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February 17 2012

David LaChapelle - audio slideshow

The photographer and artist talks about his latest exhibition, and working with Alexander McQueen, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson

November 11 2011

The month in photography

Audio slideshow: Our guide to the month's best photo exhibitions and books – featuring Walker Evans, Terry Richardson, Bruce Davidson and Diane Arbus

September 08 2011

The month in photography

Our guide to the month's best photo exhibitions and books – featuring Terry Richardson, Corinne Day, Lee Friedlander, Vanessa Winship and Pieter Hugo

July 09 2011

Philip Treacy

The milliner to the stars talks about the royal wedding, Isabella Blow and Lady Gaga wanting an internship…

You are collaborating with Tate Liverpool to curate Conversation Pieces, about art that has inspired you. How much has painting influenced your hat-making?

Totally – you need to know about the past to work in the future. I like futurism but I also love exquisite, beautiful things. We are all art historians. Tate wanted me to curate an exhibition from their archive – but I stretched it a bit. I would go to someone's house and ask: can I borrow that? And I'd leave with a £1m Damien Hirst that looked like black sugar and turned out to be black flies in a frame. I love Damien Hirst. And Andy Warhol. And I have some personal pieces in the show, too, like an 1850s sleigh from Russia that I bought from Sotheby's – it is my Ferrari – with old Russian shoes in the back of it.

How many painted hats are in the show?

None – but there are three photos of hats. [He points to a black-and-white Stephen Meisel photograph of Isabella Blow, his great friend, model and muse, who killed herself in 2007. She is wearing a horsehair helmet.] Meisel made her look incredible – like a 1920s Lartigue. Isabella belonged to the 20s – we were lucky to have her in the 21st century. When have you ever heard of someone in the fashion business having a heart? She was fun, unbureaucratic, generous. And she had a good heart. She introduced me to everything I know.

You must miss her…

Yes – every day. She invented me. We were like Bill and Bert. I made the hats, she wore them…

And didn't she have one of your hats on her coffin?

A pheasant hat. Isabella believed a good funeral is like a great wedding. But when you go, you go. You only go once. She loved this pheasant. She said: "I want to be buried in it." So we buried her in it…

Does a person carry off a hat or a hat carry off a person?

A person carries off the hat. Hats are about emotion. It is all about how it makes you feel. I like hats that make the heart beat faster.

Were you hurt by the rude things said about the hat you designed for Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding (turkey twizzler, lavatory seat, pretzel)?

I felt hurt for her. She is only 22 and there was a little bit of bullying going on. I didn't give a fuck about 140,000 bloggers. In the future, we'll look back and think she looked wild.

Is a hat's design dictated by a person's character?

Of course – Princess Beatrice is Queen Victoria's great, great, great, great granddaughter and looks like Queen Victoria. I thought of her as a beautiful, exotic, Victorian doll. I thought I was making a hat with a bow on it.

The wedding was the Philip Treacy show with more than 30 of your hats - what did you think of the wedding?

I hadn't slept for three days but it was incredible – a populist moment of emotion. I couldn't be more Irish but I celebrate Britishness through hats. When I met the Queen, at a design evening at Buckingham Palace, she asked: "What do you do?" "I make hats, ma'am." She said: "Am I the only person who wears a hat these days?" And I said: "Ma'am, you have kept hats alive in the imagination of people all over the world." When you meet the Queen, you are not supposed to ask questions. But I thought: what the hell. So I looked her in the eye and said: "Ma'am, do you enjoy wearing hats?" And she stood back and said: "It is part of the uniform."

You were famous for your dog, the late Mr Pig. You wouldn't be without a Jack Russell, would you?

Jack Russells are the most interesting "people". Now I have Archie and TJ. I bought this miniature Jack Russell and called him Tiny James. But he started unexpectedly to grow and grow and now looks like a goat. He's gorgeous.

Is it true Lady Gaga wants to do an internship with you?

She plans to. She's already visited me. This is what happened: one Monday morning, four burly bodyguards arrived – Lady Gaga's security team – to check out the security of the building. I looked at them as if to say: what?! Who is going to take a pot shot at Lady Gaga? Anyway, she is young, talented and peculiar – which I like. The Brit awards were the next night and she said to her people (I loved this): "Can somebody buy me some brown underwear for tomorrow?"

