Hidden away behind the grey controlled buildings of South East London I discovered a shining, luminous pink beacon that houses the cutting edge in contemporary fashion and textiles design. Aptly named the Fashion and Textile Museum, the neon landmark currently plays host to the exhibition of , ‘Sue Timney and the Designs of Timney-Fowler,’ until the 25th
Knowing very little about Sue Timney and her designs, I had managed to maintain a negative attitude to the world surrounding postmodernism, holding it responsible for the high street fashion industry that perpetually rapes and regurgitates everything from the 1950s upwards in a never ending tired cycle, leaving nothing but a tired, bland pastiche of the past 60 years.
Walking into Sue Timney’s World however is anything but tired and bland. Opening the discreet side door emblazoned with the Timney-Fowler clock beckons you into another form of time and space, a place where neo-classicism meets Roxy Music. Futurism, optics and bold monotones are key. As you enter, images of Sue Timney dressed head to toe in black and white stripes are placed next to etched vases showing the uniqueness of a brand that seems to blend effortlessly between fashion and interiors.
Japanese calligraphic brushwork and tartan is met with the romantic discipline of classic etchings and Roman architecture, that show not only an appreciation of the past (which Sue Timney herself likes to call ‘borrowing’) but enforces just how strongly the designs stand alone from the pop colours of the 80s and away from the heavy shoulder pads that were loaded with flammable fibres. Instead all the fabrics shown from curtains to detailed printed shirts are made from the softest silk, enticing the public to interact with the objects on display.
The work may appear as niche gothic frivolity is challenged with a timeline that demonstrates the demand of Timney-Fowler. Collaborations with the avant garde fashion powerhouses Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, to the commercial stores of House of Fraser prove how strong the desire is for such a unique designer brand is even as it enters its 30th Anniversary.
I strongly recommend to see this exhibition, even as a tool of escapism into a different away of aesthetically looking at the world, a world which I was on my own in, as despite Timneys popularity the space remained empty – making me wonder if the Fashion and Textile Museum acts quite literally as the proverbially pink Elephant that no one realises is there.
Sue Timney and the design of Timney-Fowler Exhibition
At the Fashion and Textile Museum London
Until the 25th April 2011