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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Exhibition Review: Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 at the V&A

Theatre and fashion share the stage in the V&A’s new blockbuster exhibition about the Ballets Russes, showing work by an illustrious roster of artists

Written by Amelie Skoda

This is the Kit wriggle out the restless

I’ve always loved France, abortion click harbouring an intention to learn the French lingo for many years. I’m not being frivolous, page I can assure you. I am able to testify to my desire through my ginger cat, whom I named Francois and my half French boy. Oui, j’adore France! Kate Stables wanted to learn French too, so she moved to Paris. Always an observer of life’s idiosyncrasies, she found her vision could stretch even further when she left Bristol’s borough and sat within a caffeinated artery of France. Stables, the singer/musician/protagonist in This Is The Kit, defines the music they create as ‘Screamo/Emo/Flamenco’. Which in a sense it is. A feisty, heart dancing, spirited, emotional flounce. Folky but not in the jingly sense, more soulful and with minimal instruments.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck

Stables is an endearing, dark Rapunzel locked figure. Her voice shoots through you like the first sip of wine after a slog of a day, trapped in an unlit cave. You will find This Is The Kit will gently waft along on a gondolier, tell you it’s all ok, then fighting off the cave bats with their melodies, take you outside to some weeping willow adorned fairy land. She beholds a sound similar to Mary Hampton and Martha Tilston, but more girl next door in pronunciation, realness and the simplicity of lyrics. See: Two Wooden Spoons and Our Socks Forever More. The latter, sang with an acoustic guitar and ukelele, is about wanting to take off your shoes and socks forever more. ‘One of these days’ going to make it back ‘to your mattress’… but ‘I have a thing about sound sufficiency’. It’s a haunting, touching song about decisions, desires and, ‘that someone’. Moon has to be the most splendid of songs about first breath romance. After being lost in the skies, the couple come down, gasping for air and hit by reality. It has only a few lines, but manages an upbeat yet serious undertone feel to it. ‘We had the Moon’ says all it needs to.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck.

It’s nice to be sitting down when you listen to This Is The Kit, with some Pear and Apple cider preferably, or indeed a cafe au lait, if you want to make it French. At many of their relaxed, low key shows (such as Village Halls) you can do this. However, This Is The Kit have also played with big Folk heros like Jeffrey Lewis in their time – so you’ll probably be somewhere bigger, without sitting potential and Maureen and Agnes’ tapestry collections festooning the wooden walls (shame). Multitalented Stables plays guitar, banjo, trumpet and percussion. Often she is joined on stage by her musical friends including Rozi Plain, Jim Barr and Francois and The Atlas Mountains. Tres Bon. Their latest album, Wriggle Out The Restless, on Dreamboat Records, was produced by long term collaborator, Jesse D Vernon, who also often plays on stage as a two piece with Stables.

Continuing to flit across the Channel, This Is The Kit are worth seeing whilst they are this side. They encourage the celebration of the pure and simple things in life. The joy from another person and the beauty right out there. French people will tell you about this: I quote Chamfort, the 18th century French playwright: “Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” Think about this, at a time when most of the world belongs to some form of networking site. Encouraging self evaluation, we discuss our loves, losses, diets and determinations into the abyss. France and This Is The Kit say: look out and to the people we care about.

This Is The Kit released their latest album Wriggle Out the Restless last week on Dreamboat Records. They are also touring at the moment. Catch them in London during mid November.

This is the Kit wriggle out the restless

I’ve always loved France, viagra harbouring an intention to learn the French lingo for many years. I’m not being frivolous, see I can assure you. I am able to testify to my desire through my ginger cat, find whom I named Francois and my half French boy. Oui, j’adore France! Kate Stables wanted to learn French too, so she moved to Paris. Always an observer of life’s idiosyncrasies, she found her vision could stretch even further when she left Bristol’s borough and sat within a caffeinated artery of France. Stables, the singer/musician/protagonist in This Is The Kit, defines the music they create as ‘Screamo/Emo/Flamenco’. Which in a sense it is. A feisty, heart dancing, spirited, emotional flounce. Folky but not in the jingly sense, more soulful and with minimal instruments.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck

