Rule Britannia

'The UK is a hub for international design talent'. At least, that's what the exhibition 'Fish and Chips Twice Please?!' is attempting to prove. Directed and curated by Emma Bell and Polana Dolzan, me and Nikki stumbled upon the display in the Museums Quartier in Vienna. With no prior knowledge of the exhibition at all, we were, typically, attracted by the bright colours and pretty patterns that we could see exploding from one of the smaller corridors in the right-hand corner of the large square that composes the Quartier.

What we found inside was a vibrantly decorated set of rooms, lined with garments that seemed to have been inspired by different takes on quintissential 'britishness'. The british seaside was a common theme. As was afternoon tea. Many of the designes were extremely creative; I loved the dress that was made from imitations of various typical british foodstuffs -cakes, chips, strawberries. Although the designs were not serious in the sense of being easily wearable, weather-appropriate etc etc, they were an haute-couture, comical take on what it is to be British.

It was only looking up the exhibition when I got home that I realised that we'd actually seen work by seriously respected and coveted designers. We did recognise the selection of beautiful Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, displayed in glass cases, surrounded by clay mushrooms and shrubbery.
But we didn't realise that the exhibition displayed pieces by such up-and-coming British designers such as Piers Atkinson, Louise Amstrup and even Louise Gray. I've been a fan of Louise Gray since I saw this collection:
I wonder which pieces were her creations? I'm thinking it might be the cake-chip-strawberry dress.

Although with hindsight we might have made the exhibition a destination rather than something we simply came across, it was a really nice suprise to stumble upon something so interesting. The directors could simply have focused on updates of British classics, such as the trench or the mac, but using Britain itself as an inspiration was much more innovative, and required a much higher level of creativity (sorry, I know that sounds hideously pretentious). It was also pretty cool to feel a bit of brit-love in middle of Austria.

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