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Design Culture Salon 12, V&A Museum

Fashion cycles and design culture

Anyone standing outside the disciplines of fashion and design research might be surprised to discover that conversations between the two are not as fluid or productive as they might be. Within the art school, for instance, the two are taught as quite distinct disciplines with their own traditions, cultures and identities. Recognising these boundaries and […]

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A Surrey Cottage, 1880, watercolour by Helen Allingham. Courtesy of Burgh House & Hampstead Museum

Cottage Gardens: Fact or Fiction?

by Sophie Foan   The English are well known for their love of gardening. From village flower and produce shows to inner city allotments, evidence of this is manifest nationwide. The public have long enjoyed visiting the gardens of grand country houses made accessible by the National Trust, and programmes such as Gardener’s World are […]

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What buckle?

Today I went to the Clothworker Centre in Blythe house to look for buckles!   A number of shoes included in the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain date from the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period buckles progressively substituted laces. Shoe buckles were worn by both men and women, and remained in fashion for […]

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Shoe collector Lionel

Lionel Bussey collected women’s shoes from about 1914 until his death in 1969, when he had acquired about 600 pairs. All the shoes were bought new from fairly good class shoe shops, like Dolcis and Lilley & Skinner, many were not even uwrapped, still boxed up with their bills. He took his collection seriously and he […]

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There are so many shoes

How do you decide what shoes to include in the exhibition? There are over 2300 pairs (and some singles) in the V&A Collection; that includes footwear – shoes, sandals and boots – from the Asian department and Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department. A lot of shoes indeed. So to make a selection, the focus has to be on the story of […]

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Why shoes?

It all started on a lovely day in Spring 2010, when I came across all these drawers in one of the V&A stores – full of lovely Indian shoes. The shoes were weird and wonderful, and to me unfamiliar. There were curly toes, long toes, shoes made out of rich and colourful materials, embroidery with iridescent green beetle wings, silk, […]

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Salon panel from left to right: Rachel Aldred, Carlton Reid, Kat Jungnickel (Chair), Justin Spinney and Jenni Gwiazdowski.

How is the Urban Mobile Cyclist Designed?

Reflections on Design Culture Salon 10: How is the Urban Mobile Cyclist designed?  The question of whether or not you choose to cycle to work is more than a practical decision: it can reveal a lot about our gender, social background and personality. It also forces us to behave in particular ways. Friction between cyclists, […]

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Green satin Chopines

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

Shoes are on the most evocative aspects of dress. Sculptural and beautiful, shoes are adored by millions. The V&A exhibition, opening on the 13th of June 2015, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain will examine this obsession and discuss how shoes are powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste and sexual preference. The exhibition will include over […]

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The Story So Far: A Huge Variety From Around The World

Hunting Through the Weird and Wonderful at the Economic Botany Collection, Kew Walking into the Economic Botany Collection stores at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the first thing you notice is how chilly it is. Curator Mark Nesbitt does warn visitors to dress up warm – should you ever get the chance to visit, do […]

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Boy touching replica lion's skull

What can we learn from watching groups of visitors using digital museum exhibits?

There is a lot written about digital technologies and how they might help visitors engage within museums. However, this is often very focussed solely on technical aspects and frequently seems to assume that people will use this tech as intended. But of course, people bring their own ideas, habits and preferences to the tech, and it cannot be assumed that […]

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