Author: Centre for Fashion Curation Page 1 of 17

MA Fashion Curation vitrine displays

The vitrine outside the Cafeteria in John Prince’s Street site offers MA Fashion Curation and PhD curation students the opportunity to explore exhibition ideas in a physical space. It’s a testing ground, where curators put theory into practice and experiment with creative solutions. The vitrine is looked after by the Fashion Space Gallery in collaboration with the Centre for Fashion Curation.  Recent themes include: ‘Desire’ an installation that explores religious fetishism; Club Minijupe, an exhibit devoted to Françoise Hardy, one of the premiere Yé-yé singers; and an interactive display exploring the relationship between textiles and technology exhibited in collaboration with the Digital Anthropology Lab, pictured here.

The vitrine in John Prince’s Street

Marrying digital textile fabrication techniques and curatorial strategies, Techtile Jungle examines the difference between animation and automation. Made of silicone, lace, and nylon mesh and equipped with sensors, these objects are brought to life – sometimes unnoticed – when a passerby’s movement is detected.

Animate pincushion creatures by Digital Anthropology Lab, London College of Fashion.

The vitrine project was an extension of Alice Chen’s Collaborative Unit ‘Active Programmable Matter’. Joined by fellow MA Fashion Curation student Pearline Yeo, they began the project in March this year.  Maria Dada, Co-Coordinator of the LCF Digital Anthropology Lab, led the experimentation in creating the animated objects, with an intention of giving an innovative response to ‘active programming’.

Curated by Alice Chen and Pearline Yeo, MA Fashion Curation.

Special thanks to Maria Dada and Ragnar Hrafnkelsson from the Digital Anthropology Lab.

Read more about a selection of  vitrine projects here.

 

 

A Short Novel on Men’s Fashion, Olivier Saillard

Clothing the masculine body in the past 300 years has been in turns ornate and somber, sometimes constructed for leisure but nearly always for function. In his latest exhibition in conjunction with the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery, ROMANZO BREVE DI MODA MASCHILE (A Short Novel on Men’s Fashion), Olivier Saillard proposes that after centuries of sartorial bondage, finally, menswear is free.

The temporary exhibition is installed at Palazzo Pitti Museo della Moda e del Costume: Florence’s (and Italy’s) growing permanent collection of fashion. On display are menswear garments donated and purchased for the collection from key designers who have shown at the fashion trade show Pitti Uomo in the past 30 years.

In his opening treatise, unfurled like an oversized manuscript in the foyer of the exhibition Saillard writes that, until the mid 20th century, men had to “conform to the authority” bestowed upon them, donning “inflexible trousers” which meant that “man could not swagger”. In the following 19 rooms he uses literary quotes, historical garments from the museum collection, and selections from the Uffizi’s Gallery of Modern Art to offer a direct riposte to this suggested rigidity.

Saillard has focused on injecting movement into unworn clothing, reinstalling the kineticism of life into garments removed from the body, without the aid of traditional mannequins. The result in A Short Novel on Men’s Fashion is that someone has just left the room; a half-crumpled suit displayed on the floor, a pair of trousers thrown over a rail, wrinkles intact. This doesn’t imply a lack of care (though Saillard does directly quote F. Scott Fitzgerald’s scene of carelessly thrown bespoke shirts in his novel The Great Gatsby) but rather the speed with which contemporary menswear can be shucked and left behind for the next big piece. Set against the glass cases holding 18th and 19th century frock coats, it places these contemporary garments firmly in the here and now, while also considering whether they will ever be deemed fit to be enclosed in a reverential casing of their own.

It is immediately poetic to place menswear, not traditionally held up as examples of fashion in the way of womenswear, on display in the ornate silk covered walls of a former Medici palace. However, one of the more affecting aspects of this exhibition comes from the modern paintings selected to hang among the clothing. Often on a side wall, obscured by the garments or mounts, there are some beautiful portraits of men wearing the clothing that Saillard suggests limited the male experience of the world. This includes the arresting Portrait of Piero Milani (1914) by Massimiliano Corcos. Staring with a smirk at the visitor, hands thrust in the pockets of his fashionable suit, Milani’s overcoat and hat are tossed on the table behind him, his glove has fallen to the ground.

This vivid portrayal of the push-pull of dressing the modern masculine body (projecting a refined image while simultaneously challenging the notion of vanity) encapsulates what Saillard outlines in his opening words yet could pass almost unnoticed in competition with the clothing, cases and book-shaped mounts filling the same room.

