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The project ‘explodes’ the mystique of the fashion design process in two ways. Firstly, it deconstructs the myth of the designer as sole creative genius by uncovering the intriguing role of the pattern cutter. Secondly, it reverse-engineers five historical designs by game-changing designers who were also innovative pattern cutters, digitally reanimating museum objects as moving images which visually narrate how these things were once made, and how they moved on the body. The designers are Madeleine Vionnet (1912-1939), Charles James (1928-1978), Cristóbal Balenciaga (1936-1968), Halston (1957-1983) and Comme des Garçons (1973-ongoing) and their garments are from the collections of the Palais Galliera (Paris, France), Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris, France), Costume Institute (New York, USA), Museum at FIT (New York, USA), Kyoto Costume Institute (Japan) and Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK).

Outputs include a major exhibition, a book associated with the exhibition, academic journal articles, a museum study day, several workshops, a fashion industry showcase, and an online project with a fashion media partner.

The research team consists of professional pattern cutters, historians, curators, and digital visualisers. Situated at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, the project bridges fashion design practice and academic history and theory, and draws on its expertise in both areas to produce innovative fashion thinking that is unique to London’s status as a fashion capital that excels in design, education and curation.


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Caroline Evans

Caroline Evans is a writer and professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins (UAL). She has published seven books and over 40 scholarly articles in the field and lectured widely at international design schools and universities. She has also acted as specialist consultant on fashion exhibitions at international museums, sits on the editorial/advisory boards of several journals, and is an Academic Advisor for the Bloomsbury Fashion Photography Archive. Her research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary fashion; gender and performativity; fashion and silent cinema; modernism; history of the body; pose and gesture; cultural memory; theories of vision and looking.


Alistair O’Neill

Alistair O’Neill is a writer, curator and professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins (UAL). He is a member of the Photography and the Archive research centre and sits on the editorial board of Fashion Theory. He has worked as a curatorial consultant for Somerset House Trust since the implementation of its contemporary exhibitions programme in 2008, focusing on fashion exhibitions. His research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary fashion; fashion photography in relation to visual culture; fashion curation and histories of display; London as a centre for fashion cultures.


Patrick Lee-Yow

Patrick Lee Yow is a Central Saint Martins alumnus, having studied and taught on the prestigious MA Fashion course. Since setting up his own business in fashion, he has redirected his career to teaching and is an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins working on the BA Hons, Fashion Print programme. He is also the Course Leader for Innovative Pattern Cutting for Graduates and Professionals, and for Fashion Folio, both at Central Saint Martins.


Esme Young

Esme Young studied at Saint Martins School of Art and was a co-founder of the iconic fashion label, Swanky Modes.  She now works in theatre and film and also teaches on the BA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins. Esme is also a judge on the 2016 and the forthcoming 2019 series of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee.


Isabella Coraça

Isabella Coraça is a dress historian and curator, having studied Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins, followed by Museum Studies at University College London. Isabella is Assistant Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, where she looks after the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection. She also works with the Modern European and Ethnographic collections at The British Museum, is a collections management and care consultant for private archives and universities, and a Guest Lecturer at Central Saint Martins. Her research interests include European ethnic dress; Brazilian beachwear; the relationship between dress and collective identities; curation and museology; material culture studies.


Liam Leslie

Liam Leslie is a graduate of Central Saint Martins, having studied both Fashion History and Theory and Fashion Communication. His work in informed by this dual background and combines theory, practice, still and moving image. Liam has exhibited his work across the UK and undertakes commissions for prominent fashion brands.

Prof Chris Breward – Chair

Director of Collection and Research at the National Galleries of Scotland and Visiting Professor of Cultural History at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh

Prof Chris Breward was appointed to the role of Principal of Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 when the Schools of Art and Design at the former Edinburgh College of Art merged with the School of Arts, Culture and Environment at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Vice Principal for the Creative Industries and Performing Arts at the University of Edinburgh. Christopher has published and curated widely on the histories of fashion, masculinities and urban cultures. He is a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland, Fruitmarket Gallery and Hospitalfield Arts, a Governor of the Pasold Institute and a member of the Advisory Board for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.


Prof Carol Tulloch

Professor at Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon (UAL)

Carol Tulloch is a writer and curator with a specialism in dress and black identities. She is a member of the Transnational Art, Identity and Nation Research Centre (TrAIN).She is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at V&A, a trustee of Autograph ABP and a Museum of London Academic Panelist. Her recent work includes the monograph The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African, The Persistence of Taste: Art, Museums and Everyday life After Bourdieu, the exhibitions Jessica OgdenStill, and Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism.


Prof Claire Wilcox

Senior Curator of Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Chair in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion (UAL)

Claire Wilcox is Senior Curator of Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where she has overall responsibility for collections, programming and research. She has published widely, most recently The V&A Gallery of Fashion, to accompany the refurbishment and redisplay of the Museum’s permanent fashion display for which she was Lead Curator. She was Lead Curator (V&A) for the Europeana Digital Fashion Project, is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and on the Editorial Board of Fashion Theory. Her research interests include 20th century and contemporary fashion; history of the V&A’s fashion collection and exhibition history; curation and museology; the psychology of appearances; fashion fiction.


Jane Munro

Keeper of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Director of Studies in History of Art at Christ’s College, Cambridge

Jane Munro is Keeper of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and Director of Studies in History of Art at Christ’s College, Cambridge. She specialises in European painting and drawing of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and has curated over eighty exhibitions, many, like Silent Partners, with an interdisciplinary emphasis, and several involving partnerships in the UK, Europe, and the United States. In recognition of her work developing cultural exchange with France, she has been made Chevalier des arts et lettres and Chevalier dans l’Ordre national du Mérite.


Sarah Mower MBE

Fashion journalist and critic for US Vogue, British Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent, trustee of the British Fashion Council Education Foundation and Chair of the NEWGEN committee

Sarah Mower MBE is a fashion journalist and critic for US Vogue and an advocate for young designers. She is the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chair of the NEWGEN committee, the scheme responsible for the rise of a constellation of design stars who show in London Fashion Week. A trustee of the new British Fashion Council Education Foundation, Sarah is a campaigner raising much-needed scholarships for the students who will contribute to the health of the industry’s future in all its developing areas.


Jane Shepherdson CBE

Fashion businesswoman, formerly Brand Director of Topshop

Jane Shepherdson CBE is a fashion businesswoman. She was the chief executive of UK clothing brand Whistles, and had been the brand director for high-street women’s wear store TopShop. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to UK retail business.


Niamh Tuft

Programme Manager, Fashion at the British Council

Niamh specialises in fashion history and curation. She studied English Literature prior to completing an MA in Fashion Curation, and is particularly interested in the intersections between fashion, literature, philosophy and cultural theory. Niamh has previously led on the British Council’s UK International Showcases programme, which includes the International Architecture Showcase and Design Connections. She continues to lead on the ever-growing International Fashion Showcase, and on programmes in Wider Europe.


Sam Gainsbury and Anna Whiting

Producers, Gainsbury & Whiting

Sam Gainsbury and Anna Whiting are the production duo behind Gainsbury & Whiting. They have produced a number of fashion shows, films and editorials, including several of Alexander McQueen’s most notorious shows. They have also produced exhibitions like the Alexander McQueen’s retrospective Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York (2011) and Victoria & Albert Museum (2015), and Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (2012).