Hello hello! I hope you’re having a fantastic spring so far. The latest documentary I’ve presented, Civilisations Stories: The First Refugees, is airing again this Monday on BBC Four, exploring the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields and their impact on British arts and crafts. Part of the landmark Civilisations season on the BBC that explores thousands of years of visual culture, Civilisations Stories explore regional history, art, science & innovation from Bronze Age East Anglia to the legacy of slavery in Bristol, the art of coal mining in the Midlands, art & the sea on the north east coast and many more. An extra episode of Civilisations presented by Mary Beard tied together some of the artefacts and museums that were featured across the shows.
Please do tune in (or watch online) as we trace the story of silk weaving from Spitalfields to Suffolk, featuring Dennis Severs’ House, the Museum of Immigration and Diversity, co-founder of the Spitalfields Trust Dan Cruickshank and much more.
IN OTHER NEWS…
For fans of A Stitch in Time, I discussed the enigmatic Arnolfini portrait in even greater depth with the equally enigmatic Dr Janina Ramirez, AKA the Art Detective. We chatted in the glorious surroundings of the National Gallery and covered some of the theories and talking points that we weren’t able to squeeze into the TV show. LISTEN HERE!
Sticking with the theme of A Stitch in Time, myself and Tudor Tailors Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies feature in photographer Carla van de Puttelaar‘s exhibition ‘Artfully Dressed: Women in the Art World‘ which has just opened at Mayfair’s Weiss Gallery. Inspired by Old Master paintings, Carla has captured artists, curators, academics and museum directors (and you may recognise my Charles II suit got another outing).
“It’s a real moment of transition,” Carla told the i Paper. “There are a lot of women in contemporary art now. In terms of art students and art historians, the future is female for the large part. But in Old Masters it’s still very much a man’s world – the dealers and so on are nearly all male.” Also photographed are the director of Tate, Maria Balshaw, the artist Roxana Halls, Fariba Farshad, director of Photo London, Catharine McLeod, curator of 17th century portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven and Jennifer Scott, director of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Read more here.
The show is running until 31st May, so be quick!
FUTURE EVENTS: I’m hosting a Q&A with the directors of McQueen, the celebrated documentary about Alexander McQueen, at Everyman Cinema Hampstead next Wednesday 23rd May. Watch the trailer and book tickets HERE.
Following that, on Saturday May 26th I’m speaking at Delapré Festival Of Books at Delapré Abbey in Northampton. My talk, Dissemination of Style: Fashion in Film and Illustration, will look at my two latest books, Fashion Illustration in Britain (British Library, 2017) and The Fashion of Film (Mitchell Beasley, 2016), tracking the dissemination of style from the page to the screen and from 18th century periodicals to Hollywood’s Golden Age. Full line up HERE and book your tickets HERE!
And there are more talks to come later in the year across the UK, including Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire in September (already sold out! But you can join the waiting list!), the Northern School of Art in Hartlepool, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket – and hopefully Off the Shelf Festival of Words in Sheffield and the Huguenot Museum in Rochester – keep posted for more details on all of the above.
Last but not least, for the nautically-minded I highly recommend The Great British Seaside exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, and the Ocean Liners: Speed and Style show at the V&A. Not only are they full of seaside sociology & style, cruise-driven design & coastal chic, but they have a fantastic selection of books in their gift shops…
Finally, a reminder that my Radio 4 documentary, From Rags to Riches, is still available to listen online through BBC iPlayer, and to download through the Seriously podcast. Episode 1 looks at the transition of old clothes from second-hand to ‘vintage’, and how our attitude to used clothing has changed over a century and more. It features a wealth of contributors from Vogue’s thrifting connoisseur Bay Garnett to fashion auction pioneer Kerry Taylor and even my mum. Episode 2 looks at the global ramifications of our cast-off clothes. It took me from charity shops to sorting warehouses in Leeds and the markets and tailors of Dakar, Senegal.
For more regular updates you can keep up with me on Instagram and Twitter, and if you’re interested in learning more about fashion history, I’m teaching my short course again at London College of Fashion. Fashion History: The Evolution of Style covers key moments in fashion history and theory over 200 years, from the French Revolution through to the 1990s, and it’s running in August and October. BOOKING and info HERE.
Until next time!