Newsflash: Let’s Get Nautical!

nautical 1

AHOY THERE! The time has finally come as this month sees the launch of my latest book, Nautical Chic! If you should need more convincing to grab yourself a copy, there have been some very nice words about it in The Fashion (the bi-annual fashion magazine from The Guardian), from Dawn O’Porter in Glamour magazine and a whole page in Grazia. You can also read about it at The Daily Beast and The Debrief. It’s out on 30th March, and is available to pre-order now through Foyles and the Guardian bookshop. What are you waiting for?!

nautical 4              The Fashion                                                                 Glamour                                                                                 Grazia

If that doesn’t quench your thirst for all things nautical, batten down the hatches as I’ve got a number of events lined up this month and next covering all aspects of high style on the high seas.

First off, the final in my series of events for the Women, Fashion, Power exhibition at the Design Museum is underway on 23rd March. The series examines how women use dress to negotiate issues around power throughout history and across cultures, and this month I’m talking about Uniform, Power and the Sea. Nautical motifs are a perennial on contemporary catwalks, from regimental naval glamour to the square sailor collar. But how did these elements of men’s uniform — created as a spectacular display of sartorial power and military might — cross into women’s dress? I’ll be looking at the complex relationship between uniform, war, power and fashion, from the development of naval uniform to its appropriation into womenswear. TICKETS and info HERE.

Sticking with the seafaring theme (obvs), on April 28th at 6.30pm join me and Dr Matt Lodder for Nautical but Nice at the Museum of Curiosities. I will be chatting all things sailor-style, followed by tattoo historian Dr Matt LodderMatt is an Art Historian at the University of Essex who specialises in the history of tattooing as an artistic practice. His research challenges preconceptions of body modification and uncovers little-known histories of the practice in Victorian Britain and beyond. In this talk, ‘Not Just For Sailors,’ Matt will be exploring the history of tattoos in high society and the deep roots of a very familiar cliché. TICKETS and info HERE

Nautical but NiceMatt Lodder; Le négligé galant ornés de la coéffure à la Belle-Poule, 1778. Image Courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France

ALSO THIS MONTH: Pop Art & Fashion at the Museum of CuriositiesMarch 24th at 7pm. Continuing my role as Fashion Director at the Museum of Curiosities, this month sees fashion go POP. Philip and Charlotte Colbert are a creative couple whose work collectively spans areas from photography to music and fashion. Philip is constantly inspired by Pop Art and was dubbed “the Godson of Andy Warhol” by Andre Leon Talley. His label The Rodnik Band is presented as a pop band rather than a traditional fashion label, and he has rendered some of the world’s most recognisable artworks – from Dali lobsters to Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ – as sequin-encrusted dresses. Charlotte Colbert is a screenwriter and photographer, dubbed by Vogue as “A truly original visual storyteller.” Also working within a framework of Modern Art, her work has been likened to Surrealists Salvador Dali and Andre Breton. The evening will kick off with a presentation on the links between Pop Art and Fashion by Geraldine Wharry, creative director of Trend Atelier, a London-based inspiration studio specialising in future trend research and analysis. TICKETS and info HERE

tatler-uk-1Tatler

Finally, if you or anyone you know is keen to brush up on your fashion history, I’m teaching a couple of short courses at London College of Fashion over the summer. Fashion History: The Evolution of Style covers the key moments in fashion history and theory over 200 years, from the French Revolution through to the 1990s. And you also get a copy of my first book! It’s running on saturdays from 16th May – 6th June, and on consecutive days from Tuesday 28th – Friday 31st July. BOOKING and info HERE.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more nautical news including exciting plans with the place I cut my teeth with old clothing, Beyond Retro. Over and out!

nautical 3

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Newsflash: February Events

akhu-designs

  Lorene Rhoomes, aka Akhu Designs                                                                          Ankara fabric

The days may be depressingly 50 shades of grey (in all senses), but for some entertaining and informative events this month that don’t focus on half-hearted BDSM-tinged Valentine’s promotions then HEAD THIS WAY…

The second of my series of events as part of the Women, Fashion, Power exhibition at the Design Museum is underway on 23rd February. The series examines how women use dress to negotiate issues around power throughout history and across cultures, and this month it’s Power, Dress and Spirituality in West Africa – Lorene Rhoomes of Akhu Designs on the textiles and head wraps of the region. Head wraps are an essential part of African history and culture. In sub-Saharan Africa they were traditionally worn by women to prove they were prosperous and spiritual, and elaborate Nigerian gele and Ghanaian duku are worn today for celebrations, religious occasions or as an expression of cultural pride. Lorene Rhoomes, designer behind Akhu Designs, shares her passion for West African dress, looking at the vital role of textiles in the region and finishing with a head wrap workshop. A number of fabrics will be covered from the sacred Kente, dubbed the Akan Royal Cloth; Adire, resist-dyed indigo cloths that historically symbolised wealth and nobility among community chiefs, and Ankara, also known as Dutch Wax, which has a long and intricate history ranging from Indonesia to Holland, Manchester and West Africa, whose stories of colonialism and identity are often used in the artwork of Yinka Shonibare.

