Storytelling through fashion

AwareArt Fashion Identity Biodegradable dress by Helen Story                        Dress made of pins by Susie MacMurray

Over the holidays I went to a great exhibition at the Royal Academy called Aware: Art Fashion Identity. It examines how artists and designers use clothing as a means to communicate and reveal elements of our identity.

Featuring the work of some amazing and designers and artists, such as Lucy Orta, Andrea Zittel and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition is broken down into four main themes, Storytelling, building, belonging and confronting, and performance. Story telling was my favourite section and looked at the role of clothing in the representation of personal and cultural history.

The idea that we somehow say something about ourselves, our environment or our community through our clothes is an interesting one and something which is also explored in a lovely book we were sent recently.

We get to meet some really interesting people through writing TWR and were lucky enough to meet Maggie Semple, author of Semple: Women, Fashion, Stories, a few months ago, when her book was just an idea. She is a fascinating and clearly very clever woman with a passion for promoting the kinship of professional women. She is also a lover of good design and beautiful clothes.

Maggie Semple

Maggies book was published in December and tells the fashion stories of an actress, broadcaster, biomedical scientist, computer scientist, entrepreneur and a business woman. The fashion items they have chosen are key in unlocking special memories: the skirt that symbolises the 1970s Biba experience, the Young Jaeger dress that epitomises the old fashioned glamour of the 1950s and the androgynous wool Valentino suit that encapsulates a strong femininity through its layers of cascading ruffles.

The limited edition book is £20 and available to buy online. It would make a lovely present.

PS. There is also a great pop up cafe at the Royal Acadamy exhibition by the Mayfair restaurant Sketch, it’s worth going along, even if it’s just for the cakes!

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