For anyone whose visited the Fashioned From Nature exhibition now on at the V&A museum, you'll be happy to know that show's ethics keenly reflect its conceptual concerns. Proportion London produced eco-friendly display figures for the exhibition, which explores both how the environment has inspired designers, and the sustainable innovations that aim to preserve its future. The result is concrete proof that the industry can become more environmentally aware without losing its provocative edge.
The long-standing relationship between Proportion and the V&A enabled them to work collaboratively to create befitting, sustainable solutions for display. Innovative fabrics that have a less harmful impact on the environment were used to create the figures. A biodegradable papier-mâché was formulated to make the mannequins’ heads and bodies which were covered in conservation grade paper, supplied by the V&A.
The museum’s in-house fashion specialist, Lara Flecker, and costume conservator, Deborah Phipps, worked together to produce environmentally-friendly figures to suit the slim-running, mix of 16th, 17th and 18th century garments that include an 1860s muslin dress, decorated with the green wing cases of hundreds of jewel beetles.
Instead of crafting the figures' pin-up hairstyle styles from synthetic fibres, papier-mâché hairdos were hand-sculpted onto the heads, which is the first time this intricate method has been used. Eliminating the need for man-made materials, the technique also adds character to the earthy-toned clothing that demonstrate how fashionable dress was, and still is, heavily inspired by the beauty and power of nature.
You can read Oscar Gaynor's review of this latest exhibition in the newest issue of Selvedge, the Lace Issue.
Fashioned from Nature, until 27 January 2019
V&A Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL