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LCF Archives: Object Reading Group

One of the pleasures and strengths of LCF’s archive is the idiosyncratic range of material the collections hold. The objects have been collected to reflect, illustrate and inspire the diverse processes, outputs and areas of the industry the college works with.

Dressmaking Students, Shoreditch School, 1930

Dressmaking Students, Shoreditch School, 1930

As well as a being a potent starting point for a collecting policy, this approach makes LCF a fascinating melting pot of different methodologies, ideas and forms of expertise. With fashion as the unifier, a tailor, a curator and a trend forecaster can each ‘read’ and understand an object in a different way, one which is framed and informed by their differing areas of expertise.

With that in mind, in conjunction with the Fashion Archives, we are starting a new series of events. In these monthly discussion groups, participants will be asked to ‘read’ and discuss a selection of objects from the LCF Archives collections.

We aim to take an interdisciplinary approach to the sessions and discussions, and to encourage students, staff and researchers to apply their different expertise and knowledge bases (whether practical or theoretical) to ‘reading’ the selected objects. As well as highlighting the variety of materials in the archive, the events will promote the importance of object based learning in all disciplines, and hopefully highlight some of the different ways participants will engage with objects depending on their own expertise.

To sweeten the deal and help start the conversation, a complimentary glass of wine will be provided. This event series is a great way for students and staff to meet others from different disciplines and Colleges.

Booking is essential as spaces at the event are limited. To reserve a free space, please visit our events website.

Object Reading Group, JPS 305, Wednesday 22 February, 6.00 – 7.15pm

 

Masculinities in Practice, by Shaun Cole

Following on from Ben Whyman’s post on Masculinities at LCF on this blog in November  we held the inaugural event for the LCF Masculinities Research hub on 23 November.

Men's Tailoring at London College of Fashion

Male tailoring student seated on table sewing, c.1956. Photographer Unknown

Considering the wealth and breadth of approaches to the study of masculinities (an important plural that Ben had highlighted) and the importance and long tradition of menswear and men’s fashion at LCF this series of presentations and panel discussion offered perspectives from across the three disciplinary schools at LCF: Design and Technology, Media and Communication and the Fashion Business School.

Gieves & Hawkes, Number 1 Savile Row. The store's current design aims to combine both facets of the building’s cultural heritage: hospitality and a warm welcoming atmosphere mixed with a hub of exploration and gentlemanly exploits.

Gieves & Hawkes, Number 1 Savile Row. The store’s current design aims to combine both facets of the building’s cultural heritage: hospitality and a warm welcoming atmosphere mixed with a hub of exploration and gentlemanly exploits.

Our first speaker was Dr Natasha Radclyffe-Thomas who discussed intangible cultural heritage in relation to Savile Row tailoring. Focussing on Gieves and Hawkes, this examination of how the influence of the historic traditions of British bespoke tailoring has become a worldwide phenomenon and influenced tailoring across the world and formed a key part of London’s place as a premier city for menswear was contextualised with Natasha’s own experience of learning tailoring techniques in Hong Kong.

Homi, Klaus Nomi

Hormazd Narielwalla Klaus Nomi Power, 2015

Taking a different perspective on Savile Row was artist Hormazd (Homi) Narielwalla who also completed his PhD at London College of Fashion. Homi discussed how his own practice as an artist had been inspired by working with Savile row tailor Dege and Skinner and being given a collection of the tailoring patterns of deceased clients of the tailor which he constructed into collages that allowed him to ask questions of the processes and practices of menswear and tailoring and subsequently addressed men’s personal appearance. Homi also gave an overview of how he has utilised his practice using found tailoring and dress patterns has in questioning of masculinity, femininity and cultural identities

Continuing with approaches to the design and construction of men’s clothes Course leader for BA Fashion Design Technology Menswear at LCF Tom Adams began by outlining how his course differed from LCF’s Bespoke tailoring course in addressing different techniques and traditions of men’s clothing and fashion – a word that is sometimes contentiously used or omitted from discussions of men’s clothing. Tom outlined the ways that student on his course are challenging the conventions and traditions of the silhouette in menswear, pushing boundaries and asking questions about binaries of men and women, masculine and feminine through promoting innovative cutting, fabric sourcing and construction in both structured and unstructured clothing.

While not an official hub event, the in house catwalk show for the MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear   MA_N – that took place on 8 December revealed similarities in concern around the design, construction, use of  fabrics and technologies and questioning of traditional gendered binaries in menswear to those outlined by Tom in his presentation.