Stables is an endearing, dark Rapunzel locked figure. Her voice shoots through you like the first sip of wine after a slog of a day, trapped in an unlit cave. You will find This Is The Kit will gently waft along on a gondolier, tell you it’s all ok, then fighting off the cave bats with their melodies, take you outside to some weeping willow adorned fairy land. She beholds a sound similar to Mary Hampton and Martha Tilston, but more girl next door in pronunciation, realness and the simplicity of lyrics. See: Two Wooden Spoons and Our Socks Forever More. The latter, sang with an acoustic guitar and ukelele, is about wanting to take off your shoes and socks forever more. ‘One of these days’ going to make it back ‘to your mattress’… but ‘I have a thing about sound sufficiency’. It’s a haunting, touching song about decisions, desires and, ‘that someone’. Moon has to be the most splendid of songs about first breath romance. After being lost in the skies, the couple come down, gasping for air and hit by reality. It has only a few lines, but manages an upbeat yet serious undertone feel to it. ‘We had the Moon’ says all it needs to.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck.

It’s nice to be sitting down when you listen to This Is The Kit, with some Pear and Apple cider preferably, or indeed a cafe au lait, if you want to make it French. At many of their relaxed, low key shows (such as Village Halls) you can do this. However, This Is The Kit have also played with big Folk heros like Jeffrey Lewis in their time – so you’ll probably be somewhere bigger, without sitting potential and Maureen and Agnes’ tapestry collections festooning the wooden walls (shame). Multitalented Stables plays guitar, banjo, trumpet and percussion. Often she is joined on stage by her musical friends including Rozi Plain, Jim Barr and Francois and The Atlas Mountains. Tres Bon. Their latest album, Wriggle Out The Restless, on Dreamboat Records, was produced by long term collaborator, Jesse D Vernon, who also often plays on stage as a two piece with Stables.

Continuing to flit across the Channel, This Is The Kit are worth seeing whilst they are this side. They encourage the celebration of the pure and simple things in life. The joy from another person and the beauty right out there. French people will tell you about this: I quote Chamfort, the 18th century French playwright: “Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” Think about this, at a time when most of the world belongs to some form of networking site. Encouraging self evaluation, we discuss our loves, losses, diets and determinations into the abyss. France and This Is The Kit say: look out and to the people we care about.

This Is The Kit released their latest album Wriggle Out the Restless last week on Dreamboat Records. They are also touring at the moment. Catch them in London during mid November.

This is the Kit wriggle out the restless

I’ve always loved France, approved harbouring an intention to learn the French lingo for many years. I’m not being frivolous, online I can assure you. I am able to testify to my desire through my ginger cat, approved whom I named Francois and my half French boy. Oui, j’adore France! Kate Stables wanted to learn French too, so she moved to Paris. Always an observer of life’s idiosyncrasies, she found her vision could stretch even further when she left Bristol’s borough and sat within a caffeinated artery of France. Stables, the singer/musician/protagonist in This Is The Kit, defines the music they create as ‘Screamo/Emo/Flamenco’. Which in a sense it is. A feisty, heart dancing, spirited, emotional flounce. Folky but not in the jingly sense, more soulful and with minimal instruments.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck

Stables is an endearing, dark Rapunzel locked figure. Her voice shoots through you like the first sip of wine after a slog of a day, trapped in an unlit cave. You will find This Is The Kit will gently waft along on a gondolier, tell you it’s all ok, then fighting off the cave bats with their melodies, take you outside to some weeping willow adorned fairy land. She beholds a sound similar to Mary Hampton and Martha Tilston, but more girl next door in pronunciation, realness and the simplicity of lyrics. See: Two Wooden Spoons and Our Socks Forever More. The latter, sang with an acoustic guitar and ukelele, is about wanting to take off your shoes and socks forever more. ‘One of these days’ going to make it back ‘to your mattress’… but ‘I have a thing about sound sufficiency’. It’s a haunting, touching song about decisions, desires and, ‘that someone’. Moon has to be the most splendid of songs about first breath romance. After being lost in the skies, the couple come down, gasping for air and hit by reality. It has only a few lines, but manages an upbeat yet serious undertone feel to it. ‘We had the Moon’ says all it needs to.

