Shoes, Summer and Riviera Style

shoesWe DJed at the opening of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the V&A. These 1920s men’s shoes are currently on display at the exhibition

When the weather hits scorchio degrees, why not cool off with an evening all about the power of SHOES? This Tuesday at 6.30pm, it’s all about Shoes: From Sport to Sex at the Museum of Curiosities in Hackney. Helen Persson is the curator of the V&A’s summer exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. The V&A’s shoe collection is unrivalled, spanning the globe and over 2000 years. For the exhibition, Helen has selected a range of shoes from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating in ancient Egypt to futuristic looking shoes created using 3D printing. She will be discussing these displays that explore our obsession with shoes and their cultural importance as identifiers of status, privilege, seduction and sexual preference. Dr Thomas Turner is a historian at London College of Fashion. He’s been fascinated by trainers since getting his first pair of adidas in 1985 and his research examines the history of sports shoes and their links to technology and popular culture. In this talk, Thomas will consider the ancestor of the modern trainer: the Victorian lawn tennis shoe. He will explore how tennis shoes fit into a wider Victorian world of goods and leisure, and consider what this new type of footwear meant to the young men and women who wore them. THIS TUESDAY! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

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For more nautical-but-nice summer activities, head to the Fashion & Textile Museum on Thursday 16th July to hear me talking about the influence of maritime history and clothing on our wardrobe. I’ll be chatting about tailored uniform and sailor suits from the ship to the catwalk, as well as looking at the sailor as a gay icon and the first use of camouflage in fashion. I’ll be tracking nautical trends that we know and love back to their roots in our seafaring past, so come along to hear more! Info and tickets here.

While you’re at the museum, you can also check out my Nautical Chic display, which is part of the Riviera Style show. The exhibition is attracting record numbers of visitors, and as such has just been extended due to popular demand!

breton poolThe history of the Breton at The Pool; Nautical Chic on sale at the Fashion & Textile Museum

Speaking of all things nautical, I wrote about the history and enduring appeal of the striped Breton top for the fantastic site The Pool. From French fisherman to the catwalks of Paris, via the avant-garde world of the 1920s riviera, this item is a favourite for many people. You can find out why Justine Picardie swears by it, and why stripes used to be known as the Devil’s cloth. Check it out here.

And continuing with the seafaring theme, I recently recorded a feature on the perennial appeal of nautical styles for Radio 4’s ‘You & Yours’. We travel from maritime Greenwich to a yacht-chandler in Covent Garden & beyond, and you can listen again here.

you and yours
Recording for Radio 4

In other news… The BBC asked me about bowler hats, in a piece to commemorate the favourite headwear of the late Patrick Macnee, AKA John Steed in The Avengers. You can read it here. They also asked me about the enduring popularity of nautical styles for royal children, a tradition which Prince George is continuing. Here it is.

bbcJohn Steed in his trusty bowler from the BBC; Princess Mary, Prince Edward, later King Edward VIII, and Prince Albert as children from the BBC

I was excited when I was asked to be a guest on the brilliant Londonist podcast! Listen here to hear me chat about some of London’s fashionable quarters, such as Savile Row and the East End, and where to find out more about dress and history across London.

I also reviewed Women in Clothes: Why We Wear What We Wear for Review 31. Click here to read about the power of dress to communicate and work as a language that can illuminate identity, and how successful (or not) the book was at conveying this.

londonist

Finally, if you or anyone you know is keen to brush up on fashion history, I’m teaching some short courses at London College of Fashion. 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 from Tuesday 28th – Friday 31st July, Tuesday 1st – Friday 4th September and Saturdays and Sundays from 7th – 15th November. BOOKING and info HERE.

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Events in June!

politics

This month, join me for a night of politics and fashion at the Museum of Curiosities in Hackney on June 16th at 6.30pm. Fashion is often dismissed as superficial and ephemeral, but we’ll be looking at the economics and politics behind the glamour with author and campaigner Tansy Hoskins, and Terry Charman, historian of Fashion on the Ration at the Imperial War Museum.

Tansy Hoskins’ book Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion was published in 2014 to great acclaim, winning the ICA Bookshop’s Book of the Year and is currently shortlisted for the 2015 Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing. Tansy will be moving from Karl Lagerfeld to Karl Marx, delving into the alluring world of fashion to explore consumerism, class, and garment factories to reveal the real beneficiaries of exploitation. The Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London shows that fashion not only survived but also flourished during wartime. Imperial War Museum historian Terry Charman will be discussing items on display and telling the story of how Britain engaged with alternative economies of clothing, from the rationing system to Make Do and Mend and the standardised, centralised production of the Utility Clothing scheme.

