Looking Back on History


Well 2016 has been quite the year for so many people. It will definitely be one that as we say "will go down in the history books". That's a strange phrase isn't it? I mean each year adds to history in some way, shape or form doesn't it?  I remember during the Watergate scandal time (gosh I'm dating myself now), my dad telling me to pay attention because "this is history in the making". I guess he managed to instil in me a way of viewing current events through the lens of how they might be seen in the years to come.


Maybe it's because I just got back from a trip to London, UK that has me thinking about history. One of the things that I love about that city is that as you wander the streets you can touch the layers upon layers of ages past. There are of course the buildings erected many centuries ago sitting side by side with some ultra modern contemporary ones, but what I really enjoy is how some get repurposed or incorporated into modern life. 


History is a subject that I have always loved and in fact was one of my favourite classes in school.  I wasn't the least bit interested in battle dates and heads of state, but rather what fascinated me was how people lived and how their thinking reflected their times. This meant that I wasn't really cut out to study classic history, but I'm sure that the aspects that interested me are now considered a totally valid approach. Something that amazes me is that as we delve further into any given topic we discover experts on really specific sub sections of the topic. I find it astounding to find that people make these passions their life's work....in fact I'm secretly (or rather not so secretly) envious of them. For example I just discovered that the Savoy Hotel on the Strand is considered such an important landmark that it has its own archivist - her name is Susan Scott. Now that must be a fun job!  


I was a little disappointed to miss seeing Ms Scott give a lecture at the Fashion & Textile Museum looking at the hotel during the 1920's. The lecture was part of the program that is being run in tandem with the current exhibition on the Jazz Age. I did however get to see the exhibition and it was really great - the cat's meow in fact. I'm always impressed by the exhibitions at this museum. They are so well curated and the displays are always so creative in their execution. And I just love how they select the extra curricular program which adds depth to the subject and brings it to life. In addition to lectures they are running Charleston dance classes for example.


While I was in London I also saw Undressed - a brief history of Underwear at the V&A museum. Having studied the history of fashion as part of my degree I just love getting to see artifacts that underpin (sorry I couldn't resist that pun) the knowledge. But in addition to the chronological display of pieces showcasing the evolution of undergarments, the curator dedicated a whole floor to couture pieces that examined how underwear has influenced many different area of outerwear design. Not just the shifting silhouette brought about by changes in corsetry, but also the use of lingerie type fabrics and trims being applied to the outside, how design elements reminiscent of bras & bustles made their way into full public view and how ideas of morality impact what we wear. 


I find that these kind of experiences whet my appetite for more! And is in turn one of the reasons I love to research the articles that I write. I came away from both exhibitions full of inspiration and a bunch of new ideas. One of the values of learning from the past; it not only educates but can influence our current ideas. I was also left wishing that someone would mount an exhibition on the jewelry of the Roaring Twenties period. A number of years ago I got to see the shoes and bags of the era up close and personal at the Bata Shoe Museum, so now I just need to see the other accessories to round out my education.


What was that phrase about curiosity?  Well if I am cat-like in my inquiring mind I do hope that I also get nine lives in order to learn about many, many things & "all that jazz"!‚Äč

On-line, On-nine
Monthly post on the 9th of each month! 
On-line, On-nine  Dec 9th 2016

Thanks for reading...I hope that you enjoy the photos! 

This month rounding out the year with shots of arches....can you spot the odd one out?


Please check back next month / year to find out what my latest fascination is.

See you next month      
Fiona xxxx

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...