TICKETS and info HERE

anderson                            Richard Anderson, picture © Jasper Clarke               Sebastian Horsley in the red sequin suit made for him by Anderson

Then on 24th February join me at the Museum of Curiosities for Richard Anderson: Tailoring for the 21st Century. Richard Anderson runs the leading independent bespoke tailoring house on Savile Row, and has spent all of his working life on the Row. His book, Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smooth about his early years was published to great acclaim, and his links to the Museum are well-established: he is the master craftsman behind the red sequin suit on display, previously owned by artist Sebastian Horsley. Richard’s desire is to bring new blood into the craft of tailoring, passing on some of the invaluable lessons he has received to the next generation. I will be in conversation with Richard, discussing the history and evolution of Savile Row, and how it has adapted to the 21st century.

Following the discussion, Fenella Hitchcock will be discussing her research into the Sebastian Horsley archive. Fenella is a writer and researcher and has worked as a pattern cutter and assistant producing fine art sculpture and taxidermy. After finishing training in pattern cutting and design, she catalogued the Museum of London’s acquisition of clothing and ephemera belonging to Sebastian Horsley. Currently a postgraduate student at London College of Fashion, her dissertation ‘Hookers, Dealers and Tailors’ focuses on biography, loss and memorial within the various Sebastian Horsley ‘archives’.

TICKETS and more info HERE

IN OTHER NEWS…

Soho House

I wrote a manifesto in defence of fashion history, for the history issue of Soho House magazine. If you’re able to get hold of a copy, I discuss all things from Louis XIV to the Industrial Revolution.

And finally, Nautical Chic is available for PRE-ORDER! Out next month, you can now pre-order a copy through Foyles or the Guardian bookshop. My advance copies have arrived! Both UK (Thames and Hudson) and US (Abrams) editions. EXCITING TIMES!

nautical a                                           UK and US editions of Nautical Chic

PRE-ORDER HERE!

 

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Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2014 was a fantastic year in the world of fashion history, here are some of my highlights…

2014

These include publishing my first book; appearing on Great British Sewing Bee series 2, Woman’s Hour numerous times, BBC Breakfast again and also my debut appearance on Radio 4’s Saturday Review; featuring in Betty magazine, on MyDaily and in and Irish Times supplement The Gloss (more below); speaking at many, many events including the V&A, BFI, the British Library, and giving one of the Summer Edits tours at the Royal AcademyDJing at the launches of Selfridges’ Beauty Project, as well as featuring as a panel guest on feminism & beauty with Sali HughesDJing in Hong Kong and Moscow; giving a keynote speech at a Fashion for Action conference in Kiev, and finally gearing up for the launch of my next book Nautical Chic this coming March. Phew!

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double coverThe cover!

After getting a bit of a break over the festive season I’m ready to smash straight into 2015 with a series of events on power, dress and culture that I’ve programmed as part of the Women, Fashion, Power exhibition at the Design Museum. This month come along to Faith, Fashion & Power in Muslim Dress, February sees Power, Dress & Spirituality in West Africa and in March you can hear me wax lyrical on Uniform, Power & the Sea. Do come along! More information on all events RIGHT HERE.

DESIGN MUSUEMDesigns by Barjis ChohanLorene Rhoomes will be speaking on West African textiles

Also the spring programme for my Theatre of Fashion lecture series at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is live! In January see Fabulous Fashionista and Selfridges ‘Bright Old Thing’ Sue Kreitzman with artist Diane Goldie on Wearable Art; Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson on tailoring for the 21st century in February; Charlotte and Philip Colbert (of The Rodnik Band) on Pop Art and fashion in March; and myself and art historian Dr Matt Lodder in April, discussing the nautical (but nice) obsessions of sailor style and tattoos. More information on the entire spring lecture series RIGHT HERE.

273ec70686e2d63cff7f310a32572c4a_f80Sue Kreitzman on Wearable Art on January 21st

In the interim, if the history of the sideshow, circus impresario PT Barnum and Orientalism feature in your interests, feel free to peruse a piece I wrote on Fashioning the Freak Show for Vestoj journal of sartorial matters. Read HERE.

vestojFashioning the Freak Show: Orientalism and the Circassian Beauty

And of course, stay posted for more on the launch of Nautical Chic later in the year!

