If you haven’t already paid a visit to London’s style archive at the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street, here’s the perfect opportunity. For four weeks the venue is playing host to a history of fashion lecture series titled ‘What we wore and why we wore it’, led by the author of ‘The Chronology of Fashion’, NJ Stevenson. I was lucky enough to be there when the series kicked off last Thursday with an overview of the post-war period between 1947 and 1960 and Christian Dior, the designer who revitalised the spirit of fashion. When Dior introduced his famous collection ‘The New Look’ in 1947 it was in heavy contrast to the simple, utilitarian apparel worn by women during WWII and, defined by lifted busts, pulled in waists, padded skirts and feminine, hour glass silhouettes, it helped shape the careers (and figures) of 1950s starlets including Marilyn Monroe. As well as covering a whirlwind 13 year’s worth of fashion trends in an hour and a half, NJ Stevenson also treated the audience to a close up look at some key pieces from the museum’s archive, including items by Chanel, Balenciaga and, of course, Dior.
If you missed out on the first lecture don’t worry as there are three more to come: ‘The Swinging Sixties’ (April 26, 6.30-8pm), ‘From Glam to New Romance’ (May 3, 6.30-8pm) and ‘Retro & Revolution’ (May 10, 6.30-8pm). All lectures are priced at £20 each (£15 for students). Julia Fernandez
For more information and to book visit www.ftmlondon.org.