english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


4 Comments

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican

Me and Phil spent the weekend in London recently. While there we visited The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican. The exhibition is wide ranging featuring Gaultier designs from the 1970s to the present. It’s one of the best fashion design exhibitions I’ve seen. Unlike a lot of exhibitions the pieces aren’t behind glass so you can get up close and admire the skill and meticulous finish. Focusing on a single designer means you get a much greater sense of the designer and their work, and how it has developed over time. It’s also a lot more fun than most fashion exhibitions – the curators have included lots of creative elements including video projection and a revolving catwalk – totally befitting the clothes being exhibited. The generous size of the exhibition and the time period covered mean that they have included pieces from Gaultier collections with many different themes – mermaids, religious imagery, folk, nautical, punk, animal skin/feathers. I love Gaultier’s work because it has such a great sense of humour – like the man himself. I’ve watched various interviews with Gaultier and he always seems absolutely lovely. There are lots of people I admire that I don’t like very much, but Gaultier is someone it is very easy to admire and to like. Having visited the exhibition I now HAVE to own the LP of Gaultier’s 1989 single Aow Tou Dou Zat. As you can see they allowed photographs, a few are below.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican London 2014
We also visited The Glamour of Italian Fashion at the V&A, which told the story of Italian fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day. This was also fascinating but was a relatively small exhibition and due to the scope of what the exhibition was trying to cover it felt like it was only scratching the surface. I would have also liked more early (1950s) pieces which were my favourite (with the exception of an amazing Miu Miu parrot print fabric that I wanted badly). Excitingly Fashionary had produced an exclusive design to accompany the exhibition so I treated myself to a copy. Gorgeous.
V&A Fashionary
While in London I also treated myself to a couple of metres of Liberty fabric from Shaukat and a Flamingo cardigan from a rather classy charity shop, both in South Kensington.
Liberty Cotton Fabric
Flamingo Cardigan

Advertisement


5 Comments

A Week in Paris

Me and Phil recently spent a week in Paris. I’ve been travelling quite a bit for work lately so it was lovely to travel for pleasure instead:) While there we visited some sites we hadn’t explored on our  previous trips.

Unsurprisingly Paris has a number of fashion museums, and we managed to visit two of these while there.

I was particularly impressed by the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion. The Museum holds extensive collections of clothing (18th century to contemporary), accessories, drawing and photography, but, due to the delicacy of these collections, the museum doesn’t have a permanent collection on display. The current temporary exhibition that we managed to catch was photography from Conde Nast magazines (e.g. Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour). The photographs included dated from 1918 to the present day, although I particularly liked the vintage images. Most excitingly, alongside the photography, the Museum displayed haute couture pieces from its collections – which included pieces by Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Paris, April 2014
I didn’t pack too many me-made clothes for the trip to Paris, knowing that Me Made May was just around the corner, but I had to take my Coco dress to Paris! Here it is within sight of the Eiffel Tour, in the grounds of the Palais Galliera.
Paris, April 2014

We also visited the Museum of Decorative Arts which is housed in the same building as the Louvre, although a separate museum. The Museum has a varied mixture of collections (furniture, toys, etc.), including textile collections. Like the Palais Galliera, the Museum does not have a permanent textile collection on display, instead running regular temporary exhibitions. We caught an exhibition of work by the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. As well an an extensive selection of pieces by Dries Van Noten, the exhibition included beautiful vintage pieces from the Museum’s own collection by designers including Schiaparelli and Dior. Gorgeous!
Paris, April 2014

Among the other museums we visited was the Musee des Arts et Metiers, where I admired some beautiful vintage sewing machines and looms.
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014

Of course, while in Paris I had to visit the fabric district in Place Saint-Pierre (right by the Sacré Cœur). I treated myself to two 3-meter off-cuts or ‘coupons’.
Paris, April 2014
I didn’t buy anything from Reine but popped in to admire the Liberty fabric, and the awful mini mannequins they have throughout the store. You have to wonder who makes the clothes for these (the mannequins aren’t full size so do they use children’s clothing sizes)?
Fabric Shop, Paris

Another spot we hadn’t visited previously that was AMAZING was the Puces de St-Ouen market area. The area contains around a dozen separate markets. I’d particularly recommend the Marche Serpette, which includes a number of vintage clothing, record and book shops, and one shop selling vintage sewing patterns, buttons, etc.
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014
I wore my Victoria Blazer to the Puces de St-Ouen, as well as my gorgeous new bag. A very exciting Easter gift from my Nan.
Paris, April 2014

As movie lovers, me and Phil also visited two historic cinemas.

