Brilliant Things To Do in August

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Dorothy in a Moderato Cantabile dress, Fall/Winter 1960 Dior Haute Couture© William Klein for Vogue US

Summer is in full swing, and with August's arrival comes a whole host of exhibitions, festivals, restaurants and events to while away the days


Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris: until January 7, 2018
2017 marks 70 years since the opening of the house of Dior, and to celebrate, a new exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris offers a journey through those seminal decades – from the groundbreaking expertise of Christian Dior to the unique innovations of designers like Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano during their tenures at the house. The show is made up of over 300 haute couture pieces from Dior's archive, which are accompanied by photographs, illustrations and documents. Book your Eurostar tickets now.

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism at Art Gallery New South Wales, Australia: until October 2, 2017
Georgia O’Keeffe, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith each breathed new life into 20th century painting with singular skill. Now a new display at Australia’s Art Gallery New South Wales brings together around 90 works by the visionary artists to consider their individual impacts on modernism, as well as the linking threads underscoring their oeuvres. What’s more, the show draws fascinating links between the Australian and American modernist traditions and is the largest collection of O’Keeffe’s paintings to exhibit in Australia.

Lakwena Maciver: The Future’s Gold at the KK Outlet, Hoxton: until August 31, 2017
This month, a new body of work by artist Lakwena Maciver, titled The Future's Gold, arrives at Hoxton's KK Outlet in typically colourful style. Expect to enjoy a fresh array of Maciver’s graphic paintings, complete with messages of bold hope, intended as an antidote to the turbulent social and political times in which we live. While there you can also create a masterpiece of your own, courtesy of the space's forthcoming collage workshops (see The Events Edit below for more information).

Mono: An Exhibition of Unique Prints at Flowers Gallery, London: until September 9, 2017
Coming across an entirely unique work of art or print is a rarity, so the latest exhibition at London's Flowers Gallery is bound to pique the interest of many, made up as it is of original monoprints. These pieces offer wonderful insight into the practices of the more than 30 artists involved in the show, and the range of subjects is impressive, too; you’ll see everything from portraits and landscapes to collage and still life.

PICASSO. On the Beach at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice: August 26, 2017 – January 8, 2018
Picasso’s On the Beach (La Baignade) was a favourite work of Peggy Guggenheim, and this month it proves central to a display in the Project Rooms of her namesake Venice museum. Though the exhibition will be relatively small – just ten drawings, three paintings and one sculpture by Picasso will feature – its focus on the inspiration Picasso sought in seaside landscapes is profound, and is explored in collaboration with the Musée National de Picasso in Paris as part of a wider cultural programme designed around the Mediterranean tendencies in the revered artist’s work.

The Events & Festivals Edit 

Isolation Chamber Vacation at the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Sussex: until September 2, 2017
Work by female artists makes up Isolation Chamber Vacation, an exhibition at Sussex’s Worthing Museum the central theme of which is solitude. Accompanying the show – which features offerings by Juno Calypso, Susie Hamilton and Cathy Lomax, as well as objects relating to aloneness – are a series of talks and film screenings. The next event will take place on August 21, when Kirsty Buchanan and Sarah Kathryn Cleaver will discuss solitude as a feminist issue, followed by a screening of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: August 4 – August 28, 2017
A mainstay in the UK’s cultural calendar, Edinburgh Fringe returns this month for its 70th year. The Scottish capital is transformed into a veritable hub of theatre, comedy, dance and music for three weeks and while the vast amount of entertainment on offer can be overwhelming, we’ve compiled a handy shortlist of must-sees. Beak Speaks sees Gillian Beak divulge secrets and stories from her 30 years on the theatrical circuit; Circa: Humans is a show put on by a group of ten acrobats, in which they interrogate the weight – both literal and metaphorical – of trust and emotions; one-woman show Dust, by Milly Thomas, explores suicide and depression through the lens of a young woman; and comedians Lola and Jo navigate the realities of modern life with sheer hilarity.  

Collage Club Workshop at KK Outlet, Hoxton: August 9 & 23, 2017
It’s time to channel your inner Hannah Höch! For two days this month the KK Outlet will host Collage Club Workshops, in which you can cut and paste to your heart’s content using beautiful paper and scissors. Perfect for “cutting connoisseurs and new gluers alike”, prepare to immerse yourself in such activities as speed-collaging and collaborative image-making – all with a cold drink in hand.

Copenhagen Fashion Week: August 8 – 12, 2017
Amongst the myriad exciting events and shows offered up at Copenhagen Fashion Week, we’ve noted a couple that should not be missed. Ganni will host a pop-up ‘Fruit’ shop stocking their irresistible Fruit T-shirts as well as beautiful limited-edition ceramics by Jessica Hans, open until August 19. Plus, the Danish brand has teamed up with Ana Kraš, who will design the set for its show.