Let us go to the village of Ahascragh in County Galway where you were born and, aged six, started sewing. What did you sew?

At home, I had seven brothers, one sister. I sewed clothes for my sister's dolls although she was grown and gone away. I was a weirdo but didn't think I was a weirdo…

Did you know, as a child, you were gay?

Of course. You know. It is nature not nurture.

The Irish have got something special. What is it?

Romance. I love the romance of what I do, although because of Isabella, Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, people think I have crazy customers. Sometimes I get more enthusiasm from the housewife who wants a hat and believes in it.

But you get enthusiasm from the stars too…

A couple of years ago, I got a phone call: would Mr Treacy make a hatpin for Elizabeth Taylor? I said: "Might Miss Taylor like a hat to go with the hatpin?" and the answer was: yes. I went to see her at the Dorchester. I didn't know whether I was going to be dealing with a very tricky person but she was a sweetheart. I thought it would be entertaining to do a hat show on her in her room – because, after all, she is an old lady. I tried 25 hats on her. She kept saying: "Which hat can I have"? And at the end I said: "You can have them all." I gave her 25 hats. She said: "I must do something for you in return." But I'd got my return just by hanging out with her.

And you just did the hats for Kate Moss's wedding…

For her mother and mother-in-law. Kate Moss's hair is her hat. I love Kate Moss. Fashion is about illusion and Kate is a brilliant illusionist. People think these people are nightmares but she has goodness – as does David Beckham. We read bullshit about people. My favourite thing about my job is that I get to make up my own mind. "Monsters" often turn out to be the nicest people.

Conversation Pieces, co-curated by Philip Treacy, is at Tate Liverpool from Friday until 19 August © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

April 30 2011

The Observer Summer Arts Calendar

Our critics pick the season's highlights: From Lady Gaga to Harry Potter, Coppélia to Tony Cragg, this summer has something for all


4 FILM The Tree of Life
The much-delayed fifth feature from director Terrence Malick, snapped up by Icon for UK release ahead of its Cannes showing, is a multi-generational drama featuring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn – and, reportedly, dinosaurs.

5 CLASSICAL From the House of the Dead
Opera North's production of Janáek's final work, directed by John Fulljames and conducted by Richard Farnes. Stars Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, Alan Oke and Roderick Williams. Leeds and touring

DANCE By Singing Light/Romance Inverse

National Dance Company of Wales bring Stephen Petronio and Itzik Galili's arresting double bill to Dance City in Newcastle, with the former set to the poetry of Dylan Thomas.

Nigel Lindsay plays the lime-coloured, lovelorn ogre, with Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona and Nigel Harman as Lord Farquaad, in this Anglo-American production at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

CLASSICAL The Damnation of Faust
Ex-Python Terry Gilliam takes on the devil as director of this ENO staging of Berlioz's masterpiece, conducted by Edward Gardner and starring Peter Hoare, Christine Rice and Christopher Purves.

7 CLASSICAL Steve Reich at 75
UK premiere of Steve Reich's WTC 9/11, part of the two-day Reverberations festival at the Barbican. Then toured by the Kronos Quartet in Glasgow (13 May) and Norwich (17 May).

10 THEATRE The Cherry Orchard
Zoe Wanamaker stars; Howard Davies, who has excelled in the staging of Russian drama, directs in the National's Olivier, with a design by Bunny Christie and a translation by Andrew Upton.

11 FILM Cannes film festival
Robert De Niro heads the jury at Cannes this year, casting his eye over eagerly awaited films by Lars von Trier, Pedro Almodóvar, Lynne Ramsay and Woody Allen, whose Midnight in Paris opens the competition.

13 DANCE Royal Ballet
The season's penultimate triple bill at the ROH includes the Royal Ballet premiere of Balanchine's Ballo della regina and a new work, Live Fire Exercise, from Wayne McGregor, set to a score by Sir Michael Tippett.

FILM Attack the Block
The debut feature from Joe Cornish, of Adam and Joe fame. A "hoodie horror" about aliens landing in south London and teenage gangs uniting to fight them.

14 ART Tate St Ives
Treats at the Cornish gallery's Summer Exhibition include late paintings by Agnes Martin, installations by Martin Creed and sculpture by Naum Gabo.

16 POP Kate Bush: Director's Cut
While fans await an album of new material, the fabulously eccentric Bush has chosen to rework a selection of older songs: "The Sensual World" gains a new title and lyrics from Ulysses.