This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck
This Is The Kit by Kayleigh Bluck.

It’s nice to be sitting down when you listen to This Is The Kit, with some Pear and Apple cider preferably, or indeed a cafe au lait, if you want to make it French. At many of their relaxed, low key shows (such as Village Halls) you can do this. However, This Is The Kit have also played with big Folk heros like Jeffrey Lewis in their time – so you’ll probably be somewhere bigger, without sitting potential and Maureen and Agnes’ tapestry collections festooning the wooden walls (shame). Multitalented Stables plays guitar, banjo, trumpet and percussion. Often she is joined on stage by her musical friends including Rozi Plain, Jim Barr and Francois and The Atlas Mountains. Tres Bon. Their latest album, Wriggle Out The Restless, on Dreamboat Records, was produced by long term collaborator, Jesse D Vernon, who also often plays on stage as a two piece with Stables.

Continuing to flit across the Channel, This Is The Kit are worth seeing whilst they are this side. They encourage the celebration of the pure and simple things in life. The joy from another person and the beauty right out there. French people will tell you about this: I quote Chamfort, the 18th century French playwright: “Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” Think about this, at a time when most of the world belongs to some form of networking site. Encouraging self evaluation, we discuss our loves, losses, diets and determinations into the abyss. France and This Is The Kit say: look out and to the people we care about.

This Is The Kit released their latest album Wriggle Out the Restless last week on Dreamboat Records. They are also touring at the moment. Catch them in London during mid November.

ethical beauty by sandra contreras
Illustration by Sandra Contreras

The beauty industry changes as fast as the fashion industry, order constantly updating in line with the latest trends. Fashion has taken an organic and earth friendly approach for some time now, medical best epitomised in high profile clothing brands such as People Tree. Now earth-friendly beauty products are burgeoning too. Words such as Ethical, Natural and Organic have become common when it comes to the latest beauty products, but what do these actually mean, and is there a difference between them? If a product is ethical do we somehow think it is natural as well? If something is natural must it also be organic? I’ll now take you through an explanation of these expressions and what they can mean for your skin, and the planet.??

Ethical:
Ethical means being conscious of the efforts and conditions under which products are produced. It is often linked with Community Trade Programs such as Fair Trade. A good example of an ethical company is The Body Shop, which sources Fair Trade ingredients from countries such as Africa and South America. On the other end of the spectrum questions have been raised about the conditions of workers making Katie Price’s branded perfumes, which were withdrawn from the shelves of Superdrug earlier this year. Most ethical products are not tested on animals, but for this consumers must always check the packaging.

Dee-Andrews-Ethical-Beauty
Illustration by Dee Andrews

Natural:
?Natural is another confusing term when applied to beauty products. Brands which use this term include Lush, The Body Shop, Origins and many more. Natural can be applied to the state in which we are without intervention, i.e. no makeup or enhancements. However one may ‘naturally enhancing’ one’s natural features with minimal make up. ?Natural beauty, figuratively speaking, is made from nature, so if you go get some sugar and honey and mix them together for an exfoliating face mask, it would be natural, and the ingredients would be 100% natural. Lush aspires to make 100% natural products but they include this disclaimer: “we go for lovely natural ingredients and use as few synthetics as possible. In fact, we have an incredible range of natural products with no synthetics at all. Over 70% of our range is totally unpreserved and we will aim to improve on that.” (Lush, 2010) Which leads to the conclusion that up to 30% of lush’s products are not 100% natural, even though the entire range is marketed to consumers as natural skincare.

