Museuming in London… FTM and John Soane’s house

 On my birthday I had a wonderful day up in London with one of my best pals Caro (her boyf even cooked us dinner in the evening…win!) Anyway, it was a day filled with museum visiting.
First Stop Sir John Soane’s museum. This is one of the museums in London I had never visited before… and it is so inconspicuous you could easily walk right past it and not notice it. The museum is actually what was once Soane’s house. It is a glorious testament to the architect who bought outside architecture in. The ceilings and stained glass in the house are particularly wonderful and you see a mish mash of eras in the objects he collected. I particularly liked his “gallery” where there are some sensational Hogarth painting on display. John Soanes house is actually free,,, and well worth a visit.
We then pootled off to the Fashion and Textile museum where I FINALLY got to see the POP exhibition. I have to say this is one of the best exhibitions that FTM have held in a while (Second only to the Horrockses exhibition from last 2010). In particular I highly rated the layout of the exhibition, considering the space is quite small there was A LOT to see.
If you are expecting this to be an exhibition which places its primary focus on the sixties, think again. There is wonderful design from both the 50s and 70s too (both decades I personally prefer to the 60s). I really enjoyed too that this exhibition wasn’t just textiles focus but looked at broader “design” too.
Here are a few of my personal highlights.
I couldn’t see an exhibition label for this skirt but I know it is a Sportaville model, as I tried to buy one of these about a year ago.
Martini label skirt
Biba jacket. I am just swooning at the cut of this
Zandra Rhodes shorts


It also re-introuded me to the brand Mr Freedom, which really epitomises what I love about 70s design.

This dress is another Sportaville model dress and shows that the company were still producing highly imaginative print design in the 1970s.

Two Miss Mouse designs showing the early 70s revival of 1950s styles by Rae Spencer-Cullen

Superb Terry De Havilland platforms
Zandra Rhodes emsemble
Vivienne Westwood knitwear
 Paper dresses in their packets

A certain sense of self satisfaction

During my time at the museum service I have had a couple, what I would call “eureka” moments. For me that is discovering a garment in the collection advertised in a magazine or finding some kind of importance provenance. This happened twice whilst I was working on Little black dress. The first moment was with a dress by the company Susan Small. Whilst searching through copies of Vogues to display in the exhibition I suddenly stumbled across one of the dresses I had picked out! It was a real, goodness me! Moment. Seeing a dress in the collection on a human form really helps to give it a different meaning and helps you to see how it would have been worn at the time.


(its the dress on the left, apologies for the dark pic it was taken after the dress was put into the exhibition!)

The second time this happened to me was during exhibition set up. I was looking at a panel we had borrowed from Brighton museum and suddenly thought, that dress looks familiar. The dress in the image was a long sleeved dress by the company Roter Couture. I had chosen a similar dress to put in the exhibition although our was a shorter dress with short sleeves. I thought I would just check the dress and *see* if it may just happen to be the same dress but altered. Low and behold it was! (The dress has been turned into a short sleeve garment and the hem taken up by at least around 8 inches)

The only problem with the image on the panel was that it was quite small and difficult to see. Thankfully it was dated to 1956. I thought, maybe, just maybe this had come from a Vogue advertisement. So, again I went searching, and found it in the March 1956 issues of Vogue. I was very happy to have this kind of provenance appear again, and even better the dress had its full price and fabric details in the advertisement.




It is little details like this which really help to make exhibitions interesting for the public, all I can say is that I am pleased that my casual flicking turned up trumps on two occasions!