As the bright lights and theatrical sets of London Fashion Week have packed up and left our fair city for fabulous Milan, we’ve been getting the scoop from the top shows just for you from Willie Walters, Fashion BA Course Director for Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design. The Museum of London is lucky enough to have a fabulous 1978 dress designed by Willie and her sister Mel, better known as Swanky Modes, in our fashion collection. Founded in 1972, Swanky Modes made aggressively glamorous and fetishistic outfits from synthetic materials. The clothes were originally sold by mail order but eventually from a shop in Camden which became a meeting place for punks. Read the full post
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
A starring role for the Suffragette collection
As curator of the museum’s wonderful Suffragette collection I often welcome ‘important’ visitors to the archive, captivated by the story of the women who endured imprisonment, hunger-strike and even force-feeding in their battle to win the vote.
From saintly to saucy: the medieval badge that wasn’t as innocent as it seemed
Cataloguing the Museum’s collection of medieval pilgrim badges for Collections Online has been a great opportunity for me to look really closely at our objects and sometimes to find out that items are not at all what they appear to be. A great example recently has been a tiny little badge in the shape of a comb.