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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Utopian Bodies - fashion looks forward

Darlings, we all know I’m a girl with expensive taste and there’s no disguising my love of fashion, appreciation of style and admiration of good design. Believe me, my bank statement exposes a multitude of said obsessions! But what is it about fashion that makes some of us tick, and what if, in an ideal world, there were possibilities, we had never encountered?? These questions were triggered by the creative duo; Sofia Hedman and Serge Martynov (curator and designer of Utopian Bodies exhibition), when they stopped by Mannequin Towers for tea recently (and of course, some jammy dodgers)!

Sofia and Serge set a brief and discussed the concept of ‘Utopian bodies – fashion looks forward’ exhibition  with Proportion London’s Account Manager, Ashley Backhouse. Excited by the prospect, the Proportion team of craftsmen began producing bespoke figures, some of which were to display unconventional and unique designs. True to the brief, tweaks and innovative amendments were made to some of the bodies: a flashing heart built into a mannequin and cutaway figures which appeared to make the clothing float in mid air.

Wanting to see this one of a kind exhibition with my very own eyes, I jetted to the Liljevachs museum in Stockholm this week. Overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence of the show and fashion in a utopian society. Each gallery takes you on a personal and unique journey while providing a thought provoking experience. To sum up my emotions I left stimulated, profound and much the wiser.  

Regardless of whether you are a fashion junkie or not, we all have a relationship with attire that plays a major part in our lives. Think of clothes as our outer shell, we wake up in the morning and decide what armor to wear that day - a protection if you like. Does this outfit portray me as how I want to be perceived? Does it represent my personality? Or the dreaded question - does my bum look big in this?!!! These are some of the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis.

But fashion can delve deeper than just the surface and how it affects us as individuals. Take sustainability, technology, and society for example. What if garments could be produced without leaving a carbon footprint? or recycled from household waste? Maybe we could all look away from our phones and focus on our surrounding environment, simply by relying on our clothing to navigate us by a tap on the shoulder, instead of following a phone map?  It is innovations like these that make you re-think fashion and the importance it can hold in our lives.

Throughout this exhibition each gallery was inspired by a utopian ideal, which included innovation, technology, memory, gender identity and love. The show takes a look at the history, evolution and interpretation of fashion, with over 200 garments from luxury brands, high street retailers and Swedish designers, all presented in  beautifully curated space.

Sadly the exhibition ends on the 7th February 2016, but I am told it will be touring. I send out a clarion call for fellow fashion bunnies,  non-conformists, scientists, designers, children (there’s a fabulous craft area for little peeps to create patchworks, dolls and play fancy dress) to go see if you get the chance. This one will really set you thinking, and dreaming of how fashion can harness a better future….   

Initial meeting at the Proportion London showroom - discussing fabric and eating biscuits!  

Cutaway bodies being developed at the Proportion London workshop 

Costume toiles and fit session at the Proportion London design studio 

Fluid female mannequin with bespoke heart amendments

Sustainability gallery at the Utopian Bodies Fashion Looks Forwards exhibition

Sustainability Gallery - recycled dress

Dress with beading made from glass bottles

3D printed shoes

Hand carved wooden mannequin arms

Carved wooden mannequin arms in detail

Solidarity gallery

Veneer mannequin wigs

Solidarity gallery wall details

Craft and colour gallery

Close up of mannequin details in the craft and colour gallery

Maison Martin Margiela candy bag for H&M

Beauty gallery 

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Change gallery

Change gallery

Change gallery 

Change gallery

Change gallery

Love gallery

For more information on this exhibition click here
For mannequins and bespoke projects please visit my chums at Proportion London  

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