Mods, Rockers, Hippies and Punks: we’re all familiar with the prominently stereotyped subcultures of the late twentieth century and their associated signature attire, but where did they come from and how did they help shape a generation of youth?
Pop! Design. Culture. Fashion, the latest exhibition to be housed at London’s Fashion & Textiles Museum, explores the significance of popular culture (or ‘Pop’) between 1956 and 1976, and the impacting relationship amongst music, film, fashion and art during this twenty-year span.
The exhibition itself acts rather like a three-dimensional time line, beginning with when the “youth bomb” first exploded onto the scene in the early Fifties. Signifying the start of a new post-war world, the Fifties created a social and revolutionary change, but it also introduced a new cultural phenomenon; Rock ‘n’ Roll. Assorted exhibits originating from this period are displayed within the museum’s downstairs show space, highlighting the influence from cult films such as Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle as well as the seminal sounds from iconic musicians including Gene Vincent and, of course, Elvis Presley.
With the arrival of each new decade, Pop’s centre of gravity travelled from city to city, country to country: The Sixties were spent swinging in London while San Francisco initiated the psychedelia of the Seventies. The exhibition chronologically guides viewers through this journey ending with the anarchist age of Punk. For each era an extensive range of original art, fashion, photographs and memorabilia are displayed, taken from one of the most comprehensive private collections of its kind. Notable artifacts include items from Elton John’s personal wardrobe, autographed photographs of The Beatles and early pieces from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s infamous King’s Road boutique, Sex.
Pop! Design. Culture. Fashion. is on now until the 27th October at the Fashion & Textiles Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London.