In the morning I visited the scenes of battles, jousts, and executions: the Tower of London.
I was very proud of myself because I figured out how to get there by tube, using an alternate route. Although it still took an hour. The London underground is harder to figure out than the New York subways or the Paris metro: it has no logic that I can perceive.
Then again I have no sense of direction and it’s been hot. Of course Manila is hotter and much more humid, but every building in Manila is air-conditioned so you only fry when you’re outdoors. In London you fry outdoors and indoors, and the underground at rush hour is a sauna.
The Tower of London is an essential stop for visitors, but I’m disappointed at the range of items in the gift shop. I was hoping to get mobiles with the heads of Henry VIII’s wives for my sister, or an anatomically-correct doll for demonstrating drawing-and-quartering, but all they had were plastic swords and helmets and a set of Tudor matryoshka dolls.
After that bracing dose of bloodthirsty history I headed to the Somerset House to view the Maison Martin Margiela ’20’ Exhibition and report back to Ricky. This time I took a taxi because dammit my feet hurt. I’ve been walking all day for five days and my feet have grown two sizes.
The exhibition celebrates Margiela’s unique aesthetic through installations, photography, video and film. I know very little about clothing design, but I like Margiela’s wit and the way he engages the whole schtick of fashion. To get to the exhibit area you follow the white Tabi boot prints.
The exhibition was curated by the Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp and Maison Martin Margiela. Curated by Kaat Debo, curator at MoMu and scenographer Bob Verhelst, the exhibition opened at MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp, then toured to Haus der Kunst, Munich. It was specially reconfigured for the Embankment Galleries by Kaat Debo and Claire Caterall, curator of the Somerset House. For more information, visit www.somersethouse.org.uk.
Photography is not allowed at the exhibition, but there is a Margielous catalogue. I wish they had more merchandise than wallpaper, perfume, big snow globes and giant feather pens.
Maison Martin Margiela ’20’ runs from 3 June to 5 September 2010 at the Embankment Galleries, Somerset House. It is open daily, 1000 to 1800, and until 2000 on Thursdays. Tickets 5 pounds each. Special thanks to the staff of the Somerset House Trust and the Courtauld Institute.