The Walker Art Gallery
is getting stylish with the opening of a new touring exhibition fresh from Londons Victoria and Albert Museum
(V&A). Exploring the relationship between contemporary fashion and global sportswear brands over the last 20 years, Fashion V Sport runs until until 31 May 2009.
Divided into four sections, Dare, Display, Play and Desire, the exhibition guides the visitor through a range of styles, outfits and objects to reveal the creative connections which interlink factors affecting the way we dress today. Pauline Rushton, curator of costume and textiles at National Museums Liverpool said:
Liverpool has a reputation as a fashion conscious city and is especially well known for sports-related fashion. The influence of the street has always been very important to the citys wardrobe and were often adapting and customising trends especially where sportswear-turned-leisurewear is concerned. From the label-obsessed football casuals on the terraces in the late 1970s and early 1980s to todays designer-loving WAGS, weve been quick to create our own style. Its therefore not surprising that the city is the first venue for this touring exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.
Displaying around 50 outfits and 120 objects including contemporary sportswear, streetwear, accessories and shoes, the exhibition reflects the convergence of fashion and sport, showing the extent to which designers take inspiration from each other to score hits on both the catwalks and sports fields.
Designers such as Stella McCartney, collaborating with well known sports brands like Adidas, illustrate sportswears popularity as a fashion statement. Fashion V Sport shows how designers such as Dries van Noten and Vivienne Westwood have reworked original sportswear staples such as the grey jersey tracksuit, redefining them as high-end must-have fashion items.
The Dare section looks at how sportswear is rated highly as an essential part of the modern wardrobe. With the lines becoming blurred in the use of sportswear for its main purpose, sports technologies are being integrated into every day fashions, and the exhibition highlights the struggle that has developed between traditional and innovative design.
The sections Display and Play highlight the street as the most crucial space where sportwear is worn as fashion. Particularly relevant to Liverpool, it is common practice to wear a t-shirt of a certain colour, not only as a piece of casual wear but also to pledge allegiance to the football team you support, therefore making the t-shirts purpose two-fold.
These sections trace the customisation of sports fashion including a jacket reconstructed from sections of Nike clothing by cult designer Dr Romanelli, and show how the creativity of customizers such as I-Saw and Nash Money has been embraced by global superbrands.
Desire features examples of advertising campaigns for fashion brands, including sports personalities such as David Beckham and David James modelling for Armani along with designer sporting accessories including a Paul Smith-designed snowboard and Chanel fishing bag.
This final section also uncovers the world of sportswear obsessives, from collectors who own hundreds of pairs of trainers, to the Japanese fashion designer Hirofumi Kiyonaga who has created a brand named after his virtual football team Football Club Real Bristol, for which he designs two fashion collections each year.