Fashion in Motion: Iranian Night
Fashion in Motion is a series of live catwalk events presented at the V&A. Featuring some of the greatest designers of our time, Fashion in Motion brings catwalk couture to a wider audience by modelling it against the beautiful backdrop of the Museum.
On 30 January 2004, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Iran Heritage Foundation presented the works of contemporary Iranian fashion designers Massoud Ansari, Shirin Guild, Maryam Mahdavi, Shadi Parand and Laya Torkaman, from both inside and outside Iran in a special Fashion in Motion.
Massoud Ansariwas born in Iran but spent his formative years in the UK and the USA, where he studied art and design. Returning to Iran in 1979, he started a private design workshop. He is both an accomplished photographer and fashion designer. The source of his inspiration and drive comes mainly from day to day living in Iran. Photography is where he expresses himself emotionally. He exhibited a solo piece at the Silk Road Gallery in Tehran in the exhibition HOPE in 2008.
Shirin Guild combines elements from world clothing traditions – particularly the menswear from her native Iran – with a modern reductivist aesthetic. Extraneous detail and decoration are stripped away in favour of precision cutting and meticulous attention to every detail. She sources the most unusual textiles and yarns of the finest quality, as well as commissioning many unique fabrics. Examples of her work are exhibited on permanent display at the V&A and the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and are also part of the permanent collection of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The Shirin Guild label was launched in London in 1992.
Maryam Mahdavi has been involved in the world of fashion since 1980. Her designs are predominantly influenced by the garments worn in Iran during the 19th century. This influence is very stylised, and her colour patterns no longer bear any similarity with those of the traditional designs which represent her starting point. Fragments of old fabrics are used to highlight some of the features of many outfits.
Shadi Parand left Iran after high school and completed her higher education in France. After several years in Paris and New York in the world of fashion and clothing, she returned to Iran, where she has been active in fashion design for over ten years. A main source of her design inspirations are traditional Persian art, designs and techniques, but she uses those ideas to create something modern. She travels extensively in Iran and elsewhere, captures the details, and uses them in her designs where least expected. Her 2004 collection is a mix of all the ideas and inspirations she has gathered over the years with an emphasis on the Qajar epoch and ancient Iranian art. She uses Persian colours in her designs and this can also be seen in the collection. She has transformed all these influences into something modern and avant-garde.
Laya Torkaman was born in Iran but moved to France at a very young age, where she now lives. She has pursued two careers since the mid 1990s, one in fashion and one in dance. Many of her fashion designs are influenced by traditional Persian garments. She frequently mixes modern fabrics with fragments from old Persian outfits. Her dancing is inspired by the mystical poetry of the classical Persian poets such as Rumi and Hafiz, and can best be described as a meditating exercise. She has performed in France, Holland, Italy and the UK.