Exhibition: The Chic Geek Visits Museum of London Docklands’ Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style
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While the City of London location is closed, the Museum of London Docklands has opened a new fashion exhibition looking at the valuable Jewish contribution in making London the world’s most fashionable city.
From East End tailors to the couture salons of the West End, Fashion City tells the stories of Jewish makers who became leaders in their industries, created some of the most recognisable looks of the 20th century, founded retail chains still on the high street today, and dressed the rich and famous- from David Bowie and Princess Diana to Mick Jagger and Muhammad Ali.
The exhibition is a story of two halves, cleverly connected by the 1900 Central Line. The beginning is more austere and based in the deprived East End. It’s a look at the immigrant beginnings and the transferable skills fashion offers incomers. The clothes are darker, more everybody.
The second half is a journey to the bright lights of London’s West End. When Jewish names became household names – M&S, Moss Bros and Wallis. The standout room is the 1960’s Swinging London dominated by Mr Fish and his menswear contemporaries. From Kipper ties to men’s kaftans, with a matching soundtrack featuring the famous customers of these brands, it is a dip into the peacocking Sixties.
The exhibition touches on a few things that were explored at the Jewish Museum’s Moses, Mods and Mr Fish: The Menswear Revolution in 2016, but elaborates with womenswear and stops at the 1970s.
This is a very well thought out exhibition that feels domestic and relatable because of the many individuals telling their stories. Clothes and fashion are something everybody can relate to, and seeing many Jewish names that you have never heard, alongside coats worn by Princess Diana or Dot Cotton, makes this a further fashion education.
The Jewish community has made a huge contribution to London’s fashion scene and continues to do so today.