Itai Doron: Untitled from the series WaaHid In Jaffa, 2012–present

Itai Doron: Untitled from the series WaaHid In Jaffa, 2012–present

Moving away from men’s clothing to representations of men and forms of masculinity at the hub event, Itai Doron (Programme Director: Fashion Media at LCF) provided an insight into his latest photographic project of Palestinian youth.  Itai discussed how he spent time getting to know and photographed young men in Palestine and how he brought to bear his own cultural heritage and identity to this engagement and recording of a particular time and place in a political sensitive region.

Although these four presentations seemed at first glance to offer very different perspectives on how masculinities is addressed through particular personal practice the following discussion with the audience, made up of LCF students and staff and interested parties from outside LCF highlighted common themes and concerns that my co-organiser, Nilgin Yusuf and I are keen to develop in forthcoming hub events, especially our official launch to take place on  March 13 as part of UAL Research Fortnight. Details available soon on hub webpages

Shaun Cole is a fashion historian, curator and writer. He is Associate Dean, Postgraduate Communities at London College of Fashion.

The New Collecting Award by Hannah Jackson, Bowes Museum

In 2015 the New Collecting Award was launched, a project organised by the Art Fund which aims to encourage early career curators to acquire objects to develop their museum’s collection and continue their professional development. In April 2015 I was awarded a New Collecting Award grant of £60,000 to collect a capsule wardrobe of French haute couture in homage to The Bowes Museum’s co-founder Joséphine Bowes.

Portrait of Josephine Bowes, 1850

Portrait of Josephine Bowes, 1850

We know Joséphine was a collector, a patron of the arts, a society hostess, an actress, a painter and a devotee to fashion. Joséphine was among the many fashionable women who bought her clothes from Maison Worth on rue de la Paix Paris, aligning herself with figures such as Empress Eugénie. On 19 March 1869 Joséphine celebrated her fête-day by buying 7 dresses from Worth. Two of the most expensive are described as: ‘Dress, gauze, embroidered white satin £43: dress, pink taffeta £43’. The bill amounted to £234 (£10,000-12,000 today). Some of her clothing bills overlap with catering bills, which reference the Salons the couple held in their homes in Paris. She may well have been buying fashionable these garments to impress her guests and peers.

Josépine Bowes, Worth bill, 1869

Joséphine Bowes, Worth bill, 1869

So far the project has enabled me to travel to Paris and London for research and to meet with my mentor for the project, Judith Clark, London College of Fashion. Having a mentor behind the award offers me a sounding board for activity I have planned and research I hope to develop. Judith has also introduced me to her colleagues Professor Amy de la Haye and Dr Jeff Horsley. Dialogue between these academics in the field has helped with my research methods, collecting strategies and future plans for the pieces I aim to buy. Judith’s expertise and contacts have been invaluable so far and have offered me insight into new areas of research. The award has supported me in resurrecting my French speaking and writing skills, which has been useful for contacting archivists and collectors in Paris.

I have visited archives in Paris, including the Palais Galliera and Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent. I have also attended auctions in Paris and was close to purchasing two items at a London auction in early October, but I have not yet found pieces that truly reflect Joséphine’s identity. Having a lot of money to spend is exciting yet daunting, so I am absorbing everything currently on the market as best I can and making careful considerations before I delve into the first purchase. I am mindful in considering conservation and mounting, as the pieces will hopefully be displayed at the Museum in 2017, within a small exhibition exploring the life and work of Joséphine Bowes.

Palais Galliera stores, Paris

Palais Galliera stores, Paris

Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent archives, Paris

Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent archives, Paris

The next stage of the project involves a week long training course at the V&A entitled Curating Fashion and Dress. This course will extend my network and help me understand more about the V&A’s approach and ethos of collecting and presenting dress. It will offer me a chance to discuss the project with external colleagues, share ideas and ask for advice.

In 2017, I will have acquired a capsule collection of French haute couture which will bolster the unique identity of The Bowes Museum’s fashion collection. Moving forward and beyond the project, our department aims to focus its collecting in a more French direction, in order to reflect the core history of the Museum and its co-founder Joséphine Bowes.

Hannah Jackson is Assistant Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Bowes Museum.

