Missoni Art Colour Exhibition • Fashion and Textile Museum
I spent a great day up in London recently and visited Missoni Art Colour at the Fashion and Textile Museum, in Bermondsey Street. The exhibition cleverly brings together over 60 years of fashion with paintings by some of the leading 20th century European artists plus previously unseen works by Ottavio Missoni.
Before you see the exhibition, you're invited into the screening room, where three screens give a you a great insight into exactly what it takes to make a Missoni garment - from selecting the initial colour combinations - playing with various knit structures - the yarn spinning of the yarn - the computerised knitting machines in action which produce the beautiful knitted fabrics - pattern cutting - building up the collections - then on to backstage at the shows where you see hair-do's being styled, make up artists at work, dressing the models, all of which culminate in the catwalk show.
The exhibition itself starts with a selection of paintings by 20th century artists, and it was really interesting to see how they had helped to influence the individual style of Missoni. The painting above, by Giacomo Balla, I thought was a really good example of a work of art which had very obviously influenced the Missoni style, you can easily imagine this as a knit structure, and the colours too work beautifully together.
The paintings, lead you through to the main room, where you're greeted by 42 mannequins, all of which are perfectly positioned on a pyramid of stairs, each showcasing clothes designed by the brand from 1953, when Ottavio and his wife Rosita formed Missoni, right the way through to 2014.
Grouped as they are, the mannequins really are very impactful, you need to stop and take your time to take in all of the details in each outfit.
None of the pieces look at all dated. In fact, it's hard to tell which styles are from what decade, as you can see from the mannequins shown above. Factory noises are used as a soundtrack in this room, and the lighting, turns on and off, row by row, both which add to the drama and atmosphere of the exhibition.
Upstairs, there are original sketches for fabric designs and initial colour ideas, knitted fabric swatches, together with works of art by Ottavio Missoni himself.
Definitely an exhibition worth seeing, particularly if you're a Missoni fan, or simply interested in fashion, it runs until 4th September, 2016.