>>I’ve always been curiously fascinated by the world of fashion since a very young age. As a curious creative child I would sketch dress patterns for my dolls, specifying materials, patterns and prints. This then manifested into a love affair with the V&A [museum] when I studied fashion at the London College of Fashion. Through my studies I was introduced to the curated fashion hall, learning intensely about the history of clothes, the craftsmanship & skill of couture gowns. Although my passion has since changed formats into a more spatial form of design I am still extremely captivated by the fashion world. Fashion, like interior architecture, has the ability to effect, adapt and mimic our own individualism. Like a second skin somehow we become one with it. It was my very own, personal experiences with fashion which compelled me to visit the ‘Women. Fashion. Power‘ exhibition which is currently running at the Design Museum.
Comprising of some of the most powerful & accomplished women in the world this exhibition (although I feel that this level of work goes beyond an exhibition personally) is not just some fickle feminist fashion statement, but an experience examining the very autobiography of fashion through history and also through the lives of twenty-five head strong women. Many I have admired for some time, the exhibition includes pioneers such as Camila Batmanghelidjh who founded and is Director of the dedicated charity ‘Kids Company’, esteemed Designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and Interior Designer turned Lead Singer, Skin. This exhibition allows you to elegantly crash into both symbolic & influential stages in history which were imperative to the evolution of fashion. From the Suffragettes who fought tirelessly for our right to vote to the war effort which saw role reversals for women (which subsequently lead to changes in fashion and stereo-types to developments & introductions of new advantaging materials) we are reminded of the key elements in design both political & social which have helped shape the fashion industry and ‘us’ as women [and vice versa]. Co-curated by fashion expert Colin McDowell and Head of Curation at the Design Museum Donna Loveday certainly immerses you. Design by renewed architect Zaha Hadid it is clear through the elements encompassed within this exhibition that various elements of the creative industries can influence fashion and not merely fashion alone. I took the opportunity to interview Head Curator Donna Loveday on all things fashion, politics & power.
Q. Within the creative industry do you feel that the power of fashion is an essential component of the working woman’s wardrobe?
Q. The feminism debate has been prevalent over the last 30 years, however more recently there seems to be strengthened similarity or blurring-of-lines between masculine & feminine dress. If fashion does indeed reflect society, do you think that we are heading towards more equal-rights for women or do you think we still have a long way to go?
Q. Following SS15 Fashion Week and using the example of the Chanel SS15 catwalk show in Paris, do you think politics has a place in womenswear fashion?
Q.Over the last 50 years the power of fashion has profoundly influenced our society – from the liberation of the mini [skirt] in the sixties to the power dressing shoulder padded suits in the 80s to the girl power of the 90s – which decade do you feel embodies the power of dress the most?
Back view of a ribbon corset, 1904, The Bowes Museum
Q. Do you think that fashion is a choice for those at the pinnacle of their careers or do you feel that women have conformed to the notion of the higher the heel the more successful you are (for instance)?