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UAL Research Online

Material Evidence: London Haute Couture 1947-1957

de la Haye, Amy (2007) Material Evidence: London Haute Couture 1947-1957. In: The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957. V&A Publications, UK, pp. 89-111. ISBN 9787851775217

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: de la Haye, Amy

The text analyses the creative expression of London’s couturiers; the industry and their client base between 1947 and 1957. It also – and without precedent - identifies the significance of museological processes of acquisition and the interpretation of surviving clothing as material evidence. The author thus intervenes within several disciplines including historiography, fashion history, industry, material culture and museology.

Primary research processes involved collaboration with Lindsay Evans Robertson (formerly designer with couturier John Cavanagh) who provided detailed technical information. Analysis of museum accession documentation permitted a critical differentiation to be made between the dress donated by clients (evidence of commercially successful designs) and those presented by a couturier (as exemplars). Investigation of international dress collections, couturiers paper archives, autobiographies and high fashion magazines provided insight into how representative the surviving clothes are of each couturiers output; self and mediated interpretations of their work and sited surviving garments within a fashion context. The text also brings to the fore work of couturiers eclipsed within fashion history and exhibitions.

Research into Lachasse’s sales ledgers resulted in the unequivocal re-dating of a suit (for book and exhibition) from c1947 to 1954 and revealed evidence of the client’s purchasing habits over a period of years and prices charged.

The text also examines immateriality by identifying ‘gaps’ within the V&A Collection. This work presents new empirical evidence and proposes a new methodology for the critical examination of museum garments.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Amy de la Haye

Research Interests

Fashion in the context of the museum
Fashion and dress history 1850 onwards
Material culture/object-based analysis
Women's Land Army

Current Research

I am writing a book, with LCF colleague Judith Clark, on the discipline of curating fashion for Yale University Press. As a trained dress historian and museum curator I will explore history and current practice and Judith, as a qualified architect and exhibition-maker, will focus upon design and installation issues. It centres around the 1971 Cecil Beaton exhibition at the V&A. To be published 1912.

With Valerie D. Mendes, I am writing a book about the archive of the House of Worth, which is housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It contains evidence about the couture house’s later, and lesser known, history from the 1890s through to the 1950s and its recent revival.

I would like to develop another curatorial project, possibly on fashion in the Edwardian era.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: V&A Publications
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Research Centres No Longer Active > Fashion, The Body And Material Cultures Research Centre (FBMC)
Date: 2007
Related Websites: http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1486_couture/index.php, http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/15396.htm, http://www.vam.ac.uk/files/press_release/35043_press_release.pdf
Related Websites:
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 21:46
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2016 13:23
Item ID: 1740
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1740

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