Last Saturday I had a wonderful trip to London with my friend Jason. I haven't had a proper day in London for a while and it was so nice to catch up with a friend and gather inspiration.
(By way of a preface I do want to apologise for the quality of the photos. They were taken on my iPhone and so aren't the best.)
Our first stop on the trip was the glass blowing shop just up from the Fashion & Textile museum. They're currently celebrating the owner's (Peter Layton) 80th birthday and they have some truly stunning pieces of glass work on display. I was mesmerised by so much. I took pictures of some of my favourites but there were a couple that pictures couldn't do justice.
The other great thing about the glass shop is the workshop area at the back. When we visited they had a beginner class going on and it was a great experience to see the process. It was so hot in there though - we've been experiencing a bit of a heatwave in the UK and I feel sorry for the people who have to work next to a hot oven in these temperatures!
So on with the main part of the trip - the Anna Sui exhibition at the Fashion & Textile museum. I've only been to the Fashion & Textile museum once before but I loved it. It's quite a small museum but they always seem to have a great variety of stuff going on. They also do workshops which I definitely want to in to.
Anna Sui is known for an eccentric style and this exhibition shows this off to the full. The clothes are all grouped into a Sui archetype from grunge, Victorian, fairy tale, retro, hippy to nomad. It's an eclectic, multifaceted menagerie of colours and styles. There is literally so much for your eyes to see and marvel at I didn't quite know where to start!
I I must say the curator did a fantastic job at the styling. In typical Anna Sui style the exhibition contains the the black furniture pieces and Tiffany style lamps known from her boutique. In fact the main door which you enter the main room is made to look like a fancy wardrobe.
It was truly wonderful to get up close and personal to some of the pieces and inspect the seam line details and use of colour. I was instantly inspired to go home and experiment more with colours and textures. I love it when an exhibition immediately gets the creative juices flowing!
One of my favourite pieces was part of the retro section. This red 40's style dress was stunning. The seam lines were just gorgeous and I probably stared at this piece for like twenty minutes! I would love to have a go at doing some similar. Such a feminine shape.
Upstairs they had a great wall which included mood boards behind some of the pieces. I love looking at people's mood boards. I really should use Pinterest more but I think the reason I don't is because I love a more tactile mood board with pieces of fabric drawn in to them. Behind my sewing machine I have a wall where I put up postcards and pieces of material that I'm inspired by. It needs a bit of a change around though and I'm thinking of getting an actual board to stick things to instead of just the wall. I am literally FULL of ideas after this!
Although I've heard of Anna Sui and knew a little of her styling, I had no idea how far ranging her collections are. I really think there is something for everyone here. I would be surprised if someone went to the exhibition and couldn't pick out something they liked.
I have recently been listening to Radio X where they play a lot of 90's music and this, teamed with some of the nineties aesthetics of the Anna Sui collections has made me remember that the nineties weren't so bad. It made me think back to my college days (which wasn't in the nineties- rather 2006!) when I loved wearing a flowery dress with big Dr Martin shoes and the juxtaposition of the feminine with the masculinity of a such a hard boot and how that very look harks back to the nineties. I'm not sure I want to bring that style back to my wardrobe but it does make me want to play around with fun things.
I highly recommend the Anna Sui exhibition is you're in London. It's not a big exhibition - in fact I think it's a great size - leaves enough time to go for lunch and go see other things around the area (or pop to Liberty like we did!).
Anyway I must get to the sketch book with all my new found ideas!