Saturday, 23 June 2012

Exhibitions at the V&A

One of my very favourite exhibitions was the Armani exhibition held at the Royal Academy some years ago and so the Ballgowns Exhibition at the V&A was a 'must-see' exhibition for me. The exhibition was on two floors and it was really nice that the gowns on the upper floor were not behind glass and that you could walk around them. Unfortunately, there was no photography within the exhibition but I have found images on the Internet of my favourite 3 gowns.

This was one of my favourite dresses by the designer Atsuko Kudo. Unbelievably it's made of latex and is very lace-like.

I also admired this dress by Erdem, in particular the skirt. Since my foray into digital printing I have been taking a lot more notice of digitally printed garments. There is so much more to this skirt than you can see from the photograph. The fabric was layered, stitched and beaded. Truly a work of art.

The final piece in my 'top 3' is this dress by Alexander McQueen. Again, it involves digital printing. I really admire the skill in this 'engineered print' - where the design is printed on the fabric so that it appears in specific areas of the garment -  this dress has a complicated structure to print on.

I enjoyed the exhibition and it is always better to see the garment in the flesh than in a magazine. It was nice to see all the embroidery too and it would be interesting to know how many hours of work each gown took to make. During my City & Guilds course I had to record how many hours of work each of my final pieces took and I was always surprised just how long it took, especially when you take into account the design and sampling stages.

I came out of the exhibition thinking (again) that I would like to make some clothes for myself. Perhaps I'll have some time over the summer? One thing's for sure, none of these dresses would come close to fitting me. The women who wear these dresses must be very slim!

Why did I pick these 3 dresses? It's certainly not because I could see myself wearing them. I think it is because I was particularly intersted/intrigued by the skills and techniques involved in making these particular gowns.

As I was already at the V&A and a member, I thought I would just pop into the Heatherwick Studio exhibition. Well what an amazing exhibition! The exhibition shows designs coming out of the Thomas Heatherwick's studio. This is Thomas on one of his spinning chairs which looked great fun. There were a number of these at the V&A but they were all taken. Perhaps next time? 

You can see some the innovative designs on the Heatherwick Studio web site and there is also a lovely book which I'll just have to get.

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If you go to the Ballgown exhibition, do see the Heatherwick exhibition too.

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