Friday, 19 October 2012
As well as having shops and permanent gallery space, Salts Mill in Saltaire hosts some temporary exhibitions. This is 'Wool re-fashioned' - an exhibition of vintage garments and contemporary clothes. (On until 11 November, so there's still chance to see it if you're local. It's well worth a visit if you like clothes.)
Students and staff at Leeds University School of Design, in collaboration with The Woolmark Company, have selected pieces from the Yorkshire Fashion Archive. The dozen or so items, from the 1940s to 1980s, all have some connection to Yorkshire and range from designer labels (Ossie Clark, Issey Miyake) to high street (Laura Ashley, M&S) and exquisite handmade wedding dresses. After studying how the garments were constructed, the students have reworked the ideas into modern pieces, using wool cloth with slightly unusual trimmings like leather and metal. They showed some very creative touches: one dress had pretty sleeves that seemed to be made from leather, laser-cut to look like lace. Each pairing was accompanied by notes, drawings and photos.
A couple of the vintage dresses were made from moss wool crepe, a fabric I don't remember having seen for years. It sent me all misty-eyed, remembered one of my own favourite dresses of all time, a pale blue wool crepe mini-dress, high-necked with balloon sleeves and deep cuffs, and a pretty velvet ribbon tie at the waist. It was the first dress I bought entirely of my own choice when I was about 15 (in the 1960s) and I felt SO good in it! I really wish now that I'd kept it until it was vintage. Though it wouldn't fit me now...