Weekend tip: Records and Rebels in London and Just Married in Brussels

Fall has arrived and while we are lucky to enjoy an Indian summer in central Europe, the weekends of sunshine are doomed to come to an end. This is the sad truth but there is a positive side to it: once the rain and clouds take over, we will look for indoor activities, and the good news is, there are some exciting exhibitions going on, that I cannot wait to see.

Once again, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has come up with a fantastic theme-exhibition: “Records and Rebels 1966-1970” explores how the finished and unfinished revolutions of the late 1960s era have impacted the way we live today and think about the future, looking at the greatest music performance alongside with fashion, film, design and  political activism. The exhibition is on until 26 February, tickets available from 16 pounds, and you can pre-book your visiting slot here. I just did, can’t wait! (General admission to the museum is free, opening hours daily 10.00 – 17.40, Friday: 10.00 – 22.00, Cromwell Road, get off at South Kensington tube stop).

In Brussels, on the other hand, the Museum of Costume & Lace is taking a more convential theme as an angle for its current exhibition. “Just married – A History of Marriage” explores the dress code of weddings over time, displaying over two hundred years of bridal fashion dating back to the late 18th century until today. You have got time until 16 April 2017, otherwise best go on the first Sunday of a month when admission is free (otherwise 8 €). (Opening hours from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5 pm, Rue de la Violette 12- that is just around the corner from Manneken Pis and Grand-Place). It’s definitely on my list!

Looks like a good start into the fall-museum season to me!

❤ Kate



Revisiting childhood memories: Barbie exhibition in Paris

20160605_120906_HDR_resizedEarlier this month I visited Paris, and on the occasion, I could not resist going to the Musée des Arts décoratifs (conveniently located just a few steps from the Louvre) to see the Barbie exhibition. I loved it! It’s not too big, so it won’t take too much time to visit, but it will take you on a fabulous drive on memory lane finding one or the other Barbie that used to be a daily companion back in the days and also making you realise that today, you live the life that you once imagined. Further to that, it is great to learn about Ruth Handler, the woman behind Barbie and how its success story started in 1959, and how the look of Barbie has been changing in recent years, responding more consciously to its influence on young girls with regard to their looks and bodies. If you can’t make it to Paris until September, you can also find out more on theweek.com who did a photo blog on the exhibition. Here are a few impressions:

This is not the only exhibition currently on display. We went for the combination ticket which also included entry to the “Fashion Forward – 3 siècles de mode” show: unfortunately, this was not really worth the money. It turned out to be a rather lacklustre display of a number of pieces in one large room, but then this was already it. Hence, you better spend this money on an overpriced coffee on Champs Élysée.


Weekend tip: Art16 Art Fair at Olympia, London

In London and not yet any exciting plans for the weekend? Looking at rainy weather forecasts, why don’t you head to Olympia (Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX) where the Art16 is taking place this weekend, this year for the fourth time.

This is a unique opportunity for art lovers. The London art fair presents over 1000 pieces from international artists and galleries from more than 30 countries from around the globe (find a list of exhibiting galleries here). You may also want to check out Philip Colbert’s (The Rodnik Band) ‘Fried Egg World’, or the pop-up restaurant by Corbin & King, the duo behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay. An interactive guide allows you to browse through the artworks vitually (pretty helpful, you can search for different price categories, artists, size of the work, check it out here and also available as app)

Opening hours are Saturday from 11am – 7pm and on Sunday from 11am – 5pm. It is strongly recommended to purchase tickets online, which you can do here (door price 20 pounds, in advance 15 pounds).

Weekend tip: Annie Leibovitz female portrait series travels the world

Throughout 2016, the new Annie Leibovitz portrait exhibition “WOMEN: New Portraits” travels the world, tackling 10 global cities in twelve months. Annie Leibovitz, a former photojournalist for Rolling Stone, is one of the most well-known (portrait) photographers of our time, working for over three decades at Vanity Fair and later at Vogue. Her new WOMEN exhibition aims to reflect the changes in the roles of women today. If you are based in Asia, maybe you can make it to Singapore where it will be shown from 29 April to 22 May in Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (free entrance).

Europeans will need to be a bit patient but can already pencil in a visit either during the exhibitions stop in Istanbul  (July/August) or in Frankfurt (August/September). The September/October slot is previewed for New York. Follow up on details here. Enjoy!

