The jewel of any Savile Row’s social calendar is the Bespoke Tailors Benevolent Association dinner, at the Merchant Taylors Hall in central London. This year it fell on the evening of the 9th of February, and as always one has to dress to impress. Tailors, cloth merchants, mills and embroiderers all gathered to raise money for the BTBA charity, who support anyone who has fallen on hard times after working in the British tailoring industry for over 10 years .
From bespoke dinner suits and custom dresses to evening gowns and velvet suit jackets everyone made an impression. There are speeches, mingling of old (and new) friends, ‘’here-here’s’’ every now and then when someone says something commendable, lovely food and a brilliant atmosphere all whilst raising thousands of pounds for charity. Four of us from the Hawthorne & Heaney team were there to represent the embroidery industry.
Check out some of the photos from the night below:
Last week Hawthorne & Heaney could be found at the Victoria’s Secret velentines day lauch, organised by Mission Media. The event was held at the gorgeous Elan Cafe in Knightsbridge which was just the perfect setting for us a glamous and romantic event.
Guests were able to have their Victoria’s Secret robe personalised with their initials as a little memento of the evening…
We like to keep our interests broad here at Hawthorne & Heaney so The British Museum’s current exhibition, Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia, looked appealing to us. On from the 14th September 2017 to the 14th January 2018 it looks at the nomadic tribes who flourished between 800 and 200 BC, displaying various examples of their gold jewellery, clothing, weapons and living equipment.
The exhibition is spread across 4 large rooms, with carefully illustrated videos and child friendly sections of signage. Whilst walking round there is a subtle soundtrack of wind blowing playing in all the room to really add effect the the visuals you see.
It starts off with a little introduction about the Scythians, which was a collective name for different tribes that spoke Iranian, and shared a similar lifestyle and dress. Little has been previously known about these people who controlled a vast region of northern China all the way to the Black sea, as they had no written language, but since burial sites have been found and the permafrost preserved most objects scientist and historians have started to piece together a look into their life.
They were sophisticated crafts people and fearsome warriors who lived in tents and herded sheep, tradition was a focal point around whatever they did, as they used to bury the dead with all they needed for the afterlife. They had a strong bond with their own horses and often they were buried along with the owners as they believed the bond carried through to the afterlife.
The jewellry on display was stunning gold that was usually either hammered and polished by hand or cast using a technique using cloth and clay. Gold was associated with the sun and power and most of the scenes buckles and decorative horse saddles depicted were scenes of mythical animals killing ordinary animals, this was believed to symbolise concern over preservation of world order. The items are remarkably well preserved and some still contain their original turquoise or blue glass inlays.
Opposite these there is a bit of information about Tsar Peter the first, who sent exhibitions to southern Siberia and found the burial sites. After this he ordered anything gold found around there was to be sent to him,where he documented and recorded and stored all the items. Some of the watercolours used to document the items are also on display.
What I found most interesting was the clothing and textiles that were displayed. One of the burial sites that was found contained what they believed to be a Chief and his wife. The clothing was elaborately decorated with punched, gold crouching panther pieces and a lot of the fur that they wore, a variety of squirrel, leopard, and other animals, was dyed using traditional natural dyes such as indigo and cochineal. Other items of particular interest were the highly decorated shoes, head gear and the fake beards the men were buried with.
The beards were of particular speculation because scans and the preservation of the mummified bodies showed that they were often clean shaven and both men and women were heavily tattooed. Applique onto woolen items were heavily featured as well although these didn’t survived as well as others.
What tribes they couldn’t make and produce themselves they traded and stole from other tribes. The most highly prized item was Chinese patterned silk, some of these fragments have survived. The exhibition also touches on the weapons and armour that was used, the bond with their horses and the influences from other cultures such as the Greeks, and Persians. Eventually they were superseded by other nationalities and tribes as new traditions got introduced the old ones vanished and formed what we know as the mongol tribes and others.
Over all the exhibition is really informative and covers a wide variety of interests and is running till the 14th January 2018 at The British Museum.
Following on from the sucess of the NFL event we did in October last year, we went back to the O2 area in January for an NBA event. Once again we were monogramming caps for the invited few in the skypod box overlooking the arena.
This time we were at the NBA game at the O2 arena embroidering initials on to New Era caps for the pregame Marriott reward VIP’s. The VIP’s could choose from either a Boston Celtics or a Philadelphia 76ers cap and have it personalised while they waited!
