This week sees the start of the Horst: Photographer of Style exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, our top pick for must-see culture this September. A fascinating retrospective of one of the leading photographers of the 20th Century, the exhibition showcases work from Horst’s illustrious 60 year career.
If you haven’t heard of Horst, it’s likely you’ve seen his work. German born Horst. P. Horst was a prolific photographer who predominantly worked in Paris and New York, particularly with Vogue. The exhibition will showcase 250 photographs, alongside haute couture garments, magazines, and film footage, from Horst’s collaborations and friendships with everyone from Salvador Dalí to Marlene Dietrich. Highlights of the exhibit include previously unpublished vintage prints and over 90 Vogue covers shot by Horst.
But even for those familiar with Horst’s work will find this exhibition a treat. You’ll discover lesser-known aspects of the photographer’s work, with photographs from his travels, evidence of his design process, and his sources of inspiration all on show.
We thoroughly recommend heading along to this exhibition at the V&A, as it’s essential viewing for anyone with an interest in fashion and photography. ‘Horst: Photographer Of Style’ runs until the 4th of January 2015. Although it doesn’t have the glamour of the Italian or French versions of the show, where thousand-pound cocktail dresses and Dior sunglasses seem the thing to wear on opening nights, it’s a much quieter and more subtle experience seeing it in the UK, and far better for it in our opinion.
London Recommendations – Café Zedel
We recently stumbled upon a delightful French restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of Piccadilly, Cafe Zedel is proud Parisian brasserie that combines tradition with taste.
On entering Café ZL, you’re lead down a flawless marble staircase flanked by coloured posters to a decadent, Art Deco-styled former Grill Room of palatial proportions, haloed by an elegant chandelier suspended in the outside hallway. The feel is like something off the Titanic: white plaster ceilings give a nostalgic nod whilst framing square lights; sumptuous velvet seating resides beside pink-clothed tables, with perfectly-folded napkins; and the marble walls are set off by gilded accents, reportedly costing £750,000 to restore.
Take your eyes off the surroundings and focus on the menu: it’s a surprise to discover that the prices are more than reasonable. The Prix Fixe is a mere £11.25, serving up perfectly-seasoned carottes rapées, a deliciously meaty steak haché sitting in a pool of creamy pepper sauce, accompanied by crisp ‘french fries’.
All this is set against a musical background of elegant piano playing, evoking an atmosphere of cigarette holders, satin gloves, Dior sunglasses and rich plumes of smoke. Try a desert for a flamboyant finish – the zesty tarte au citron is just £3, and the soft-as-clouds profiteroles are served with an opulent hot chocolate sauce.
After eating, indulge in a cocktail at the Bar Américain, Gatsby-style. You’ll pay a little more for it, but the mahogany-coloured interior offers a relaxing alternative to the fast-paced restaurant. The nearby Crazy Coqs venue, which hosts live music and cabaret, is fun for an entertaining evening out, whilst the upstairs café is nonchalantly cool.
All in all, Zédel offers something different, nothing here is done with pretension, but instead, offered with care, attention, and a fond respect for a bygone era – all you can do is raise a glass to it, and drink it in, we highly recommend a visit.