How do fashion cycles and design culture interact?

Panel L-R, Marloes ten Bhomer, Cher Potter, Lisa White, Joanne Entwistle, Chris Breward. Image courtesy of Leah Armstrong, University of Brighton

Panel L-R, Marloes ten Bhomer, Cher Potter, Lisa White, Joanne Entwistle, Chris Breward.
Image courtesy of Leah Armstrong, University of Brighton

Dr Leah Armstrong at the University of Brighton recently posted about an event I spoke at on the blog of Design Culture Salon, a partnership between University of Brighton and the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum.

I was chairing the discussion, entitled “How do fashion cycles and design culture interact?”, on 14th November this year at the V&A, and Dr Armstrong’s post recounts some of the main points made during the debate:

Fashion historian Professor Chris Breward, Principal of Edinburgh College of Art, offered an interesting route into this conversation by introducing one of the most fundamental questions that binds together the study of design culture and fashion cycles: time. Specifically, he suggested that fashion theory has something to offer design culture here, in its discussion of fashion as an embodiment of time and space.

Read the full post on the Design Culture Salon blog >

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Visiting Shanghai

Shanghai Fashion Week, 2014

If I was a much younger man looking for metropolitan thrills and a glimpse of a future self, I think that Shanghai might be my choice of escape. New York and Berlin (the destinations for my generation) seem so twentieth-century by comparison. Continue reading

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Glamour and Espionage: the story of Brian Stonehouse

Brian Stonehouse

From flyer for the upcoming Brian Stonehouse exhibition at Abbott and Holder

On a visit to London last week I called in to the picture dealer Abbott and Holder in Museum Street. This is a long-standing haunt, celebrated for its stock of excellent British drawings, watercolours and paintings from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Conversations with the gallery’s director Philip Athill are always enlightening and on this visit he drew my attention to a forthcoming exhibition of the fashion illustrator Brian Stonehouse (1918-1998). Stonehouse’s elegant work for Vogue through the 1960s compares well with that of many of his better-known peers, but it is the backstory to his life that is truly fascinating. Continue reading

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Luxury and Greed

View of Florence. Image by Artur Staszewski, used under a Creative Commons license: http://bit.ly/view-of-florence

View of Florence by Artur Staszewski http://bit.ly/view-of-florence (Creative Commons License)

Last week, as a member of the Leverhulme Trust International Luxury Network, I attended the latest of a series of Network conferences. This one was hosted at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti and the European University Institute at the Villa Schifanoia in Florence. Continue reading

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Soft Power

Image by Billy Smith (bit.ly/tunnocks-van), used under a Creative Commons license

Image by Billy Smith (bit.ly/tunnocks-van), used under a Creative Commons license

Holidays in the Hebrides and the busy beginning of semester have rather limited time for the blog, but I return with a transcription of a position statement I delivered during the last week of the Edinburgh International Festival at the end of August at a discussion panel addressing the question of ‘soft power’ in contemporary Scotland. Chaired by my colleague Charlie Jeffery and including contributions by developmental linguist Antonella Sorace and think-tank consultant John Holden, it took place before last night’s momentous referendum vote, but it seems apposite to post it the day after. Continue reading

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Masters Festival 2014

Masters Festival 2014

© Gareth Easton Photography

The Edinburgh College of Art Masters Festival is currently happening in the Sculpture Court and surrounding studios at Lauriston Place, as part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival. Continue reading

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Edinburgh International Culture Summit

Scottish Parliament, image by Kieran Lynam (bit.ly/scottishparliamentimage), used under a Creative Commons license

Scottish Parliament, image by Kieran Lynam (bit.ly/scottishparliamentimage), used under a Creative Commons license

For the past three days I have been attending the 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit, “Culture – A Currency of Trust” at the Scottish Parliament. I left the summit this morning feeling both a sense of loss (that the community that had evolved throughout the summit’s duration was disbanding) and a sense of hope and purpose. Continue reading

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Little Sparta

Little Sparta

Little Sparta. Image by Ergonomik (bit.ly/littlesparta) used under a Creative Commons license

It is twenty years since Ian Hamilton Finlay gifted his extraordinary garden at Stonypath, South Lanarkshire to the Little Sparta Trust, who has continued to make its riches available to visitors and researchers. Continue reading

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Scotland Can Make It

To Jim Lambie’s Poetry Club in Glasgow’s West End last night to contribute to an event hosted by the design and curation outfit Panel, directed by the talented Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan. In tandem with the Commonwealth Games, Panel had commissioned a number of Scotland-based artists and designers to produce a limited run of six souvenirs for the Games, in a collection called Scotland Can Make It. Continue reading

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Mary & Elizabeth in Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens. Image by Bernt Rostad (http://bit.ly/princesstreetgardens), used under a Creative Commons license.

Princes Street Gardens. Image by Bernt Rostad (bit.ly/princesstreetgardens), used under a Creative Commons license.

Last night was the opening of the 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival, marked by a welcome dinner for participating artists from across the Commonwealth at the National Galleries of Scotland on the Mound.

As a prelude to the dinner, guests were invited to engage with Jacqueline Donachie’s intriguing installation ‘Mary and Elizabeth’ in Princes Street Gardens. Continue reading

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