10915177_804436642960388_3544901295612852123_nThames & Hudson spring catalogue

 ANCHORS AWEIGH AND ALL THE BEST FOR 2015!

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Newsflash: Women, Fashion, Power at the Design Museum

Design Museum        Image from @violettaboxill

As the days get colder and festive adverts start tugging on our collective heartstrings, the burning question on everyone’s lips is, ‘forget Christmas, what do I have to look forward to in 2015?’ Well – dear reader – let me enlighten you, as I’ve been invited to guest-curate a series of events as part of the Women, Fashion, Power exhibition at the Design Museum. The series examines how women use dress to negotiate issues around power throughout history and across cultures, from Muslim dress and modest fashion to West African spirituality, and the use of uniforms in western fashion from the 18th century to the present day. Come along!

January 27th: Faith, Fashion & Power in Muslim Dress: Barjis Chohan in conversation with Professor Reina Lewis. The dress of Muslim women continues to spark debates surrounding oppression vs empowerment, but often the question of fashion is conspicuous by its absence. In this discussion, Professor Reina Lewis talks to Barjis Chohan, founder of luxury fashion brand Barjis that fuses Eastern cultural values with Western cut and prints, about issues concerning fashion and faith. Topics will include how Muslim women around the world are finding ways to dress that support and express their growing social power, women’s education and careers in the industry, and increasing trends across Judaism, Christianity and Islam for modest fashion that allows the wearer to cover their body to engage with both spiritual and stylish demands. More info & tickets here.

muslim dress                                                                              Barjis designs                                                                                        Professor Reina Lewis

23rd February: Power, Dress and Spirituality in West Africa – Lorene Rhoomes of Akhu Designs on the textiles and head wraps of the region. Head wraps are an essential part of African history and culture. In sub-Saharan Africa they were traditionally worn by women to prove they were prosperous and spiritual, and elaborate Nigerian gele and Ghanaian duku are worn today for celebrations, religious occasions or as an expression of cultural pride. Lorene Rhoomes, designer behind Akhu Designs, shares her passion for West African dress, looking at the vital role of textiles in the region and finishing with a head wrap workshop. A number of fabrics will be covered from the sacred Kente, dubbed the Akan Royal Cloth; Adire, resist-dyed indigo cloths that historically symbolised wealth and nobility among community chiefs, and Ankara, also known as Dutch Wax, which has a long and intricate history ranging from Indonesia to Holland, Manchester and West Africa, whose stories of colonialism and identity are often used in the artwork of Yinka Shonibare. More info & tickets here.

Akhu Designs  Lorene Rhoomes, aka Akhu Designs                                                                          Ankara fabric

23rd March: Uniform, Power and the Sea – Nautical motifs are a perennial on contemporary catwalks, from regimental naval glamour to the square sailor collar. But how did these elements of men’s uniform — created as a spectacular display of sartorial power and military might — cross into women’s dress, and how did their meanings change with this transition? I will discuss the complex relationship between uniform, war, power and fashion, from the development of naval uniform to its appropriation into womenswear, covering areas based on research from my latest book, Nautical Chic (2015): the history of high style on the high seas. More info & tickets here.

nautical1950s hand-knitted cardigan from the Mary Maxim ‘Pirate’ pattern Beyond Retro Archive; and la coéffure à la Belle-Poule, 1778,  from the Bibliothèque nationale de France

AND if that wasn’t enough, my Theatre of Fashion lecture series at the Museum of Curiosities continues in the new year with Wearable Art: In Conversation with Sue Kreitzman and Diane Goldie on January 21st.

Born in NYC almost 75 years ago, Sue Kreitzman has lived and worked in London ’s East End for 30 years. After a long career as a food writer and broadcaster she unexpectedly burst into art late in life. One of the stars of the Channel 4 documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, and – in the New Year – one of Selfridges Bright Old Things (where she will have a Selfridges window all to herself), she is well known for her vibrant sense of style, in which she doesn’t so much get dressed in the morning as curate herself. Diane Goldie is an artist who works in collaboration with Sue to create spectacular one-off pieces of wearable art. Her brand c.Art is a reaction to the ostracising of craft from the fine art world, and through the medium of painting, embroidering and appliquéing Diane aims to take art from the gallery walls and bring it to the street, transposed as unique fashion pieces.

We will be in conversation discussing Sue and Diane’s artistic collaboration, the links between fashion & art, their sense of personal style, and why ‘growing old gracefully’ is certainly not on the agenda. More info here.

