London show celebrates modern age design innovation

Wed May 9, 2012 11:51am EDT
 
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By Rachael Getzels

LONDON (Reuters) - The Jaguar E-type, an LED dress and Concorde lead visitors through the last 60 years of British design in this summer's flagship exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Delving deep into its collection, the museum has put on display examples of British innovation, some of which have never been shown before.

Everything from household knives and forks, to a Sex Pistols' album cover takes you through the last six decades, tracing the art school movement from the utilitarian mundane to the rock-n-roll rebels.

Coinciding with the 2012 Olympics, the exhibition reaches back to the "austerity" Olympics of 1948, creating one of the first shows exclusively about Britain's post-war design culture.

"In a time of great anxiety over the recession now, I think it is interesting to look over those 60 years and see how Britain responded to recession before...it is a complicated development and much creativity has come out of these moments of great discomfort," curator Ghislaine Wood told Reuters.

The moment when design becomes art is captured in the dimly lit "subversion" room where pastel minidresses make way for safety pins and punk spikes.

Fashion designer Hussein Chalayan's fantastically impractical, but deeply symbolic egg-shaped dress of 2000 brings this message to a head, and still looks modern today.

"We commissioned that piece 13 years ago and it's an astonishing piece of design that makes you question the role of fashion and art and the way that the boundaries of these disciplines are really breaking down," Wood said.   Continued...

 
The Jaguar E-Type in an undated image. REUTERS/Victoria and Albert Museum