Jane Holt (Senior Research Fellow, Archives, LCF and DATS Regional Rep for London) gave DATS members from London and beyond a wonderful chance to explore an archive which not only documents the history of fashion, but also the evolution of the college itself.
As the visit revealed the collection is extremely diverse, encompassing archival material; garments; shoes; textiles; photographs; journals; paper patterns, and even a selection of Mary Quant makeup from the 1960s. There is plenty to tantalise anyone with an interest in the design or construction of textiles and dress and LCF students are encouraged to examine everything up close, and in detail. Specific highlights included: the personal stories and passions revealed by archives such as the Anne Maile Tie and Dye Archive; demi-couture items designed by Thea Porter and Victor Stiebel (the archive also holds some of Stiebel’s sketchbooks); and the Cordwainers’ shoe collection, which demonstrates that the soles of some shoes can be as beautiful as the intricately decorated uppers of others!
The wide variety of material from the collection has been added to the VADS website. The Archives are available by appointment only, but can be accessed by researchers and curators who are not part of the college. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.