Elsewhere in the Danish capital, florals and jewels combine in Sophie Bille Brahe’s pop-up flower shop: housed just behind Atelier September (the café run by the jewellery designer’s brother) in Studio x Viaduct, her fabulous S/S18 jewellery will sit alongside floral arrangements by stylist Emelie Johansson from August 7 to 13.   

Wilderness Festival at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire: August 3 – 6, 2017
Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club and Bonobo headline this year’s Wilderness, which returns to Oxfordshire this weekend. The festival's charm lies in its delicious escapism – bathe in the ethereal lake, settle in for a banquet or wander around the forests and fields – even though it’s located just a stone’s throw from London.

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, London: August 10 – 23, 2017
Film screenings have returned to Somerset House for the season, just as the weather in London reaches balmy perfection. Cult classics – think Donnie Darko and Cruel Intentions – as well as premieres of new releases will be shown, alongside introductions and workshops with industry insiders, and Summer Screen Prints, a poster exhibition produced with Print Club London. And of course, there’ll be delectable food and drink offerings in abundance.

Great Performances

Hitchcock fans will be thrilled to learn that his 1959 classic North by Northwest has been adapted for the stage and is showing at Theatre Royal Bath until August 12, in what will likely be a riotous look at the original tale of suspense and mistaken identity. In London, iconic musical Follies arrives at the National Theatre in a few weeks for the first time. Complete with a 21-strong orchestra – not to mention Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton playing the eponymous gaggle of reunited performers – this new production is set to dazzle and delight with the original Stephen Sondheim-penned numbers. “Silicon Valley. The future. A rocket launches” reads the intriguing blurb of Against, a new play by Christopher Shinn opening at the Almeida Theatre, and starring Ben Whishaw as protagonist Luke, a billionaire whose life is punctuated by direct addresses from God. At the Donmar Warehouse Knives in Hens, the 1995 masterpiece by Scottish playwright David Harrower, is directed by Yaël Farber. Set in pre-industrial time, this unforgettable tale sees a nameless woman seek understanding of the world she lives in, using her imagination and long-unearthed power to find liberation.

The Best of Film

When it comes to cinematic distractions, there’s something for everyone this August. First up, don’t miss David Lowery’s Sundance-favourite A Ghost Story, a devastatingly beautiful musing on life and loss, featuring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck (wearing a sheet to tragi-comic effect for 90% of the film). And while we’re on the subject of eerie viewing, there’s The Ghoul, the accomplished debut from British actor-turned-director Gareth Tunley, following a detective who goes undercover as a psychiatric patient to investigate a doctor’s possible connection to a mysterious double murder. Tom of Finland is Dome Karukoski’s stylish biopic of the Finnish artist best known for his skilled homoerotic illustrations and influence on gay culture in the late 20th century. Another art-centric must-see comes courtesy of Maudie, the romantic drama from Aisling Walsh, starring Sally Hawkins as the titular Canadian folk artist, who falls for Ethan Hawke’s fishmonger, while acting as his live-in housekeeper.

Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow makes her anticipated return with Detroit, a gripping exploration of a dark chapter in America’s history: the murder of three young African American men at the Algiers Motel, during the Detroit Rebellion of 1967. For more upbeat viewing, there’s Logan Lucky, the latest film from Steven Soderbergh, following two brothers as they attempt to pull off an elaborate heist during the legendary NASCAR auto race. Documentary fans: make sure to catch Bending The Arc, recalling the groundbreaking work of a group of doctors and activists, whose bid to save lives in a rural Haitian village 30 years ago evolved into a global battle. Meanwhile, Jonathan Olshefski’s Quest, filmed over the course of eight years, follows the inspiring lives of The Raineys, a North Philadelphia family, whose home music studio serves as a refuge in their downtrodden community.

The Best in Food & Drink

temper City, London: open now
Curry and barbecue combine in temper City, the latest venture from Neil Rankin. The second branch of the temper family, the restaurant sees the requisite kitchen fire pits appear, on which tandoor meats are cooked, accompanied by an impressive drinks list. The menu boasts Korean haggis; lamb, scotch bonnet and black pepper stew, and green curry spiced sole.

East London Liquor Company take over BAO, Fitzrovia: August 8, 2017
For one night only the East London Liquor Company will take over the bar at Fitzrovia haunt BAO, creating five signature cocktails for the event which will be paired with five unique dishes from the restaurant team. We’ll most likely be trying each and every one.

The Mystery Jets at Som Saa, London: August 5, 2017
It’s time to change up your Saturday night routine: head to Som Saa from 11pm (or just stay on following a delicious supper) to enjoy its late night bar. This weekend sees The Mystery Jets on the decks in what is bound to be an unforgettable evening.

Oyster and Rosé Party at 8 Hoxton Square, London: August 13, 2017
Rosé has become somewhat of a seasonal tipple, its rosy hues having come to epitomise summer. The team over at 8 Hoxton Square are evidently well aware of this, and following last year’s roaring success, are hosting an oyster and rosé party later this month. What more could you want?