24 August 2012
London College of Fashion
Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion
Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion is pleased to announce Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion, which launches the 2012/13 programme of exhibitions and events.
Framed! is one of the first solo exhibitions of its kind to examine the cultural significance of contemporary eyewear and celebrate the rise and rise of fashion’s ultimate luxury accessory. It will feature over 200 frames – some never seen in public before – loaned from public and private collections, eyewear companies, fashion houses and bespoke makers.
Visitors will be transported into the glamorous world of eyewear – from the outrageous, bold, oversized and unusual, to the practical, sleek, and handmade. On display will be iconic frames by British companies like Cutler and Gross, Oliver Goldsmith and Anglo-American alongside world-renowned brands such as household names Ray Ban, Moscot – a favourite of Johnny Depp, Cazal – immortalised in the 1980s by Run DMC - and newcomer Stevie Boi – who counts Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj as fans.
Other featured brands include Kirks Originals as immortalised by Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon in Batman, Alain Mikli, A Morir, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Carrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Linda Farrow, Gianfranco Ferré, l.a. Eyeworks, Mercura, Mykita, Paloma Picasso, Pierre Cardin, Pierre Marly, Polaroid, Police, Prabal Gurung, Prada, Pucci, Silhouette, Tatty Divine, Theo, Thierry Lasry, Viennaline and Versace.
This exhibition will chart the fascinating story of eyewear via archival imagery incorporated into a newly commissioned timeline by Emily Alston. The exhibition design depicts eyewear’s historical development from the mid-twentieth century until the present day, emphasising its role within fashion imagery and popular culture exploring how celebrities, actors and personalities have adopted spectacles and sunglasses as part of a signature aesthetic.
The potential for eyewear to be more than just a practical solution for poor eyesight and a chance to make a personal style statement was recognized as early as the late 1600’s. C.W. Dixey & Son, whose distinguished clientele included, Sir Winston Churchill, seven Kings and Queens of England, Napoleon Bonaparte and Emperor Qianlong of China, were among the earliest to incorporate diamonds and platinum into eyewear and create lavish one-off pieces for Europe’s Royalty. By the 1940s designer spectacles had appeared on the cover of Vogue. However it was the aesthetic and material experimentation of dedicated eyewear designers such as Oliver Goldsmith, Pierre Marly, Paulette Guinnet and Wilhelm Anger throughout the 1950s that brought decorative eyewear to the masses. Archival footage will show the “Regency Room” in London which allowed ladies to create bespoke eyewear under the guidance of an ex-catwalk model.
Bringing the story up to date and showcasing the new vision, the exhibition will feature catwalk collaborations and new experimental prototypes by Bernhard Wilhelm, Erdem, Giles, Thomas Tait, Jeremy Scott, Chloe McCormick and NODH, Edward Gucewicz, Emma Montague, SPIT Design and Studio Swine. Frames include pieces not yet available such as American label Eye-bobs collaboration with fashion doyenne Iris Apfel, to launch in 2013.
Pushing the boundaries of what eyewear can be, the front entrance of the gallery will showcase a giant pair of frames by Nairobi-based artist Cyrus Kabiru. Known as C-STUNNERS, Kabiru’s conceptual works lie somewhere between fashion, sculpture, wearable art, performance, and custom-made commodities. Each is made from found objects, incorporating beer caps, shoe polish tins, glass beads, scrap metal and reclaimed spectacle parts into visually captivating representations. Made over the course of several years, these works are deeply entwined with Kabiru’s own personal narrative and the narratives of his community. A photo-call of the work being installed will take place in early September (for more info contact the press office).
Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion will be the first in a series of show exploring elements of fashion - objects and concepts often overlooked in the context of contemporary fashion exhibitions. While these objects have fluctuated at the edges of the fashion system, this series will demonstrate the integral role they play in the history and development of the industry. These exhibitions will also explore how their visibility and varying status serve as indicators of the complex relationships between cultural tastes and values, advances in design and manufacture, fashion imagery and patterns of consumption.
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