Weekend tip: Paris, Three centuries of fashion exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

If you are in Paris this weekend (or any weekend until August 14), and you are a fashion-lover, a visit of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (107, rue de Rivoli) should be a must on your agenda. The museum is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of its fashion collection and is finally showing an all-embracing panorama of fashion history from 1715 to 2016.  The ‟Fashion Forward, 3 Centuries of Fashion (1715-2016)” exhibition displays 300 items of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing from its collection, including ready-to-wear designs as well as houte couture (Chanel, Dior, YSL) allowing the visitor to take a journey through time and key fashion moments. Tickets are from 11 Euros and can be bought online (in French only).

While you are there, you may also be tempted to visit the Barbie exhibition too, which is also currently on display (until 18 September 2016). It is a unique opportunity to dive into the Barbie universe with 700 Barbie dolls on display but also works by contemporary artists, documents that contextualize the Barbie world. Both are definitely on my Paris to do list!

Weekend tip: Milan Furniture fair 16 & 17 April 2016

Got plans for the weekend already? How about a last-minute weekend trip to Milano? Enjoy the spring sunshine with an apero and risotto milanese. And check out the latest furniture trends at the 55th edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano. The furniture fair is open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday 16 & 17 April from 9:30 to 18:30, tickets are 30,- (can only be bought at the fairgrounds reception). As part of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile you will be able to visit the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition with 200 exhibitors of top of the range accessories for the entire home furnishing system. Don’t forget to also check out the SaloneSatellite (accessible throughout the 6 days of the Salone already from April 12, with free entrance from Cargo 4 gate). SaloneSatellite is the event showcasing young designers under 35. Under this year’s theme “New materials, new design”, 700 projects from emerging talents have been selected for the event by a presticious committee. I wished I could go!

More info about the event can be found here.

Weekend tip: Vogue Photography Exhibition at London National Portrait Gallery

On the plane back from Brussels the other day, I read about a new cool exhibition for fashionistas in London: “Vogue 100 – A Century of Style”. Until 22 May, the National Portrait Gallery in London showcases the remarkable range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916, with over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive and international collections being shown together for the first time to tell the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world.

Make sure to book your tickets in advance (Price from 15,50 Pounds). You can do it online here. Hope I ll be able to make it!

Esprit Dior and Mademoiselle Privé

20150819_172735It was with great surprise that I learned yesterday that Raf Simons had decided to leave his position as creative director with Christian Dior. Having watched the movie Dior and I about his first weeks at the house where we could watch him create his first haute couture collection for fall-winter 2012, only weeks ago, it felt particularly odd. However, as for anybody, I am sure this wasn’t an easy decision to make (for some speculations on why find more here), but I am sure the fasion and art world will see and here more from the talented Belgian.

And the news reminded me of another recent encounter with the iconic fashion label. While visiting Seoul, I took the opportunity to visit the then ongoing exhibition “Esprit Dior”. I was lucky to make it to the showrooms just one hour before closing time, in line together with many other fashion-interested Koreans and visitors. And it was truly an amazing exhibition (which, on top of it was for free!). Dresses from the beginnings of the house and also including some of the most recent pieces from Raf Simons were beautifully and artistically arranged with a view to transmitting the true Esprit Dior. And they succeeded. I learned a great deal about the magnificant master and creator Christian Dior, his inspirations and visions, which the house still honours respectully. I wished more people would have the chance to see this wonderful exhibition but at least at the Dior website there are no indications that it will also be shown in Europe. Therefore, I would like to share a few impressions from my visit:

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Last but not least I want to say that I love finding more and more exhibitions on haute couture. They are a great chance to learn more about the development of fashion, the now established fashion labels and how it turned into the industry it is today. There was a great exhibition for example last year on the Glamour of Italian fashion from 1945 – 2014 in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and more recently about the fashion of Alexander McQueen, which unfortunately I was not able to attend.

Currently on: CHANEL’s Mademoiselle Privé in London

If you are in London these days, you are lucky! Saatchi Gallery is hosting the Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition on the origins of Chanel’s creations focusing on both Mademoiselle Chanel’s spirit and Karl Lagerfeld’s personality (on until November 1st, everyday 10am – 10pm except Sundays 10am-8pm) and also includes workshops to learn more about craftsmanship and how to embroider, work with feathers and create flowers. Enjoy if you are able to go!

