Friday, 25 April 2014



My favourite exhibition ever is finally making its way from New York to London. The record-breaking "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" will open it's doors at the V&A in Spring 2015, it was announced yesterday.

Back in 2011, I visited NYC with the wonderful Yolita (check out her fashion blog!). For months we had been planning our trip and top of the list of must-sees was the McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum. We arrived just in time for the last weekend of opening. Luckily it had been extended a week, for us, of course! Or we would have totally missed this most incredible show.

We queued for six hours to get in. Sounds crazy, but it was 100% totally worth every single second. The exhibition collates McQueen's work right from his 1992 MA graduate collection to his last works completed in 2010 and is a vast yet detailed showcase of his amazing creations.

I am so excited to seeing this exhibition again. No doubt I will definitely make good use of my Membership card and go at least once a week!! I might even turn up with a picnic and just stay in there all day!!!

Here are a few of my sketches from my visit in 2011... to see more have a read of my post from around this time last year.

For more information and to book your tickets super early, here is the V&A exhibition page for "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" opening 14 March 2015 - 19 July 2015.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Tudor Costume Progress

The Tudor Costume is coming together nicely! So far I've half constructed the doublet and trunkhose, done a fitting and now I need to do the final seams and more detailed pieces like the panes and puff sleeves... Here are a few photos of my progress so far, more to come soon!

Here I was cutting out the front pieces, and tailor tacking the seam lines. 
The jerkin in the painting has three large slashes on either side. To create these in a solid and neat way, I made a facing for each. This is mostly because the fabric is very thin and frays easily - for a costume that needs to last quite a while, it is more practical to make large slashes this way, rather than leaving a raw edge.
I am makign the doublet and jerkin as one garment. Underneath the jerkin slashes you can see the doublet, so I have used the same fabric as I will use for the sleeves underneath the black silk. I tacked this panel in place.
After these stages, I needed to add canvas to these front panels, to give structure. The back pieces are plain, but when it comes to sewing the seams I will add some piping to emphasise the silhouette.

To learn more about the incredible wall paintings that are inspiring this Tudor costume, you can visit the Much Hadham Forge Museum in Hertfordshire: www.hadhammuseum.org.uk

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tudor Costume - Patterns and Plans

I've done a few drawings as a plan for how I will make the Tudor man's costume. I will make the doublet and jerkin in one, and the trunkhose as another garment...

I will start by making the jerkin park of the top costume piece, in black with slashes showing white underneath (top two sketches). Then I will construct the sleeves (shown in the bottom sketch) and add ruffs and cuffs. 

I have chosen to work from the pattern on p 96 of 'The Tudor Tailor' by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies, which I will alter here and there (mostly to the trunkhose panes and I'll add a short puffy oversleeve) to make it more accurate to the costume depicted in the painting. It is a very good starting point though as the shapes are pretty similar.

To learn more about the incredible wall paintings that are inspiring this Tudor costume, you can visit the Much Hadham Forge Museum in Hertfordshire: www.hadhammuseum.org.uk

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Metropolitan Opera Internship Diary - Part 4, Interview

While I was away in New York, I was interviewed by my university (London College of Fashion) for their student news page on what it was like to do an internship abroad. Here is the full interview - I hope it gives you a little more insight into my experience and advice for other costume students. 

Which company are you working for and what is your role?
I am spending five weeks in the Costume Workshop at The Metropolitan Opera, New York. My role is to assist production supervisors, assistants, shoppers and visiting costume designers.
What made you want to take work experience abroad?
I wanted to take the opportunity to explore a city, other than London, where I could see myself living in the future. The Metropolitan Opera is one of the most famous and respected performance venues in the world. Award-winning designers from all over the world come to work at this large and busy theatre, producing costumes for a huge range of productions. In the short space of one month, I would not only learn a lot but be introduced to so many people in the industry – it was an opportunity I just couldn’t refuse!
How has the LCF Careers team supported you in securing this opportunity and throughout your work experience?
I first heard about the internship at the Metropolitan Opera through LCF Careers. When I started the application process I needed to write my CV and Cover Letter and the team were an incredible help. My application was transformed from boring stereotypical CV to unique and memorable – I don’t think I would have stood a chance without their help!
What has been the highlight of your work experience so far?
As an intern, I was able to watch dress rehearsals and evening performances of the operas. Seeing the costumes hanging in the workshop that I had been working on come to life on stage is great. I saw “Die Fledermaus”, a new Met Opera production which was absolutely, incredibly beautiful, and was then able to talk to the designer’s assistant at work the next day - that was amazing!
What has been the highlight of working abroad?
The highlight would have to be meeting so many new and inspiring people who are so welcoming and supportive. I was so surprised to meet people from London too, who I hope to work with again in the future. This experience has been a massive boost for my confidence and has given me even more drive to succeed.
How do you think this experience will help you develop?
Any internship or work experience is the best way to learn. Being in a professional environment in one of the busiest places in the costume field definitely threw me in the deep end! My confidence has grown and I am beginning to understand what the life of a costume designer is really like. This is helping me to define what I want from my career and how I can make it happen.
How does your work experience build on the learning you’ve done as part of your degree?
It was great to see skills that we have been developing in class used in a real work setting. Even little things like seeing the same equipment or books used is really interesting and most of all seeing how an expert has tackled the tasks you are given at university is really inspiring and motivating.
What are your professional ambitions for the future?
In the long run my dream is to become a costume designer. I am not sure if I prefer film or stage, but this experience has educated me in which direction I would like to go in. The first step after I graduate would be to start assisting designers, and this internship has given me the contacts to go ahead with that.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt so far?
The most valuable advice I was given when I was on my placement was to stay open, positive and determined. Keep working hard towards your goal, make sure you share this and talk to the people around you. Ask questions, learn from them, make connections with people and hopefully they will help you on your way.
Why did you want do your placement with this organisation?
The Metropolitan Opera is a world-class venue. Although I did not know a whole lot about opera, the Met is known for its grand costumes and scenery, many productions by my favourite designers. I knew that going there would be the best place to find inspiration and make the connections in the industry that I need to take me further.
What is your top tip to students looking for professional opportunities within the industry?
Most of all, be open and willing to share your dream, desires and enthusiasm with others. You never know who you could be talking to, or who they know, so just one sentence to say that you are enthusiastic about something can change your path forever.
What is your top tip to students who want to take work experience abroad?
Make sure you research the role that you will be given and the logistics of doing an internship abroad – visas (wait time and fees), accommodation, travel expenses (not just flights!). Of course, grab hold of the opportunities in front of you, they are so exciting! But make sure that you don’t get any surprise last minute stress!

You can see the interview in context on the London College of Fashion website.