Pop! Design Culture Fashion opens 4 April at The Civic, Barnsely, celebrating poodle skirts, rockers, Mods, kitsch glamour and 1970s retro. A reminder of when British popular culture first captivated the world, the exhibition uncovers a time when popular images, music, art and fashion blurred the boundaries of commerce, culture and style. Between the optimism of 1955 and the disillusion of Punk, the “Pop” generation created a lifestyle, which reached its apogee in 1966 in “Swinging London”, and values which constantly challenged those of wider society.
Focusing on the influence of pop, Pop! Design Culture Fashion covers several design mediums from 1955 to 1976, including record covers and packaging by Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton, and the work of fashion designers like Mary Quant, Vivienne Westwood, John Stephen and Betsey Johnson, design director of the leading New York boutique of the era.
Featured in the space will be Quant’s early modernist pieces from the original Bazaar, items from Elton John’s personal wardrobe, and original pieces from Westwood and McLaren’s Kings Road boutique “Sex”. As such, the exhibition offers a refreshing insight into 20 years of popular culture. Besides the fashion, Pop graphics will also be explored, from the British psychedelic artwork of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, and the posters of the American West Coast rock venues in San Francisco, to the work of Martin Sharp for underground magazine OZ.
The exhibition also takes an honest look at the casual throwaway nature of much Pop design, from the paper furniture and Union Jack clothing of “Swinging London”, to the late 1960s American vogue for paper dresses, as well as the tin badges, machine embroidered patches and printed t-shirts of the early 1970s.
Pop! Design Culture Fashion, 4 April – 7 June, The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ.
1. Poster Follies, David Edward Byrd (1971).
2. Poster John Lennon, Richard Avedon (1967).