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Archive for February, 2006


Friday, February 10th, 2006

Today I am meeting Sonia in the Word and Images archive to ask about the Claude mirror, about which I have read extensively. The Word and Images study rooms are also accessible to the public and can be found on the 4th floor near the public cafeteria. Sonia gave me a brief introduction to the cataloguing system and gave me some further information about what I was after, and explained about the miscellaneous section within the Word and Images archive.
Fruit wrapper
I began to search randomly for anything that might fit into the ‘Le Strange Fruit’ ideology and found a section curiously marked ‘Fruit Wrappers’. I could not let this rather obvious link pass, requested these boxes and was brought 2 huge boxes each containing items of fruit packaging, tissues of rather wonderful graphic content going back to early 20th century.
Fruit wrapper
Not sure exactly why it happened that I began to look through these wrappers nor why I they felt they might have some relevance but suddenly everything seemed to click into place: the reason for using the print, the way to separate the collection into cohesive but focussed parts. Perhaps sometimes a designer needs an obvious point of reference in order to put things into perspective. I will explain my thinking in more detail when I have put things into perspective…


Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Today David is joining me in the archives to assist me with some picture taking in the fabric stores. I have requested to see some Poiret pieces as well as continue my delve into the Bizarre silks which I was introduced to last week – today we go from proto- to high-bizarre silks. I was amazed at the fragility of the colour in the Poiret pieces. I am beginning to get a new appreciation for the softer more delicate shades of such pieces: pastels seem to be contrasted with the jet black, on the softest fabric bases.
Bizarre silk
The level of internal finishing within each garment intrigued me: each seam considered and each edge treated with such respect for the fabric choices. And how amazing to see garments that I have only ever seen in textbooks: one-of-a-kind-garments. We continued to look at the bizarre silks and I continued to quiz Clare Browne the origins of the influences on these cloths. One cloth in particular was almost an undersea scene strange sinewy tapeworm like creatures weaving here and there. Odd geometries. Again I was amazed by the strength of colour and composition. In contrast, Clare demonstrated a similar period cloth, which was Russian in origin. In contrast to the French delicacy of handling, these were brutal hard and aggressive.
Met Stephen after lunch for a discussion.


Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Meeting with Claire about this blog, which won’t ‘go live’ for a short while, as she will be away. However got the ball rolling with images and the first blarb. This afternoon I am meeting with Vicky at 12:00 to go through the CIS (Central Information System) to decide on the first items to view in the NCS store (location top secret). At 14:30 we will start in the store, I am thinking of looking at the work of a designer called Antoine of Zurich as Claire Wilcox suggested his work when I asked about strange cutting. Also looking forwards to seeing any Galliano stuff. I believe that there are a few pieces.

The stores are large, white and strangely lit: filled with massive moveable wardrobes each containing the work of designers categorised alphabetically and by size. What an honour to be given the chance to handle these pieces. With specially treated purple gloves of course. The Antoine of Zurich stuff was not quite what I had expected, rather odd in their sensitivity to their cut, but nothing that amazing. Of course they are hardly ever requested so I guess that someone taking an interest in them was well overdue. The Galliano stuff was interesting to analyse: circular cut sleeves with asymmetrical collar details, large oversized coats, and a jacket with couture roses cut structurally into every seam. I am going to enjoy my time in the archives; it is not often that a designer is able to study garments in such detail. The public are able to see such pieces and can book time in the archives, but are not able to have any physical contact. The two hours in there just flew by. I realised that clever prior planning that would be essential for future visits. Tonight I am meeting my good old hairdresser friend Robin Pawloski, a rather eccentric old dandy. I believe there is a launch party at the Grill Rooms that he is almost certainly going to try to drag my partner and myself. Not really my scene, but some interaction with some ‘socialites’ might be what I need.

Went for dinner, and the party. Met some interesting people, all who seemed to be preparing for the imminent Fashion Week parties. Strange really how Fashion Week has such a different effect on the social and stylist sector who see this as a chance to show off. Rather annoyed at some girl whose spike stilettos punctured a brand new leather sofa about a hundred times when she insisted on dancing on it – poor club owner. Not my scene really, would rather have stayed in to read a book, but good to see Robin. Realised that socialising in London did not quite have the same energy as in Berlin or Paris.


Monday, February 6th, 2006

Back from Berlin, and back to the grindstone, whilst trying to get back in the flow, began to follow up on my email from Abraham from last Monday, about how to search the Words and Pictures study rooms. Followed his instruction and now have a clearer idea of what to look for next week when I go up to the 4th floor. Also today will be meeting Stephen to follow up on fabrics, to begin to realise timetables and also plan for the next few weeks.