Friday, 30 March 2012

British Design Explosion

The V&A major spring exhibition showcases the best of British design and creative talent from the 1948 'Austerity Olympics' to the summer of 2012. It's an overwhelming experience with so much to catch our attention!  

Alexander McQueen, Horn of Plenty collection (2009)

I would suggest you go in the morning when your mind is more open and to avoid the crowds, this comprehensive exhibition demands a certain level of awareness to admire all it has to offer.

It tells the story of British fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial products over the past 60 years.

Jack Lights by Tom Dixon (1996) and Magazine Sofa by Michael Young (1994)

"As people around the world will be focusing on the UK in the summer of 2012 this is an ideal moment to showcase British innovation, taste and creativity." Martin Roth, Director of the V&A

I  particularly like the central gallery which explores the counter-cultural movements from 1960s 'Swinging London', through to the 1970s punk scene and the emergence of 'Cool Britannia' in the 1990s.

Tulle dress by Hussein Chalayan (2011)

If you love fashion, you can indulge in the most memorable moments of British creativity, from Mary Quant's liberating mini-dresses to the irreverent Vivienne Westwood and Hussein Chalayan's analytical and cross-disciplinary design approach.

There is also a spectacular Alexander McQueen evening gown from the Horn of Plenty collection (2009) and a flamboyant Dior haute couture dress (2000) by John Galliano, inspired by beggars' rags and the paintings of Egon Schiele.

John Galliano for Christian Dior (Spring/Summer 2000)

A beautiful Jean Shrimpton photographed by Terry O'Neil (1965) is also on display along with other great names such as David Bailey. You can also find iconic photographs of music giants such as the legendary Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

It's impossible to do justice to such an electic exhibition but I have to mention Damien Hirst's Pharmacy (more to come next week when Tate Modern will present the first substantial survey of his work ever held in the UK) and a James Bond style 1961 E-Type Jaguar car.

Jean Shrimpton by Terry O'Neil (1965)

One of the curators is actually one of my former teachers from my MA on Fashion Studies at the London College of Fashion but he is now a renowned author and Principal of Edinburgh College of Art - Dr. Christopher Breward.

An accompanying exhibition catalogue British Design from 1948: Innovation in the Modern Age, edited by him and Ghislaine Wood, also an author and curator, is available from V&A Publishing (£40).

1961 E-Type Jaguar car

British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
31 March - 12 August 2012
Victoria & Albert Museum

Other related blog posts:
Designing Women
McQueen and Blow immortalised by LaChapelle
Dior Couture by Demarchelier