Over the years, the Fashion and Textile Museum has held so many incredible and memorable fashion exhibitions, which have always been a great inspiration for my work and looking into greater detail of the history of fashion. This season, it focuses on Knitwear; Chanel to Westwood. The vintage inspired knitwear focuses on the 1920’s jersey, the 1930’s swimwear collection, all the way to Vivienne Westwood and Julien MacDonald’s work. This range of designers and the impact that the whole exhibition has is just incredible, and the art movements over time become so impacting as you enter the world of knitwear.
When looking around the exhibition, my favourite piece of knitwear would have to be Julien MacDonald’s’ Mixed Synthetic 1900’s sequinned dress. The change between the inner body within the dress and the high neck was just such a different style and added such a power to the piece. Although a neck length, tight, short sleeved garment, there was something very uniquely beautiful about it, and the whole piece was so delicate yet powerful in itself. The panelled body had this incredible, yet simplistic, pattern of silver tones which shaped the figure perfectly. I believe this was one of the most interesting and diverse exhibition that the Fashion and Textile Museum have displayed, and I thought it was just fantastic.
Despite the wet and windy weather on Monday, I headed out at 9am to gain a true understanding on where shops are placed within central London; looking and individual brands and their key locations. How fashion brands create a visual presence on the hughstreet and the shopping districts; creating a strong and well developed awareness of the market level clusterings. In particular, I was focusing on Dior and the way the company had presented themselves to the audiences, and how they enticed their target market in competition with other big brands.
To start the exercise off, I started at Oxford Circus, making my way to Conduit St, which is where a lot of luxury brands are found – Vivienne Westwood, Donna Karan, Moschino, and most importantly Sketch – which is the original show room in London that Dior used to use; a lot of presence of the Dior company still lies there, and the feel of the brand is very much still present. Down this hughstreet is one of many Dior stores; this one predominately selling shoes and bags – which allowed me to explore the new Diorissimo bags for the first time. Then onto Saville Row – the home of tailoring in London, and where Henry Poole & Co and Norton & Sons can be found; all lined up offering something different with their tailoring. Each and every store looked sophisticated and well thought out – which is vital in that particular section of the fashion market. What was also very interesting is that I was able to watch a lot of adjustments and actual tailoring take place, as the lower level of the shop was visible from the street; letting the customers have a more personal experience with the individual store.
With this close knit shopping sector, there are many different classes of shops; Haute Couture all the way to Economy, which was very interesting to look at the precise grouping and classes and where each shop was placed within the market. Stella McCartney is several doors down from the famous Hartnell Gallery, which sat right next to Matthew Williamson; this close connection between the shops is a clear grouping of the Brand Diffusion market. The hierarchy of fashion is something that is taken very seriously, and walking along Bond Street, Mayfair, Oxford street and even Conduit Street, it is very easy to identify the target audience for that particular street – a very in-depth and personal shopping experience.