The V&A is my second home...

6 October 2009

Well, it's perhaps my third home after my local Topshop store. Seriously, the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington is somewhere I've visited for many years now, from when I was taken around by relatives as a (probably confused) child, to exciting adventures during my art foundation (seeing a Hardy Amies show). There's parts that stay the same and familiar, such as the Grecian Chloe dress that still fascinates me after many years, but also plenty of new exhibits that are gradually added to make the collection what it is today. I became aware of the Fashion Future Now Exhibition after reading Coco's Tea Party and it's a good thing I did, as I was unaware it had been running since May (though it's on until January 31st, so you all have plenty of time to visit). Not only does it display the work of 2008's Royal College of Art MA Fashion graduates, but it details the whole design process, splitting the work into the sections of Concept, Form, Technique and Detail. It was difficult to choose a favourite section, but I found the Concept section interesting, showing not only the garments, but the paper patterns and a brief outline of thought process and development.

My photos don't really do the collections justice, so make sure you visit!

From what I could gather, it seems like Siri Johansen likes to rethink knitwear, blurring the concept with the techniques used. The dot dash patterns on this jumper replicate knitted stitches in an abstract Fairisle pattern. The structure is also a new take on the men's jumper, with it's double layered sleeves a particular point of interest. There's also some fantastic knits in the rest of her collection, and a Google Search brings up some interesting results.

A new take on cables, also by Siri Johansen who machine knitted the torso and handknitted the sleeves, mixing old and new techniques

Another knitwear genius is Léa Carreño (her official site looks promising), who used an eclectic mix of inspiration to create her collection. The influence of the Modernism exhibition a few years ago seems apparent, but she also looked to Sonia Delauney and the Ballet Russes to create something truly unique. I loved the juxtaposition of fine and heavy gauged knit within a single garment; there's a film of the catwalk show on a loop so you can really see how much movement is added.

The perfect leather boot. The exhibition shows plenty of accessories that some of the designers collaborated with other students to produce. I stupidly didn't note down who created this boot, but really loved the plaited leather detail at the top.

I can find legspiration anywhere; really liked the button detail leggings by Jonathan Penn. It was teamed with a fur coat with an internal metal frame providing the structure and support. It can be better understood here.

Abbie Shaw collaborated with a fellow jewellery student to make giant zips for her collection,

fully taking control of her work.

Jenny Hortlund machine knits fine strips of jersey, assembles them on the stand, then hand stitches them together

Dresses by Elizabeth Borglin

I loved the way Gudrun Kloepsch manipulated a variety of different fabrics and textures to create a collage effect that just works, and doesn't look overdone.

I really liked the variety in the sketchbooks, as each one had a different style and gave an insight into the mindset of the designer. As they were inside a cabinet, it was only possible to get a glimpse of the talent inside but I'm sure it helps to understand the final conclusions a bit more. I'd definitely recommend coming here if you're a fashion student; I took endless notes about techniques and inspiration to get an idea of how best to approach a collection and it's got me excited about finding ideas for my final year.

I also had to explore the bookstore, which is my favourite part to visit before leaving. It is my aim when I eventually move out, to have a library full of fashion books (at the moment I have half a shelf) to peruse and inspire whenever I have a few spare moments. The bookstore is where I update myself on all the new books out and get a feel for them, before trying to find them cheaper on the internet (though it is tempting to pay the RRP there and then and to walk out with a shiny V&A bag). I definitely found a few books to add to the list, which I will be leaving at strategic points around the house come Christmas time. What are your thoughts on the V&A museum; have any of you visited when you've been in London? I'd thoroughly recommend going; not only is there fashion but the different rooms provide unexpected sources of inspiration such as Sculpture, Metalwork and Furniture. I'll have to make a return visit before this exhibition's over...

Bianca paid me back for something in cupcakes, which I'd love to happen again, despite the health implications.

I think a cupcake label needs to be added to this blog. After visiting the exhibition, I felt the familiar cravings I get after something fashion related, but knew that the usual haunts were too far away. Bianca had mentioned earlier that the Hummingbird Bakery had opened a branch nearby, but we'd thought nothing of it until we saw a lady with one of their carrier bags. Like a true interrogator, I demanded to know where she'd got it, to which she replied that the desired destination was around the corner. After some confusion, we found it and somewhat delayed our return journey to pick up some treats. It was well worth it; there wasn't much variety left as we got there at 6pm, but luckily my favourite Red Velvet speciality were there (also Madonna's guilty pleasure I hear). I was probably the most excitable person in the place, getting some strange looks after I took this picture, but I just had to share another cupcake emporium. Maybe I should get baking again, as this habit is getting a bit expensive...

P.S Sorry for any crazy formatting, I have been using a combination of two different Blogger editors!

Follow on bloglovin...


  1. Amazing post, the V&A has always fascinated me, one day I'll get there!

  2. These are all gorgeous designs, so inspirational!
    And of course those cupcakes look lovely too ;)

  3. ooooh looks like such an amazing exhibition! i definitley need to visit :) i especially love all the knitwear!

    thanks for the sweet comment you left on my blog - blogshops are definitley the way forward lol! ive got my own but everything sold out - i need to restock it by the end of the week... i have lots of vintage beauties to put up, but the problem is finding the time to do it!

    ♥ Hannah



  4. Hellooooo you know what I live quite close to the V&A but I've only ever been once! I think I'm just not a museum person, I seem to get bored whenever I go into one.. I much preferred reading your summary here hehe

    But maybe I'll give it another go once I'm back from holiday!

  5. Chunky knits + Red velvet cupcakes equals love


  6. Hey I posted below on your 1.Wo/Man post.
    I'm covering this graduate exhibition soon for a magazine! Looks quite good? ?
    Following your blog too btw - it's ace!

    M x

  7. I've wanted to visit that museum for years now!! One day I'll make it to london...

  8. The dresses are quite rad! :)

  9. oh this is great stuff! wish i could visit London and go straight to the V&A.. since that's not an option, your photos are the next best thing! thanks for sharing all this.

  10. I wish all the muesums near me showed clothing instead of bad modern art!

  11. those are some beautiful looking cupcakes :)

  12. i love your style...

  13. great collection as always KB. this post is a long read but fun. i love the boots and the leggings a lot. :)

  14. Wow, I didn't even know this place existed up until now. I'm definitely going to have to pay it a visit some time in the new year or whenever I'm next in london! I love seeing how trends start out as sketches and concepts, later to be seen displayed on the mannequins outside our favourite high street stores. Almost makes me want to be a designer! p.s. I'm also very cold and desperately yearning for that massive cable knit right now! xo

  15. great post, inspring is the word!


  16. Hey =]
    Thanks for the reply!
    I will most definitely trying to knab some cupcakes...bit too tempting!

    M x

  17. Amazing post. I loved this exhibition too and adored those little collar necklaces.

    Also those cupcakes look amazing. I keep forgetting to stop by whenever I'm in London for some of those cupcakes. Yum yum!

  18. Those sweaters look so cozy and comf!

  19. Oh my goodness! The exhibition looks amazing! I want a giant knitted hat!! Great post!