I really enjoyed the recent trip to the UK and visited sixteen museums as well as the wonderful time I spent dedicated to the Victoria and Albert museum. A highlight, which I thought you might like to see was my trip to the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London.
The FTM is unusual in that it only hosts temporary exhibitions. This is a very modern idea, but the FTM is a very modern museum, without the collections and archives that we’ve come to expect from museums. This must really free them up as an institution, as they don’t need as much space, funding or workers. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing as I consider museums the custodians of our cultural heritage, but if it enables them to put on wonderful exhibitions like this one, I approve.
Image from the FTM site.
My visit coincided with an exhibition on Liberty, the wonderful London fashion house that started in 1875 and was famous for its Victorian ‘aesthetic’ fashions and beautiful William Morris designed fabrics. They’ve actually had many great designers, but the quality is consistent: good fabrics, beautiful hand-finished detailing and wonderful, historically-inspired colour combinations. Liberty fashions were made to enjoy wearing and they last too. It’s a highly collectable label, especially for the earlier pieces. The attention to detail is incredible.
You can tell I’m very fond on the label and their beautiful and iconic London shop on Regent Street, with it’s Tudor influence and wood panelling.
I took lots of photos of the fashions, which were displayed chronologically. The interesting thing about Liberty is that the fabric and print is key, and as time goes on, you can clearly see the earlier fashions and textiles impacting on the more modern designs, especially in the ’60s and the ’70s. In fact the fabrics are so consistent it’s usually only the styles that give away the era but many of the fashions are timeless. I’m sure you can pick out one or two pieces you’d like to add to your own wardrobes, they look so nice to wear and surprisingly modern at times. I really loved the Edwardian silk dressing robes and the ’30s floral day dresses.
I’m not going to put dates on these because I think it’s nice to just enjoy them as modern wearers, without consideration of the context for once. They’re quite incredible in many ways. If you really want confirmation of how old a particular dress or coat is, get in touch and I’ll let you know.
Sadly the Liberty exhibition has now closed but the FTM will soon be reopening with their next program – Missoni! Lucky London.
I hope you enjoy – all photos are taken by me (thankfully the FTM allows photography!).