This skirt is that special it has its own press release: Skirt 340, Diamond Breeze
Individualism and Identity: British Textile Designer Alison Willoughby’s latest work challenges tradition at Made in Mexico: The Rebozo in Art, Culture and Fashion
Visionary textile designer Alison Willoughby will showcase her latest work Skirt 340, Diamond Breeze at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London this summer. The exhibition, the first of its kind, will celebrate the history and cultural significance of the Rebozo, the iconic Mexican garment principally made famous in the twentieth century by artist Frieda Kahlo.
Willoughby’s innovative design, which stems from her philosophy of garment as art, shares a fundamental and organic relationship with the Rebozo: both being no more than a single uncut length of traditionally woven fabric that achieves significance and meaning only when wrapped around the human form. Other confluences appear in the use of stripes and pattern, traditionally emblematic in the Rebozo’s construction and in that of Willoughby’s work where they represent her obsession with basic forms – a line, a shape, a texture - which together become greater than the sum of their parts.
Yet the word Rebozo itself, derived from the Spanish verb “to cover” offers a further layer of interpretation: that of cultural identity. Traditionally utilised to distinguish geographic areas and social classes Willoughby chooses to cast a post-modern gaze on the garment’s historical concept, covering her piece with a peculiarly idiosyncratic assortment of influences - a doll’s head, a water pistol, a fairy wand, a bunch of cherries. Whilst all are strongly reminiscent of Mexico’s cultural rituals of adornment they nevertheless also retain a strong sense of individuality - the flotsam and jetsam of life made extraordinary by being filtered through a singular and highly personal experience. The result is as much a statement of the self as it is a celebration of ubiquity.
Alison Willoughby is a distinguished alumnus of the RCA and has enjoyed a prolific career with commissions from high profile clients including Liberty of London, the British Council and Habitat, as well as exhibiting and educating worldwide.
Skirt 340, Diamond Breeze will exhibit at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London, from 6 June – 30 August 2014.
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Wiz Wharton 2014