The Rex is a 1930s cinema, with art-deco style facade. It was designed to be ostentatious – the stage includes water jets, and when it was opened huge numbers of dancers used to perform before films started. It’s a working cinema and still regularly hosts movie premiers. They also run a backstage tour which I was very excited about, although admittedly hilarious, the cinema took a Disney-style approach to the tour so unfortunately you don’t get to hear much about the cinema’s history or see much of the real cinema behind the scenes (it’s all a bit phony).
Paris, April 2014
The Cinéma du Panthéon, originally opened in 1907, offers a total contrast to the Rex. It specialises in independent films, and has a stunning salon on the first floor, with an interior designed by Catherine Deneuve, as well as a very cool book shop.
Paris, April 2014
I could have spent all day in the beautiful Salon, but the prices meant we stuck to a cup of tea!
Paris, April 2014

Such a lovely week:) The weather meant we were also able to spend a lot of time sat in Paris’ parks eating cake!
Paris, April 2014

And… just to prove that I didn’t make Phil spend all his holiday visiting fabric shops and fashion museums (admittedly not his first choice of things to do), we also visited the Parc des Princes to see Paris Saint-Germain play.
Paris, April 2014

See also my post about the craft shops we visited during last year’s trip to Paris.


1 Comment

Vintage Fashion at the Herbert Museum

Inspired by Chronically Vintage’s review of 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook, I recently treated myself to an earlier volume in the series 1920s Fashion  and have been admiring the many, many (it has 600 pages) lovely illustrations this week. So I was in the perfect mood to visit the new exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars.

Herbert Art Gallery Flyer

The exhibition displays clothing and accessories from 1900 until the 1950s. It’s only a small exhibition but it contains a nice mixture of outfits, from day dresses and uniforms to evening and wedding dresses. For a number of the outfits information about the owner is displayed alongside. Obviously the evening and wedding dresses are the most exciting:) There are some nice accessories too, including a cloche hat and some very cool shoes – no pictures as they were behind glass.

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion Through Two World Wars


Leave a comment

Style Africa at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Recently me and Phil visited the Style Africa exhibition currently on at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Style Africa is an exhibition of contemporary West African textiles, and features a selection of beautifully printed fabrics. I won’t say any more than that, I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.

Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham MuseumStyle Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum

Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum
Style Africa Exhibition Birmingham Museum


2 Comments

Showing off my Kinky Knickers

If you live in the UK you’ll already have heard of Kinky Knickers. They’re a new brand launched by Mary Portas – a retail expert and TV star – with the intention of creating a product which is made entirely in the UK. The aim of the show was to demonstrate that it is possible to manufacture clothing in the UK, and in doing so create jobs in areas of the country with high unemployment. Despite the fact that Britain used to have a huge manufacturing industry very little clothing is currently produced here. During the show Mary had a lot of trouble finding manufacturers still producing the raw products – the stretch and edging lace – to make the knickers.

Due to the TV show  the knickers have been a big success and (and partly due to the fact that the company started out with only 7 trainee machinists) have consistently sold out. I managed to get my hands on a single pink pair which are pictured below, along with the brand’s fabulous retro packaging.

Pink Kinky Knickers

Pink Kinky Knickers


Leave a comment

International Craft & Hobby Fair, Birmingham

This week at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) there was a four day craft and hobby fair. It covered a wide range of crafts, with a particular focus on paper crafts (particularly card making) and textiles (lots of knitting, embroidery, patchwork). There were a range of artists & collectives exhibiting their work, ranging from the well known like Mr X Stitch to competition entrants. Pictures of some of the pieces on show are below. It was a huge exhibition & very well attended. I attend a lot of UK comic cons & they don’t compare in terms of size or attendees. Craft is a much bigger business!

There was also tons of stuff to buy. I was relatively restrained, I bought some lovely Khadi handmade paper in a couple of sizes, some ribbon and a basic screen printing kit – to make some t-shirts for Phil.

Mr X Stitch Exhibition:

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Madeira Embroidery Competition 2012:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Quilters Guild Exhibition:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch