From the 13th January – 24th February, TheGallery at The Arts University Bournemouth is channelling the look of the orient, with a stunning exhibition of garments, images and objects which examine the changes in Chinese Fashion during three distinct periods of the 20th Century.
‘Fashion Revolution China’ is curated by Anthony Bednall, Head of the School of Design at the University. Many of the exhibits have been archived by Anthony over a ten year period when he lived and worked in Beijing. His aim with ‘Fashion Revolution China’ is to focus on the narrative of the clothing; each section within the exhibition has its own unique beauty and includes hand-crafted embroidery, evidenced in the early and modern pieces, functional conformity and contemporary fashion brand development. As Anthony commented ‘This exhibition is embedded within my own experiences of working and living in Beijing where my fashion-design background was challenged through many creative projects that I undertook in an ever-revolving fashion arena where tradition and culture are as firmly rooted in the Chinese fashion world as innovation and change.’
Interwoven amongst the clothing and visuals are personal stories that not only give background information and individuality to the garments but reflect the tremendous changes that took place in China both socially, economically and politically.
After the demise of the Qing dynasty due to the 1911 revolution, social reform led to a change in dress codes. This was characterised by a greater freedom of expression for women, resulting in the development of the now iconic ‘qipao’ dress, which had its roots in traditional wear but became, like men?s fashion of the time, influenced by the Western style of dress. Often ornate and beautifully crafted the ‘qipao’ became, by the 1930?s, the most fashionable style of female dress in China.
Contemporary China is now the second largest economy in the world and has nurtured its own fashion industry. As well as manufacturing garments for internationally recognised brands, local designers are creating beautiful collections and extravagant fashion events, which reflect new found wealth and global engagement.
Fashion Revolution China is free to visit and is open in TheGallery every day except Sundays. In conjunction with TheGallery, WestBeach Restaurant in Bournemouth will be exhibiting unique artwork from the Fashion Revolution China exhibition. Please visit their website for directions, www.west-beach.co.uk.
The exhibition, which launches with a Private View on Thursday 12th January, is being accompanied by a publication which illustrates the background and narrative to the garments that are being exhibited. The Private View includes an overview by Anthony Bednall, in conversation with Zhao Yan, a descendent of the family who owned many of the exhibits on display. To attend the private view, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on this visually stunning exhibition, please visitwww.aucb.ac.uk/thegallery