THEATRE Much Ado About Nothing
Hotly anticipated. David Tennant and Catherine Tate play the sparring lovers at Wyndham's in London. They are directed by Josie Rourke, who takes over as artistic director of the Donmar next year.

18 ART Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want
Tracey Emin needs no introduction, and quite possibly no huge solo retrospective, but this show of sculptures, photographs, films and drawings at the South Bank's Hayward Gallery will no doubt thrill her fans and infuriate her detractors alike.

19 THEATRE Lord of the Flies
William Golding's savage fable, adapted by Nigel Williams, plays in the open air until 18 June at Regent's Park theatre, which is enjoying its most imaginative era for decades.

21 ARCHITECTURE The Hepworth Gallery
The second David Chipperfield-designed gallery in two months. The Hepworth promises to be as good as the first, the Turner Contemporary in Margate. No beach in Wakefield, but a fine permanent collection of Barbara Hepworth's sculpture.

23 POP Lady Gaga: Born This Way
Two taster tracks have overtly recalled Madonna, both musically ("Born This Way") and irreligiously ("Judas"). But the proper follow-up to Monster remains this year's most eagerly awaited pop release.

27 POP Take That
Britain's best-loved manband have sold out 27 nights at the UK's vastest stadiums, with the Pet Shop Boys supporting.


2 DANCE Un peu de tendresse bordel de merde!
Dave St-Pierre is the enfant terrible of Canadian dance and has provoked comparisons with Pina Bausch. In this production at Sadler's Wells, his 20 performers are literally and figuratively stripped naked.

3 ART The Government Art Collection
Discover which works of art your government owns; which Lowrys, Turners and Bridget Rileys hang in Downing Street. All is revealed at the Whitechapel Gallery.

4 ART Venice Biennale
Quite simply the most important international art event in the world; 82 artists in the official Giardini pavilions, with many more off site at the Arsenale. Until 27 November.

7 ARCHITECTURE Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Usually less stuffy than its art counterpart; curated this year by a stylistic odd couple of the flamboyant postmodernist Piers Gough and the more restrained Alan Stanton.

8 DANCE Coppélia
Peter Wright's production of Coppélia with the Birmingham Royal Ballet is a funny, occasionally spooky, family ballet, set to Delibes's irresistible score. At the Lowry, Manchester, and touring.

10 POP Meltdown
Former Kink Ray Davies is this year's curator at the South Bank, recreating 60s TV show Ready Steady Go!, and springing surprises such as the Fugs. But will the Kinks reform?

CLASSICAL Aldeburgh festival
Opens with Simon Rattle and the CBSO. Premieres by Elliott Carter and Harrison Birtwistle , as well as Netia Jones's site-specific Everlasting Light, set in Sizewell. Runs until 26 June.

15 FILM Edinburgh film festival
Instead of an artistic director, EIFF has appointed guest curators, including Isabella Rossellini and Gus van Sant, who should make this year's event particularly interesting.

21 ARCHITECTURE Transport Museum Glasgow
Zaha Hadid now has several UK works to her name, but this will be her biggest public work to date, pending completion of the Olympic aquatic centre.

22 THEATRE Ghost: the musical
Matthew Warchus's production of the 1990 movie moves from Manchester to London's Piccadilly, with music by Dave Stewart. Stars Richard Fleeshman.

POP Glastonbury festival

Barring any mishaps, U2 finally lead the charge at Worthy Farm, with Beyoncé, Coldplay, the Chemical Brothers and Morrissey providing backup. NB: Dengue Fever are a band on the bill, not this year's health scare.

ENO premiere of Nico Muhly's co-production with the New York Metropolitan Opera about a teenage stabbing. With a libretto by Craig Lucas, directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Rumon Gamba.

FILM The First Grader
When the Kenyan government introduces free primary schooling, a former Mau Mau fighter, now in his 80s, applies for an education. Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) directs, Naomie Harris co-stars in this British film which won an audience award at Tribeca.

ART Magritte: The Pleasure Principle
Still the best of the surrealists, with this first show in a generation focusing on eroticism, visual revelation and the influence of commercial design. More than 100 paintings at Tate Liverpool.

FILM Bridesmaids
In this female riposte to the stag-party-gone-wrong subgenre, produced by Judd Apatow, Saturday Night Live regular Kristen Wiig (who co-wrote the script) plays a lovelorn maid of honour ill-equipped to organise her best friend's pre-wedding rituals.

