Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood

The Fashion and Textile Museum |19th Sept 2014 – 18th Jan 2015

Standard Ticket: £8.00

Charting over 100 years of knitwear history, beginning with the functional garments of the early 20th century and spanning up to the experimental designs Julien MacDonald created for Givenchy and Chanel in the 1990s.

The 150 items of knitwear have been drawn from the collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield, which is on show to the public for the first time. Displayed chronologically, early exhibits include knitted sportswear popularised during the First World War and easy-wearing Chanel twinsets from the 1920s.

Moving onto the clothing restrictions and rations of the Second World War, the display explores how women became creative with old knitwear. Sweaters were unravelled and the yarn recycled to make new multi-colour jumpers which made a feature of the variety of wools used.

The transformation from functional to fashionable was complete by the 1950s, influenced in large part by its popularity with Hollywood stars and leading avant garde designers. Examples of the ‘cocktail sweater’ feature a defined waist and embellishments at the neck and shoulders, while the crocheted mini-dress epitomises youth quake style in the 60s. There are also items of brightly coloured ‘novelty knit’ with kitsch motifs; a hallmark of 1970s fashion.

Raquel Welch - 1967

Raquel Welch – 1967

Concurrent displays in the mezzanine and ground floor galleries include Visionary Knitwear – bold designs from the 21st century selected by Sandy Black from the London College of Fashion – and Knitwear in Fashion Photography, featuring pictures from magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Queen.

The Fashion and Textile, Museum83, Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF,
Tel: 020 7407 8664

Entry details

Tue – Sat, 11am – 6pm (Sun until 5pm) during exhibitions

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