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With London Fashion Week (LFW) and the associated Vogue World extravaganza having just taken place, it could be very easy for some observers – especially from the younger generation – to imagine that the UK capital’s pre-eminence in the global fashion landscape must have always been undeniable.
But of course, as (slightly) older readers of Skywire London’s online news pages will be well aware, the situation as recently as a few decades ago looked very different. It is a story documented in an exhibition at Kensington’s Design Museum, launched to coincide with LFW on 16th September.
The landmark exhibition in question – entitled REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion – arose from a collaboration with the British Fashion Council (BFC). It has been organised in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the BFC’s NEWGEN programme, which supports emerging fashion design talent.
What can visitors to the REBEL exhibition expect?
In the words of the Design Museum, the exhibition – which has been guest-curated by Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent, and co-curated by the museum’s Senior Curator Rebecca Lewin – “tells the story of hundreds of fearless young designers who have transformed the fashion landscape, and will bring together exuberant, rebellious, and radical garments.”
Even those who only have the most cursory familiarity with the British fashion of the last few decades will find something to intrigue, inspire, and raise their eyebrows at this exhibition.
Highlights include the swan dress that Icelandic artist Björk controversially wore to the 2001 Oscars, the Steven Stokey-Daley outfit donned by Harry Styles for his “Golden” video, and Sam Smith’s HARRI inflatable latex suit from this year’s BRIT Awards (just in case anyone was in any doubt about the ability of cutting-edge fashion to keep on causing scandal and excited comment today).
Of no less importance than items like these, however, are the films, drawings, memorabilia, and archive material that help tell the tale of just how far British and London fashion have come over the past generation or so.
As observed by Vogue’s Liam Hess, an article plastered to the wall in one of the REBEL exhibition’s rooms, dated 1993, reads: “As usual at collection time, British fashion editors have been dismissing London as a fashion wasteland.” It marks quite the contrast with today’s talk of how fashion in the UK capital has gone on to conquer the world.
And there’s more for style aficionados visiting the UK capital to enjoy…
The Design Museum exhibition continues until 11th February 2024. And it is far from the only excellent reason for fashionistas from across the UK and the world to head to Kensington’s museums over the months ahead, as the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) also just happens to be hosting Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto from now until 25th February 2024.
That exhibition has been described by the V&A as the first in the UK to be “dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the establishment of the House of CHANEL and the evolution of her iconic design style which continues to influence the way women dress today.”
Those who choose to take in that show – at the museum’s Cromwell Road site – will get to learn about the evolution of Chanel style from her first boutique in Paris in 1910, right through to her final collection in 1971.
And in-between all of those museum treks, hopefully, you will find some time to work alongside your chosen digital creative and marketing agency to coordinate more growth and success for your own fashion, luxury, or lifestyle brand into 2024 and beyond!
To find out more about the possibilities for how you might work with Skywire London to achieve that, please feel free to enquire to our London-based, but global-minded team via phone or email.
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