TICKETS HERE! And more on the full summer programme of fashion lectures at the Museum of Curiosities HERE.

And don’t forget, Riviera Style at the Fashion & Textile Museum is now open! Head there to see fashion at its most fun from the British seaside to the Côte d’Azur and California. And while you’re there don’t miss my Nautical Chic display! You will find nautical fashion plates and photoshoots, naval uniforms and seaside ephemera all hand-picked by yours truly to illustrate the timeless appeal of maritime style. Don’t miss it!

riviera style lauch copy

exhibition for blog

In exciting news, we (the Broken Hearts) are DJing at the launch of the Shoes: Pleasure & Pain exhibition at the V&A. The show looks at extremes of footwear around the globe, from Ancient Egypt to the present day. For insider info on the show, be sure to join me at my Shoes from Sport to Sex evening at the Museum of Curiosities. Tickets are here.

Shoes July event 1

In other exciting news, Nautical Chic is now available across north America! It’s officially out Stateside through Abrams Books. Anchors aweigh!

US NauticalChic

I was very pleased to speak at the Disseminating Dress conference at the University of York. The conference explored how ideas and knowledge about dress have been communicated throughout history, and I spoke on the influence of Hollywood costume on London fashion in the early 1930s. So I took the opportunity to dress like Ruby Keeler:

diss dress                                                                                                                                                  Film Pictorial, June 4th, 1932

Finally, if you or anyone you know is keen to brush up on 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 from Tuesday 28th – Friday 31st July, and Tuesday 1st – Friday 4th September. BOOKING and info HERE.

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Newsflash: Riviera Style & Nautical Chic

552b8acdea74b1.45555303_Amber Butchart by Kensington Leverne 6_701x348

Spring has well and truly sprung, and what better way to celebrate than with an exhibition that celebrates style by the sea?! Opening on 22nd May (and running until 30th August), Riviera Style at the Fashion & Textile Museum looks at fashion at its most fun from the British seaside to the Côte d’Azur and California. With swimsuits and sarongs, boat neck Bretons and beach pyjamas, palazzo pants and playsuits, bikinis and burkinis, the exhibition brings together a diverse range of clothing worn in and by the sea covering over 100 years of leisure. And if that weren’t exciting enough, the Fashion Studio at the Fashion & Textile Museum will be dedicated to Nautical Chic throughout the duration of Riviera Style! It will feature information from the book as well as a few garments hand-picked by yours truly that illustrate the timeless appeal of maritime style. See more info here, and I’ll be giving a talk on the relationship between fashion and the sea on 16th July.

Read more about the exhibition in this Telegraph piece on the development of seaside style, in which I discuss the nostalgic appeal of vintage swimwear.

riviera-styleRiviera Style at the Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

NAUTICAL CHIC EVENTS…

… to get the lowdown on all things nautical, come and see me chat about the maritime history behind the clothes we love at Hoxton Hotel on 26th May at 7pm. I’ll be exploring the birth of the naval uniform in the 18th century and its appropriation into womenswear, featuring designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen. Tickets are FREE! Get them HERE!

… and I will be talking about the sexualisation of the Victorian sailor, cross-dressing on the Music Hall stage, sailor style and the birth of a gay icon at Salon for the City: Sailortown on May 28th at 6.30pm. Also speaking will be Alex Werner of the Museum of London Docklands on London’s 19th century Sailortown. Get your tickets here!

KRL133_BEYOND_RETRO_NAUTICAL

SPEAKING OF NAUTICAL CHIC… We have gone international! It has been featured in D2 magazine (lifestyle supplement of Norway’s largest business paper Dagens Næringsliv), in Ireland’s Sunday Business Post and was also chosen as one of the best style books for spring by Canada’s national paper, the Globe and Mail. Not to mention Libby Purves gave it a glowing review in Yachting Monthly, and CNN ran a gorgeous piece on the enduring appeal of nautical design. Also thank you to the fantastic Rosalind Jana, who wrote a great review for the Thames & Hudson blog!

nautical press 1Click twice to read in full

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IN OTHER NEWS…

I SPOKE… 

… on ITV’s Good Morning Britain about what to wear to work, and the idea of a ‘work uniform’ for the 21st century. You can watch it here.

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… in Dubai about ’10 Garments that Changed the World’ at Fashion Forward, the definitive fashion platform for the Middle East. You can watch it here.

fashion forward dubaiPicture on the right from style.com Arabia

… I was asked by the Beeb to comment on Nigel Farage’s coat. They only used a fraction of what I said, but you can see more here.

