Fashion and the Arts for #InspirationMW

Wedding dress made from white parachute silk photo: © IWM (UNI 1052)

Wedding dress made from white parachute silk
photo: © IWM (UNI 1052)

It’s #MuseumWeek and today’s hashtag is #InspirationMW so we’ll be reviewing a few of the fashion exhibitions currently running in London and across the UK – all sharing a similar story for their historical inspiration. One we’re particularly fascinated by is The Imperial War Museum’s ‘Fashion on the Ration: 1940’s Street Style’, which explores how fashion not only survived, but actually flourished during the strict rules and rationing of 1940’s Britain, as it provides an insight into how women managed to stay stylish under such tough conditions.

An ambulance worker in Kennington, London prepares for action, 1940. Photograph: © IWM

An ambulance worker in Kennington, London prepares for action, 1940. Photograph: © IWM

Historian and curator of the event Laura Clouting, said “Wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses made from parachute silk became quite popular as well when that material became surplus as well. So, Make-do and Mend [a government campaign] really saw a burst of creativity, but it’s important to remember that this was necessary. This was a vital part of wartime life. You could not buy clothes in the way that perhaps some people with more money had been used to before the war. It was vital to look after your clothing,”

The exhibition highlights how the creativity and innovation that came with the war, impacted fashion and can still be seen upon British style today.

telegraph savage beauty

Photo courtesy of Rex/EPA/PA fashion.telegraph.co.uk

Speaking of British style leads us nicely on to one of Britain’s most iconic fashion designers, Alexander McQueen whose work is currently on show at ‘Savage Beauty’, at the V&A.

The hidden stories and work behind some of McQueen’s most extraordinary pieces are placed alongside historical objects from V&A’s collections that represent some of the many design traditions that inspired his iconic collection.

©Danson House/Daniel Extence Vivienne Westwood, Dress Portrait Collection, 1990-91, Stretch velvet with red foil, Private Collection

©Danson House/Daniel Extence Vivienne Westwood, Dress Portrait Collection, 1990-91, Stretch velvet with red foil, Private Collection

And it doesn’t stop there because April will be bringing us Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Cut From The Past’ at Danson House in Kent, exploring the impact of 18th century art on Vivienne Westwood’s designs, bringing together her most innovative work.

We hope we have inspired you to see what’s on at your local museums and galleries and if you are in London or planning to visit the V&A, book in advance as the show is incredibly popular.

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