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Leather: Second Skin

Start Date 23 November 2012
End Date 22 January 2013
Venue The Fashion Space Gallery
Location London, UK
Curator Leanne Wierzba and Gemma Williams
Exhibition display of leather accessories
Exhibition display of a leather accessory

Leather: Second Skin coincided with the 125th anniversary of Cordwainers at London College of Fashion, and was a celebration of the use and interrogation of leather by students, alumni and practitioners at the college. This exhibition brought together makers at different stages of their careers, offering a unique insight into the interpretation of leather at London College of Fashion.

Selected for their individual perspectives and uncompromising approaches to leather, these participants utilised traditional artisan techniques and cutting-edge technology to craft provocative and challenging works. These works represented artistic and personal responses to the material and, through their engagement in craft traditions, served to reinforce leather’s historical and functional properties. For this exhibition new works by leading practitioners in the field Dai Rees, Oliver Ruuger and Rob Goodwin were commissioned and exhibited alongside work from the Cordwainers’ archive, recent graduates and current students.

Featured works included Untitled by
Dai Rees, a moulded piece using a combination of laminated leather and rubber, suspended from above using hooks and chains, and Synnecrosis by Oliver Ruuger, a recent graduate from the MA Fashion Artefact Programme in 2011.

Venus Helix by
Rob Goodwin is a newly commissioned piece that is a sculptural work celebrating the craft and skills he embodies. Corkscrews of corset lacing and elegant quilting metamorphose into a riot of studs and reptilian intricacy. Sumbawanga Trail
by Volker Koch comprises pieces from his final collection for the 2012 MA Fashion Footwear show, which are moulded and hand-stitched from vegetable-tanned leather, sculpted to mimic the body’s contours when worn.

Additional works were presented under the concept of a ‘Future Archive’. Exhibited alongside work by current students and recent graduates from the Cordwainers at London College of Fashion programmes, examples from the vast Cordwainers’ archive of over 650 shoes were shown.  Featured students and graduates included Ross Barber, Pauline Courtois, Gabrielle Dazzo, Bora Kim, Paul Kim, Jack McNamara, Jay Rosenberg, Min Song and Young Won Kim.

Images © Fashion Space Gallery, photography by Felipe Fonseca.