… I was also asked about the cultural context of the bob hairstyle for newly launched online space for women, The Pool. See it here.

I WROTE…

… about what to wear to the boat race for The Guardian, in a piece brilliantly titled Blazer of Glory. Read about: blazers (obvs), hats, Chanel, team colours & representation for women, here.

… about beauty as a battleground for Sali Hughes Beauty, in relation to the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Read about: beauty as a national duty, wartime make up cheats and military-themed powder compacts, here.

guardianChanel and Preen in The Guardian; a member of Air Raid Precautions staff applies lipstick between emergency calls, c1940 © IWM

FUTURE EVENTS…

My summer series of Theatre of Fashion salons at Hackney’s Museum of Curiosities is live! Join me for the Politics of Fashion with Tansy Hoskins and the Imperial War Museum on June 16th; Shoes from Sport to Sex with the V&A’s Helen Persson and Dr Thomas Turner on July 7th and an immersive history of Curious Cosmetics with Odette Toilette and Julian Walker on September 16th. More info to follow, and join the Facebook event here.

museum of curiosities

Speaking of events, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped to launch Nautical Chic in style! Especially Beyond RetroThe Blues Kitchen, Thames & Hudson, Sailor Jerry and Tatty DevineGemma Cairney and Bones Brigade for the music, and Luka Marchant for the fabulous pictures. You can see more of Luka‘s pictures of Nautical Chic setting sail right here. It was quite the party!

nautical party

Finally, if you or anyone you know is keen to brush up on fashion history, I’m teaching a short course 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 from Tuesday 28th – Friday 31st July. BOOKING and info HERE.

Until next time!

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Newsflash: Sailor Style!

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AHOY ME HEARTIES!

Nautical Chic is finally out! As we set sail upon the Good Ship Nautical, it’s time to batten down the hatches and lay aside the endless maritime puns as I’ve teamed up with my former employer and spiritual home Beyond Retro to bring you an extra special Nautical Chic collection of vintage pieces. Shop now for bell bottoms, sailor-collar blouses, brocade-trimmed naval jackets, anchor motif dresses and STRIPES! (And men fear not, your nautical edit is here!)

I also had a chat with them about writing the book, and why Lowestoft fishergirls are my ultimate style inspo. Read about it here.

As part of the collaboration I’ll be doing an instore talk at Beyond Retro Dalston on 22nd April at 7pm, looking at the relationship between maritime dress and fashion. You can get your FREE tickets HERE!

And if that wasn’t enough, we are running the nautical competition to end all nautical competitions! THE AWESOME PRIZES: a signed copy of Nautical Chic, a pair of ferry tickets with Red Funnel to the Isle of Wight, weekend accommodation with Vintage Vacations (worth up to £285), a bottle of Sailor Jerry rum, and a Beyond Retro nautical goodie bag. Shiver me timbers, what’s not to love?! To win you just have to answer one simple question by 14th April. ENTER HERE!

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 18.03.06Beyond Retro amber robAll clothes from Beyond Retro (of course), including the 1950s Mary Maxim pirate cardigan on the right that features in Nautical Chic, expertly modelled by my other half Rob Flowers

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 Lodder. Matt 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

As I may have mentioned, Nautical Chic IS OUT NOW and is available through Foyles, Waterstones and all other good book shops. You may remember it from such publications as Glamour, The Guardian and Stella magazine

Nautical Press AprilNautical Chic featured in the editor’s page of May’s Glamour magazine, online at The Guardian & in the Telegraph’s Stella magazine

IN OTHER NEWS…

I was the Listed Londoner on BBC London’s fantastic Robert Elms show. Listen HERE for my top London buildings, my favourite London character and which period of London I would visit if I had a time machine.

You can currently see me at the very brilliant Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, chatting about the fashion legacy of World War Two. The exhibition covers everything from wartime beauty to Utility dress and Make Do and Mend, it’s a must-see show (and not just because it includes my face).

IWM Robert ElmsAt the Fashion on the Ration exhibition; on the Robert Elms show

FURTHER READING…

Read about my desert island beauty essentials and how I learned my best make-up tips from drag queens at Sali Hughes Beauty.

Read about being a fashion historian, privilege in the arts & my feminist wish for the future at Occupy Me.

Read about my nautical research process & the romanticisation of maritime workwear at Address Journal for Fashion Criticism where Nautical Chic is book of the month.

Finally, if you or anyone you know is keen to brush up on 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.

Until next time, anchors aweigh!

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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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