Invitation Strictly Personal: Fashion x Graphics

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On Saturday  I headed to Somerset house with the girls to see the infamous Beard exhibition. After showing our appreciation for Photography & hot bearded guys I persuaded Lucy & Nadia to accompany me downstairs to the Invitation Strictly Personal exhibition.

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Notes, sketches and invites collected by Iain.R.Webb, this exhibition is an insight into fashion graphics history. From shiny foiling, personalised handkerchiefs and tran tickets…

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…. to fluorescent die cuts (for Kenzo) and rustic keys (for John Galliano) – although for most, Fashion shows are about the clothes on the catwalk, to me as a Graphic Designer it shows that every detail matters. The Fashion shows concept has evolved from the standard ‘models walking down a catwalk’ to become a theatrical performance and experience. Anything could happen – stumbles, animals and celebrities – most recently we saw Zoolander 2 announced via the Valentino runway show at Paris Fashion Week.

But before the main event, the invitation sets the mood and standard for the show – everyone knows that first impressions are important, and they should excite and build hype for the collection. It began with standard stationery; a postcard, a logo or photo on card or maybe a flash of foil for a luxury feel.

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As fashion pushed the boundaries, the invitations followed suit – wax seal stamps, collages, crazy masks and psychedelic holographic paper…

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…although not all invites are so considered, just look at this from a Vivienne Westwood show:

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It was great to see design considered from a fashion perspective for a change – the two go hand in hand, although sometimes they feel very separate. Graphic Design can be so timeless and so temporary – invitations are not necessarily made to be kept, but if these things are thrown away decades of design can be lost forever. It’s a good job that there are some hoarders out there… myself included!

The exhibition is intimate, interesting and FREE – get yourself to the Great Arch Hall (South Wing) before next Sunday (22nd March) to see for yourself.

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