Today, 27 November, the brilliant Iain R Webb gave us a guided tour of his new exhibition at Paul Smith's Albemarle Street store. From 1982 to 1987 Iain was fashion editor of BLITZ magazine (founded in 1980 by Carey Labovitch and Simon Teller). The title, which was known for challenging the establishment and championing diversity, helped kick off the careers of a range of creative stars, including Pete Moss, David Hiscock, David LaChapelle, our own Nick Knight and Iain himself - aptly all of whom have work on show in the exhibition.
The exhibition is made up of a variety of elements including original photography styled by Iain, which helpfully gives a wonderful insight into how BLITZ magazine was put together, as well as collages fashioned using Iain's signature Xerox technique! Additionally, a key part of the exhibition is a set of Paul Smith denim jackets that have been customised by Iain in his usual idiosyncratic style using tulle and bright sequins that he has collected over the years. The jackets reference BLITZ's 1986 Designer Denim Jacket competition, which saw Iain ask 22 designers - including Smith himself, and Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery and Bodymap - to re-imagine a Levi's denim jacket. Iain's new customised Paul Smith jackets feature denim patches made from swatches of Levi's fabric supplied for the 86 event! On a side note - if you're keen to see footage of the amazing BLITZ Designer Denim Jacket show head down to the V&A's Club to Catwalk exhibition. While you're there you'll also see some of Iain's old House of Beauty and Culture shoes that feature in one of the images above.
In a wonderful nod to eighties icons and a playful celebration of the passage of time, Iain has designed some new pieces for Smith that feature collage portraits of BLITZ cover girl Scarlett Cannon, who famously graced the magazine clad in an Hermes headscarf. Aptly, one of the pieces on offer by Iain and Smith is a head square that features Xerox images of this shot. Additionally, Scarlett has been rephotographed by Pete Moss specially for the exhibition wearing the new headscarf! You can also buy a one-off knitted balaclava inspired by one of Iain's favourite, and most acclaimed, fashion stories, No Nukes is Good News.
Today, Webb told us that it was essential that the exhibition, whilst being a celebration of the rebellious spirit of the eighties, didn't feel nostalgic. Indeed, a strength of the exhibition is how strongly the imagery stands up in its own right even today. This is - as the images on show prove - down to BLITZ magazine's core focus on putting across ideas and artistic messages rather than merely documenting trends.
So, be sure to take a trip down to Albemarle Street to see the wonderful exhibition in the flesh. It runs until 13 December 2013. Additionally you can buy Iain's As seen in BLITZ book - which features all the images on show in the exhibition from our Shop!
For more from Iain check out his blog Hope and Glitter!