6 June – 31 August 2014
Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street
When I found out about this exhibition I really wanted to go and see it. I have known the building for a long time – Designed by the Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta it brings some exotic charm to the area. Over the years I have seen the transformation of the building of being solely the home of Zandra Rhodes and her workshop, to Newham College London organising events here. The Fashion and Textile Museum was founded in 2003 by Zandra Rhodes and is now part of Newham College London.
Having lived in Mexico I am also always keen to see exhibitions about Mexican life.
I hadn’t been to the museum for a while; the last time I went for an Awards ceremony organised by Newham College.
So I set off from my house in Stoke Newington with the bus to London Bridge and had decided to walk the last bit. This is quite an experience as so much has changed and a visit to the Museum could definitely form part of a cultural tour. After Borough Market I walked past the Shard and soon entered into the Bermondsey area.
The Museum is highly visible with its typically Mexican colour and in the entrance there is a great map showing the Fashion Heritage of the area.
The leather and wool trades, as well as hat manufacture and glue production have historic associations on Bermondsey Street. Many of these traditional industries have disappeared, but the Street is a designated conservation area and retains much of its architectural character. A number of artists and creative industries are now based here If you want to do the Heritage Trail, you can find further information and a downloadable map here
The exhibition was a delight. It not only showed the rebozos and how so many Mexican wear one, from Fryda Kahlo to the farmers and designers today, but it also showed a taste of the Mexican life which is reflected in the crafts, modern designs as well as the typical Mexican colours.
The exhibition explores the key role textiles have played in promoting Mexican culture worldwide from the 17th century to the present day.
Throughout its history the rebozo has been appropriated by revolutionaries, artists, writers and collectors who have helped to shape the garment into a symbol of Mexican culture and identity.
In Spanish the word rebozo suggests the act of covering or protecting yourself.
The most famous person was artist Frida Kahlo (1907-54) who embraced traditional costumes as a political statement of solidarity with the workers of her country.
Still woven using traditional techniques, the rebozo remains an important part of contemporary Mexican life and it is celebrated because of the indigenous craft skills that are involved in its production.
The exhibition area very much complemented the exhibition with its unique colour scheme.
The curation was in the hands of a Mexican who had done a superb job.
It was also great to see a ‘shrine’ to the architect of the building, Ricardo Ligoretto.
I ended up in the café of the museum before heading home after a very rewarding afternoon.
Well worth a visit.
Mexican Greetings Cards, Wednesday 20 August, 2.30