Read more about previous New Collecting Awards Winners

Read more about Hannah’s work here
How to apply for a New Collecting Award

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike exhibition in Washington DC

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, Paris 1967-71, curated by Amy de la Haye, is touring to Washington DC this week. The exhibition, which takes as its theme the long lasting friendship between US painter Marion Pike and the designer Coco Chanel, is on display at the Katzen Arts Center, as part of the Washington Winter Show. The pair first met in Paris in 1967, developing a close bond which led to Pike painting around 13 portaits of the designer,  5  of which are displayed in the exhibition.

COCO CHANEL: A NEW PORTRAIT BY MARION PIKE PARIS 1967–1971

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike
Paris 1967–1971. Imagery courtesy of Katzen Arts Center

Along with these striking large scale portraits, the exhibition features haute couture garments designed by Coco Chanel for Marion Pike and her daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham who has kindly loaned them to the exhibition. Amy has previously curated the exhibition in London and Milan and this marks the first time time that the collection has been on display in the US.

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, Paris 1967–1971 is at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC, 13-15 January 2017.

Read more about Amy de la Haye’s research

Fashioning social history from clothing

Amy de la Haye featured in Museums Journal, November 2016. Image by Ben Whyman.

Amy de la Haye featured in Museums Journal, November 2016. Image by Ben Whyman.

 

Read Amy de la Haye’s research profile here.

The Hardy Amies Exhibition is in Valence House 3 December – 25 February 2017

 

Installing Hardy Amies: A Dagenham Designer

The Centre for Fashion Curation’s Co-Director, Amy de la Haye is at the final day of install of the exhibition ‘Hardy Amies: a Dagenham Designer’ at  Valence House Museum.  Amy has been working to support the Curator Leeanne Westwood who is staging her first exhibition of fashion and dress.

The exhibition, conceived by Create London, takes place in Hardy Amies’ childhood home in Dagenham where the family lived in 1919. They lived at Burleighs Farm – now known as the White House – while Hardy’s architect father worked on construction plans for the Becontree estate.

 

Hardy Amies suit

Detail of ‘Made in England’ suit, lent by Howard and Austin Mutti-Mewse. Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

“It’s really interesting because it gives a completely different perspective of him, exploring the place he grew up in,” says Amy of Hardy Amies.  This, she says, makes the exhibition “very human and accessible”.

 

Exhibition programme, Hardy Amies: A Dagenham designer. 3 December - 25 February 2016. Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Exhibition programme, Hardy Amies: A Dagenham designer. 3 December – 25 February 2016. Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Amongst the objects on display are clothes, accessories and shoes that have been borrowed from the archive at Central Saint Martins,the first time they have been exhibited.  Personal artefacts such as the future designer’s school cap, sit alongside one of his most famous designs – the suit the Queen wore for her Silver Jubilee in 1977,  telling the story of his life of contrasts.

Last year while on a research visit to the venue, Amy met Steve Lawrence, a carpenter who by chance heard her talk about the exhibition. Steve was working on the restoration of Hardy’s home and was fired by a long term love for the designer’s clothing. He had begun to collect the garments to wear, loving the tailoring, and often purchasing them on ebay. Steve has loaned several of his suits for the exhibition.

 

 

Steve Lawrence's vintage Hardy Amies suit almost ready for display

Steve Lawrence’s vintage Hardy Amies suit almost ready for display, Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

 

Leeanne Westwood, Curator of Valence House Museum preparing drapery, Image Courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Leeanne Westwood, Curator of Valence House Museum preparing drapery. Image Courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Holly Gilson, working on placement with Leeanne at Valence House Museum has been taught how to pad and dress mannequins by Martin Pel, curator of fashion at Brighton Museum.  Martin is an associate member of CfFC and has lent clothes and carried out all the dressing.

Holly Gilson working on placement with Leanne at Valence House Museum. Holly has been taught how to pad and dress mannequins by Martin Pel, curator of fashion at Brighton Museum. Martin is an associate member of CfFC and has lent clothes as well as carried out all the dressing. been taught how to pad and dress mannequins by Martin Pel, curator of fashion at Brighton Museum. Martin is an associate member of CfFC and has lent clothes and done all the dressing.

Holly Gilson working on placement with Leeanne at Valence House Museum

 

Hardy Amies installation, Hardy Amies: A Dagenham designer. 3 December - 25 February 2016. Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Mannequin mounting, Hardy Amies: A Dagenham designer. 3 December – 25 February 2016. Image courtesy of Amy de la Haye

Hardy Amies: A Dagenham designer.  is open Saturdays to Tuesdays until 25 February. Entry free.

Visit Amy de la Haye’s  research profile on University of the Arts website

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