A new exhibition at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House combines fashion and architecture. ‘Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture is an initiative organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and simply relates that we all live in buildings and wear clothes. Traditionally, however, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct. In recent years the two disciplines have merged and since the 1980s these two worlds have increasingly shared intriguing connections. Sharing materials, design methods and fabrication has inspired radical developments.

The exhibitjavascript:SetCmd(cmdSend);ion shows how over 50 internationally-renowned architects and designers including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid ‘fashion’ uildings and ‘construct’ garments.

Using video installations, portraits and costumes, it guides visitors through the intricacies of designing a modern ‘shelter’ – be it for the body, or for a community. A large-scale video of Viktor and Rolf’s ‘Bluescreen’ collection of 2003, in which moving images of urban landscapes were projected onto models pockets, collars and cuffs, is the jumping-off point.

The exhibition neatly captures the reworking of artisan traditions by latter-day Japanese designers, such as Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, who engineer their runway looks with pleats, cantilevers and stratified balancing acts between texture and volume.

But it also features some home-grown talent, with pieces from Alexander McQueen and the successful, fledgling couture duo Boudicca, whose pieces resemble buildings in themselves, with their cathedral-esque crinoline dresses, topped off with a pair of flying buttress shoulder pads.

The pieces brought together in this exhibition are universally beautiful in their complexities, and careful curation inspires links and divergences between the two disciplines. Specially selected new exhibits for London include work by Eley Kishimoto, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan.

The exhibition was designed for Somerset House by architect Eva Jiricna and features over 200 works including iconic garments, 3D architectural models and film footage.

After huge success in Los Angeles and Tokyo, Somerset House brings this exhibition to Europe to open the new riverside Embankment Galleries. The exhibition runs until August 10th. Tickets can be purchased on the day from the Embankment Galleries admission desk.

Image: Fashion meets architecture

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