Sunday, 10 August 2008

Review - Sport Vs Fashion


As declared on Thursday I hauled myself out of bed on Saturday morning (even though the weather of London was grey, depressing and wet) all because the excited child in me wanted to get my provisions of an Americano and a Chocolate Twist from Costa and travel down to South Kensington to visit the Fashion Vs Sport exhibition. Now, here is my review:

It frustrates me to say that I left this exhibition feeling a little deflated. Perhaps I was expecting too much in return from my five pound investment...but in these so called recession times one has to look after every penny. This had nothing to do with the size of the exhibition. That was perfectly adequate and they had a number of interesting pieces - namely Aitor Throup's work. For me, it was just a room with a number of somewhat related pieces...possibly second or third cousins of each other...left on standard display with not a great deal of thought about them. The exhibition was divided into four sections, dare, display, play and desire but I challenge anyone to able to distinguish between these four elements once inside this exhibition - there was only one section with a few standout highlights. Unfortunately, these highlights were not fully explored. The element of the exhibition which I was most interested in seeing was the construction design element. This alongside the buyer as collector idea for me, is what makes sportswear so interesting and worth having an exhibition on. Function and high performance are of primary concern in the design of sportswear, with companies investing a considerable amount of time and money into researching performance-enhancing garments and footwear. The flaw of this exhibiton is that how can you really display this idea using a standard mannequin accompanied by a credit card sized note? Enough of my critical ramblings...let's leave it with...I just expected more from the V&A...the recent Couture Exhibition was so well done and this was certainly lacking an element of the imagination and attention to detail which went into that exhibition.

Now onto what I liked...

I desperately wanted to see the work of Aitor Throup in the flesh. I have slightly obsessed over his site and the images I've seen online but have never actually seen his well crafted work up close. Aitor Throup’s 2006 MA collection, “When Football Hooligans Become Hindu Gods”, is a three-dimensional comic that communicates the story of redemption and transcendence told through fabric structures that are based on a platform of football casual. It was the highlight of the exhibition by some way.
For the reasons behind this collection it is easiest to let the man himself explain - “The more technical fabrics provide a sense of British culture, but more specifically of the C.P. Company and Stone Island – led ‘CASUAL’ or ‘FOOTBALL HOOLIGAN’ sub-culture, specifically of the late 80s and the 90s (On which the over-all aesthetic of the collection is based). My work is generally very structured and technical (in terms of construction), to the extent of being sculptural. Using traditional wools, such as Harris Tweed, not only creates yet another unexpected contrast against the structural aspects of the pieces, it also facilitates the moulding and distortion of the fabric by using traditional (tailoring) heat application techniques.”


For his first collaborative project with Stone Island, Aitor Throup has created not only a special edition concept piece, but he has helped generate a new generic approach to garment construction. Based on his own on-going questioning of conventional garment design and manufacture techniques, Throup has defined a construction process that defies conventional pattern making and sewing methods and it is well worth seeing this up close. I just wished that they explored this further within the exhibition. Throughout the exhibition there are hints of ideas but they are never fully realised or explored which is a crying shame.

Aside from Throup, the exhibition has made me want this Visvim pea coat. I've always liked the pea-coat style, but they can be too wide and too heavy - especially if they get wet which is often the case living in London! Like the shoes and boots that they have done so well in recent years, the Visvim version cuts down on the weight, improves the performance with Gore-treatment and tweaks the style. I especially like the contrast taping on the interior (apologies that you can't see this detail in the above image).

I will leave you with one of the strangest things I saw. A Channel Fishing Rod. Mindbloggling priced at around thirty thousand pounds, the curious initiative was apparently Lagerfeld’s personal tribute to Coco Chanel and her love of the relaxing sport. The kit includes a Chanel rod and a set of meticulously tied, monochrome Chanel flies, (complete with the famous “double C” logo on the gossamer wings) presented in a rather fetching, quilted black leather box. Who buys things like this?

5 comments:

Kyle said...

Wearing a sporty yet fashionable dressed is the one I like most..
It's comfortable yet a trendy clothing..

giancinephile said...

Aitor Throup's work is mind blowing!!!!

Jaiden_James said...

The whole exhibition seemed rushed like no effort nor thought had gone into at all for such a large arena that sportswear is there could have been alot more clothes from alot more labels reebok was absent which is a bit weird as it is one of britians leading sportswear

Anonymous said...

I went to this exhibition last week; I was fairly disappointed, as I was relying on it to give me some inspiration for my personal Study. Firstly I was annoyed that there were no kind of postcards to make up for the fact that there was no photography (I know that this is normal for an exhibition, But there is normally postcards) Secondly there was not smell. Maybe it had worn off 3 months after the start. And thirdly I like to go to exhibitions where I can read not just about the pieces themselves but ideas; these are what help them flow from one section to another. It was like one block of clothing slightly resembling sport, as apposed to 4 separate section that flow one to the other depicting how fashion has influenced sport and Visa versa. Overall I was quite under whelmed!!

Sports Reviews said...

Good article to show the importance of fashion in sports.

Also see Leryn Franco Catwalk Photos

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