“If silk is the queen, cotton is the aunt and linen the uncle, then wool is the king!”
Wool is a much overlooked fibre in fashion and design on the high street but, luckily, a new exhibition is showing how this flexible fabric can keep us warm in winter and cool in summer while also looking fabulous. Curator Charlotte Lurot has brought together an amazing array of pieces from top designers around the world to highlight just how beautiful wool can be. ‘Sculpted, knitted, tailored, draped, embroidered or woven, the unifying thread is the remarkable use of wool in every piece,’ she said. ‘The objective is to showcase wool as perhaps the most diverse, sustainable and desirable of natural fibres.’
Not only does the exhibition show you how creatively wool can be used by conceptual artists and fashion designers, it also allows you to get up close to some of the world’s top fashion designers’ work and marvel at the exquisiteness of it.
The knitted wedding dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 haute couture collection is rarely on display, and getting a chance to see the work that was put into such a beautiful piece – made of 150 balls of wool and six metres of silk-satin ribbon – is fascinating.
Other designers’ work that you can see on display here include Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Sonia Rykiel, Lanvin, John Galliano, Julien Macdonald, Giles Deacon, Erdem, David Koma, Christian Lacroix, Burberry and Alexander McQueen.
The beautiful designs of British knitwear designer Mark Fast can be seen in all its glory when up close and looking at the intricacy of his work that is designed to hug a woman’s body while also abounding in interesting texture and structure.
The Sleeping Beauty dress by Kinder Aggugini is ethereal and combines delicacy with raw wool yarns. ‘The idea was to represent Sleeping Beauty as she falls asleep under a spell and gets entangled in her own bundle that she was spinning,’ Kinder said.
HRH Prince Of Wales is the patron of the Campaign For Wool. He is putting on the exhibition and was on hand to launch the exhibition on Wednesday night. Joining him was his wife Camilla, The Duchess Of Cornwall, Colin Firth and his wife Livia and fashion photographer Mario Testino. Designers Julien Macdonald and Vivienne Westwood were also at the star-studded party.
A Celebration Of Wool In The 21st Century exhibition, 8th-29th September 2011, La Galleria, 5b Pall Mall, Westminster SW1Y 4UY, 10am – 6pm Mon-Sat, entry is free.