Stacey Richards, an M.A. Fashion student at London College of Fashion, writes about her experience of curating the library’s January display:

I was given the opportunity to curate the glass boxes, within the JPS campus library. The theme for January was Tailoring, an area I have a strong interest in from my freelance work as a military costumier. At first it was a little daunting, but at the same time it seemed like a great experience to take. My first meeting was to discuss the idea of tailoring and to get a feel for the items I would have access to. The head of the Special Collections, Elizabeth Higgs, met me with me towards the end of December to work through my ideas and to show me what I could use to curate the spaces.

After this first meeting, some planning was need and more in-depth thought was given. We met again just before closing for the Christmas period where she had kindly pulled the items I was interested in using for me to see.

Then the day came for me to actually get to work and put my personal idea of tailoring into the glass boxes. I had decided to a woman’s box and a man’s box as the Special Collections had some really stunning pieces that would suit this idea.

The large single tier box I decided to use for the woman’s display, for this I wanted to include my own personal Alexander McQueen unfinished tailored jacket. For me, this piece really put across the notion of tailored construction. In the box also is the Visionaire issue 58, which is the tribute volume to McQueen. I used the images within the box to form the base for the objects. The case is set up with tailoring items and some of the archives women’s construction books. I had the idea of using my own pattern pieces and drawing on the glass using chalk pens. I wanted to incorporate more of the feeling of making and being in the making environment into the space. From then I moved on to the men’s tiered box, for this I wanted to start with modern ideas of tailoring and then move down into more traditional works on the subject. Again the Special Collections has some beautiful pieces to include, one such piece was an Artist book, which is at the very top of the case. I simply loved the Visonaire collection we have and so included the issue 35 Man. I also mixed in issue 20, which was about Comme des Garcons. Then the space moves into traditional shirts, waistcoats, military attire and ends on pattern cutting.

The experience is one I really enjoyed, and despite initial nerves of exactly what I should do, I would love the chance to do something similar again.

By Stacey Richards, MA Fashion, London College of Fashion

Image Credit: Stacey Richards