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Newbridge Silverware To Open Haute Couture Exhibition This Thursday

This Thursday (June 13), Newbridge Silverware and the Museum of Style Icons in Co Kildare will launch an exhibition paying homage to the most iconic names in fashion history.

The exhibition – titled ‘Fashion and Fantasy – a Lifetime Curation of Haute Couture’ – contains a collection of extremely rare designer pieces. These date from the 1950s to the 2000s and have been curated and collected by German native Monika Gottlieb. They are either one-off Haute Couture pieces made by a designer for a runway show or were creations made to measure for a private client.

Susan Power Flanagan helps launch Newbridge Silverware and the Museum of Style Icons latest exhibition
Photography: Conor Healy / Picture It Photography

The priceless collection includes one of a kind pieces by Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Givenchy, Balmain, and Hermes among many others.  One of the most interesting pieces is a green cocktail silk taffeta dress designed by Dior in 1957 but completed by Yves Saint Laurent in 1959. This was following the former’s death.

The dress is a perfect example of Dior’s signature design. It features an hourglass silhouette with a nipped in waist, full skirt, bow and green fringing. The latter is not sewn on but instead pulled from the silk itself. The dress has never been shown before to the public.

Gottlieb will be bringing some 118 items to Newbridge Silverware. Other rare vintage pieces include  stunning designer coats, jewellery, shoes, bags, gowns and even luggage. There are also other unusual items such as a miniature Dior chair, fashion drawings, Christmas cards signed by various designers and a limited-edition Barbie doll made by Mattel in 1997. This unusual Barbie shows the famous new look of 1947 when Dior changed the fashion world.

There are also several vintage and one off jewellery pieces. These include cuffs, earrings, necklaces and broaches. Made for the famous fashion house for a couture show in Paris in 1970, a stunning pair of vintage Chanel earrings with red coloured stones and Swarovski crystals are one of the many eye-catching inclusions.

The earrings were made for Chanel by Gripoix, a third generation jewellery design house founded in 1868. Gripoix had the knowledge to make the red-coloured stones out of powder and heat. The stones in this particular set are called, ‘Pate de Verre’. There are no more than three pairs to be found anywhere in the world.

Lacroix, the designer much loved by Eva Mendes and Rachel McAdams, also features prominently in the exhibition.  A standout piece in the collection is his stunning 1998 Haute Couture wool red coat, made as a one-off piece for a runway show.

The wool is ‘laine cardee lustree’, whereby it has been painstakingly heated and combed several times to make the natural wool fibres lengthen and drape down the garment. This is so they would take on the appearance of fine fringes.

Visitors to the haute couture exhibition will also see vintage Chanel bags made by Italian designer Roberta di Camerino. Regarded as one of the most important handbag designers of the last century, she started her company in 1946 in Venice. Just a few years later, she was honoured by The White House for her efforts to improve trade between the US and Italy. Her exclusive bags were seen on the arms of a host of style icons such as Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge Silverware regularly changes its exhibitions, offering something for music fans, film buffs and fashionistas. They also keep permanent displays in place dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly and Kim Kardashian.

Visiting exhibitions at the Kildare attraction have included Marilyn Monroe’s famous gold dress which she wore while singing Happy Birthday to JFK, an exhibition dedicated to Lord of the Rings and most recently a Nirvana and Kurt Cobain exhibition.

William Doyle is the instigator of the Museum of Style Icons. He created the museum after he bought a very famous black dress: “The little black Givenchy ensemble worn by Audrey Hepburn in ‘Charade’ started it all.  We bought the dress at an auction at Christie’s of London 11 years ago. That fateful day marked the start of our passion for collecting.”

“We buy notable artefacts which we believe visitors will appreciate.  The Museum of Style Icons is unique in that attendees can see all kinds of rare and beautiful pieces which were once owned or worn by some of the greatest names of the big screen or of the fashion or music world,” continues Doyle.

“The museum has permanent displays which are always available to view. Yet, we often have visiting exhibitions, such as our newest couture exhibition which Monika Gottlieb unveils next week.  It is with great pleasure that we get to share the collections to the public who appreciate the chance to savour something special, unique and quite often very rare and of huge historical importance.”

The Museum of Style Icons welcomes over 350,000 visitors a year. It is free to enter. Gottlieb will officially launch the ‘Fashion and Fantasy’ exhibition on June 13 at 11am.

It will remain in place until October 2019. For more information, see www.newbridgesilverware.com

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