Category Archives: Uncategorized

Art Nouveau Fashion 1890 -1914

My book, ‘Art Nouveau Fashion 1890-1914’ will be published by V&A Publishing in September – the preview copies are now out and looking handsome. It was a privilege to work with so many beautiful objects and documents in the V&A collections … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Derbyshire cotton mills

A visit to the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire is a chance to see some of the most important sites in the early Industrial Revolution. Less well known than Manchester, this area was arguably more important for the development of cotton … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great British Sailor Suit

Sailor suits for little boys were the first democratic fashion – easy to make and easy to wear, with no stiff collars or fussy fastenings. They were mass-produced in British factories from 1870 onwards, and became the default outfit for … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Embroidered adornment for men: a Rake’s Progress

The E Tautz catwalk at the 2014 London Men’s Fashion week showcased embroidered embellishments by students at the Royal school of Needlework. Following the theme of the ‘Rake’s Progress’, embroidered motifs were left unfinished and distressed, to give the impression … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering those who served

At the time of year when we remember those lost in wars, it’s particularly moving to see craft objects made by soldiers on active service. There is a long tradition of handicrafts made by soldiers and sailors from scraps of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anyone for Tennis?

Given the recent triumph by Andy Murray at the Wimbledon championships, tennis may be about to have a resurgence of interest – not before time. Lawn Tennis (so called because it was played outside, unlike ‘real’ or ‘royal’ tennis, played … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transatlantic marketing in 1912

For American Independence day, a reminder that in the past there was a strong export market for British goods in the USA. The Stationers’ Hall documents at The National Archives, London, contain thousands of ‘piece goods’ labels – brightly coloured … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exhibiting Fashion in 1900

At the time of year when all the Fashion and Textile courses are exhibiting graduates’ work, it’s good to think about the history of fashion promotion. One of the major attractions of the international exhibitions held around the world from … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Immortalising spring flowers

The arrival of the English spring (slightly delayed) reminds us how much flowers of all kinds were appreciated in the past for their ephemeral beauty. Keen gardeners would invest significant resources in fostering delicate plants, building walled gardens and even … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yinka Shonibare and African ‘wax print’ textiles

A recent exhibition by the Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare prompted some reflections on the relationship between medium and artwork, and between concept and execution, in contemporary art. Shonibare uses ‘wax print’ textiles, manufactured in Europe for consumers in West Africa … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment