The establishment is home a very enthralling and captivating chronological display of fashion from 1750 to the present day.The emphasis being firmly on progressive and influential design through the decades.It is a riveting exhibit and is an essential experience for all with a due respect for the wonderful entity that is fashion.
The initial display of this absorbing exhibition and celebration of style documents and showcases pieces from the years 1750-1800. French silks were first imported to Britain in 1766,and as a result the pieces are decadent and extravagant and made of exclusive silk textiles.Beautiful Mantuas or wide gowns are on display,as well as hats,shoes and men's waistcoats,all of which would have been worn for formal court occasions.
Mantua makers or dressmakers at the time made fashion dolls,which is historically of interest, being the original medium utilised to share information about the latest style of the period.As the years evolve through the display, so too does the style.1790-1820 features more practical attire donned by the British aristrocracy,being mainly hunting clothes,waistcoats and boots to accomodate the sport which was popular at the time.This style was prominent in Paris by the end of the eighteenth century.In addition, by this time fashion became more international and the use of furs(love or loathe..personally loathe) became more commonplace.
Couture and commerce enjoyed a very positive symbiotic relationship and fashion benefited from advances in technology and the growing strenght of the industrial revolution.The development of spring steel gave birth to the invention of The Cage Crinoline, a frame of light,strong steel yielding to more voluminous frame for under dresses.Also research and development in the chemical industry also gave the fashion industry more artifical dyes,adding to more colours in clothing.1905-1915 explores the cult of the kimono and how a taste for East Asian art spread through europe and,inevitably, onto our threads.
The garconne look dominated the 1920's with cropped short hair and cloche hats being popular and the charleston dance craze was all the rage,which personified the look.The gamine look of the 1920's matured into the sophisticated glamour of Art Deco,with pieces by Elsa Schiaparelli on show.As the century progressed innovative fabrics such as jersey gave attire more appropriate to sport and leisure activities.Coco Chanel invented the trouser suit and a de luxe evening version in shimmering sequences.Women enjoyed more freedom in fashion,as a result.After the second world war designers and houses such as Givenchy,Balenciaga and Dior dictated changes in style,with such elegant pieces by the associated designers being featured.
From 1960 on the exhibition inclines more towards the relationship between music and fashion,which is a very powerful and successful marriage. According to Coco Chanel Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.The 1960's saw the birth of a fashion revolution. Mary Quant's swinging London had landed and many new materials were available such as plastic and paper which created an exciting, disposable fashion.Quant was a pivotal figure associated with the Mod fashion movement and subculture.She was the inventor of the mini-skirt and hotpants and encouraged a generation to have fun with fashion.There is a powerful sexual and social revolution associated the 1960's and people were determined to obliterate restrictions enforced by society on former generations.The 60's embodied self expression and freedom.
Music from bands such as The Beatles and The Who encouraged this sentiment and fashion moulded to the attitude.The clothes mirrored the psychadelic mood of the 1960s and early 1970's.The 70's also continued this concept of personal liberation and freedom of expression. From 1970 to 1980 the style bacame increasingly flamboyant with long hair and flared trousers being sported and Kensington market sold hippie clothes.Also responsible for this look at the time was the iconic London fashion store Biba and the glamour of the 1930's crept back into fashion for evening wear.1975 to 1985 saw the birth of the Punk movement which deconstructed style as it existed and pushed all boundaries, coming up with a new attitude and approach to fashion,music and culture.Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren's shop in King's road is cited as being at the centre of London's emerging punk scene. McLaren being a key influence on the underground music emerging in conjunction with the subculture,as well as the look.
Bands such as The Sex Pistols,The Clash and The Ramones embodied the punk ethos,sound and look.Vivienne Westwood claims she is the first person to have a punk hairdo and pieces from her raw and refreshingly original collection are included in the exhibit.Like it's previous subculture the punk movement was concerned and resonated with individual freedom and it adopted an anti-establishment stance. It was ,however, a direct rejection of the previous hippie culture,and was more aggressive in expression.The beautiful fornication between the music and fashion of this particular movement grabbed society by the throat and shook it unapologetically,to the extent that the tremours can still be felt today. It would spill and leak and been absorbed into trends for sebsequent generations,as the punk cultism is responsible for influencing,among others,the New Wave the Indie music scenes.Nick Rhodes so eloquently put it Style has always been very important to us(Duran Duran).We grew up in the 70's.Music was glam rock,punk rock and a very stylish movement.
The exhibition completes with offerings by a new generation of fashion designers from The Royal College of Art such as Zandra Rhodes(screen printed textiles),Bill Gibb(patterned knitwear) and Ossie Clark,with delicate chiffons of new romantisim.The last display is from various designers with radical fashions from 1990-2012,pieces from Alexander McQueen,Jean Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld are included.According to Karl Lagerfeld Fashion and music are the same because music expresses it's period too.Its an absorbing exhibition and anyone with an interest in fashion and, indeed ,music will get lost in it. It is not possible to explore the intimate affiliation between music and fashion without the mention of David Bowie.Spanning five decades,he has been a style icon and trendsetter,blurring and distorting any existing boundaries,by not only being himself but with the aid of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
The Victoria and Albert museum will accomodate The David Bowie is.....Exhibition from March 2013,which will be the first international retrospective paying homage to his vast and inpressively unconventional career,according to Bowie, I don't know where I'm going from here,but I promise it won't be boring,and no doubt the exhibition will enforce this sentiment and the cult idealisim that exists between vogue and vision,and inevitabley, music and mode.God bless it..what an interesting and innovative relationship it has proven to be.The flirtation between fashion and music is,and always has been, an enthralling and fascinating one.