Organic:
Organic skincare means there is no chemicals, colourings, flavourings or additives in the production of ingredients or at the manufacturing stage. Brands which focus on organic skincare include Lush, Neal’s Yard, L’Occitane, Organic Surge and Liz Earle. Organic skincare naturally overlaps with natural skincare.

ethical_beauty3_by_jennifercostello
Illustration by Jennifer Costello

?It’s easy to get confused by these words, especially if you’re committed to being earth friendly, so which kind of products should you go for? The decision might be easier than you think… More often than not, ethical products are to some degree, natural and organic, for example, The Body Shop adheres to both ethical and Fair Trade policies and sources natural ingredients for the majority of their products. But not all organic products are particularly ethical. Take the newly released Bourjois Bio-Detox Organic Foundation which boasts 98% natural ingredients and 21% organic ingredients… how is it maunfactured?

ethicalbeauty_aniela murphy
Illustration by Aniela Murphy

Maybe it’s increasing awareness of how harmful chemicals can be to our skin or the ever increasing pressure to be kind to the environment; but the demand for more environmentally-friendly products has certainly inspired companies to seek profit from organic and natural products in growing numbers. As consumers, we are easily be lured into thinking that anything ‘natural’ is good for us and the environment, but it’s important to consider how these products are made as well, so it could be argued that ethical production is by far the most important aspect of any purchase. Ethical production ensures that workers get fair pay and conditions, but there is also the very serious risk of over dependence on the huge markets of the capitalist west: forcing yet another kind of colonialism onto impoverished parts of the world.

In the meantime maybe it’s best to buy from small brands that strive to make things locally from 100% natural and organic ingredients. Coming next…

Costume for the Buffoon’s Wife from Chout, discount 1921, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

Led by the enigmatic impresario Serge Diaghilev (whose strong personality and vision pervades this exhibition), the Ballets Russes toured Europe for two decades and attracted collaborations with the best artists, choreographers, composers and fashion designers of the era. Diaghilev commissioned radical new scores, working closely with Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Debussy in particular, and constantly sought out ground-breaking new talent, innovation and modernity.

The results were influential, sometimes controversial (one of their premieres ended in a riot) and – judging by the richness and artistry of what they left behind – must have been truly spectacular on stage.


Vaslav Nijinsky, illustrated by Nina Hunter

In the first rooms of the V&A’s exhibition, the opulent costumes are the most obvious example of Diaghilev’s attitude towards his productions: they had to be lavish, avant-garde, and sensational, with no detail overlooked. He once nearly bankrupted the company by overspending on the costumes. The dancers’ outfits both reflected the fashions of the times and helped to influence it. They featured heavy embroidery, rich beading, and exotic shapes, and were created by some of them most influential designers of the early twentieth century, including Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel.


Paul Poiret costumes, illustrated by Joana Faria


Illustration by Felice Perkins

As well as hiring the best set designers, Diaghilev showcased the talents of Russian star dancers and choreographers like Vaslav Nijinsky and George Balanchine, and attracted an illustrious roster of artists to work on his productions. Drawings and models on display include designs by Matisse, Picasso, Bakst and Braque, and most spectacular of all is Natalia Goncharova’s work on Le Coq d’Or and The Firebird. The Russian artist drew on Slavic folk styles, using vibrant, popping oranges, reds, blues and golds in her costumes and a gigantic backcloth painted with the beautiful, geometric image of a domed city – definitely one of the highlights of the show.


Le Train Bleu, illustrated by Sandra Contreras

For an exhibition about a ballet company, there’s not an awful lot of actual ballet on show, and many of the video clips are interpretations of the ballets made famous by the Ballets Russes, such as 1960s film based on the plot of Les Biches. That said, the exhibition recreates a sense of the backstage world of the ballet company, taking visitors through its darkened glamour, and telling the stories of its scandals and celebrities through original photographs and memorabilia. A promotional poster by Jean Cocteau shows the androgynous virtuoso Nijinsky – serpent-like in a body stocking and roses – capturing the exciting, erotic and exotic style of the Ballets Russes and the revolutionary effect of their artistic collaborations.

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One Response to “Exhibition Review: Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 at the V&A”

  1. [...] The shows from the Ballets Russes and the dancers themselves were very colorful and extravagant, so I decided to use the brightest and happiest colors I could think of.  I confess that I wish I’d had more time so that I could draw a very rich, detailed and elaborate background. – Maybe this is something to add to my (already huge) list of special personal projects?  :) // Don’t forget to read the whole review in Amelia’s Magazine. [...]

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