A Postcard from Abroad: Autumn Activities in the UK

Once September arrives, you know that summer is on the way out.  Not wearing socks begins to feel odd; bare skin becomes less appropriate as we begin to pile on the layers, in preparation for the colder season ahead.  Yet, I always love this time of year because not only is it okay to wear all your clothes but you are encouraged to think about them much more as you get ready for the next academic year.  It has all the possibility of sartorial reinvention, which is why we seek inspiration in the form of upcoming exhibitions, events and research.  So, here are a few on my list for the next couple of months in the UK that might be of interest to others.

The first one, which looks very exciting, is The Fabric of India at the V&A Museum, “the first major exhibition to explore the rich and fascinating world of handmade textiles from India.” On display from 3 October 2015 to 10 January 2016, the exhibition includes over 200 objects from the 3rd to the 21st century.  It coincides with the V&A’s India Festival, which marks the opening of the Museum’s Nehru gallery 25 years ago and is supported by a curatorial blog and a range of talks, workshops and lectures.

Liberty Fashion

Another exhibition in London to look forward to is the Fashion and Textile Museum’s Liberty in Fashion, from 9 October 2015 to 28 February 2016.  A celebration of the company’s 140th birthday, the exhibition traces the historical influence of Liberty’s printed textiles on fashion since 1875 with a display of over 150 objects including garments and textiles.

A photograph by Bob Collins taken in 1948, depicting the importance of secondhand markets for everyday dressing in the post war period

This week, on 11 and 12 September, the Museum of London hosts The Look of Austerity conference, which “will explore the effect of post-war austerity on the appearance of people and cities.”  Speakers include Dr Rebecca Arnold, Prof Amy de la Haye and Elizabeth Wilson.  Besides talks on Dior’s New Look, there will be presentations on everyday making and wearing in a range of European contexts.  I managed to get a ticket for Friday’s programme and will report back for my next post in case you can’t make it.

Bart Hess, Echo, 2011

London College of Fashion’s exhibition space is showing Digital Disturbances from 11 September to 12 December 2015. Presenting work from seven artists, the exhibition hopes to “examines the influence of digital concepts and tools on fashion.”  Merging the material and virtual, displays uses installations, photography and video to explore how these translate into one another within the world of fashion.

Mac, printed polyvinylchloride (PVC), labelled ‘Delamare’, made and retailed by Tesco, about 1968-70.

I think the UK’s Textile Society’s events page does an excellent job at featuring a wide range of exhibitions and events across the UK.  It is so good that it often provides a more comprehensive overview of events than the hosting museum!  A few highlights for me include the free Drip Dry! Synthetic Fibres in Fashion at Liverpool’s Sudley House on until 1 March 2016, which focuses on the impact of man made fabrics since the 1920s and Back in Time: British Patchwork and Quilting at York’s Quilt Museum and Gallery, which looks at the development of quilting over the last three centuries and can be seen from 11 September to 31 October 2015.

A still from Yves Saint Laurent exhibition, Bowes Museum

Lastly, time is running out to see Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal at the Bowes Museum.  Closing on 24 October 2015, this is the first exhibition in the UK to display highlights from the designer’s work and life.  I hope to make it before it is too late!

Well, that should keep us going for for a few months but if there are any exhibitions in the UK that you would like to mention, please do get in touch via the comments below.

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