Artist Textiles at New Lanark
Horrockses Fashions epitomised the traditional cotton summer frock in the 1940s and 50s. They were considered affordable, but were also worn by celebrities including the Queen, Princess Margaret and Margot Fonteyn, and the fabric was often designed by well-known artists. The dress on the left uses fabric by Alastair Morton and the other two are by Graham Sutherland.
The dresses and fabrics in this post are part of the exhibition Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol which began life at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London in 2014. Since then, it has been to the Netherlands, the USA and Canada, and now it has arrived in Scotland where you can see it at New Lanark until 29th April. Follow the link for details – I highly recommend it. Three things amazed me – how many of the artists I had never associated with textiles, how different their designs were to their other work, and how many of the garments could be worn today without looking out of place. See what you think!
A final selection
As with all the images, clicking to enlarge will reveal artist, title and date.
Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments. I would love to have that very first dress by Alastair Morton – and the waistline to carry it off!
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Now that you’ve mentioned it, it does make total sense that artists could and would design fabric patterns.
Although I like many of these as pieces as art, I don’t think I would particularly like them as fabric – ie the Picasso Carnet – and I’m surprised by the Warhol designs. I would never have matched them as his work – ie butterflies – but I do like the buttons 🙂
My favourite though would have to be the John Piper, Chiesa de la Salute.
It never occurred to me before this exhibition! I liked the Piper designs too, and agree about Warhol. Not a soup can in sight 😉
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Thanks for sharing these beautiful simple cotton prints. It was really interesting and inspiring. I’m a textile design and I love simple floral prints in mid 20 century.”Jade”
Thank you for visiting – I’m glad you found your way here and enjoyed it.
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This is a great post Anabel. I love the concept of juxtaposing art and fashion in general, and love some of these dresses in particular. I am particularly drawn to the Henry Moore dress but that is probably because I lived in Kansas City for a few years, which has a wonderful collection of Henry Moore sculptures in a sculpture garden. I also love in your last batch of images, the very last black and white design/fabric. There is an African design feel to it, which feels both modern and remindful of traditional African patterns. Overall, lovely post.
Thanks Ben! I found this a truly fascinating exhibition and liked almost everything.
Very interesting to read about well-known artists designing fabrics. I’m partial to the two John Piper patterns at the bottom.
Yes, I like them too. More understated than some.
On July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, I visited New Harmony in the state of Indiana. New Harmony was established by the same Robert Owen who managed the mill in New Lanark:
Oh, interesting! I didn’t know about his American ventures. New Lanark is a fascinating place.