Last October, I went to visit the newly opened, Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A in London. The exhibition, curated by Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel, was originally set up to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Nehru gallery, a permanent exhibition of Asiatic art at the V&A. The exhibition explores the dynamic world of handmade textiles from India, with pieces dating from the 3rd century up to today. It showcases over 200 objects, from natural traditional cloths to luxurious royal costumes and textiles wall art. Through out the visit we are taken through 6 different rooms, each dedicated to a specific area of Indian Textiles’s industry. To start with, the first room is based on traditional Indian culture and making processes, such as indigo dye, print making and silk making, alongside wonderfully ornamented clothing. We then move on to look at the sacred textiles pieces owned by royalty.
The next two rooms show us the effect that global trade and industrialisation had on the fabric industry. Finally it ends on modern day fashion; there you see how designers, such as Manish Arora, are using and adapting traditional making techniques to create exiting new fashion.
I found the exhibition fascinating and learnt a lot about traditional techniques through wonderfully laid out videos and information panels that I have since used in my own work. I particularly liked the ornaments that were used to decorate, such as the beetle wings on one of the jackets or mirrors.The exhibitions ends this Sunday, so plan a visit to the V&A this weekend quickly if you don’t want to miss it!