In 1986, Blitz magazine commissioned a group of 22 British designers to customize denim jackets provided by Levi Strauss & Co. The jackets were exhibited at the V&A and auctioned in aid of the Prince’s Trust on 10 July 1986.
The V&A now has nine of these jackets in its collection. The Museum is keen to reunite the complete set of jackets for its new summer 2013 exhibition Club to Catwalk: London fashion in the 1980s and wants to hear from anyone who bought one of the other 13 jackets and has them tucked away in a wardrobe, or who knows of their current whereabouts.
The Blitz collection provides a unique snap shot of the most fashionable and creative designers working in London in 1986.
The V&A’s Head of Fashion, Claire Wilcox, is trying to track down the jackets designed by John Galliano, Rifat Ozbek, Bruce Oldfield, Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith and Katharine Hamnett. There are also jackets by Jasper Conran, Betty Jackson, Jean Muir, Joseph, Enrico Coveri, Eric Bergere for Hermes and Mark and Syrie that have yet to be located.
The V&A has in its collection the denim jackets customized by Body Map, Jacques Azagury, Richmond Cornejo and Bernstock Speirs. Vivienne Westwood’s jacket has LED lights, Leigh Bowery’s is covered entirely in golden hairpins and Culture Shock’s is tailored and fitted. One of the most extraordinary is Stephen Linard’s which has a removable hip flask, handbag and patisserie set. There is also a small denim jacket hat designed by Stephen Jones.
Claire Wilcox said: “It would be wonderful to reunite this collection of jackets at the V&A exactly 27 years after they were first auctioned here. This collection encapsulates the best of London fashion at that time. We have a set of sketches from the designers, but it would be very interesting to get all the jackets back together for the exhibition in the summer.”
The V&A’s fashion exhibition for summer 2013, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, will explore the creative explosion of London fashion in the 1980s. It will look at how the impact of underground club culture was felt far beyond the club doors, reinventing fashion worldwide.
More than 85 outfits by designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett will be on display together with accessories by designers including Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox. The exhibition opens on 10 July 2013 and runs until 16 February 2014.