273ec70686e2d63cff7f310a32572c4a_f80Sue Kreitzman

Hope to see you at some of these events in 2015!

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Newsflash: Fashion Series at the Viktor Wynd Museum

viktor-wynd a                                                           Alex Box                                                       Carry Somers                               Ian Kelly on Vivienne Westwood

As the autumn nights draw in and we bid farewell to the final rays of summer, you are cordially invited to join me at my Theatre of Fashion lecture series at Hackney’s newest museum, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. I’m excited to announce that I’m the Fashion Director of the museum (formerly the Little Shop of Horrors on Mare Street) which is part of The Last Tuesday Society.

The series kicks off this month, with me in conversation with visionary make-up artist Alex Box, covering areas concerning the role of alternative beauty ideals, her brand Illamasqua, and, in time for Halloween, “The Final Act of Self-Expression” – an initiative for post-mortem beauty run by Illamasqua make-up artists and funeral directors Leverton & Sons.

November update: Tansy Hoskins is no longer able to join us, so we’ll be welcoming Owen Espley from War on Want in her place

In November, join me for a night of Fashion Activism as Owen Espley and Carry Somers take to the stage to debate their approaches to changing the industry for the better. While fashion as a means of personal expression is celebrated, fashion as an industry comes under criticism for its materialism and unregulated outsourcing of manufacture. Owen Espley is the Senior Economic Justice Campaigner at War on Want, where he leads the Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign on labour rights in fashion supply chains. Carry Somers is the founder of Fashion Revolution Day which promotes transparency and accountability in fashion production, sparked by the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. She is also creative director of fair trade luxury millinery brand Pachacuti.

In December, Ian Kelly - author of books on Beau Brummell and Casanova among others – will be joining us to discuss his latest venture: the memoir of Dame Vivienne Westwood, which he co-authored. In this illustrated lecture the authorised life-story of the Grande Dame of British fashion is told for the first time by her biographer.

I’m afraid that Alex Box is already SOLD OUT, however you can get tickets for Fashion Activism with Carry Somers & Owen Espley (November 12th) HERE, and Ian Kelly on Vivienne Westwood (December 4th) HERE. The Last Tuesday Society has put on almost 500 lectures and salons over the last ten years so it’s really exciting to add a Theatre of Fashion series to the roster. More information on all the talks right here.

gothic-coming-soon-book-now821x278

And if that wasn’t enough, you can also find me at Cultures of the Dark Side: A Day of Gothic Music and Fashion, a day of talks, discussions and performances in celebration of alternative style and music as part of the current exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination at the British Library. I will be chairing the discussion The New Black: From Subculture to High Culture looking at the influence of the gothic on fashion design, joined by designers, trend specialists and academics.

Terror and Wonder is the UK’s biggest ever Gothic exhibition and it showcases a huge range of material from medieval chivalric romances to Hammer Horror and Alexander McQueen. It’s an absolute must for fans of the genre and is perfect for Halloween season.

Cultures of the Dark Side: A Day of Gothic Music and Fashion at the British Library, Sunday 9th November. More information and tickets here and here.

gothic 1                                                                                                                                       My gothic look for the exhibition launch

In other news…

I spoke to BBC News magazine about heritage in fashion, in a piece on the history of Barbour. Read it here. I was also asked about the history of the trench coat and the links between military uniform and fashion. Read it right here.

I was invited onto Radio 4’s Today programme to chat cravats with Nicholas Parsons. How could I refuse?! Listen again here.

And I was back on Woman’s Hour, this time discussing sumptuary laws and fashion police. You can hear it here.

woman's hourSuitably cravated on the Today show; at Broadcasting House for Woman’s Hour with Giulia Galastro and Nicole Farhi

And finally I was on another SHOWstudio panel, discussing the Dior collection for spring/summer 2015. You can watch the whole thing here.

FullSizeRenderDior discussion at SHOWstudio

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Newsflash: 10 Outfits that Changed the World

Ever wondered about the most significant styles of the last few centuries? If the answer is ‘yes,’ I have a date for your diary: join me on Monday September 8th to hear about 10 Outfits that Changed the World at BrainCandy social club in Notting Hill, upstairs at The Oak on Westbourne Park Road. From Chanel to Marie Antoinette, and from Spitalfields silks to Versace, I’ll be taking you on a guided tour of some of the most influential outfits in the history of fashion. And it’s FREE! Tickets available here.

