June 24, 2013

It’s been another busy week of installing our Club to Catwalk exhibition in our Fashion Gallery. This week we have been focussing on our club styles which will be on open display on the mezzanine level of the gallery.Exhibition assistant Jemma Davey transports some mannequins to the mezzanine in the liftExhibition assistant Jemma Davey transports some mannequins to the mezzanine in the lift

© Kate Bethune A Rifat Ozbek Rave ensemble is moved into position on the plinth Here you will be confronted with examples of the many different styles and tribes that filled the 80s London club-scape, from New Romantic and Goth through to Glam-Fetish and Rave. Without wishing to spoil too many surprises, we also have some incredible examples of customised wear, including a fabulous jacket by Christopher Nemeth which is made from post office sacks, some provocative ‘high camp’ pieces including a dress for a man, and a fabulous group of designs by BodyMap, whose fresh, striking creations really sum up the youthful, innovative design spirit that characterised 80s London fashion. Since our clubwear will be on open display, extra care has to be taken to ensure all objects are secure. Mannequins are screwed to the plinths in the correct position before any loose or vulnerable objects are fixed in place with additional mounts and tethers. V&A technician Roger Hackett securing a Leigh Bowery ensemble to the plinth Textile conservator Jo Hackett & mounts specialist Nikki Breen securing an accessory to a mannequin Next comes the task of ensuring the mannequins are fully styled and accessorised. Exhibition curator Claire Wilcox has worked tirelessly to ensure each look is authentic and that the correct shoes, glasses and hats have been paired with the right garments. We also have been extremely fortunate to have drawn on the expertise of Murray Blewett of Vivienne Westwood Ltd and are grateful for his guidance in helping us to achieve these looks. Mounting specialist Keira Miller and I add some gloves to a ‘High Camp’ design New Romantic and ‘High Camp’ start to take shape Creating an aesthetic that captures the spirit of an 80s London club has been no small challenge for our V&A designers, especially as the mezzanine is such a light, open space. They have, however, done an incredible job by building raised black plinths which they have edged with fluorescent electromagnetic tape to give the gallery an edgy, clubby feel. Added to this, they have built an enclosed club booth which is filled with TV monitors playing a montage of club footage from the 80s, set to a soundtrack, both of which have been composed by 80s DJ and visual artist Jeffrey Hinton. This is a real treat and not to be missed, so make sure you come and see it all for yourself from 10 July!

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