Visit London Blog » fashion and textile museum Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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London Fashion Week: Fashion Exhibitions in London Mon, 10 Feb 2014 09:00:25 +0000 From The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. Kylie Minogue, 2008. William Baker. The Surrealists collection, “Médée” gown Haute couture fall/winter 2006–2007 © 2008, Darenote Ltd. All rights reserved

The capital is gearing up for the start of London Fashion Week which begins on Thursday. But it’s not the only display of fashion finery in town.

Learn about fashion’s icons and see their fabulous designs at these fashion-forward exhibitions.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House

Explore the amazing life and wardrobe of Isabella Blow, the legendary fashion director who is credited with discovering and nurturing the likes of designers Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant. Try to tie in your visit to Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! with one of the special related events, be it a free tour or the documentary about ‘the empress of fashion’ Diana Vreeland. Until 2 Mar

The Cloth. Photo credit: Anita Cobin. From the V&A exhibition Club to Catwalk

Club to Catwalk at the V&A

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s closes bang in the middle of LFW (on 16 Feb), so if you haven’t been yet, don’t miss your chance! This popping exhibition explores the creative explosion of London fashion during the 80s, and the influence of club styles such as New Romantic and High Camp. See outfits worn by Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery, and discover the bold, experimental new looks being conjured by the bright young designers of the day, such as Betty Jackson, Katharine Hamnett and John Galliano. Until 16 Feb

Dress worn by Princess Margaret

Fashion Rules at Kensington Palace

The changing styles of British fashion are brilliantly illustrated through Fashion Rules, an exhibition of rare dresses once worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. Spot the nipped-in waist of the buoyant 1950s, the short hemlines of the defiant 1960s, the sparkles and shoulder pads of the outrageous 1980s – the Royals knew the fashion of the day, and made sure they followed it! Entry to the exhibition is included in admission to Kensington Palace, so save enough time to explore this remarkable building – we can’t guarantee you’ll bump into Wills, Kate and George though (even if they do live there!). Until 2015

Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol at the Fashion & Textile Museum

Fabulous fashion would be nothing without fabulous textiles. In Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol, the Fashion  & Textile Museum explores the history of 20th century art in textiles – featuring more than 200 rare pieces (many of which have never been seen before) by Salvador Dalí, Barbara Hepworth, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, among others. See how artistic movements such as Cubism and Pop Art influences textile designs, and how the public engaged with modern art through their clothing and home furnishings. Until 17 May

The Anatomy of a Suit at Museum of London

What makes a suit? Find out in the Museum of London’s free exhibition The Anatomy of a Suit. The museum’s experts have dissected a selection of retro suit jackets, picked up from London markets, to discover the engineering that lies within. Find out how clever tailoring and design can change the shape of the wearer’s body, and discover the trade secrets of the nimble-fingered tailor. Until 1 Jun

Paul Smith in his office. Courtesy of the Design Museum

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum

The Design Museum is celebrating the world and work of Paul Smith, acclaimed British fashion designer. In Hello, My Name is Paul Smith you can find out how his quintessentially British label began in Nottingham and went on to become one of the leading brands in the world – plus discover what’s next in store. Until 22 Jun

COMING SOON: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican

Ok, so it doesn’t start until April but we had to give a mention to this very exciting exhibition coming to the Barbican. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first major exhibition devoted to the acclaimed French couturier, and features more than 180 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments, including Madonna’s infamous conical bra and corsets, stage costumes designed for Kylie Minogue and pieces created for the films of Pedro Almodóvar and Luc Besson‘s The Fifth Element. There’ll also be footage of catwalk shows, concerts, music videos, dance performances and Gaultier’s cult television show Eurotrash. Book now! 9 Apr to 17 Aug

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Tommy Nutter: Rebel on the Row at the Fashion & Textile Museum Fri, 20 May 2011 11:00:55 +0000 The latest exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum celebrates the work of Tommy Nutter (1943-1992), Savile Row’s rebel tailor.

During the swinging 60s, the understated traditional suits of Savile Row were considered boring and the fashionable flocked to menswear boutiques on Carnaby Street for brightly coloured suits and shirts. When Nutters of Savile Row opened in 1969, the two worlds collided. Rock stars, artists and the stylish embraced Nutter’s bespoke suits because they were fashionable as well as beautifully crafted.

The exhibition includes suits, jackets, sketches and a couple of pieces of knitwear. Some of the suits are very much of their time, made from velvet or satin, with flares and flouncy trim. They are the sort of outfits worn by celebs on those old episodes of Morecombe and Wise. But the Fashion & Textile Museum understands the zeitgeist and these suits feel unexpectedly fresh and exciting.

