11 November 2014 – 11 January 2015
Daily 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.15)
Open until 21.00 (last entry 20.15) on Thursdays from 27 November
31 December 10.00-16.00, 1 January 12.00-18.00
Across the site
Fashioning Winter looks at elements of fashion trends in cold climates from the early twentieth century onwards. Nine small displays are dotted throughout the public areas of Somerset House, coinciding with the ice rink. Commissioned by Somerset House Trust, each curator has created a display around the theme of fashion in winter, and winter leisure pursuits. A trail of discovery, visitors are encouraged to go on a journey through our historic building. With nine curators, each working in a different facet of curating fashion, the range of time periods and objects explored is a truly charming study of seasonal chic.
Drawing upon The Courtauld History of Dress collection of fashion journals, titles exhibited are Gazette du Bon Ton, Journal des Dames et des Modes and Femina from the 1910s and 1920s. This display explores the way graphic artists represented contemporary fashion’s suggestions for ways the modern woman could keep warm, while remaining stylish.
Focusing on the craze for ice skating in London during the interwar period, Behlen takes as her starting point a pair of skates from the 1930s in the Museum of London’s collection. The former owner skated regularly at the Streatham Ice Arena, one of the many indoor ice rinks opened in the capital in the two decades before the Second World War.
From the collection of EYE filmmuseum in the Netherlands these silent films show both everyday people and skating champions enjoying ice skating as early as 1900. This display is an opportunity for modern skaters at Somerset House to consider their part in skating history.
Postcards from the early 1910s, illustrated by the prolific illustrator Xavier Sager (of whom very little is known), depict the vogue for skating — on wheels or ice. Clad in the latest hobble-skirted mode, the women are portrayed as entirely modern, liberated by their sport.
This installation looks at how new materials, technologies and discourses have contributed to changing the meaning and function of the colour white within Western history. The installation design is inspired by the collaborative relationship between Josiah Wedgwood and Sir William Chambers, the architect who designed Somerset House in the 18th century.
This display explores the resonance that fairy tales and literature have within the autumn/winter catwalk show. Juxtaposing quotes from literature with catwalk shows, the visitor is asked to draw comparisons between the image the words evoke and the mise-en-scène the designer presents. Within each alcove are commissioned illustrations by fashion illustrator Stephen Doherty.
Hung around the Nelson Stair is a selection of Christmas cards made by photographer Angus McBean, who was celebrated for the inventive images he sent as season’s greetings over many years. McBean’s dashing style is evident in the design of the cards, as well as in his own appearance. Works on display are kindly loaned by Pierre Spake.
These objects have been selected to create a ‘capsule archive’ that condenses a century of skiing culture. They are exhibited next to a map illustrating ski destinations around the world and act as an aid to consider how key moments throughout the history of modern skiing have led to technological advancements in skiwear, and how the fashion for dressing and packing for the slopes has evolved throughout this period.
This display captures a snapshot of life for men in the British Armed Forces at the start of the First World War. Exhibiting cuttings from contemporary illustrated newspapers they depict men in fur gilets attempting to ward off the cold weather and grim battlefield conditions. In the centenary year commemorating the Great War, it is timely to reflect on the impact these images still have.
Join us on a candlelit journey around the nine displays of Fashioning Winter to discover the stories behind winter sports and style, both past and present.
Booking essential, limited places. Tickets are available at the Seamen's Hall Info Desk 30 minutes before each tour on a first come, first served basis