We love a good exhibition in Manchester, and a new one that’s coming to town is Unpicking Couture. Showcasing spectacular high-end fashion at Manchester Art Gallery, Unpicking Couture celebrates pioneering creativity and design from some of the most legendary designers in the world, past and present, all in one exhibition.
Created by influential designers and fashion houses, each outfit represents a groundbreaking moment in fashion and includes works by Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, Bruce Oldfield and Alexander McQueen.
The two main themes of the show are: investigating the links between fashion and emotions, in the form of dopamine dressing which encourages dressing for joy, and focusing on repair and restoration, inviting us to consider the lifecycle of a garment and the way it is valued and cared for.
Revealing the recent restoration of a 1930s silk velvet jacket by Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, Unpicking Couture promotes sustainable approaches to repairing and preserving much loved and well-worn clothes.
The garments will be on display for the first time ever, made possible by a National Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures grant from 2015-20. Unpicking Couture will expose the work that underpins the care of dress collections through a mediative time-lapse film that captures the process of dress mounting and how the craft and skill involved mirrors the work of dressmakers and couturiers.
Innovative display techniques for the exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery have been developed in conjunction with Dr. Jeff Horsley from the Centre for Fashion Curation, London College of Fashion including dynamic visual and spatial strategies and a focus on the making of the exhibition.
These lively modes of presentation provide encounters for fashion as stimulation and immersion, enabling slow looking and inspiring conversation. Part display and part studio space, Unpicking Couture activates ideas around the value and care of collections, sustainability, expression of self, making and creativity.
Unpicking Couture will be open to the public at Manchester Art Gallery from 21 July until January 2024, and entry is free and unticketed.
You can find Manchester Art Gallery at Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL.