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This weekend, I made my twice-yearly pilgrimage to The Fashion and Textile Museum and I wasn’t disappointed. This time it was to catch the closing weekend of the Made in Mexico exhibition, which was a complete delight.
The museum itself was set up by designer Zandra Rhodes in 2003 dedicated to all aspects of fashion and textile design offering an on-going programme of displays.
It only has one main exhibition space…but boy do they make the most of it. I’ve never been disappointed. Nestled on Bermondsey Street amongst hipster coffee shops and tremendous boozers (a trip to Bermondsey street wouldn’t be complete without a pint at the Woolpack in their beer garden…come rain or shine!!) you can’t miss the museum with its brightly coloured pink and orange exterior.
Alongside the exhibition space, there’s a highly packed gift shop with merchandise mirroring the current exhibition, and a very good cafe, Teapod, offering 20 loose leafs teas, coffee, cakes, breakfasts and lunches, which is always earns bonus points for me.
They’ve made excellent use of the space, each exhibition using every spare corner or wall, with a mezzanine level for overspill plus their in house studio and workshop. They run a fashion school from here with short courses and workshops featuring couture techniques, pattern cutting and drawing vintage fashion; Talks and events such as Viv Albertine talking Punk, and for the more serious fashion apprentice, Foundation Diplomas and Museum Studies. The place does have the feeling of a university, with students work scattered about the place, and easy clean floors!
The eagle eyed amongst us will also spot a small but sweet shrine from his daughter to the Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta who designed the museum with Zandra, which is his first and only building in Europe.
This most recent exhibition, Made in Mexico was an in-depth look at the Rebozo shawl, which I did think was a little on the extravagant side…having a whole display about a shawl but how wrong could I be!? The Rebozo is a distinct part of Mexican history, reflecting cultures and styles of difference areas and traditions of the country, and is seen as a symbol of national identity, which some claim should be the flag. It’s used from birth through to death at every stage in Mexico: birth; courtship; marriage, death; mourning. Its wrapped around a baby and its mother to stay secure, and at death an Aroma de Luto of herbs is placed in it and wrapped around the deceased for their journey to the afterlife. It’s represents the circle of life. I’ll never look at a scarf in the same way again.
The poster child of the Rebozo is Frida Kahlo (a fave of mine) so there are lots of references, photos and artwork relating to her life along the way, making me wistfully daydream of a way in which I can wear an Escaramuza and fresh flowers in my hair to the office.
Coming up next, they have the Chanel to Westwood Knitwear display looking at vintage pieces of the 20th Century, and kicks off on the 19th September through to January 2015. One for the diary then! And with each ticket you buy, you receive a 241 for the next exhibition so no excuses! I wouldn’t need to be asked twice anyway…
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am–6pm
Thursdays until 8pm
Last admission 45 minutes before closing
£6.60 concessions / £5.50 students
Children under 12 are free
London Underground: London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee Lines.
Due to roadworks in the London Bridge area, please use the Tooley Street exit from the station. Bermondsey Street turns off Tooley Street to the right. St Thomas Street is closed until 2018.
Mainline Rail: London Bridge