Review: City Cycle Style photo exhibition, Royal Exchange
18:18 28 September 2011
An auction of The Original Boris Bike, engraved with Boris Johnson’s signature, to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2011 opened the exhibition of City Cycle Style.
Sir Paul Smith and Boris Johnson, among many other celebrities, feature in this photographic display of the Capital’s most fashionable cyclists at London’s Royal Exchange from 28 September to 29 October 2011.
City Cycle Style, a new exhibition by leading fashion photographer Horst A Friedrichs and The City of London, captures 40 of the Capital’s most stylish cyclists on their two-wheeled transport of choice; from vintage and fixed-gear to classic lightweight and Pashley bicycles.
Portraits of cycling enthusiasts, The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Michael Bear and Boris Johnson will be displayed alongside London’s style-setters including Sir Paul Smith, the British fashion designer; Jonny Woo, Queen of London’s drag scene; Hazel Robinson, stylist to Madonna; and one half of cutting edge fashion label House of Jazz and Jonathan Kelsey, shoe designer for Matthew Williamson, Mulberry and Hunter.
“From fashionistas to financiers, an increasing number of Londoners are taking to the saddle,” explains Friedrichs. “The bicycle is now being seen as a reflection of your own personality and fashion choices rather than a simple way to get around. I hope the exhibition will show London exactly how you can ride in style and encourage more people to start cycling.”
After entertaining their guests with a mouth-watering selection of champagne and canapés, the organizers went for the jewel in the crown: the legendary Boris Bike, the genuine article that inspired a whole generation of Barclay-sponsored clones to green the streets of London.
The highest bidder and lucky winner was Robert Walton MBE, chairman of the Ninth Degree Club, a lifestyle event and networking company. I asked him about his plans for the exclusive kit he had just acquired. “I don’t think I will be using it very often, since I actually bought it for my wife.” A kind gesture that will support, along with proceeds from the sale of all the portraits, the worthy Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2011, whose charitable theme is ‘Bear Necessities – Building Better Lives’. It aims to help disadvantaged youngsters at home and abroad.
To my mind, the best picture of a consistently excellent show is the portrait of the Lord Mayor himself. Alderman Michael Bear, a keen cyclist, is captured with his bike inside his office, thus projecting his dedication to eco-friendly transport to the heart of the matter. “I have witnessed an exponential increase in the use of bicycles in our capital’s roads over the last few years, and we are committed, along with Mr Johnson and the staff at City Hall, to improve the quality of the infrastructure for cyclists in our city.”
Friedrichs also photographed key players from companies that sponsored the initiative, including Pitmans, the award-winning law firm, Egelnick and Webb, the London design studio, and Grange Hotels.
City Cycle Style will be a 24-hour outdoor gallery on the east side or back entrance of The Royal Exchange, which is located between Cornhill and Threadneedle Street, close to Bank Tube Station. For further information please visit www.theroyalexchange.com.