Wednesday, 29 May 2013

David Bowie Is...

I have just watched the brilliant 'David Bowie - Five Years' on BBC iPlayer and I now really want to revisit the V&A's David Bowie Is Exhibition! This outstanding exhibition at the V&A Museum uses individual headsets to create a unique sound and vision experience for each visitor. Moving through the exhibition rooms, your personal soundtrack changes depending on where you are standing and what is in front of you.

Image from V&A Website
Curators Victoria Broakes and Geoffrey Marsh had access to David Bowie's personal archive. From over 75,000 items in the archive, they selected 300 that they felt best illustrated the many aspects of Bowie’s iconic status. Displays include hand written song lyrics, designs for stage sets, photographs, videos, artwork and, of course, the magnificent costumes. Although the tailored coats designed by Alexander MacQueen are worth the visit alone, it was the eye catching knit and crochet garments that really got my attention. 

Costume for Earthling Designed by Alexander MacQueen
Image from V&A Website
Collaboration with leading artists and designers has been a feature throughout Bowie’s career and the exhibition explores this in detail through interviews and examples. From Natasha Korniloff’s cobweb crochet costume with appliqué gold hands to the asymmetrical knit costume by Kensai Yamamoto, David Bowie’s stage costumes shock and dazzle. 

Costume designed by Natasha Korniloff
Image from V&A Website
A 1973 asymmetric Kensai Yamamoto knit costume is displayed on a crouching mannequin and shown in concert footage on the huge screens towards the end of the exhibition. In a recorded interview in another part of the exhibition, Yamamoto describes his collaboration with David Bowie as Bowie’s western aesthetic and Yamamoto’s Eastern aethsetic crashing into each other.  

Display of Kensai Yamamoto Knit Costume
Image from V&A website
Another display shows the classic sweater in blue with white polkadots designed by Freddie Burretti. Worn with a pale blue suit for the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour, the sweater is also shown as worn by Bowie in concert on the giant display. At the time, the exhibition notes, many fans made copies of this iconic Bowie sweater. 

Freddie Burretti Costume display in front of huge video screen
Image from V&A website
David Bowie Is......
......wonderful for fans of David Bowie and for those interested in seeing how he used the popular culture around him to define himself and then in turn inspired other artists and designers. There is a section towards the end of the exhibition showing examples of his influence in fashion and beyond with examples such as Balenciaga, Balmain and Lady Gaga.

David Bowie Is.....
.....a huge success and very enjoyable. The Exhibition sold more advanced tickets than any other at the V&A and I thoroughly recommend a visit. 

David Bowie Is..... the V&A until 11th August 2013. 
.....and in 'David Bowie - Five Years' on BBC iPlayer until Saturday, 1/6/13!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Kaffe Fassett: A Life in Colour

The Kaffe Fassett Exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London is a 'must visit' for unique and exciting colour inspiration. From the beautiful mosaic pot in the entrance hallway to the huge quilted, stitched and knitted wall hangings, the designs have been dramatically displayed by curator, Sue Timney.

Image from FTM website

Mosaic pot and quilts displayed at the Kaffe Fassett Exhibition
Image from FTM Website
Many visitors know Kaffe Fassett's work really well and will have already read his autobiography, Dreaming in Colour. He was interviewed at the V&A Museum in December, giving a fascinating overview of his career (posted on this blog). This current exhibition at the FTM brings together many of his knitted, quilted and stitched highlights with lots of background information too.

Close up of Kaffe Fassett designed knitted shawl
Photo by Emma Vining

Kaffe Fassett Embellished Knitting
Photo by Emma Vining
My favourite part of the exhibition is the wall of samples labelled 'Please Touch'. Covered in fabric and knit samples, visitors are invited to feel the yarns and fabrics and best of all, turn them over to see the reverse side!

Fabric and Knit Sample Wall
Photo by Emma Vining
Another excellent feature of the exhibition was the 'live quilting' demonstration. As I chatted to the lovely volunteer demonstrating, she talked enthusiastically about her quilt, which was a beautiful combination of colour and pattern. What an inspirational spot to sit and quilt.

Upstairs, knitted garments are hung along the walls and this is a great opportunity to get up close to see the complex patterns and colours.

Display of Kaffe Fassett Knitted Garments
Photo by Emma Vining
Display of Kaffe Fassett Knitted Garments
Photo by Emma Vining
I thoroughly recommend a visit to this wonderful exhibition. There is so much to look at. The  background on Kaffe Fassett's career is fascinating to read and there are some very interesting videos on colour inspiration to view. I am already looking forward to having another look when I return to the FTM in June for the Knitwear Study Day.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Mosaic Tiles Wrap: Part Two in the Knitter Magazine

Part two of my Mosaic Tiles Wrap Pattern is the subscriber exclusive pattern in the Knitter Magazine this month. Issue 58 just arrived through the post and I am delighted to see my pattern and wrap shown so beautifully in the Magazine.

Mosaic Tiles Wrap by Emma Vining
The Knitter Issue 58
Image from the Knitter Blog
Looking at the Knitter blog, the wrap pictures also appear in a blog post on April 29th encouraging knitters to subscribe to the Apple digital magazine. I am so proud to have my pattern being used as an example of the kind of knitting pattern subscribers can expect. I hope knitters enjoy making the wrap as much as I did. The Habu bamboo lace yarn was such a pleasure to work with and the finished wrap is incredibly light with a flattering drape.
Mosaic Tiles Wrap by Emma Vining, The Knitter Issue 58
Image from the Knitter Blog