Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Next stop Hartnell and Aimes

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Michael Cockerham
Last week I was invited to attend the Fashion and Textile Museum for a very special and highly anticipated event.
The Hartnell to Aimes exhibit, 'Couture by Royal Appointment" was finally among us. This has been launched to coincide with the Queen's Jubilee celebrating the impact of the royal celebrity on British Fashion of the 20th century. The exhibit consisted of the works of Norman Hartnell, Hardy Aimes and that of Fredrick Fox. The exhibit was curated by Dennis Nothdruft and Michael Pick. It was a real treat to see the visual collaboration of two very important advocates in British Fashion. You may have read the works of Michael Pick which include Norman Hatnell: Sixty Years of Glamour. Alongside this knowledgeable man, was Dennis Nothdruft (Curator, FTM) known for memorable exhibitions such as Catwalk to Cover: A Front Row Seat.

I spent approximately an hour and a half at the exhibit. While at the museum I spoke to various members of the press who were unanimously pleased with the creative display. I myself took a particular liking to the way the Norman Parkinson photographs complemented the garments. I appreciated the contrasts of tweed suits, wedding dresses and evening wear on the ground floor. I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the exhibit and became increasingly pleased to see that these very important works were given a generous space to spread their wings. I felt that with each slight turn on the upper level there was a fabulous fashionable surprise waiting. I do believe that my eyes actually danced with delight as I discovered the magnificent millinery of Frederick Fox.

My favoutite piece from the exhibit would have to be the photograph cleverly titled "Precision Built" which captured Enid Boulting wearing a Hardy Amies suit for Vogue in 1954. This photo showed a woman that represented power while remaining tasteful and in high fashion. I would recommend this exhibit to anyone with a particular interest in tailoring, millinery, and specifically dressmaking. I hope that all future visitors find it as inspiring as I have. The presentation brings to mind the words class, pride and exclusivity. The overall collection of the works presented highlights dedication and the fine tuned skills that can only be found deep within British fashion history.

The exhibit runs from the 16th of November to the 23rd of February.

The Fashion and Textile Museum is located at 83 Bermondsey Street,London SE1 3XF.