Saturday, June 11, 2011

London Journal - Textiles!!!

I've not been to many museums lately. When I first arrived in London I had what seemed like a ridiculously long list of museums to visit and I spent most of last year ticking off as many museums from that list as I could. Since becoming full-time employed and completing my tarot paintings I've been really busy with improving my design skills and plotting out my Art Gallery Showing (August 19th and 20th at the Rag Factory off of Brick Lane) and visiting museums has moved down on my list of priorities.

However, I had one museum which I'd reserved for when a fellow artist from Calgary came to visit. As a specialist in textile art I figured he'd be the best companion for the Fashion and Textiles Museum located on Bermondsey Street, near London Bridge Tube Station.

Set amongst red brick buildings, this colourful museum should stand out but the sign for it is actually quite subtle. 'FTM' in large, looping letters(I'm supposing they're meant to look like thread) sit to one side of the main entrance, above a little tea shop advertising that it's '@ The FTM'.

Unlike most museums I attend, this one had an entrance fee, but I'm happy to announce that international student IDs are accepted so my fellow artist was able to get in for only £4. I paid my £7 and we took the ticket and accompanying book about the currently featured exhibit, which just happened to by Tommy Nutter, inventor of the Bespoke Suit and contributor to one of the coolest looks in the world: 70s Fashion.

The exhibition featured clothing on loan from the likes of Elton John and Ringo Star. Fabulous lapels, gorgeous material like velvet and silk and rich, wonderfully patterned wool, all set to a seventies soundtrack.

The information itself on most of the displays fell a little flat for my taste. Snippets about Nutter Taylors and Tommy's influence on the fashion world made boring by simple language and a lack of elaboration. The most obvious being the timeline which shows Tommy's death at the age of 49 in 1992. Tommy Nutter - The Later Years simply states: 'By the beginning of the 1990s Tommy's health had begun to decline.'

My fellow artist and I speculated as to what this meant, coming to the conclusion that he was a fashion designer in the seventies and eighties for the likes of Mick Jagger, Twiggy, Elton John and the Beatles. It was either drugs or AIDS and we agreed that AIDS seemed to be the most obvious choice, given the language used. A quick Google search later and it was confirmed that this was, indeed, what had claimed the life of such an incredibly influential taylor.

I have to say it was one of the best exhibitions I've been to in London. I really recommend it, especially to anyone who lived through the seventies or wished they had. It gave me serious clothing envy and a desire to dress in androgynous cut suits with sharp, wide lapels and odd patchwork trousers.

Apologies for the low quality images. As with any museum that allows photography, I was not able to use flash.

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