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Reconstruction: Cultural Heritage and the Making of Contemporary Fashion

Start Date 23 April 2012
End Date May 2012
Venue Artplay
Location Moscow, Russia
Curator Alison Moloney
Designer Nissen Richards Studio

Following its tour in Pakistan, our travelling fashion exhibition Reconstruction quickly hopped on a plane to Moscow to open on April 23rd at the ARTPLAY Design Centre.  The exhibition’s theme of cultural heritage within contemporary fashion, which is explored through the work of 7 UK-based designers, was celebrated with a series of workshops, lectures, events and film screenings.

The exhibition was opened with a fashion show of the Autumn/Winter 2012 Peter Jensen ‘Thelma’ collection.  This was followed up with a public lecture by Peter Jensen detailing the history of his brand.  Peter Jensen is featured in the exhibition, which showcases pieces from his collection inspired by his Aunt Jytte in Greenland.  The pieces reference her 1960s style and utilize traditional Greenlandic beading techniques.  This is accentuated with a print illustrating the white landscape of Greenland dotted with colourful houses.

Later in the week, Kristin Knox, the Clothes Whisperer, joined the exhibition to deliver a workshop and public lecture on fashion blogging.  The Russian fashion bloggers attended the opening of Reconstruction and wrote pieces on their thoughts on the exhibition.  The following day they took Kristin around Moscow to their suggestions of interesting fashion spots and to take street style photos.  Kristin’s public lecture was streamed live and made available throughout the Russian regions.

Also visiting Moscow was our fashion adviser Julian Roberts.  Julian, who is also a lecturer in pattern cutting at the Royal College of Art, delivered a workshop on his ‘subtraction cutting’ method to students from the British Higher School of Design.  While there, he also hosted a screening of the best of British fashion films curated by filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson.  In addition to these fashion films, there was also a screening of Vice magazine’s new documentaries on international fashion weeks.  These documentaries explore several international fashion weeks, including Islamabad and Nigeria, and look at the geography of fashion – a very relevant discussion alongside Reconstruction’s theme of cultural heritage.

This theme was viewed in even greater depth with a workshop on fashion curation led by Professor Amy de la Haye from the London College of Fashion.  Attendees to the workshop included curators from regional areas of Russia working at museums with fashion collections.  One of the presentations in Amy’s workshop looked at the importance of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the development of a culture for fashion exhibitions in the UK.  Very excitingly, it also featured an extensive selection of rare images of fashion exhibitions and installations from throughout the V&A’s history.  Amy also asked attendees to bring 5 shoes each to produce hypothetical exhibitions and create a narrative surrounding the objects.  Amy also delivered a public lecture on fashion exhibitions, which like Kristin’s was streamed live and available for audiences in other parts of Russia.

Reconstruction showcases the work of 7 UK-based fashion designers, and the cultural references that influenced their design.

The exhibition has been curated by Alison Moloney, British Council London, and designed by Nissen Richards Studio. The graphic design was by studio Kellenberger-White, which developed a new typeface in response to the sharp, angular lines of the exhibition structure.