Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Weds 16th May: Ballgowns at The V&A

Last night was ridiculously exciting and a landmark occasion for me to witness.  The gold foil gown that I saw being crochted when I shared a studio with Craig Lawrence has been acquisitioned by the V&A and appears in the new major exhibition "Ballgowns" which opened last evening.  Here he is with Holly Fulton who also has her lipstick print dress in the show alongside contemporaries Felicity Brown and Mark Fast.  Each level of establishment  is represented covering the entire industry from Gareth Pugh, Roksanda Ilincic and Jonathan Saunders up to Chalayan and McQueen.  These modern masterpieces have been set and spinning in the new gallery upstairs which was unveiled for the first time, wowing the guests including Suzy Menkes who I snapped taking notes by the ginormous Westwood number.  The beginning of the story surrounding British Glamour since 1950 is explained in a second section of cabinets housing the historical original ornate early examples of gowns and accessories. I was intruiged that this gold quilted jacket is by Ossie Clark - cementing my love for his label even further than the passion I already have for his flowing florals.    Its just amazing how differently each designer interprets the task of constructing occasion-wear, with the  materials that vary from Atsuko Kudo's rubber to Giles's Fortuny style pleats.  There are no similarities between the silhouettes either, with contrasting shapes such as Zandra Rhodes cosmic crustachea swirl caplets to Mary Katranzou's pelmet shoulder pads.  The whole thing is set off perfectly with Emily Pugh's props of outsize pearl necklaces and vignettes of vanity mirrors and bejewelled broaches.  Congratulations to Emily and curator Sonnet Stanfill on an exquisite and epic exhibition.   Head over to the site to see a documentary about the showcase and check out the list of  special events................. here.
(top to bottom:  Bill Gibb ?!, Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes, Gareth Pugh, Mark Fast & Mary Katrantzou, Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon, 
Osman Yousefzada
McQueen, Roksanda Ilincic, Jonathan Saunders, Helen Storey, Suzy Menkes, Holly Fulton and Craig Lawrence) 

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