There are lots of lovely books being published at the moment but Brent Luvaas’ Street Style: An ethnography of fashion blogging seemed an appropriate choice. It is part of the Dress, Body, Culture series from Bloomsbury Academic and many of them are worth a look. For those interested in researching themselves, it might be useful to see how Luvaas developed the methodology for his research. Not only did he research the work of and talk to fashion bloggers, he became one. He claims that the “book was written ‘on the street’ through a day to day interaction with the city of Philadelphia… and was written online through ‘fieldnotes’ posted… on my street style blog, Urban Fieldnotes.” (p.19.) Striking images from his blog punctuate the book, illustrating concepts of the public’s representation of itself, the democratisation of fashion, the business of street photography, and the life of the fashion blogger blurring boundaries between the professional and amateur commentator.
Had a fabulous, if not slightly ambitious, day at the V&A on Saturday. Before lunch we saw Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, an interestingly curated exhibition mixing up historical shoes such as Queen Victoria’s slippers, with famous shoes such as Vivienne Westwood’s blue platforms which sent Naomi Campbell tumbling down the catwalk and David Beckham’s football boots. There were characteristic shoes such as the men’s platforms which the original wearer highlighted their utility for kicking the **** out of people! That wasn’t the image they conjured up to me. My favourites were the Victorian fetish boots, mainly because they were red and such a beautiful shape rather than particularly fetishistic. It was interesting to see the process of making shoes too – perhaps it will encourage a revival? Well worth a visit or a browse through the catalogue at your local library.
The second exhibition of the day was my favourite; The Fabric of India. It showcased a huge selection of fabrics, garments, hangings and more in a wide range of techniques from dyeing and printing to weaving and embroidery. It was interesting to see the roots and plants used to dye the fabrics and to see silk and cotton in production. I’m not sure I can choose a favourite, there were so many. The contemporary fashions were amongst them, combining techniques of print, embroidery and drapery. I’d wear any of them! If you are wondering whether you should make the effort to go, do, you won’t be disappointed! I’m looking forward to Christmas when I can see the catalogue again – its a pressie from my husband.
Going to London over the summer? I recommend visiting Tate Modern to take in the latest EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay. Her career spanned much of the twentieth century. Often working with husband, Robert Delaunay, they developed a distinctive abstract style known as simultanism. The couple are often presented together, but the thing I like about this exhibition is that it puts Sonia centre stage, primarily celebrating her work.
Just a few more days to visit the Artists Textiles exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. It was really worth the trip, a unique opportunity to see many textiles from artists not usually renowned for working in this medium. I hadn’t appreciated that they did so as a desire to make their work more relevant to the lives of ordinary people. My favourites included Salvador Dali’s Ballerina where there was so much energy in the design and a piece by Gerald Wilde for the V&A’s 1946 exhibition, Britain Can Make It. I was disproportionately excited by the print, Bark Cloth by Paolozzi and Henderson, it was the fabric of the curtains in the hall of Penwith Sixth Form College in Penzance. I couldn’t forget those heavy black drapes imprinted with white clocks and bicycles. They transfixed me through exams and orchestra practice!
You may notice on my shelfie that I purchased the book, Textile Design: Artists Textiles, 1940 – 1976, to accompany the exhibition. It’s worth every penny, beautifully illustrated and informative. If you can’t make the exhibition, do at least borrow the book from your local library. Don’t forget you can request an interlibrary loan if they don’t have it on their shelves. Oops that’s the day job!
A bookshelf says a lot about a person, so here’s a ‘shelfie’. I might even review some of these from time to time.