Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood

Fashion and Textile Museum

19 Sep 2014 – 18 Jan 2015

£4 with National Art Pass (standard entry £8)

National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to over 240 venues across the UK as well as 50% off major exhibitions.

Find out more

Charting over 100 years of knitwear history, from functional garments to experimental designs.

The 150 items of knitwear have been drawn from the collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield, which is on show to the public for the first time. Displayed chronologically, early exhibits include knitted sportswear popularised during the First World War and easy-wearing Chanel twinsets from the 1920s.

Moving onto the clothing restrictions and rations of the Second World War, the display explores how women became creative with old knitwear. Sweaters were unravelled and the yarn recycled to make new multi-colour jumpers which made a feature of the variety of wools used.

The transformation from functional to fashionable was complete by the 1950s, influenced in large part by its popularity with Hollywood stars and leading avant garde designers. Examples of the 'cocktail sweater' feature a defined waist and embellishments at the neck and shoulders, while the crocheted mini-dress epitomises youth quake style in the 60s. There are also items of brightly coloured 'novelty knit' with kitsch motifs; a hallmark of 1970s fashion. 

Don't miss

Concurrent displays in the mezzanine and ground floor galleries include Visionary Knitwear – bold designs from the 21st century selected by Sandy Black from the London College of Fashion – and Knitwear in Fashion Photography, featuring pictures from magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and Queen.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 11am – 6pm (Thu until 8pm )
Sun, 11am – 5pm

Closed 2 – 19 Oct, 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

 

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)