Looking Out

October Culture Round-Up

CarréCouture selects October's most notable openings, the finest art exhibitions and the hottest spots across the continents.

by Siska Lyssens


From Rei Kawakubo to Miles Davis, from Shalom Sharlow to Philip Roth, American photographer Irving Penn’s oeuvre runs far and wide. Fashion photography is what he’s best known for, but the prolific photographer also shot stunning portraits, piercing still lifes and elegant nudes, oscillating between commercial and fine art photography. In the year of Penn’s birth date’s 100th anniversary, the revered image-maker is being honoured with a major retrospective in Paris’ Grand Palais. A fitting impressive location for an impressive career that keeps inspiring creatives today.

Exposition Irving Penn, Scenography Gare du Nord Architecture © Rmn-Grand Palais / Photography Didier Plowy 


Margate, a picturesque seaside UK town, is currently blooming into a full-fledged artist hub. Just an hour’s commute from London, it’s become a safe haven where studio rents are low, and peace and quiet are plenty. The presence of the Turner Contemporary has been a draw since the mid-Nineties, too. The museum’s autumn exhibition hones in on Jean Arp, the German-French sculptor who led the way in the Dada movement. His impact on the British avant-garde was considerable and continues to reverberate in fashion today. From the Australian designer Ellery to British fashion wunderkind J.W. Anderson, Arp’s fluid forms and awkward angles inspire contemporary designers to challenge traditional proportions with oversized and abstract shapes.
Jean Hans Arp, Hommage à Rodin, black granite, 1938. Private Collection, London. Image © Ken Adlard - J.W. Anderson AW17


French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is linked to North Africa in more ways than one. He was born in Algeria, for a start, but it’s Morocco that held Saint Laurent’s imagination strongly, and in turn, also that of his fashion fans. Together with his partner in business and life, Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent discovered the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech in 1966, and they acquired it in 1980, saving the garden from demolition. The pair continued to allow visitors in and also restored the premises – the garden itself and the painting studio of Jacques Majorelle. This month, a new fashion museum dedicated to Saint Laurent’s entire oeuvre, from Le Smoking to the safari jacket, opens close to the Jardin Majorelle, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm), on the Rue Yves Saint Laurent. The blue on the walls combined with the greenery, the tiles and stained-glass windows come together stunningly, just as Saint Laurent fused many influences in his ground-breaking designs.

New York

Fashion recycles ideas and aesthetics at breakneck speed, making it rather challenging sometimes to pinpoint which garments or silhouettes are truly new and original and which are derived from decades past. The question whether something is ‘modern’, therefore, does not have a clear-cut answer. The Museum of Modern Art in New York tries to answer the query with an exhibition that takes as its starting point 111 items of clothing and accessories that strongly impacted 20th and 21st-century life. Some are age-old garments, like the pearl necklace or the sari, some are closely connected to a brand, like the Levi’s 501 or Chanel’s little black dress. Used and re-used by designers, manufacturers and ordinary people all over the world, they have become cultural, economic and political signifiers that are sure to be reinvented in the future. Have a glimpse of the shape of things to come at MoMA …
Levi Strauss & Co. waist overalls, 1890. Courtesy Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, San Francisco. - One-Star Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket, late 1950’s. Courtesy of Schott NYC