Check out some of the photos from the event:
If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one of these caps we would love to see a photo! Tag us on Instagram @hawthorneheaney or #HHdoNBA
The Fashion and Textiles Museum, London, has just opened an exhibition dedicated to Louise Dahl- Wolfe, an American photographer who is credited with modernising fashion photography. The exhibition spans the the whole of the long gallery as well as part of the upper area. It looks at Dahl-Wolfe’s early works and how she defined the image of the post war women. It has over 100 photographs on display which some contain the work from various designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior.
Located in the long gallery, you must first pass a room on the left which currently has a small display of work from Wallace Sewell, who designed the upholstery fabric for Transport for London, continuing on you walk through a corridor of Dahl-Wolfe’s colour Harper’s Bazaar covers and enter a large open space full of beautifully framed photos. The airiness of the room allows the work to breath and gives you space to enjoy it.
The gallery displays mainly black and white image from Dahl-Wolfe’s career as well as a selection of coloured work. Dahl-Wolfe trained in San Francisco’s Art Institute in 1914, and it was here that she took classes on anatomy, composition and colour theory fundamentals. These proved to aid her later in life when starting out in photography.
Dahl-Wolfe’s first photo to be published, Mrs Ramsey, was in Harper’s Bazaar’s November 1933 issue. Mrs Ramsey was Dahl-Wolfe’s neighbour when her and her husband moved to Tennessee. As with a lot of Dahl-Wolfe’s photos there is an element of calmness about them whilst simultaneously displaying the soul and character of her subject.
Mrs Ramsey,Tennessee-Smokey Mountians,USA,1931
Dahl-Wolfe started working at Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 until 1958. During this time they published 600 coloured photographs, 3,000 black and white images and 86 front covers taken by the artist. During her Hollywood period, 1938-1946,Dahl-Wolfe shot on her Rolleiflex camera using natural lighting and had her models posing outside, providing an alternative to the “clever lighting and retouching”1 that was already apparent within the industry.
Even within the black and white photos Dahl-Wolfe took, the texture and material of the clothing still stood as as one of her key focal points. This was achieved by clever set dressing and good use of composition within the photographs.
Continuing through the exhibition it looks at Dahl-Wolfe’s era within Fashion photography, 1938-1949. When Dahl-Wolfe started, fashion photography was still among its early stages, this meant that there was room to develop and evolve the practice. Took in a variety of settings including Arizona, California Desert, North Africa and Mexico Dahl-Wolfe’s photos erd towards simple compositions that compliment the Dior and Balenciaga dresses.
Dahl-Wolfe had a knack for capturing her subjects unaware and in seemingly natural movements. Mary Jane Russell, who was one of the most successful fashion models of her time, worked with Dahl-Wolfe for over 12 years, producing 8 Bazaar covers and 100’s of editorials and adverts.
The exhibition has a good amount of information spanning Dahl-Wolfe’s early career and through to her retirement as a photographer. It is running from 20th October- 21st January 2018 at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, London. Prices are £9.90 for adults, £7.70 concessions and £6 for students (Remember your Student ID).
All images and videos courtesy of Charlotte Pearson (@c_textiles) unless otherwise stated.
 Louise Dahl-Wolfe- A style of her own, Fashion and Textile Museum. Pamphlet pg.3. 2017.
Hawthorne & Heaney was given the Victorian shawl by Sue Thomas from Savile Row bespoke.
In the Victorian era, black was considered the appropriate colour to be worn when mourning the loss of a loved one and in some cultures, this is still the case today. It is believed that the mourning attire was a protection against negative thoughts. By wearing the colour black it also informed family, friends and acquaintances that the wearer had recently lost someone close to them and was a warning not to approach them within this sad period of time. For women, the fashion symbolised the depth of affliction with the colour of clothing indicating the gradual return from black to bold clothing through the hues of purple and violet, this was recognised as the second stage of mourning. The length of time Victorian women wore mourning garments varied on the degree of relationship with the deceased from a week up to a year.
