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Dust

Before the exhibition opened today I visited the gallery to see important conservation maintenance work going on. Costumes on open display need to have accumulated dust particulates removed. London is a dusty city: the Museum is located on a main road with heavy traffic and at present road works causing chaos in both Cromwell and Exhibition Roads. Inevitably the dust creeps into the galleries. There are also the inevitable particulates brought in by our visitors. The question about whether costumes may be put on open display or cased is one taken very seriously by the V&A and throughout the Diaghilev …

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The main exhibition space

During the Second World War used as the RAF’s canteen (between 1942-1945) The main exhibition space So this is the space where the core of the exhibition will be housed in: Gallery 38, the last of the three exhibition courts currently used to display the V&A’s main exhibition programme. Roughly 320 square metres in size; formerly the south court gallery, home to the RAF trainee canteen during the Second World War (see image above), it is a pretty impressive room in its own right. For the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition, one of the design intentions is to highlight the high and …

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Three major dance exhibitions

So far I have had three days off since the exhibition opened and how have I spent them? Well I have caught up with the two other major dance exhibitions in England – surely it is unheard of to have three such exhibitions in one country and the same time especially when they are not for a specific festival. Firstly there was Move: Choreographing You at the Hayward Gallery which looks at art and choreography from Simone Forti to Wayne McGregor; that is the scene over the past 50 years. As the title suggests this is an interactive exhibition with …

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Overgrown

In 2009 I made several visits to the closed Spode factory site in Stoke-on-Trent. I collected a number of things from the factory floor, including an abandonedcopy of J.G.Ballard's novel The Drowned World. The foundbook was damp and growing several types of mould so I bought a new copy which I have read and re-read several times over the past year. It describes London as it sinks below water and silt, with climatic changes causing plants and animals to revert to that of the triassic age. It is full of incredible images, such as the Ritz hotel marooned and covered …

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More on workshops and events

To begin with two photos of Keith’s Inspired by Diaghilev/ set design workshop. This sets the mood for a week of activities over half term – already there are families flaunting ‘fins, feathers and funky moves’ in the half term Parade of the Animals although Keith’s workshops have a more serious aspects. The ENB residency, Rephrasing Ballets Russes, continues through to Sunday. Today Kate Flatt led a master class for adventurous dance students from the Central School which gave an insight into how choreographer Léonide Massine worked and taught. Drawing inspiration from paintings the students assumed poses that reflected the …

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The Exhibition Design

An intrinsic part of this exhibition is the placement, design and lighting and I am very lucky to be working with one of Yohji Yamamoto’s long-term collaborators Masao Nihei. Not only has he worked with Yohji Yamamoto for over 25 years, he has also created catwalk shows and exhibitions for Comme des Garcons, Azzedine Alaia and Hermès. Mr. Nihei has been on board from the very early stages of this project and after numerous meetings and site-visits, it has been exciting to see his design concepts for all the different spaces we will be inhabiting at the V&A. First of …

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Research trip – Tokyo: Yohji Yamamoto HQ

Back in bustling Tokyo it is time for me to visit Yohji Yamamoto HQ in the business (but not financial) district Shinagawa. Amongst shiny, glass and metal-clad highrisers housing companies like Japan Airlines, Phillips and Nike, Yohji Yamamoto’s home looks rather incongruous – a fairly low and very black concrete block. On entering, it becomes clear why: the studio of the design teams (he has separate ones for each of the brands he designs) is a large, calm, jam-packed room secluded from the outside world. Adjacent are rooms full of rolls of his custom-made fabric piled up to ceiling, a …

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Workshops and events

The programme of events is now well underway and this week I took Jennifer and Constance who will be running the Diaghilev Designs:Silk Scarves workshops sessions (starting 26 October) round the exhibition. There is so much to inspire in the exhibition. I also contributed to the Art Deco Design course and participants were then able to go into spot the Art Deco elements in the Ballets Russes for themselves. Sunday sees the start of ENB’s residency Rephrasing Ballets Russes at the V&A with such fascinating sessions as ‘Costume Stimulus’ with designer Fabrice Serafino and choreographer Hubert Essakow 11-12 and a …

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The object list

Both the V&A and the Palace Museum agreed that the exhibition should be on costumes and accessories. My first task as the exhibition curator was to draw up an object list. How did I set about doing that? As mentioned previously the Palace Museum is a historic site. The numerous palaces and halls were built for the emperors to live in, not for the display of artefacts. The robes are not on permanent display. Fortunately the Palace Museum has published two excellent books – one on their dress collection and one on their fabrics collection. They also mounted a special …

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“Week 26, 27, 28, 29, 30…..

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