V&a

Mary, Mary, quite contrary: Mary Quant and fellow-revolutionary Vidal Sassoon in 1964

My ringside seat on the Mary Quant revolution

30 March 2019 9:00 am

I think I probably qualify as the oldest fashion editor in the world, because in spite of my advanced age…

Scourge of puritans: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, c.1948

How an anarchist music student become of the fashion greats: the life of Christian Dior

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Strange to think when you visit the Christian Dior show at the V&A that his time as designer was so…

‘He strikes me dumb with admiration.’ Van Gogh on Howard Pyle’s pirate illustrations

The facts – and fiction – of piracy

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Avast there, scurvy dogs! For a nation founded on piracy (the privateer Sir Francis Drake swelled the exchequer by raiding…

The play’s the thing: concept art for The Last of Us™ , 2013–14, created by Naughty Dog

High culture or state-of-the-art murder simulators?: Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt reviewed

15 September 2018 9:00 am

For the past few decades, admirers of video-games have every couple of years mounted a new attempt to persuade the…

‘Self-portrait on the border between Mexico and the United States of America’, 1932, Frida Kahlo

How good a painter was Frida Kahlo?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

In 2004 Mexican art historians made a sensational discovery in Frida Kahlo’s bathroom. Inside this space, sealed since the 1950s,…

From left to right: embroidered linen jacket, 1620s; pine marten fur hat, Caroline Reboux, 1895; man’s silk waistcoat embroidered in silk with a pattern of macaque monkeys, 1780–89

This V&A show, about fashion’s fascination with the natural world, will seduce and appal

21 April 2018 9:00 am

One of the prettiest pieces in the V&A exhibition Fashioned from Nature is a man’s cream waistcoat, silk and linen,…

Detail of ‘Riveters’ from the series ‘Shipbuilding on the Clyde’, 1941, by Stanley Spencer

Are cruise liners the solution to the housing crisis?

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Looking at the sketchbook of William Whitelock Lloyd, a soldier-artist who joined a P&O liner after surviving the Anglo-Zulu War,…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…

Plywood at its most curvaceous, acceptable and collectible: Alvar Aalto armchair, 1930 (left), and moulded plywood chair by Grete Jalk, 1963

Grain of truth

8 July 2017 9:00 am

We routinely feel emotional about materials — often subliminally. Which is why new substances and techniques for manufacturing have provoked…

True or false? The Temple of Bel, Palmyra, before and after its destruction at the hands of Islamic State

Why confront the ugly lie of Islamic State with a tacky fake?

28 May 2016 9:00 am

There is fakery in the air. And maybe the French are done with deconstruction. A drone operated by a French…

Doing it for themselves: the first issue of the first punk fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’

Nothing sacrilegious about this British Library Punk show, says Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols

28 May 2016 9:00 am

There have been many punk exhibitions over the years so I can’t help but chuckle at the ‘experts’ who are…

Rachel Johnson’s diary: My brother’s whopping tax return

16 April 2016 9:00 am

With hindsight maybe it was silly for me to bleat, ‘As everyone knows, the Johnsons are neither posh nor rich’…

‘Undressed’ is too much boob, not enough woman: ‘Tamila’ lingerie set from the Agent Provocateur Soirée collection

Too much boob – not enough woman: Undressed at the V&A reviewed

16 April 2016 9:00 am

The V&A is selling £35 Agent Provocateur pants. This is, of course, a business deal because Agent Provocateur — along…

‘Wall Street, New York’, 1915, by Paul Strand

A lot of art is trickery - and all the better for it

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One day, in the autumn of 1960, a young Frenchman launched himself off a garden wall in a suburban street…

‘Venus’, 1490s, by Sandro Botticelli

V&A's Botticelli Reimagined has too many desperate pretenders

5 March 2016 9:00 am

When Tom Birkin, hero of J.L. Carr’s novel A Month in the Country, wakes from sleeping in the sun, it…

Britain is absent from the V&A’s new Europe galleries. Are they trying to tell us something?

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Before cheap flights, trains were the economical way to discover Europe and its foibles. Personally, I enjoyed the old fuss…

'Lion Hunt', 1861, by Eugène Delacroix

Galleries are getting bigger - but is there enough good art to put in them?

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Until a decade and a half ago, we had no national museum of modern art at all. Indeed, the stuff…

The rise and fall of Sony

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Here is a Japanese fairy tale for Christmas. An allegory of insight, opportunism and a fall from favour. It is…

Lest we forget

Portrait of the week

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Home The all-party Foreign Affairs Committee urged David Cameron, the Prime Minister, not to press ahead with a Commons vote…

Illusions of grandeur: Roy Strong as a Stuart king (Charles I, after Sir Anthony Van Dyck)

Camp carnival: Roy Strong’s 80th birthday pageant

1 August 2015 9:00 am

For his 75th birthday, Sir Roy Strong gave himself a personal trainer. For his 80th, he has commissioned a book…

Cornelia Parker’s War Room at the Whitworth, Manchester

What are modern museums really for?

30 May 2015 9:00 am

On 1 July, at a swanky party at Tate Modern, one of Britain’s museums will bank a cheque for £100,000,…

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Different concepts of luxury may be inferred from a comparison of the wedding feast of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault…

Boris Johnson on his plans for the Olympic Park: inspired or whimsical?

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Overseeing Boris Johnson’s futuristic office, with its spectacular view of the increasingly culinary skyscape of the City of London with…

50 shades of beige: English National Ballet's Modern Masters at Sadler's Wells, reviewed

21 March 2015 9:00 am

My moment of the week was stumbling into the shocking, fantastical Cabinet of Curiosities in the Alexander McQueen show at…

The dramatic centrepiece to McQueen’s 2001 spring/summer collection set in an asylum

Alexander McQueen may have been a prat but at least he was an interesting one

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Alexander McQueen famously claimed to have stitched ‘I am a c***’ into the entoilage of a jacket for Prince Charles.…