Manolo Blahnik: An Enquiring Mind

As in all the arts, whether paintings, literature and theatre, one of the delights of fashion design can be found in the historical references. In 2019, the exhibition An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection explored the inspiration behind the master of shoe design. In his over-50 year career, Blahnik has drawn on his love of art, interior design and fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries, to create the most exquisite footwear. It’s enough to make Sex and The City’s Carrie Bradshaw swoon.

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Couture Royal wedding dresses: in conversation with Justine Picardie

Justine Picardie is a former Contributing Editor at Harper’s Bazar and author of Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life and a new book Miss Dior coming soon. In a live conversation from their individual homes, Picardie and Caroline de Guitaut, Deputy Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art at The Royal Collection Trust, explored the history of Royal wedding dresses. Later, still in a hazy romantic mood, I pulled out family albums to gaze again on some of the Caswell brides of the 20th century.

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How to enjoy heritage English wines

Wine growing is not new in Britain. While it seems likely that the Romans introduced vineyards it was in the Norman period, with the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066, that successful viticulture really took off. English wine is a growing industry with increased sales both here and overseas. Recent years have also seen a rise in wine tourism initiatives including Cellar Door openings and wine festivals across England and Wales. There are around 3,500 hectares under vine in the UK, up 150% in the past ten years, with an additional 3.2m vines planted in 2019.*

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This week… sheep stations, Star Wars and sainthood

In the bleak midwinter. January is cold and damp in the UK. It’s my least favourite month and I’m always relieved when the 31st comes around. There are signs of spring in nature like the catkins, daffodils and snowdrops I spot on my walks, and the days are noticeably getting longer, if not any warmer. The pandemic continues to sweep across the planet and every day the sun comes up and sets again at night, and I’m grateful. Period.

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