As well as fans of fashion, tailoring and style, this exhibition is also perfect for music fans as suits have been loaned by stars like Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Cilla Black and Elton John. Nutter made astonishing jumpsuits for Elton’s 80s tours, as well as a coral flared jumpsuit for Neil Sedaka which is amusingly 70s. It says a lot about Nutter’s star-attracting style that one of The Beatles turned up at the exhibition’s private view last night. (Ringo! Very exciting.)

Admission also includes entry to a small photography exhibition of work by Justin De Villeneuve featuring Twiggy at the legendary London department store Biba.

Tommy Nutter is on at the Fashion and Textile Museum from 20 May to 22 October 2011. Adult £8, concessions £5.

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Horrockses Fashions at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum Sat, 10 Jul 2010 09:00:22 +0000
The Fashion and Textile Museum have tapped into the zeitgeist again with a perfectly timed collection of chic 1940s and 1950s Mad Men style dresses from Horrockses Fashions.

Horrockses were known for their bright cotton print summer dresses which were widely available ready made, were easy to wear and effortlessly stylish. To keep the dresses at the cutting edge of fashion, Horrockses worked with lots of young designers and artists, including a young Terrance Conran who sold 20 designs to the firm in 1950.

The exhibition is absolutely stunning, every dress looks as fresh and modern as the day it was made. The dresses pay homage to Dior’s New Look, with full skirts and tiny waists, and the prints are all about having fun – giant roses, lobsters, dancing girls and even a dress featuring radishes and hard boiled eggs!

A Horrockses dress would have cost between £4 and £7, (£80 to £130 in today’s money) so they weren’t cheap, but they were the dresses everyone wanted, saved for or copied. The dresses gained even more prestige after they were worn by the Queen. Princess Margaret wore a Horrockses dress to feed a giraffe in Africa in 1956.

The exhibition includes buyers books with photos, samples and elegant fashion illustrations. (There were two collections each year, with 150-160 styles created from 70-80 prints).

If you have a vintage style summer dress in your wardrobe, I suggest you wear it when you see the exhibition. If you don’t have one, you’ll be desperate for one when you leave! The Fashion and Textile Museum is where the fashionable people will be this summer. Go! Go now!

Horrockses Fashions at the Fashion and Textile Museum. 9 July – 24 October. £6.50 adult, £3.50 concessions. Open Wed – Sun 11:00-18:00.

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Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration at the Fashion and Textile Museum Thu, 08 Apr 2010 14:04:19 +0000

Interior design company Sanderson are celebrating 150 years of decorating beautiful homes with a special exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.

If you love interiors, fabric, design and beautiful things, you’ll love seeing Sanderson’s luxury wallpapers, textiles and pattern books from the archives. I loved this exhibition and my head is still spinning from all the gorgeous prints. My favourite bits included the wallpaper that looked like embossed leather and the cheerful adverts featuring bold clashing 60’s and 70s floral interiors.

Very Sanderson includes many large, beautiful, colourful samples which embrace every design style since Victorian times. It’s fascinating to see how Sanderson revive and redesign classic prints – the Rose and Peony wallpaper was designed in 1914 and you can still buy it today.

The exhibition really only scratches the surface of Sanderson’s collection; the thick log books and design ledgers hint at thousands of designs which are equally exquisite as the work on display but didn’t make the final show.

One of the ways Sanderson have kept their place as a leading name in decoration is by working with many leading designers over the last 150 years. As well as owning William Morris designs, Sanderson have worked with the Omega Workshops, Lucienne Day, Zandra Rhodes and are currently collaborating with contemporary artist Nina Saunders.

Sanderson’s designs were not exclusive to posh houses, Sanderson is sold on the high street. If you’ve got a pair of vintage floral curtains it might be worth having a gentle probe into the hems to see if there’s a manufacturers name printed on the selvage (I’ve got my mum’s childhood bedroom curtains from Sanderson hanging up in my little craft room).

This exhibition made me desperate to go and play in their archives. Fortunately they’ve anticipated this and there’s a video at the end with footage of the archive, the wallpaper printing machines in the factory and interviews with curator Mary Schoeser and top Sanderson designers.

If you have ambitious redecoration plans for your home after a trip to the Sanderson exhibition, pop along to the Sanderson showroom at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (a large shopping centre entirely devoted to glamorous designer furnishing shops) where you’ll find their latest collections and re-issued prints from the last 150 years.

Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration at the Fashion and Textile Museum 19 March – 13 June. £6.50 (£3.50 concessions).

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