Travel Notes from a Fashion Lover, Part II

I found myself in London at a time when both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Design Museum were hosting special, and diverse, fashion exhibits.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Fashioned from Nature exhibit celebrates all the ways nature has inspired fashion from embroidered motifs to fantastical imagery on fabric. However, the exhibit also explores the impact of the fashion industry on nature and our planet as a whole. Fashioned from Nature challenges us, the consumers, to be more thoughtful about our own choices when it comes to clothing and fashion.

The garments in this exhibit span a 400-year period, so there was an enormous number of them. I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

Vivienne Westwood – early 70’s British designer influenced by punk.

The Leopard skin portion of the gown on the right is crafted entirely out of beads and took over 1000 hours to make!

The grid pattern of this unisex suit represents an aerial view of hedgerows with tufts of sheep’s wool caught in the hedges.

The fabric in the photo on the right combines an 18thc. European landscape with a contemporary photo of Puerto Rico!

The Honest By company is the first in the garment industry to provide 100% transparency by publishing the full details of each garment – its suppliers, manufacturers and time and cost of each garment.

The shoe above are from Masaya Kushino, a one of a kind pair, inspired by Japanese artist Ito Jakuchu’s bird paintings. Claw heels sculpted by Atsushi Nakamura.

I was inspired to learn more about fashion history and sustainability by this exhibit. If you would like to learn more about the exhibit, or see more of the garments, here are some resources:

The Design Museum’s Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier is the first solo exhibition of Monsieur Alaïa’s work in the UK.  Azzedine Alaïa was born to Tunisian wheat farmers in 1935.  He became interested in art and design at a young age, eventually moving to Paris where he went to work for the house of Dior. Always an industry outsider, showing only when ready, he introduced his first collection in the late 70’s. He went on to discover the famous model, Naomi Campbell, and made garments for Grace Jones, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Scarlett Johansson and Michelle Obama.

The garments in this exhibit reflect his exploration of shape and volume, as well as his favorite color, black.  He was an interesting man, one who made lifelong friends, loved to entertain in his Paris apartment, and sadly, passed away in November 2017 while collaborating on this exhibit. His garments were breathtaking, as you can see…

My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.
— Azzedine Alaïa