On my way home from the British Museum I took the opportunity to visit the V&A’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, expressly to see ‘The Alice Look’ exhibition (2 May – 1 November 2015). This was rather a small affair, but certainly worth seeing.
The Alice Look press release states: ‘2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of one of Britain’s best known and most-loved children’s books, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To mark the anniversary, the V&A Museum of Childhood’s display The Alice Look will bring together garments, photographs, rare editions and illustrations to show Alice as both a follower of fashion and a trendsetter. Using book cover designs by Vivienne Westwood and Japanese Lolita clothing, The Alice Look will show how Alice has always embraced contemporary style.
‘Magazines, photographs, posters and fabrics, as well as a
compilation of films and still shots, show how a vast array of people dress like Alice or wear clothes adorned with her image. American Vogue's Annie Liebovitz shoot featuring Natalia Vodianova and styled by Grace Coddington sit alongside images of Lizzy Jagger in GQ. A selection of fabrics and supporting artwork from the Liberty Spring Summer 2015 Alice-themed fabric collection demonstrate how Carroll’s work continues to excite and inspire. There is also be a film showing clips of pop videos and catwalk shows inspired by Alice, featuring Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne and Aerosmith among others.
‘Global Alice combines costume and text to show how Alice’s appearance
alters according to her location: Provençal Alice wears tropézienne sandals and a sundress, whilst a Swahili Alice dispenses with crinoline and opts for a local kanga. A complete Lolita-style outfit from 2011 will show the pervasive influence of Alice on Japanese sub-culture.’
Here’s a photo I took of Josie Smith’s Alice dress – a dress literally made out of fiction: a 3-D version of Alice’s Wonderland outfit using fabric printed with text from the book.