is indeed a political exhibition. McCarthy agrees particularly about this idea of aspirational dressing or aspiring to be somebody else in general – always being a copy and knowing that you’ll never be the ‘actual’. One of the exhibits is a John Galliano outfit for Christian Dior from 1998, which reminds us very much of Henry VII looking at us from a painting. Another example is Zandra Rhodes’ dress from 1981, part of her Elizabethan Collection. The title of the collection would say enough. These dresses are to demonstrate the fact that they are, in a way, copies; they are re-referencing. As Phillips says, they invite us to imagine the original and expose what has been lost in translation. In this way, the vulgar restores our confidence in the purity of the source. McCarthy mentions the Vulgar’s relation to migration through Adam Phillips’ stress on vulgar being a sign of mobility, cross-cultural and cross-class cooperation.

Apparently, some designers were cautious about being associated with the word vulgar because of its negative connotations, but they were brought round after having it explained. It is possible to hear different comments on vulgar by some of the designers in a video, which forms part of the exhibition. Zandra Rhodes associates vulgar with the words ‘shocking’, ‘experimental’, and ‘new’; Stephen Jones remarks that he would never make anything vulgar; and Hussein Chalayan says that being vulgar is being forceful and confrontational – something which might not be quite so positively accepted in English society. Finally Christian Lacroix very revolutionarily says: “Bad taste doesn’t exist. There is just taste.”

Barbican, The Vulgar

There is a lot to read and see in this fashion exhibition titled using the very intriguing word ‘vulgar’. It is there to tell us about taste, in both its supposedly bad and good incarnations. You can also see some anti-fashion moments of the fashion world like the “Not-vogue” project or “Fashion Fascism” issue of Rags Mag. The exhibition points to these moments in fashion while also illustrating some of the concepts which are used to explore the vulgar, such as common, sexualized, exposed, exaggerated bodies, too big, too much, too popular, new baroque, neo-classicism… Elements in different installations give a historical background, however the exhibition is definitely not designed chronologically.

Barbican, The Vulgar

Performing an act of vulgarity as defined in the exhibition, we can own a copy of a copy of a copy. The Barbican Art Gallery’s shop sells dresses by contemporary designer Michael Barnaart van Bergen, which are copies of Yves Saint Laurent’s cocktail dresses from the Mondrian Collection in the 60s, which featured the paintings of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. As it is, once something is copied, it becomes available and popular, and therefore stigmatized as vulgar, Phillips warns us. The Van Bergen dress is also exhibited in the show in a display case with mirrors taking the dress to infinity, as it is an endless story being a copy of a copy.

 

The exhibition can be seen until the 4th February 2017 at Barbican Art Gallery, London, after it will tour to the Winter Palace, Vienna.

all images above: Installation views Barbican Art Gallery, London 13 October 2016 – 5 February 2017 © Michael Bowles / Getty Images

all images above: Installation views
Barbican Art Gallery, London
13 October 2016
5 February 2017 © Michael Bowles / Getty Images