Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Back home this past week was spring break so hopefully everyone had a fun and safe break. I still can’t believe I had a whole two weeks off as our 'spring break' in February. My semester here has consisted of many days off from school, which to some may be a wonderful thing but I really wouldn’t mind spending more time in class- cause that is why I came here in the first place. The bright side of that is having plenty of time to work on the few projects that I have had and have due within the next three weeks left of classes here. Wow, only three more weeks of classes left, then a week off until our program graduation on Friday April 15th. I am defiantly going to continue to make the best of the time I have left in London.
So unlike those of you on break back home, this past week for me consisted of classes and visits to multiple museums. On Monday I had my Theoretical and Social Fashion Studies Class which I forgot to mention is different now because we have had a different tutor for the past two classes. The week before was about swinging London. Our tutor gave us a presentation of the style, music and fashion in London during the 1960‘s. Fashion during that time was drastically changing from that of the previous years. Mod style, modern jazz, The Beatles, Mary Quant and the mini skirt, swinging London movies and psychedelia were all very significant during the this decade. Today, many fashion designers look back to the fashions of the past to provide inspiration in creating their collections. People say fashion is always changing but in reality it is actually just a recycling of fashions from the past reinterpreted. In my opinion few designers today actually go completely out of the box to create new and innovative collections. Don’t get me wrong I like seeing references from the past especially those of the 60’s and 70’s -since I didn’t experience it the first time- but it is always nice to see something completely new and a defining style for the time. I'm always interested in fashion history and especially learning about 60's but the subject or what the tutor was saying didn’t get me to think critically as I had in all my past classes with our previous tutor Emmanuelle. To some people, she may have been thought of as a debbie downer because of the negatives side of the fashion industry she always pointed out during her lectures but that was the best part for me. Emmanuelle discussed the dirty side of the fashion industry that many don’t pay attention or realize until- sadly- someone like her does it for us. Her lectures always made me think of ways that I could help improve issues she spoke about that were occurring in this industry.
Our last class we again had another tutor who gave us a more interactive activity. We all became dress curators for a class. The tutor for the days lecture was named Ben Whyman and the topic for the class was on material object analysis. Material object analysis consists of three major parts: description, deduction and specification. Those three things are integral when trying to learn about dress which comes with a ‘silent history’ as Ben called it- which basically means its background is unknown since a garment obviously cannot speak to us. The class got interactive when we were put into about ten groups to investigate a random article of clothing that he had brought with him. Each group was given a completely different garment, ours was a jacket that one of my group members said belonged to our study abroad director because she remembered her wearing it the first day she spoke to us during orientation. It was a red wool Vivienne Westwood jacket with black velvet heart detail on the center circa 1987 - for some reason always seems to be the year of clothing I come upon. My group did not have difficulty answering the questions under the three areas that we needed to answer- compared to the other nine groups- probably because the jacket was in good condition with all its tags still intact. One of the most interesting pieces from the groups was a jacket made out of long black monkey fur from the 1940’s ( yes I said monkey fur) which fooled us because many of us thought it was a piece from a recent time period. That hands on activity was very beneficial in reinforcing the lecture for that day.
Tuesday I had my last Historical and Contemporary Fashion Research Studies (HCFS)class for the semester. I really enjoyed that course because every class we were at a museum, gallery or exhibition and there was always something amazing and inspirational to me. Our assignment in that class always was to sketch some of the objects or details that we would come upon and interested us in the places we went. That last visit we went to the V&A for the second time to see a Yohji Yamamoto fashion exhibition that had just opened the day before. Japanese designers are so innovative and come up with the most bizarre and interesting creations. As soon as you entered the room you were distracted by the sticky floors at the entrance - I didn’t understand the meaning of until another student in my class pointed out why- which was to clean the bottom of our shoes before we stepped onto the white floors in the exhibition space. In all the exhibitions I have gone to here, photography is never allowed so sketching is what we relied on for class to capture some of the amazing things that were displayed. I was just about to being drawing when one of the museum supervisors came up to me and said there was not sketching allowed in this exhibition- my tutor had no idea. So we were relying on our memory to be able to quickly sketch one piece or detail on a garment as soon as we exited that section of the museum. This was a really incredible fashion exhibition because even though you were not able to sketch or take pictures- and of course touch the garments- you were able to get so close to each one and get a complete view of all around each piece- really amazing. Luckily, I was able to find photos from the exact exhibition on a blog that I read, http://stylebubble.typepad.com/ this is the link if you would like to see those photos- I don’t think I am able to post hers on my blog. After seeing the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition we went throughout the V&A to search for the more of his pieces that were scattered throughout the museum, only finding two more in that extremely huge building. You literally need three-four hours to go through the entire place and that is if you don't get lost along the way. I may have to pay another visit to the V&A sometime within the four weeks I have left in London.
On Friday two of my flatmates and I went to the Museum of London for our last outside of class museum visit for HCFS. This museum was basically, the history of London. I really enjoyed this visit- much more near the middle to the end for the fashion history of London. It inspired me to want to design another hat or pair of shoes- as I did last semester- after seeing some pretty avant garde hats that were displayed.The hat creation I made for my fashion history course was inspired by the patriotic influence on dress because of the French Revolution during the Directoire Period (c.1790-1800). After seeing some pretty extravagant hats, the one I had created did not seem as over the top compared to the ones at the museum. The lighting was really bad in that section of the museum so I was only able to get a few decent pictures that I posted below. I learned a little about the fire that happened in London, saw some things on women’s rights and further down in the museum were objects and fashions from the 60’s and 70’s. So many fascinating objects in that museum, didn’t really think I was going to enjoy that visit as much as I had.
This weekend I decided to take some time to work on some projects that I have due within the next three weeks but yesterday I made sure to have time to go to church and another museum since I was in the are. The only church I have attended mass here is St. Paul’s Cathedral. I love sitting in the very front and before it starts I am always in aw at how magnificent the interior is. So much detail in the mosaics and paintings on the high dome ceilings with the moulding adding even more detail. I am not sure if it is only on Sundays during mass that you can not take photos but I really need to go during the week to see if I can then because it is something you must see. After mass I walked across the bridge that goes over the Thames River to the Tate Modern. If you remember from a past post I mentioned there a bunch of different Tate Museums and Tate Modern is the one I visited this time. Very different from all the other museums I have seen while here in London. The name speaks for itself, Modern. Even the place it which the are is displayed, looked like a huge warehouse with concrete floors and very big open space- like a lofty feel, if you can understand what I mean. Not like the other museums in these historical looking buildings that are pretty much an art piece itself. This museum was just a bigger version of the little galleries found throughout London that showcase modern art. There was an exhibition at the moment that I was interesting in checking out because it was the work of a mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco. His work is made of objects in our everyday life and manipulated to alter its appearance or get a different view on what is being displayed. There was an elevator he had taken from a demolished Chicago building and cut it into three pieces to take away its central space leveling it to his height. He also cut a car he found in France into three pieces removing the center of it to make it a single front and back seat car- unusual but very fascinating. I really enjoyed that exhibition, its nice to know there is a mexican artist whose work is appreciated and displayed internationally- his work was also displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Well this week should be an even faster one since I have one less class with only four remanding but it is still going to be filled with working on projects. According to my roommate the weather tomorrow is suppose to be nice so we are going to check out a vintage store in soho- hopefully I will come across some good finds. Until next time!
Museum of London
I went to St. Paul's for Sunday Mass:]