Friday, 6 November 2015

The longest day

As there were a number of exhibitions I wanted to see in London, I collected the start and end dates of each, and it worked out there was only one day I could go down and see them all at once, so I booked an early train down and a late one back so I could see everything I wanted to.

A couple of days before I realised that the train I was getting from London back to Manchester would arrive after the last bus to my house, (I didn't realise they stopped the late buses after summer). However, as it turned out, some of my friends were back from uni that weekend, and were planning on going out in Manchester that evening. So it was settled, I would
meet them straight off my train at midnight.

So on the morning of the day, I was up at 5am, so I could get up, ready and into Manchester in time for my train. It was tricky planning what to wear and take with me as I knew it would have to work for a day in London and also for going out in Manchester in the evening. I strategically packed everything into a clutch bag, taking my film camera and DSLR apart so they would be able to come with me, and carried the clutch bag inside a cotton tote bag during the day, which I was able to fit in the clutch bag when I got back to Manchester.
From Euston, I got the tube to the National Portrait Gallery, because you had to get tickets on the day for the Audrey Hepburn Portraits exhibition there, by 11 O'clock, the queue was already huge, and tickets had sold out for nearest time slot, so I bought a ticket for 5pm and headed out to the next exhibition.

I arrived at the Saatchi Gallery for the Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition in good time, and joined the inevitable queue which actually went down quite quickly. The grounds of the gallery were lovely, there were beautiful wild flowers planted around where you queued. Once you got in the exhibition, you walked in a
queue through room to room, each representing something associated with the brand. My favourite room was the perfume room, it was a large space, with these locked containers dotted around the floor. At one point the lights dimmed a little and the containers opened one by one, each had a different liquid swirling in, and gave of a beautifully scented steam. Then slowly they closed again and the room returned to how it was before.

There were other rooms as well, one with little neatly trimmed hedges like one of the fashion shows, a room filled from floor to ceiling with all different types of fabric hanging and a room
where the incredibly intricate haute couture pieces were shown on clear mannequins with lights through. It was amazing to see a collection of items which are so embedded within the Chanel philosophy, and everyone was given a tote bag and poster on the way out of the exhibition.

After the Chanel exhibition I made my way towards Hyde Park to visit the Serpentine Pavilion. Each year the gallery commissions a structure to be built in Kensington Gardens. The 2015 pavilion, designed by Selgascano, was beautiful. A large tent-like creation but with winding tunnels and numerous entrances. It was made with light pastel
colours and shiny psychedelic. I spent ages just walking through and around the pavilion.

After that I put my headphones in and took the long way through the park, past the palace and back to the tube station and National Portrait Gallery.

I was still too early for my allotted time, so I just wandered through the gallery, starting from the top floor and working my way down, to the book shop, before they finally opened it for 5pm tickets. I have always loved Audrey Hepburn, and the exhibition was filled with the iconic portraits of her, like the Breakfast at Tiffanys image, or Roman
Holiday. There were also many images I had never seen before, including many magazine covers she had featured on.

After this exhibition I went to a little cafe to kill a bit of time before I went over to the strand. I had the nicest caramel latte and little macaroons whilst reading through all the leaflets and flyers I'd picked up in the various galleries and exhibitions, about what was coming up in the next few months.

I had been awake for about 12 hours so far, and still going strong I started to head towards the Strand for the Louis Vuitton exhibition, I had booked online for 7pm,
but got in early anyway.

The Louis Vuitton exhibition, similarly to the Chanel, consisted of various rooms leading onto one another. The first room looked like a set for a fashion show, it lead onto a circular room with what looked like a floating chest in the middle. Images and videos were projected onto the walls, and it felt as it the whole room was spinning at points, but in reality it was just the walls.

The next room was dark and covered in mirrors, that was followed by a room with runway videos, and one with a cool laser show. The next room was one of my favourites, it was to show
the accessories, and to make these smaller pieces stand out, everything else in the room was the brightest one, it was almost hard to look at. I snapped a photo of a security guard next to one of the mannequins. The last room was the poster room, and everyone was given a free exhibition poster.

After the Louis Vuitton exhibition and because I was so close, I decided to walk around Somerset House, since I haven't been there since London Fashion Weekend and I love the square.

At this point, I still had a while before my train, so I decided to get some dinner, and not wanting to spend too much money, but still wanted
to eat in somewhere I went to the station to get some food. There was a protest going on in St Pancras, I didn't know what was going on at the time, because you couldn't get near with the amount of police officers, but I later found out demonstrators had shut down the London Eurostar terminal in solidarity with refugees.

Once I had eaten, I made my way back to Euston station to wait for my train before going back to Manchester. When I arrived, I met up with my friends, and somehow miraculously stayed out until 6am, meaning I was awake for over 24 hours. A new record.

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