Swinging London – A Lifestyle Revolution
Terence Conran – Mary Quant
Fashion and Textile Museum
08 February – 02 June 2019
Swinging London – A Lifestyle Revolution will take you back in time to a period (1952 -1977) when London was pretty much the centre of the world when it came to youth fashion, bold design and radical art, with a bunch of young architects, designers, photographers and artists shaking off the dark days of war and shaking up the establishment at the same time. Two names of the so-called Chelsea Set stand out: Mary Quant and Terence Conran. Rare and early examples of their work is on show along with many of their contemporaries like designers Bernard and Laura Ashley, sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi and artist and photographer Nigel Henderson.
This exhibition presents fashion, textiles, furniture, lighting, homeware, ceramics and ephemera and explores not only the style of the era, but the socioeconomic importance of this transformative period.
It also explores the creation of trailblazing shopping experiences, from Mary Quant’s rebellious London Boutique ‘Bazaar’ to Terence Conran’s ground-breaking ‘Habitat’, which combined the theatre of the Chelsea Set’s with the relatively new phenomenon of ‘serve yourself’, supermarket shopping.
Swinging London – A Lifestyle Revolution is presented in the form of tableaus, showcasing fashion and lifestyle and highlighting a new trend of the area, the Continental style, which was becoming more and more popular with the increasing availability of inexpensive foreign package holidays and films with exotic European settings and which inspired a plethora of bars, bistros and cafés in London.
The exhibition also shines a light on the lesser known early work of Bernard and Laura Ashley. Bernard’s textile design ‘Jazz Players’ was probably the first example of a ‘pop’ textile and Laura’s smocks, aprons and easy to wear ‘basic dress’ have become design classics. Also showcased are ceramics by W.R. Midwinter, jewellery by Wendy Ramshaw, textiles by David Whitehead and lighting by Bernard Schottlander.
Swinging London – A Lifestyle Revolution is must for anybody interested in design and fashion, bringing to life a truly innovative era in London, the origins of pop culture and how fashion, music and art were used to change society.
The Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF
T: 020 7407 8664
Opening times: Tues to Sat 11am – 6pm, Sun 11am to 5pm
Last Thurs of month open until 8pm
Last admission 45 min before closing
Tickets: £9.90 adults, £8.80 concessions, £7.00 students, free for under 12s