Five fashion exhibitions
- 29 March 2016
With these fantastic fashion displays, spring is a stylish season.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, underwear may merit just as many. The fabric, fit and cut of these intimate personal garments reflect attitudes to gender, sex and morality. The recasting of crinolines and corsets by fashion designers has challenged convention. Through more than 200 objects designed for men and women, this exhibition looks at underclothes and what they say about their wearers from the 18th century to the present day.
From the formal silhouette of the 19th century to the explosion of mod culture in the 1960s, this exhibition tracks the male wardrobe over 150 years. Key pieces include luxury clothes by Mr Fish, which were popular among the young nobility and celebrities such as David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Visitors can gain insight into the fashion revolution that made Carnaby Street famous and the developments that moulded the modern high street.
With support from the Art Fund’s Jonathan Ruffer grant, the researchers behind this exhibition travelled to four major cities in Africa to see the fashion scene at first hand. In this display – the first to be dedicated to contemporary African fashion – Casablanca (Morocco), Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa) take the limelight. From haute couture to street style, the exhibition includes contributions from bloggers, designers, photographers and stylists working and living in each of these compass points of the continent.
There are many ways of looking at history, and this exhibition has chosen an unusual lens. With 100 objects from the museum’s collection that span more than 400 years, the display looks at key moments in history through fashion. From an aristocratic woman’s waistcoat dating back to the time of Shakespeare to a 21st-century bodycon dress, the wardrobe is a personal and insightful place to look at changes in society.
While raising a young family and training to be a schoolteacher, Marian Clayden attended a short course in colouring textiles, and realised that ‘I could try that in my kitchen’. This marked the beginning of Clayden’s highly successful career working with textiles. She classified her work with the Southeast Asian term plangi – a process which included a technique that later gained popular status: tie-dye. This exhibition celebrates Clayden as the artist who transformed psychedelic tie-dyed fabrics into a million-dollar fashion business.