Finding new inspiration


I was recently travelling to South Korea, and one of the things I did there was to stay at a temple and experience life as a Buddhist Monk. So-called “Templestay” programs have been flourishing as they are becoming a popular element of a holiday in Korea for tourists or expats interested in learning more about the country’s culture.

So what happens during a templestay? First of all, you should stay for at least one night. You normally arrive in the afternoon, you change into a set of Buddhist clothing and start with receiving an introduction into (Korean) Buddhism (e.g. that there are differences between Chinese, Indian and Korean Buddhism, or that in South Korea there are both male monks and female monastics living in the same temple).

One of the challenges of our stay was to do 108 prostations. A prostation is a sort of enlarged bowing posture which Buddhists employ as an act of submissiveness or worship to a Buddha. If you know yoga, then it may help to explain it as a similar movement as the sun saluation. So, you will figure, doing 108 of them is quite an intense exercise! It helped though that for each prostation we completed, we were adding one wooden pearl to a string, and after completion, we would receive the necklace as a reminder of what we managed to do. So while this was already hard, all of us were more nervous about the other challenge we would face: doing a 50-minutes medidation at 5:00 in the morning. So, after a delicious meal of vegetarian temple food (so-called Baru Gongyang) we went back to our rooms (communal rooms, men and women separated) and tried to go to sleep early in order to make it up call at 4:30. Yes, we all collectively sort of overheard the bell, but then we still made it on time to the prayer room. As a surprise, our teaching monastic welcomed also the temple’s Zen master to our medidation practice which of course, added some pressure to succeed in completing the medidation in the proper position. And I made it! I was so proud of myself, especially since during the practice session of 10 minutes I had found it almost impossible to stay in the seated, cross-leged position without moving. It is quite astonishing what things you can master if you are really focused.

The program also included the bell-ringing procedure, Buddhist tea-ceremony and a talk with the Zen Master but the most rewarding parts were certainly doing the prostastions and the medidation. I found that the flow in doing prostations felt really good, almost liberating even, like getting rid of negative emotions and humbling oneself and so I find myself doing some of them every now and then, even back at home.

Planning your temple stay experience

So, if you ever make it to South Korea, definitely include a templestay in your travel agenda! All temples open to foreign visitors are listed on www.eng.templestay.com. Which one to pick? First of all, think about how much time you have at your disposal and make sure though that you book a few weeks in advance in order to be sure to secure a spot at your preferred temple. I was unfortunately late in doing so, but luckily I still got a spot at Myogak-sa which is in the center of Seoul which is perfect if you don’t want to loose time traveling across the country and the accomodation is also supermodern, including also air-conditioning (which may not be the case in temples in the countryside). Another temple also in the center of Seoul is Bongeun-sa, which is probably the one I would choose for my next visit since the temple is not only large and beautiful but there is also an adjacent forrest which allows you to really take a breath and dive into the sacred place. If you can spare some more time, then it is maybe worth going all the way down to Mihwang-sa, which is in the very South of South Korea in the so-called “Land’s End Village”, where you can see at one both the mountains and the West Sea at the same time.

PS: More tips for discovering Seoul can be found on my travelinspirations page here.

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Let’s get Vintage!

IMG_20150919_160450One thing I love most about London are its vintage and design markets, in particular Spitalfields Market in East London (Saturday Style market from 11am-5pm) and Portobello Market in Notting Hill (Saturday main day, limited market on Sunday). I love strolling through these markets, hoping to discover an unexpected vintage treasure or a young designer’s work that you simply cannot resist to get. The great thing about the markets in London is that they are permanent, so you don’t need to pencil it into your agenda for a specific weekend and regret if you missed it, having to wait for year until it comes back….which is unfortunately the case in  Vienna. While there is not really a permanent or regular vintage and designer clothing market, there are quite a few pop-up markets all through the year. If you don’t want to miss the next one, sign up to “Let’s get Vintage! Flohmärkte in Wien” on facebook, which keeps track of all pop-up stores, vintage and design markets in Vienna. This weekend you may want to check out Edelstoff, taking place at the incredibly cool venue of former Anker Expedithalle in Loft City with a certain London or New York vibe. I went there yesterday and I was particularly taken by the works of the Hungarian label Spusa and the petite lingerie from I wanna. Can’t make it this weekend? Maybe you want to check out Feschmarkt from 13-15 November, at Ottakringer Brauerei. You won’t be finding vintage clothing there, as the event aims to promote creative young fashion and art labels. Add music, food and performances and it should be an event not to miss!