Issue 13 Costume
AS A WONDERFUL SUMMER draws to a close those glorious barefoot days are replaced by crisp Autumn weather and the need to add a few more layers. Of course it’s not necessary to reach straight for a coat: cosy knitwear can offer the perfect transition and we have lots to tempt you in our roundup of felt and woolies. Wrapping up in cashmere or fine alpaca – "the cashmere of the Andes"– is almost worth the loss of summer. Treasured by Inca royalty, alpaca fibre is stronger, softer and warmer than wool, yet lighter. Peru has the world’s largest population of Alpaca and a textile history that stretches back for millennia. Spending less time outside means we can return to neglected cultural pursuits. To remind you of what you may have been missing we feature Erika Turunen and The Finnish Ballet. We also visit Freed Ballet Shoes and discover the pain behind the performance. The cinema can be a refuge in colder months and the Oscar winning costume designs of Emi Wada and Edith Head have ensured we find there an escapist fantasy of glamour and beauty. Legends in costume design past and present, they worked in different genres but both created unforgettable screen images. You don’t even have to leave your house to shop! You can treat yourself to some unusually nice things from our new collection of Selvedge objects. If you are determined to venture out, visit one of the great events in the London Design Festival. We profile several makers who will be exhibiting at these events: James Donald, Maiko Dawson, Tait & Style and Prilly Lewis at Origin, Both textiles and Jocelyn Warner at 100% Design at Decorex and Borderline at Focus. Finally I would like to thank everyone who has replied to our readers survey. Your comments have been illuminating and you will see a few subtle changes over the next couple of issues. One interesting discovery was that our readers are pretty evenly split between those new to textiles and those of you with a long-standing passion for the subject. Having a diverse audience is good for the magazine and great for textiles.
We asked our contributors to tell us about their most memorable costume drama.......
The comedic and sympathetic characters in the Merchant Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s "A Room With a View" stand out as the most charming and relevant ever. I can't say the month of "Joon" without a bow to Mr. Beebe. I can't think about this movie without laughing. Each relationship is marked by beautiful moments of awkwardness and elegance. JOANNA DOLAN INGERSOLL
Charles Dickens is my favourite, especially those dramas set in and around London such as ‘Our Mutual Friend’. I love the sense of place and the acute observation of class distinction displayed through language, manners and clothes. The BBC has done him proud over the years attending to the vivid descriptions and detail. I have watched them all. LIZ MANSON
As a complete romantic I'm drawn to Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice. Beautiful and tragic. The clothing plays a distinct role – quite literally a cover-up. It marks the artifice of society – the gloves, the hats, Dirk Bogarde's buttonedup three piece suit – yet underneath life with all its swirling emotions goes on and even the tightest laced whalebone corset can't contain it.
Polly Leonard, Founder, Selvedge Magazine