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BIO

whatgrandmawore is a celebration of all-things fashion and its most iconic moments, written by Ruby-May Helms. She has a BA (Hons) in Fashion and Dress History, and an MA in the History of Design and Material Culture. She is currently in the process of applying for a PHD in design history, exploring the relationship between clothing and death. 

 

This blog explores fashion and dress history through the analysis of surviving garments and other material culture from museum collections. It discusses fashion theory, topical and current issues, and reviews the latest exhibitions. 

 

TO CONTACT: rubymayhelms@hotmail.com. 

 

You can follow us on our social media channels by searching for us on Instagram and Twitter.

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February 12, 2019

One could be forgiven for thinking that they were trespassing into The Dior Collection exhibition, held at Proud Central, London, from the 7th Feb – 7th April 2019. Quietly situated a close walk from Charing Cross station down a side street, The Dior Collection is held in an intimate, cosy, peaceful gallery space away from the bustle of the city, and other fashion devotees currently on fashion pilgrimage to the capital for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition. In comparison to the V&A, Proud Central feels like a hidden gem undisturbed by overwhelming crowds.

Proud Central’s The Dior Collection, is an exhibition of fashion photography showcasing garments from the House of Dior, including garments designed by Christian Dior himself, to his protégée Yves Saint Laurent, to Marc Bohan. The photographs, taken by Norman Parkinson, Bert Stern, Horst P. Horst, Mark Shaw and Jerry Schatzberg, offer a view into the world of haute couture, from slick editor...

April 24, 2018

Fashioned From Nature could not have come at a more critical time.

Increased environmental awareness has finally seemed to resonate with the population. Hopefully, and crucially, it will and has made people aware of their own behaviours; how they personally impact the planet on which we live, and share. Reactions to programmes such as BBC’s Blue Planet demonstrate the outrage which is now felt towards pollutant and waste materials such as plastic. Human disasters such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in 2013 prompted a widespread reassessment of the fashion industry and called for changes to the production of fast-fashion. I doubt that there could ever be a more poignant time to hold an exhibition detailing the fashion industry’s relationship with nature and the environment. It has become vital to address and discuss humanity’s past and present manufacturing and consumption behaviours - before it is too late to reverse the catastrophic effects that the demand of fashion has on...

December 23, 2016

‘Vulgarity exposes the scandal of good taste.' - Adam Phillips

Exhibition poster for The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined Exhibition. Image Credit: The Barbican. 

It's quite unusual to find the works of Madame Gres, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, and Christian Dior, amongst many other cherished designers in an exhibition titled The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined. The Barbican Art Gallery has installed a fashion exhibition deliberately designed to question our ideas of taste and vulgarity, depending on the various perspectives taken by the wearers, or viewers.

(Although the above and below dresses do not feature in the exhibition, the works of Alexander McQueen are perfect examples for discussions surrounding the concept of the vulgar, questioning ideas surrounding beauty and femininity.) Alexander McQueen Voss dress. c2001. Red and black ostrich feathers and glass medical slides painted red. Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Yo...

August 19, 2016

Last week I took a trip over to Amsterdam. Having already visited before, I had gone to see the Van Gogh Museum, but this time, I wanted to see more.

There were five museums in total that I decided to travel to. For anyone else who wants to spend their holiday at some of Amsterdam’s most fascinating, famous, and at times freaky museums, I would advise for you to buy a Holland Pass. Using Gold tickets for the bigger museums (like the Rijksmuseum) and Silver tickets for smaller attractions (such as Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution), this is the easiest and most convenient way to skip queues and save money. You can buy your passes depending on how many museums you wish to visit, and collect them at the airport (and other locations within Amsterdam).

Tassen Museum Hendrikje – Museum of Bags and Purses

By far one of my favourite museums (although biased because I am a fashion history student), the Museum of Bags and Purses consists of over 5000 objects, all thanks to the passion of co...

July 5, 2016

We are now on Twitter and Facebook!

You can follow us on Twitter as we post our various and favourite images of couture fashion and accessories at @whatgrandmawore (https://twitter.com/whatgrandmawore) 

OR you can like us on Facebook via our page - A Fashion History Blog: whatgrandmawore 

To give you a preview of what we post on Twitter, here's a photograph of a beautiful Paul Poiret dress, 1921, courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York...

You're welcome. 

May 21, 2016

Last month I took a trip to Berlin with my university. I had heard many great things about the city; that it was spacious, modern and full of artistic culture. Indeed, my visit proved that Berlin is an up-and-coming city with much to offer. With such a colourful history to say the least, Berlin is a hodgepodge of Cold War buildings and meticulously formed modern architecture. Youth definitely influences Berlin wherever you travel within the city. I of course took photographs of all the places I visited, however this is not always an option in museums (as rules are rather strict, with some museum assistants insisting that you keep coats and bags in the cloakroom. Therefore if you visit these places, remember to behave yourself). I have made a list of some of my favourite museums that a young visitor to Berlin should definitely make the effort to visit.  

 

Kunstgewerbemuseum

 

The Kunstgewerbemuseum is a must see for all art/decorative art/fashion history students. At first glance...

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