With A Short Novel on Men’s Fashion, Olivier Saillard proposes to show how the past 30 years has seen the emancipation of menswear, freeing it from the strictures of formality and embracing the multitudes of masculine experience. While there is a debate to be had about how limited, exactly, men have been by their clothing, the strength of this exhibition is in showcasing the vitality of menswear and channeling the perpetual forward momentum of design.

ROMANZO BREVE DI MODA MASCHILE
[A SHORT NOVEL ON MEN’S FASHION]
1989-2019: Thirty years of menswear as seen by Pitti Uomo
Florence – Palazzo Pitti
(Sale della galleria del Costume, Sale Contini Bonacossi)
11 June – 29 September 2019

Curated by Olivier Saillard

Text and images by Cyana Madsen

Fashion and Folly, or Strawberry Hill in Satire Dress’d

To celebrate the completion of her practice-based PhD in fashion curation Dr. Jenna Rossi-Camus will present a performance lecture that shares her proposal for a site-responsive exhibition at Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill House.

Jenna Rossi Camus crouching on floor in front of gothic window with large pieces of paper with illustrations relating to PhD lecture laid out

Jenna Rossi Camus at Strawberry Hill House.

The proposal, comprised of an extra-illustrated book and letter to Horace Walpole himself will be presented through word and image and the unique hand-made book will be available for guests to view. The lecture will conclude with an insight into the timeline of the research process, showing how the work has been both rigorous and innovative while presenting one of the project’s methodological documents.

3 July 2019, 6.30pm – 8pm. The lecture will be followed by a glass of wine.

For more information and to book visit our LCF events page.

Read about Jenna’s research.

Read more posts by Dr Jenna Rossi Camus.

 

Objects Unwrapped, Memory of Clothes, Worthing Museum

Objects Unwrapped: Memory of Clothes

Worthing Museum, Saturday 1 June, 1.30-4pm, Free

This Study Day brings together students and staff from the University of Brighton’s Objects Unwrapped research group to reflect on the way that clothes have been used privately and publicly as a means to remember and to forget, to memorialise and to mythologise, to reconstruct histories and to create new imaginative forms.
All welcome – booking essential!
Free event at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery supported by the Centre for Design History, University of Brighton.
Booking and enquiries: 01903 221448 / www.worthingmuseum.co.uk

Poster advertising Objects Unwrapped workshop at Worthing Art Gallery

For more information about the project visit https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/objectsunwrapped/events/

Twitter:  @UnwrapObjects 
Instagram: @UnwrapObjects

For CfFC events click on our Events link on our homepage

Stephen Jones Hats at the Royal Pavilion

The exhibition Stephen Jones Hats at the Royal Pavilion, which is in partnership with the department store Harvey Nichols, opened in February 2019 showcasing over 170 examples of Stephen’s work as well as outfits from Stephen’s collaborators Dior, Giles Deacon and Thom Browne across 15 rooms of the former royal palace in Brighton.  The exhibition, which runs until 9 June was co-curated by Jones and Brighton Museum’s Curator of Fashion, CfFC associate member Martin Pel.

Photos by Tessa Hallmann

Words by Martin Pel

A selection of hats mounted on poles surrounded by plates of food shown on the pine table of the historic kitchen in the Pavilion

Stephen Jones hats are here displayed in the Great Kitchen where nearly 50 of his creations are displayed. They include a hat for Matty Bovan S/S 2019, French Onion Soup made for Stephen’s A/W 1985 collection, and Breakfast Stephen’s S/S 2005.

As you might imagine, staging the show brought myriad issues as the Royal Pavilion is not a museum but an historic house filled with loans from the Royal Collection. One of the first issues to overcome was keeping fellow staff members on board; everyone was enthusiastic about the idea of the show but ‘interventions’ in the pavilion are not always met favourably. The interiors are as close to how the former owner, King George IV, would have remembered them with original decorative schemes, furniture and art objects all from the 1820s. When George built the pavilion and furnished its interiors he employed only the best craftsmen, architect (John Nash) and interior decorators. The addition of objects from the 21st century not only influences the way we interpret the original objects but has the potential of making the ‘new additions’ look inferior, if they do not meet the standards set by George’s original scheme. I am pleased to say that as a master craftsman himself Stephen’s work perfectly complemented the interiors and brought new life to the rooms in which they are placed, a sentiment echoed by David Beevers, the keeper of the Royal Pavilion and its collections.

Spanish Catholic crown mounted above golden wreath of leaves

Dior Crown – Spanish Catholic crown shown in the King’s Apartments, made for Dior A/W 2005

Objects are not allowed to touch any royal loan and in the Banqueting Room in which we imagined a dinner party thrown by Stephen with ‘guests’ seated around the table, stands were constructed by the mount maker Mike Penwolf so the guests hats hovered over chair as though in situ. The major issue with this display (and any other) is one of conservation. The banqueting table is laid with an almost priceless dinner service by Cole Port and the hovering hats had to be properly secured to their stands so there was no possibility that one moved and damaged any other object. Hugely heavy base plates were created with the stands screwed in place from which they could not move.

White stylised mannequin head and neck with headdress to resemble a splash of water

Wash ‘n’ Go, S/S 1993, made out of perspex and shown in the Great Kitchen

Each of the 170 hats not only had a bespoke stand by Mike Penwolf but Zenzie Tinker, the textile conservator, handmade internal mounts so each hat sat at the correct angle as though on the wearer’s head. The stands and internal mounts not only took considerable time to create but considerable cost, at over £40,000! The stands were made with longevity in mind as exhibitions can be heavy on resources so each stand can be disassembled and used for future shows in the pavilion or museum.

Mannequin in off white ballgown with twigged headdress reclining on a staircase.

Giles White with full outfit and headdress from his A/W 2012 collection

The Royal Pavilion is a living building in that events are held in many of the rooms over the year. For the Music Room which displays four Dior outfits wearing Stephen’s hats and two 3-D printed busts – one of Stephen and one of King George also wearing hats – the positioning of the objects was subject to events which regularly take place there. The only place where they would not intrude on events was either side of the fireplace. The Great Kitchen, which has nearly 50 of Stephen’s hats, is also used regularly for events and the only way to facilitate both the show and the events is for me to move the hats out of the way whilst the event takes place and replace them afterwards – a pain but the only solution.

White stylised mannequin head with elongated neck wearing gold feather headdress covered in red lillies.

Gold feather hat worn by Kylie Minogue for Mardi Gras in Sydney in 2014 and shown in the Banqueting Room

The show was held in late winter and spring as these are our least busy periods. The show was a vehicle to bring in new visitors as well as new demographics (those interested in fashion) which it succeeded in doing, but it was also scheduled then to avoid bottle necks. Labels were kept to the barest minimum so visitors would not stop and read and clogg up the narrow walkways. We are all familiar with the frustration of visiting busy shows and not seeing anything so again the scheduling gave greater visitor satisfaction.

These are perhaps some of the most salient issues in staging the show and there were plenty of other problems to overcome (storage of boxes while the show is on, the lack of additional lighting, last minute mannequin sourcing) the show succeeded in its aims in bringing new audiences by re-interpreting the stories of the Royal Pavilion.

Four mannequins standing or lying down on stairwell wearing headresses made of spanners, paperclips, porcupine and feather

Four hats Stephen made for Giles’ runway shows; the spanner and paperclip hat are from pre-fall 2010 show and the porcupine and feather headdresses are from A/W 2012.

3-D printed bust in gold colour of Stephen Jones with dragon headdress

The dragon hat was made by Stephen for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s show China; Through the Looking Glass (2015) which he based on the Royal Pavilion and it’s shown on a 3-D printed bust of Stephen especially created for this show.

Read more about the exhibition

Royal Pavilion, 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE

Until 9 June 2019

Find out about CfFC’s collaborations with Brighton Museum

 

Requiem: Material/Memory

Torn. Moth-eaten. Tarnished. Degraded. Discarded. From the infinite potential of a pair of unworn shoes to a tweed jacket crumbling from years of use, our clothing resonates with memories of our lives. Displaying garments from The Contemporary Wardrobe Collection spanning the last two centuries, Requiem: Material/Memory explores the intimacies and contradictions of memory as embedded in fabric.

Close up of brown woollen clothing unravelling

Requiem: Material/Memory

Presented by curator and archivist, MA Fashion Curation alumni Cyana Madsen with support from The Horse Hospital, Requiem: Material/Memory features works by artist and material culture researcher Ellen Sampson and sound designer and composer Jonah Falco.

The exhibition is at Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury London, WC1N 1JD

Saturday 4 May – Saturday 25 May

Read more about the MA Fashion Curation course

Read more posts from MA Fashion Curation students and alumni

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