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Archiving the Feminist Experience – an exhibition by The Feminist Library

by Jessica Taylor

While working with the Feminist Library on their recent exhibition, Archiving the Feminist Experience, it was my role to curate 15 different artists’ responses to its archive that opened in 1975 during the height of feminism’s second-wave. I took inspiration from the Library’s classification system created by Wendy Davis (a volunteer Librarian) in 1978 as a unique way of categorising the work within the collection that still stands today. This system includes over 20 categories ranging from history, the arts and politics and truly represents the individual experiences of women.

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Conversations

The new installation of the galleries comes from an invitation from the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum to respond to the new curatorial route through the archive. The exhibition Cristobal Balenciaga Fashion and Heritage collects together moments in the history of the houses Balenciaga established in Spain and in Paris, and each chapter illuminates different modes of display: the aesthetics and romance of the archive, of conservation, of performed museologies that evolve and revolve around these monuments of dress history. The exhibition format allows us to build up associations and conversations across collections, each adding a new perspective. My own conversations and installation pays homage to the new routes through the archive in the way that a new visitor might, finding one’s own associations to the material. The design therefore quotes remembered past exhibitions that have paid homage to Balenciaga bringing another kind of reference to the project. We see the work through the eyes, for example, of Diana Vreeland, Marie- Andrée Jouve, Pamela Golbin, Kaat Debo, Miren Arzullaz, Hamish Bowles or Olivier Saillard, among the many curators,  researchers and fashion historians who have sought new approaches to Balenciaga’s legacy, that are shown along the route as props. The architecture is temporary against the fixed vitrines of the museum: the tension between fashion and heritage underlining the questions the exhibition itself raises.

Judith Clark, March 2018

Fig 1: Left, The Salon, Gesmonite. Right, Rebuilding Janine Janet’s Balenciaga window of avenue George V in Paris, 1956.

Fig 2: Left, How might we acknowledge an exhibition as a prop to a new one? A homage to Olivier Saillard. Right, Film Stills from the salon.

Fig. 3: Left, Hamish Bowles’s exhibition Balenciaga and Spain looked at his roots in traditional dress. His chapter on Dance is populated with images of the models in the salon wearing white gloves. Right, Naomi Filmer’s gesmonite gestures.

 

Fig 4 The map of Clark’s research inserted into the museum leaflet. Charlie Smith Design.

 

 

Breaking the Mould, Fashion Curation for New Style Re-Publics

Alison Moloney, International Exhibitions Curator in CfFC at London College of Fashion,  has  been awarded a British Council Art Connects Us grant to travel to Cape Town and Johannesburg to develop a research programme and to explore possible exhibition opportunities and collaborations with CfFC.  Alison is organising at talk at Gallery MOMO,  an experimental art gallery which has displayed some of the South Africa’s most interesting fashion designers/artists on Saturday 3rd March in collaboration with Erica de Greef,  a fashion theorist, curator and lecturer at the University of Cape Town, and the gallery director. Gallery MOMO and involving some key industry players,  There will be a panel discussion around approaches to fashion curation with a chance to see the 1914 Now series of films, commissioned by Alison.  Alison will also be meeting designers and artists while she’s there for possible collaboration with LCF.   See below for the venue’s press release.

 

MA18 – MA Fashion Curation Course graduate show

The work of MA Fashion Curation graduates is being exhibited at the Bargehouse Gallery, behind the Oxo Tower on London’s South Bank. For their final project, students were asked to produce a hypothetical exhibition which were displayed alongside a collection of the work by the Centre for Fashion Curation. The show is open daily 15 – 18 February, 2018. Well done MA FC!

MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

Model of hypothetical exhibition. By Susannah Shubin. MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

Model of hypothetical exhibition. Conventionality Is Deadness: Art and Performance in the Wardrobe of Lady Ottoline Morrell, By Gill MacGregor. MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

MA Fashion Curation display. The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

MA Fashion Curation display, MA18, The Bargehouse, London, February 2018.

 

Interested in studying Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion? Find out more about applying here.

Find out more more about Gill MacGregor’s work here in LCF’s  Graduate Spotlight post

 

Primavera in December: Installing the Birdsong Festive Pop-up shop in Hoxton, London

One of the most rewarding elements of studying at LCF is being able to communicate a shared passion for curation both within and outside the University. Lecturers on the MA Fashion Curation course invite students to flex their curatorial muscle outside of tutor-led assignments, offering valuable real-world experience and a chance to put ideas into practice.

In December, several of us were invited to install Birdsong London’s festive pop-up shop in Hoxton. Established in 2014, Birdsong is a female-run fashion brand that works with local women’s groups to offer migrant and refugee women an opportunity to receive a living wage for their work. Their mantra is to connect women from worker to wearer, ensuring everyone is offered a fairer deal in the process. Their brief to CfFC was to curate a space that would complement Birdsong’s clothes and accessories with a dash of festive flair; transforming a stark white room into an inviting retail space. Together, we decided on a Primavera-inspired scene and set out to create a sumptuous, scented banquet scene to last for the five days the shop would be open.

Matthew Whaley and I were handed the task of sourcing flowers, foliage and fruit to conjure a table-top feast, worthy of Sandro Botticelli himself – for £40. With the need to maximize our budget we bought winter fruits in bulk from a local grocer and opted for long-lasting eucalyptus branches to fill the room with a rich, woody scent. We arranged our finds Renaissance-style, amidst silver chargers and goblets sourced from local charity shops and finished the arrangement with candles to complete the decadent mood. Annabel Hoyng focused on merchandising Birdsong’s eclectic range of stock: everything from the softest hand-knitted sweaters to Frida Kahlo bodysuits and painted denim from local artists.

MA Fashion-Curation students Annabel-Hoyng and Matthew Whaley put the finishing touches to the Birdsong Festive pop-up in Hoxton. ©Natalie Tilbury

One of the finished displays featuring Birdsong designs. The organic cotton t-shirts (far left) are hand-painted by women at Mohila Creations; a group of low-income migrant mothers based in Tower Hamlets. ©Natalie Tilbury

A detail of the banqueting table laden with clementines, pomegranates and holly. All props were sourced from local charity shops, grocers and florists.
©Natalie Tilbury

Whether you are just starting out in a career in curation, or working in a museum, tight budgets are, and will continue to be, an undeniable reality. It is the way we handle these challenges with innovative and inspiring solutions that will stand us apart from our peers. Important too is understanding what feels right for the brand or institution you are working with. Everything we sourced for Birdsong was from Hoxton’s charity shops, florists and grocers; further supporting one of the communities in which they work.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Treat every opportunity as a chance to show what you can do, rather than a drain on your time, and your postgraduate experience will be more rewarding than you ever thought possible.

Natalie Tilbury
MA Fashion Curation 2017/2018

Interning at Formula D Interactive: a month in

Maxime Laprade graduated from the MA Fashion Curation course at London College of Fashion in 2016. In his post he tells us of his current internship in a design company in Capetown, South Africa.

I was offered an internship project manager role at Formula D Interactive, a design company based in Cape Town, South Africa that specialises in interactive exhibits for museums. A month in to the job, I’m going to tell you how it’s going. But first, let’s go back to why this internship was a fantastic opportunity for me.

I moved from France to study the MA Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion in September 2015. With a background in art and fashion history, I took an incredible journey during my time on the course. I experienced new practices, broadened my interests and challenged my knowledge. I became interested in social media and digital practices, fascinated by the limitless possibilities they offer. I researched how visitors could play a bigger role in exhibitions, using interaction and participation. It’s become an obsession.

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