Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Costume Confessions

Now before you go thinking this is turning into a personal drama blog, read on and be assured you are in for some rarely seen costume history material culture. And a big dose of the marketing of fashion history by Britain's most famous luxury department store.

That brings me to the confession. I've only been inside it once, and that was to use the loo on my first trip to London nearly fifteen years ago.  Now, living here for the past five years, I haven't ventured in, even for a pitstop. Liberty lures me often, but I have never been ensnared by Harrod's
That said, I have instead become terribly smitten with a pamphlet Harrod's produced in 1949 to celebrate its centennial. And just how did they publicize this event in retail history? Not with a sale or splashy ad campaign, but with a costume exhibition! As this practice is currently in vogue, with stores and brands like Jaeger and Marks and Spencer mounting academic exhibitions of their material archives, it is a perfect time to have a closer look at this early example of retailers linking contemporary fashion to its history.

How I have come to discover this exquisitely designed brochure, and to shed some scanner light on it, is my second confession.  I borrowed this item from the small but brilliant library at The Motley Theatre Design Course where I studied.  Then I put it in a file of things to look at later. Two years later.  So, thanks to this blog, it has come to the top of the list of things to share, and thus I can now return it to Motley with humble thanks and embarrassment.  To Motley, and to Percy Harris who built the library and has inspired generations of theatre design students I dedicate this post.

Without further ado, or further comment:
 Harrod's 100 Years of Fashion

Hope you enjoyed this forgotten treasure, a look at fashion parallels worth remembering.
And thus with a clear conscience, I may just treat myself to a visit to Knightsbridge.

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