Christiana Vardakou blog post about London exhibitions

In March 2019 I went to London for a few days before flying to LA. 

Before going I researched what exhibitions were on and booked my tickets. I spent a day going to exhibitions with my friend Poppy. After a nice brunch we went to my favourite museum in London, the V&A. "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" was the exhibition that was on at the time. 

The exhibition traced the history and impact of one of the 20th century's most influential couturiers, exploring the influence of the fashion house as well as Dior's relationship with the UK. The exhibition presented more than 400 garments as well as accessories, fashion photography, films, illustrations, magazines and some of Christian Dior's personal possessions. 

The exhibit spanned from 1947 to present day. It traced the history of the founder and the six other artistic directors who followed. It celebrated how each designer interpreted the vision of the label in their own way, while at the same time sticking to Dior's "code".

The exhibition looked at the impact of Dior's 'New Look' as well as the fashion's house relationship with traveling and the inspiration that travel brought to their collections. The travel room was one of my favourites.

Another room I really liked was the "Diorama" section, which showcased accessories, jewellery, hats, shoes, bags and make up, paying tribute to those who have collaborated with the brand. 

The most impressive room was "The Ballroom" which showcased formal evening wear. Here, the incredible skills of the haute couture atelier were celebrated. Embroidery, details, materials, colours. One of my favourite dresses was displayed in this room. Elle Fanning's Cannes dress, designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri. An amazing floral-inspired dress, embroidered with colourful tiny feathers. 

The second exhibition I went to was the "Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution" exhibition at the Textile and Fashion Museum. 

The exhibition featured fashion, design and art of the Chelsea Set - a group of radical young designers, photographers, architects and artists that redefined the concept of youth, and challenged the established order of 1950s London. Two very important members of the group were Mary Quant and Terence Conran, who changed the fashion and interior design world. Mary Quant was the one who created the mini-skirt, and Conran was the founder of the shop Habitat. 

I really liked this exhibition, mostly because it presented so many different aspects of design. There were textiles, furniture, lightning, homewares, ceramics and clothes. Except from the style it also showed the socioeconomic importance of that period in time. The exhibition really captured the mood of this time in history, showing how continental trends started influencing British life and fashion. 

I really enjoyed the fashion sketches and drawings, the combination of furniture and homeware, and the screen-printed textiles. 

My first year in university I used to go to at least two exhibitions a week. There was so much going on and it was very easy to find inspiration and to learn about art, design and fashion history. Now, every time I plan on going to London, first thing I do is check what exhibitions are on. If I really like an exhibition, I usually buy the exhibition catalogue. I love having them all on my bookshelves and being able to look back. 

Especially these days, that we are staying home, and we have time, its the perfect opportunity to look back to these books and catalogues for inspiration. 

Stay strong and healthy everyone! 



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