29 POP Arcade Fire
First, the Texan/Haitian/Canadian indie wunderkinder took London's O2 Arena. Now, they are taking Hyde Park, with help from Mumford & Sons, Beirut and the Vaccines.

30 ART Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography
Brassaï, Robert Capa, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy: more than 200 works showing the astonishing impact of this single country on photojournalism, documentary, fashion and art photography. At the Royal Academy until 2 October.

THEATRE Manchester international festival
The flourishing festival will include Robert Wilson's The Life and Death of Marina Abramović and Victoria Wood's The Day We Sang, inspired by Manchester Children's Choir. Runs until 17 July.


1 ARCHITECTURE Serpentine Gallery Pavilion
Every year the Serpentine asks a famous architect to design the gallery a temporary pavilion. This year it has lured Peter Zumthor out of his Alpine lair.

3 POP Ke$ha
America's second-most outrageous starlet is back on our shores. Ke$ha's Get $leazy world tour is oversexed and over here until 13 July.

5 DANCE Sylvie Guillem
New contemporary works by William Forsythe, Mats Ek and Jiří Kylián performed by the celebrated ballerina. Essential. To 9 July at Sadler's Wells.

6 ART Thomas Struth
One of Germany's most praised photo artists comes to Whitechapel Art Gallery. Includes the celebrated Museum series and recent installations of Cape Canavarel and the Korean shipyards.

7 ART Glamour of the Gods
Hollywood portraiture from the industry's golden age, 1920-60. From Greta Garbo to Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe: portraits that transformed actors into international style icons. At the National Portrait Gallery.

8 THEATRE Double Feature
Four new plays by Sam Holcroft, DC Moore, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Tom Basden - all writers new to the National Theatre - are staged by a new ensemble in the Cottesloe.

FILM Jack Goes Boating
Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut and stars in this tale of lost souls and confused love lives in snow-bound New York. It's based on a 2007 play in which he also appeared.

12 THEATRE A Woman Killed With Kindness
In what promises to be a radical production, Katie Mitchell directs Thomas Heywood's celebrated but rarely seen play. The domestic tragedy, written in 1603, will be staged in the National's Lyttelton.

15 FILM The Deathly Hallows: Part Two
After 10 years the Harry Potter franchise reaches its denouement with a film set to keep box-offices busy.

The BBC Proms opening fortnight includes Havergal Brian's mammoth "Gothic" symphony, new conductor Juanjo Mena, soloist Steven Osborne and pianist Lang Lang. To 10 September.

POP POP Latitude
The headliners may be iffy – the National and Paolo Nutini – but Latitude in Suffolk is a sublime antidote to the mud and mayhem of other festivals. And Alan Hollinghurst is in the Lit Tent.

POP Snoop Dogg
The lazy drawl of Calvin Broadus has long been eclipsed by the rapper's multiplatform media career. It's worth savouring, as he performs 1993's Doggystyle at Manchester international festival and Lovebox Weekender.

20 DANCE Roland Petit
Triple bill of works by the French choreographer, Margot Fonteyn's lover and husband of Zizi Jeanmaire. Includes the sexy, existentialist Le Jeune Homme et la Mort. ENB at the Coliseum.

FILM Nader and Simin, A Separation
Winner of the Golden Bear award at Berlin in February, Asghar Farhadi's fine film explores class tensions in present-day Iran as a middle-class couple on the verge of separation battle over the care of an elderly relative.

26 CLASSICAL St Endellion festival
An ambitious festival in north Cornwall (stars perform for no fee). Includes Wagner's Die Walkure with Susan Bullock (30 July), which then goes to Truro's Hall for Cornwall (2 Aug).

POP Womad
Womad's organisers are on solid ground with headliners such as Baaba Maal and Rodrigo y Gabriela, but the splendour of Womad is always in the discovering.

29 FILM Horrid Henry
The popular series of children's books about a troublesome pre-teen gets the 3D treatment, with Theo Stevenson as Henry, and Anjelica Huston and Richard E Grant among the adults.

30 ART Tony Cragg
Huge retrospective for Tony Cragg, senior British sculptor, with an emphasis on the cast-art of the last decade. At the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to 6 November.

To see a PDF of the page as it appeared in the print edition click here © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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