DISMANTLING OF THE SHAWL
The dismantling of the shawl was a very long process as parts of the shawl was originally constructed using an embroidery technique called tambour beading. Tambour is French for drum and is done by using a hook where the fabric is stretched as tight as a drum. The fabric can be stretched by being sewn onto a rectangular frame or placed in a wooden hoop. The Tambour hook makes a chain stitch in a technical order where it will keep each bead securely in place. If the knot or process of the tambour chain stitch was to be done incorrectly then the whole beadwork would come undone. Depending on your experience using the Tambour technique beads can be secured in place very fast this is why a lot of fashion houses such as Dior are well known for using this technique in order to get garments completed on a tight time schedule. To get each bead loose from the shawl the embroidery stitches were cut allowing the bead to be free. Once all the beads were eventually dismantled from the Victorian shawl they were sorted into bags so all the same beads were neatly secured and measured ready to be used again. Below you are able to see photographs of sections from the shawl being dismantled.
It is very important to Hawthorne & Heaney that the beads are used in another exciting project. This is because of the heritage behind this shawl and the construction that went into the making of it was exquisite. With the shawl being so old it was beginning to fall apart and unable to be restored therefore there was no other option but to take it apart and store the beads safely away until we find a project that will give them a new purpose. We are unsure currently what that project will be but we are sure we will know when the time comes.
We have had a busy last year working on some fun projects that have pushed our boundaries and taught us a great deal. A few of these project have been Interior design based which usually involves working on quite a large scale. The first of these projects was with an interiors company called Flux Interiors who had a client who wanted to incorporate this dot in dot design onto a rich blue velvet.
Using Machine embroidery we embroidered the starburst across the headboard, cushions and also curtains. Working onto velvet gives a lovely, slightly sunken effect to the embroidery as the pile of the velvet peaks up with in the embroidery so you can see different parts of the embroidery depending on what angle you are viewing it at. The metallic thread gives the embroidery a bit of a lift and contrast the matte finish of the velvet.
The second project was for a company called Vertigo Properties for whom we created a series of wide satin stitch designs onto silk. The curtains can just be seen in the images below which had a Byzantine square design on the leadin edges.
As these curtains had a continuous design, the silk went through a rigorous marking up process to make the embroidery flow.
The marking up of the embroidery allowed us to match the patterns to each other so that they hang symetrically for that perfect finish.
The Square design continued in a slightly different vein onto the blinds in the hallways which had more of an art deco feel and were designed to continue to flow with the blinds were folded up as well as when down.
If you have an interiors project you would like to have us embroider some bespoke details into for you, get in touch and we can see what we can create for you.
Every now and then, there is an exhibition that we feel we just have to see, and usually one holds out until it (hopefully) comes to London. However the risk of missing out on ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs was one that was too great and we felt compelled to go. So last month, Natasha made the trip to Paris to see the much hyped display.
The exhibition begins with some history about Christian Dior’s family and his life before setting up the house as an art gallery owner and fashion illustrator. A brief introduction to the facets of the house it followed by the first main gallery. In this room, each section is divided by colour, each cabinate displaying a pallette with a variety of dresses, 12” minatures and accessories.
As an embroiderer, one of the most outstanding aspects of this exhibition was the level of detail you could see in the gowns and the emphasis that was placed on showing off the incredible textures. These were reflected in the papercut flowers and foliage that hung from the ceiling in a few of the rooms which were inspired by the fragrances that make up Dior’s famous perfumes.
Some of the textiles could be descibed as quite tradtional beading, whilst others would be considered to be more experimental, playing with feathers and layering but all were undeniably beautiful.
They also had an in house embroiderer demonstrating some tambour beading onto a panel of one of the gown and chatting with the public about what she was doing. The piece was framed up in a large slate frame, with one end complete and, the other drafted on. The drafts and drawings for the piece were hanging to one side of her with a partically completed gown on display behind her. The finished gown was part of the final gallery to put the whole process into context.
The white gallery was reminiscent of the layout of the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A museum in London where you were dwarfed by the pieces, however here the emphasis was placed purely on the cut of the garments. Each one is the toile of a gown we had already seen in the body of the exhibition to explain the development of each piece and the alterations process it has been through to get to the final design.
Final last gallery was all the real show stopping gowns, the space itself adds to the gravity of the items on display. They enhanced the experience with moving light displays across the walls which gave the impression of gold snow, unashamedly playing up to the couture fairytale.
It would be fair to say this exhibition was excellent, going around it all took at least 2 and a half hours going through it all but one could have stayed much longer. The amount of pieces on display and the generous space that was given to each one made it a very leisurely experience. I really enjoyed the way they played with scale in the lay out, starting off the with minatures gallery, then allowing you to get up close with the real sized pieces and then emmersing you in the white and final galleries.
If you would like to read another perspective on the exhibition, have a read of Tina Isaac-Goizé’s thoughts for Vogue here.