Cliché title, but… ‘New Year, New Exhibition’.

Happy New Year everyone!

Before the Christmas break, lots of hats were arriving at the collection stores, on loan for the new temporary exhibition, ‘Redesigning Fashion: How to Change the World in Style’.  The idea behind the exhibition is to show  Make Do and Mend and Utility clothing fashions in the 1940s, comparing it to the sustainable green fashion ethos being employed today by many designers.  As mentioned in the previous post, many of the hats on display are from various designers, including Little Shilpa, whose  hats have come to Stockport all the way from India! Little Shilpa has created hats for Lady Gaga, an interesting article about this can be found here, courtesy of Gaga Fashionland (2009). You can see the similarity in designs between the silver hat Lady Gaga is wearing in the aforementioned article, to the glittery camouflage hat on display at Redesigning Fashion, shown here.

Camo hat by Little Shilpa

Glittery camouflage hat by Little Shilpa

Other designers showcased in this exhibition include British milliners Rebecca Thomas, AKA Rockwife (who has been mentioned in this previous post: some of her other pieces are currently displayed in the ‘What’s Hot!’ case at Hat Works); Melanie Lewiston, Margaret Woodliff (whose hat appears on the exhibition leaflet; an article about the steps making this hat can be seen here, courtesy of Made by Hands of Britain, 2012) and Elsa Cappelli (who works with groups in Uganda, making sustainable decorative plaits from wild date palms which are then used to create ethical high fashion hats) – among many others!

Also on display are hats on loan from the Manchester City Galleries Costume of Gallery, and lots of objects from our museum collection, thus showcasing a mix of the old and new.  You would not be able to guess what was used to make a lot of the contemporary hats on show – they have been made so beautifully, and the recycled materials have been used ingeniously.

Redesigning Fashion at the Hat Works museum, Stockport

So… after Christmas we took down the previous exhibition ‘Hot Heads’, and packaged the hats ready to send back to the designers.  Then it has been a process of installing the new exhibition: some walls being painted in an accent colour; interpretation panels being printed and put up; dressing the cases to display the hats; doing an inventory of the location of objects on MODES; object labels and captions; installing the AV show on the television; installing the commentaries from designers on the listening post… the list goes on!  Many people have been involved with putting the show together, the curatorial team, the technical team, and volunteer guest curator Sharon Bainbridge [milliner and millinery tutor].   One of the milliners, Rebecca Thomas (AKA Rockwife), whose work appears in the exhibition, also volunteered for a couple of days to see what went on behind the scenes.  Here are some photos from the installation of the exhibition.

Andy putting up the interpretation panels

Andy putting up the interpretation panels

Here I am displaying Jane Fryer hats and a Lizzie Harrison scarf as a turban in one of the cases.


Here I am displaying Jane Fryer hats and a Lizzie Harrison scarf as a turban in one of the cases

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Elsa Cappelli hats and interpretation panel

Janny displaying the beautiful 1940s hats which are on loan from the Manchester Gallery of Costume

Another case I displayed; hats by Sue Daniels, Debbie Lough, Susan Wood, and Sue Carter

Another case I displayed; hats by Sue Daniels, Debbie Lough, Susan Wood, and Sue Carter

The preview launch for the exhibition was supposed to be on Friday, January 18th.  Unfortunately due to the snowy conditions across the country, the difficult decision was made to postpone the event.  ‘Safety first’ – especially since people would have been coming from all over the UK for the evening, and may not have been able to get back home!  I think it is for the best, since more people will be able to attend once the snow melts and normality resumes (….I type this blog working from home due to being snowed in myself!).  I look forward to the preview event when it goes ahead!  Bronwen and Janny worked on the finishing touches to the exhibition (including displaying one or two last minute contemporary hats which arrived), which looks beautiful.  Here are some images Janny took of the exhibition before it opened to the public on Friday.

The start of the exhibition, leading to cases which display objects from the museum collection and the loans from the Manchester Gallery of Costume

The start of the exhibition, leading to cases which display objects from the museum collection and the loans from the Manchester Gallery of Costume

Make do and Mend objects from the collection – hat and slipper patterns

Utility objects from the museum collection - shoes, cardigan,gloves, a utility stamp, and a postcard which reads "Oh Yes - Ours is a Utility Baby!", by British illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell.

Utility objects from the museum collection – shoes (oh how I love these shoes!), gloves, a utility stamp, a cardigan, and a postcard which reads “Oh Yes – Ours is a Utility Baby!”, by British illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell

Fitting more hats on display! The final look of the case showing Jane Fryer,

Fitting more hats on display! The final look of the case showing designs by Jane Fryer, Lizzie Harrison and Karen Shannon

Little Shilpa millinery, made from re-used materials such as perspex and feathers and other fabrics.  By Shilpa Chavan, from Mumbai, India.

Little Shilpa millinery, made from re-used materials such as perspex and feathers and other fabrics

Panel - recycling fabric

Panel – recycling fabric; and a case showcasing hats made from materials such as a shrunken cashmere jumper and recycled glossy paper!

If you are interested in millinery, Make Do and Mend, Utility wear, recycling, sustainability, fashion, hats… come and see the exhibition!  Redesigning Fashion is on NOW, until 7th July 2013, at the Hat Works museum, Stockport (and less than 5 mins away from the train station and bus station!).  Entry is FREE to the museum as well as the temporary exhibition so do come along.  When you visit don’t forget to tweet or facebook about it, and use the hashtag #redesigning  – enjoy!

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