HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope you had a joyous start to 2018! I have some very exciting news, as my BBC Four series, A Stitch in Time starts airing tomorrow, Wednesday January 3rd at 8.30pm.
Fusing biography, art and the history of fashion, throughout A Stitch in Time I get to explore the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore, while key garments are recreated using the original techniques by historical tailor Ninya Mikhaila and her team. Tomorrow we begin with a look at the Restoration king, Charles II, and how he used fashion as propaganda with an outfit that foreshadowed the three piece suit.
Over the coming 6 weeks I’ll be investigating the the costume clues held within Van Eyck’s mysterious Arnolfini portrait, the role of hand-me-downs among 18th century workers, the impact of cotton on British life, a flamboyant armorial piece which sits at odds with the allegedly brutal nature of its wearer and the impact a scandalously informal gown would have on an already unpopular queen.
I’m delighted to say it’s been selected as Pick of the Day in the Guardian, featured in the Critics’ Choice section of the Sunday Times, one of the Highlights in the TV Times, and one of the Radio Times’ Choices.
There are already some clips online for episode one, click on the image below to see me examine the wedding suit of James II from 1673, with Susan North from the V&A.
Here’s a taster of what you can expect over the next 6 weeks!
Please do tune in! Or catch up later on iPlayer.
IN OTHER NEWS… My latest book, Fashion Illustration in Britain: Society and the Seasons for the British Library was released in October! It was fantastic spending some serious time in the British Library archives, going through previously unpublished periodicals and magazines from the 18th century to the 1930s. The book charts the history of fashion and the social calendar in Britain through the fashion plates of some of the most important publications, offering a record of fashion illustration in Britain that spans across three centuries. For a peek inside, head over to my Instagram.
Also, 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 the key moments in fashion history and theory over 200 years, from the French Revolution through to the 1990s, and it’s running in February and August. BOOKING and info HERE.
Until next time!