Sunday, 16 March 2014

Artist Textiles

Last weekend I spent a lovely couple of hours taking in the Artists Textiles exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum. Although the museum is pretty small I was surprised at just how much they managed to squeeze in to the space. Starting with the 1920s and 30s there's a collection of scarves, skirts and prints by the likes of Duncan Grant (above, right). 

As you move through each room you are greeted with an array of beautiful textiles, all arranged chronologically. I particularly liked the printed scarves above. Although not clearly visible in my iPhone snaps (new camera coming soon !), each print is cleverly constructed. It's only when you step forward to take a closer look that you notice all the intricate details that these artists have included: women with hats made of vegetables; couples playing tennis or the Surreal perspectives of Salvador Dali. How the curators managed to collect so many famous pieces by such incredible artists I'll never know!

The exhibition also includes some amazing clothes. Above are a collection of dresses by Horrockes from the 40s and 50s which are just lovely to look at - the colours make me so happy! And the dress below is Paris themed and has a beautiful 'Je t'aime' print all over it. I never knew that so many artists such as Andy Warhol and Picasso allowed their prints to be used in fashion collections. I tend to think of fashion collaborations as a very modern thing but and never realised that all these fantastic pieces existed emblazoned with graphic prints. It brings a whole new meaning to the idea wearing a work of art.

One of my favourite pieces is this gorgeous Zandra Rhodes dress complete with lips and lipsticks, and of course, an amazing 70's collar. I would happily wear this every day of the week.
There were so many amazing pieces, I just spent the whole time going "Wow this is amazing!" and would happily go back again to have another look. Also the Bermondsey areas surrounding the museum is pretty lovely place to wander around and walk along by the river.

Artist Textiles continues until May so there's still time to take in all these colourful patterns and prints.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Fashion and Gardens

Last week I ventured over to Lambeth to visit the Fashion & Gardens exhibition at The Garden Museum. 

I'd heard a little about this new exhibition via the Vogue website and I'm so glad I made the trek over there. The museum itself is a disused church and is right next to Lambeth Palace, across the river from Westminster. It's a beautiful building with a small garden outside and hundreds of dried flowers hanging down from the ceiling. There is a permanent exhibition about the history of gardening as well as a lovely cafe and shop but of course the real reason for going was the fashion!

Curated by Nicola Shulman (sister of Vogue editor Alexandra to you and I) the exhibition comprised of just one room but was beautifully done. As flowers and clothes so commonly go together it could have easily been quite a predictable collection but the whole project was done in such a fascinating way.

Beginning with pieces as early as the 1500s, there were tapestries, embroidered gloves and botanical illustrations, all showing the way gardening has influence clothes. The regimented layouts of 18th century gardens inspired intricate borders on sleeves and cuffs and the invention of the colour wheel and new dye colours such as indigo allowed for a whole new array of beautifully coloured fabrics.

The exhibition also covered the more recent trends for garden-inspired garments including outfits by Vivienne Westwood (coupled with some gorgeous shoes) and an other-worldy anemone shaped dress by Alexander McQueen. Below are some (very poor quality) phone snaps I managed to take on the day, but I'd really recommend heading over there yourself if you get the chance. There is also a limited book of the exhibition which is lovely accompaniment. 

Have a great weekend! Xx