Hartnell to Amies: Couture by Royal Appointment

One if the less well known exhibition spaces in London is the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey.  Yesterday, we braved the snow and cold and made our way to the unmistakably Zandra Rhodes pink and orange building to see the Hartnell to Amies exhibition.

The exhibition is subtitled “Couture by Royal Appointment” and shows the work of Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies and Frederick Fox, all of whom have designed for the Royal family.

The older exhibits are from the 1920’s, starting with Norman Hartnell designing for the Jazz Age, and moving through the century until about the 1960’s. The clothes are interspersed with elegant and sophisticated photos by Norman Parkinson

Many of the exhibits are ball dresses designed for society women of the day. There is a stunning dress at the entrance made out of a gauzy fabric covered with star shaped spangles. The sequins are sewn over a print which makes the whole thing look as if it’s covered in shooting stars moving through the sky.

It was the day wear that I found most interesting, there is a fashion these days for “vintage” clothes which means that many of the suits and dresses would not look out of date in today’s high street stores. Indeed there was a dress made out of fabric I could swear I have seen in Whistles fairly recently and several of the suits and jackets I’m sure you can buy in Hobbs.

Upstairs they had hats including the Queen’s pink bells hat designed by Frederick Fox for the silver jubilee

The exhibition is on until 23 February and well worth a visit.

If you have time I also suggest you wander a bit further up Bermondsey Street to the White Cube to see the Anthony Gormley exhibition which includes the most amazingly huge metal installation you can walk and crawl through, some spaces are filled with light, whilst others are pitch dark. It’s great fun and slightly scary!

Somewhere good to eat nearby? Apart from Borough Market I suggest you try Jose’s tapas bar or Zucca’s.

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5 thoughts on “Hartnell to Amies: Couture by Royal Appointment

  1. Well I never knew we had even more goodies on our doorstep! I’ve been planning to take the kids to the Brunel Museum nearby; their nightmare just got worse as we’ll now do all three. The promise of a slap-up meal might cheer them up!

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