Looking for a little fashion inspiration? Head to the Fashion & Textiles Museum (83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF, 020 7407 8664) before May 3rd for Thea Porter: 70s Bohemian Chic, the first-ever exhibition on the fashion and interior design.
Front window of Thea Porter’s Soho shop with model wearing silk chiffon dress with an Iraqi carpet print by Sandra Munro, c.1976
From the Middle East to the Middle of London, Thea Porter’s glamorous designs introduced ‘bohemian chic’ to 1960s London, New York and Paris. Her shop in Greek Street opened in 1966 was an immediate beacon to rock and film stars, including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway and Barbara Streisand. For nearly two decades, Porter created interiors and clothes from luxurious textiles that drew much of their inspiration from an exotic view of the Middle East. Often combining antique fabrics with richly patterned silks, her creations were exotic, alluring and highly personal.
Elizabeth Taylor in 1972’s ‘X, Y and Zee’ (REX)
The show features Porter’s seven signature looks: the Abaya & Kaftan; the Gipsy dress; the Faye dress; the Brocade-panel dress; the Wrap-over dress; the Chazara jacket; and the Sirwal skirt; and showcases outfits worn by some of the world’s best-dressed women, as well as important fashion photography from the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily.
Kate Moss in a Gipsy dress at the rehearsal dinner for her wedding in 2011; the Gipsy dress Thea designed for Venetia’s 21st birthday (Getty).
Given the prevalence of bohemia on the spring/summer 2015 and autumn/winter 2015 catwalks, this is the kind of exhibition that will inspire your wardrobe choices for the next year at least.
Etro S/S 2015
You’ll be enthralled by the exploration of Middle Eastern and North African influences on textiles and culture in 20th Century fashion design through the work of Porter.
The retrospective covers Thea Porter’s life (1927–2000) and career from her early years in Jerusalem and Damascus, Soho in the 1960s, and New York, Los Angeles and Paris in the 1970s.
For more information, visit: www.ftmlondon.org