KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
A slightly usual post today, but I went to see this exhibition at the weekend, and my phone died while I was there, and I couldn’t provide minute by minute reports on Twitter or pictures on Instagram. So how about a blog post instead? Unfortunately, the exhibition closed on Sunday, so you won’t be able to visit, but I hope to inspire you to keep an eye on this amazing museum’s next events.
I am a big fan of fashion exhibitions, and I especially like going on my own, to be able to browse, read the cards and spend as much time as I would like on my favourite exhibits. So I spent Saturday (17th Jan 2015) afternoon in the small, but very interesting Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street. Only downside was that I had stopped in Goldhawk Rd. beforehand and was carrying some fabric that almost broke my back! But I really wanted to go, since it was the second to last day and didn’t want to miss it.
If you have never been, the museum can be found in London Bridge area of London, down Bermondsey Street, next door to some lovely cafes and artisan bakeries and even a gin makers. It’s about a 10-12 minutes walk from London Bridge Underground or National Rail station.
Image by Stephen McKay via WikiMedia
The museum is quite small, but it has a gift shop where you can buy interesting books and quirky jewellery, as well as and a very nice café, which specialises in some very lovely teas to quench your thirst after your visit.
Now on to the exhibition itself…
The exhibition was dedicated to the evolution of knitwear, from a material used strictly for undergarments and hosiery, to one of the most versatile fabrics in modern fashion, sometimes even verging on futuristic. Highlights include 1920s Chanel jersey, 1930s woollen swimwear, 1970s Bill Gibb and conceptual garments from 1980s and 90s designers Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and Julien MacDonald.
The majority of the pieces on display were part of the collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield, on show for the first time. The exhibition was organised chronologically, with themed display units holding a lot of lovely vintage pieces from all decades. There was also a separate section for modern, innovative knitwear by Fashion Design graduates (including a piece by Julian Macdonald when he was a student at Brighton University), as well as examples of knitwear in fashion photography, from the Norman Parkinson collection.
Ground floor gallery of #KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
A few interesting facts:
– all underwear was generically known as ‘hosiery’, because they were made of knits, same as the old fashioned stockings.
– in the 70s, there was a knitting and crochet revival amongst the general public, in response to the increasing fast-fashion, ‘wear and throw away’ and man-made fabrics fashions. Sounds familiar?
– Fairisle type of knitwear became popular when the Prince of Wales, Edward was gifted a jumper by the inhabitants of the island (part of the Shetlands). He was photographed playing golf, and it became extremely fashionable.
– Coco Chanel borrowed a cardigan from her friend, the Duke of Westminster, and adapted it for womenswear, creating the characteristic silhouette of the 20s, where the garment was only meant to touch the body at the shoulders line and the hips.
– Can you believe that the 20s knitwear was all made of wool?! It was preferred for the figure fitting, elastic properties, but not very fun when getting waterlogged.
Some of my favourites displays:
Cocktail Hour display #KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
How amazing are those jumpers, not to mention the skirts…?
20s fashion crochet
Crochet your way in the #KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
Les Sportives display #KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
Chanel’s Influence display #KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood exhibition Image (c) Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org
Have a look at more pictures from this and other exhibitions of the Fashion and Textile museum Pinterest board here.
Now go on and check out their up and coming exhibition, which opens on the 6th February. I might run into you there ;).
Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF
T: 020 7407 8664 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org