83_531_vaSpitalfields silk dress, 1752, found at Spitalfields Life

 In other news…

I wrote about the history of STRIPES & THE SEA for the lovely Tilly of Tilly & the Buttons,  so if Breton tops are your thing or you have a fascination with Nelson (spoiler alert: his stockings appear), then you can check it out HERE.

I was also interviewed about style and historical fashion for Beyond Retro, My Roots My Style, and Inside the Archive, and My Daily took a peek inside my wardrobe.

AJWearing Wooden Hills Bedding kimono and Akhu Designs turban for My Daily; wearing Beyond Retro 1970s jumpsuit, Terry de Havilland shoes and Akhu Designs Showstopper turban at My Roots, My Style and Inside the Archive – picture by Lorna Milburn

I’ve been spending the summer talking about a number of areas, from Fashion and the First World War (for LIFT Festival at Battersea Arts Centre) to midcentury Soviet fashion during the Cold War for the Gallery of Russian Art and Design (watch again HERE). I was also on the SHOWstudio live panel discussing the Schiaparelli collection during Couture Week which you can see HERE. The Team Scotland parade uniforms for the Commonwealth Games caused quite a stir, and I was duly asked to speak about the history and enduring appeal of tartan for BBC Breakfast and Woman’s Hour (listen here).

I also filmed a short piece for the next series of BBC 2’s Great British Sewing Bee (which you’ll have to wait until 2015 to see), and I was a guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Review along with Kate Williams and Paul Morley, discussing Malevich at the Tate Modern, Oscar Wilde in the theatre and a Filipino retelling of Crime & Punishment. You can listen again HERE.

grad liftMy homage to Russian Constructivist textiles to discuss Soviet fashion at the Gallery for Russian Art and Design, and to the Land Girls to discuss fashion & war at LIFT Festival
sewing bee Filming in a zip factory for series 3 of Great British Sewing Bee; wearing The Rodnik Band‘s fried eggs on BBC Breakfast
photoDiscussing the Schiaparelli couture collection for SHOWstudio with Judith Watt, James Sherwood and Lou Stoppard

And finally my Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Edits Tour is online! I was asked to select 5 pieces in the Summer Exhibition to discuss, and the artworks I featured tended to focus (unsurprisingly) on textiles and history. It was great fun to do, and you can read about the pieces I chose, and listen to the tour right HERE.

royal academyA print featuring hieroglyphics seemed the obvious choice to discuss textiles and history in art

Until next time!

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Newsflash: Royal Academy tour, Soviet Fashion, Book Signing & More!

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Join me on Wednesday 26th June at 3pm for my Summer Edits tour of the Royal Academy Summer Show. The Summer Exhibition Edits are a series of afternoon tours in which practitioners from diverse fields share their personal highlights of the show. I’ve selected five works from the exhibition to chat about – come along to hear which they are! Others on the bill include the BBC’s Arts Editor Will Gompertz.

And it’s FREE! More info HERE.

GRAD

If you can’t make that, on Wednesday 23rd July I’ll be talking about midcentury Soviet fashion at the Gallery for Russian Arts and Design. The talk is part of their programme to accompany the Work and Play Behind the Iron Curtain exhibition which examines the changing face of Soviet design from the 1917 Revolution to Perestroika. This is an area I’m really interested in so I can’t wait to start my research.

More info if you scroll down HERE and get your tickets HERE.

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Following that, on Thursday July 24th I’ll be giving a talk and book signing at the Fashion & Textile Museum. I’ll be sharing insight into some of the secrets of fashion’s past, from high heels to haute couture, as well as talking about the process for writing a book on fashion history. Come along! You can check out the brilliant Made in Mexico exhibition while you’re there.

More info and tickets HERE!

 

In other news… There’s an interview with me in the current issue of Betty magazine

Betty

…It was fantastic to be a part of the Selfridges Beauty Project events, here I am discussing beauty & feminism with Sali Hughes and novelist Emma Jane Unsworth

beauty project

…And I was photographed for My Daily in my favourite vintage outfits – seen here in a Victorian bodice (read more about it here), Akhu designs turban and Terry de Havilland shoes. Stay tuned as the full shoot will be online shortly.

I was also shot for photographer Jenny Lewis’s ‘Hackney Studio’ project (my living room has been getting a LOT of exposure lately).

Jenny Lewis

I’m in very good company, as the project also features Marawa, Fred Butler, Rob Flowers and Rosy Nicholas among many others.

Finally in SUPER EXCITING news, my Nautical Chic book will be published in America next year through Abrams Books. They have a REALLY INCREDIBLE fashion list and I’m overjoyed that my book will be joining their roster. So come next spring it will be available through Thames & Hudson here in the UK and through Abrams in the States. Current mood:

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OVER AND OUT!

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