Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Ordinary icons? Stories of modern design

What started as a Boiler House Project in the basement of the V and A, organized by Design Museum founders Stephen Bayley and Terence Conran in the mid 1980s, was originally conceived as a pioneering ‘pop up’ museum.  But London’s Design Museum has ended up storing several thousand items, which will become a permanent display when the Design Museum’s new Kensington premises open in 2015. The entire top floor will be dedicated to icons of 20th century design in a free-entry exhibition.  Meantime, from tomorrow, a snapshot of the permanent collection that will be on show can be seen at the current Shad Thames location. 150 items from the Design Museum’s collection feature in the exhibition: Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things.

We mentioned the trend towards ‘immortalization through fashion’ in a previous Curious Trends post - and, for lovers of fashion, this show includes a sample of some of the 400 pieces donated by Design Museum trustee, Jill Ritblat. Her generous gift contains items by many of the world’s leading designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake, Ungaro, Belville Sassoon and Vivienne Westwood, spanning a period from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s.

The exhibiton showcases an eclectic mix of artefacts, but the fashion pieces on loan for this show - including a Victor Edelstein satin brocade dress and a Jet Set of St Moritz ski suit - are fairly middle of the road in terms of style.

These aren’t necessarily the sort of designs that would have inspired or transformed the habits of a generation, unlike the original iMac, the red telephone box and the Bic biro, which are also featured.

At a press briefing, Design Museum Director, Deyan Sudjic, was at pains to point out that fashion isn’t just frivolous – it’s functional, and a contributing part of the economy too.  “Design is not the same as art,” he also said. So where does art stop and design begin… or vice versa. And what exactly is ‘design art’? I’m curious to know.

PS  Why not add to your own fashion collection with this curiously classic designer vintage Belville Sassoon dress from ShopCurious...

No comments: