Charlie Hackett, lecturer in fashion and textiles, at Gray’s School of Art writes for the Museum in our latest blog. We were delighted to welcome the cohort from Gray’s to Surgeons’ Hall Museums last year as they used our collection for inspiration . Featured image by Genavieve Jones-Purdie.
Imagine Surgeons and Tailors uniting through cutting, sewing, making and mending! The ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ fashion collection was designed and created by second year fashion and textile students from Gray’s School of Art and inspired by the fascinating and creatively challenging anatomy collection at the Surgeons Hall Museum with the aim of exploring and challenge body shape, the bumps and lumps that our hidden by the clothes we wear and to innovate and create with cloth around head, neck, arms, hands and legs and feet.
Surgeons’ Hall Museums collection of cadavers and skeletons was chosen because the internal and external body is all about silhouette. Looking inside and around the organs of the body through the surgeon’s dissection was applied to cutting and sewing fabric to create the Avant- Garde dress. The internal organs, heart, brain, lung, kidney, cervix, fallopian tube, the carefully exposed veins, arteries, nerves, that can be structurally formed and translated through cloth to create shapes that will be draped on the body to create a dress. The creativity and artistry within surgery has lent itself to create a fabric skin! There is sacredness in the design process and considering that these were characters helped inform the mood and overall shape of these dresses. A blue sky day at Surgeons’ Hall Museums with glass jars, white transparent and opaque chalk and yellowed organs and bones, the students drew with their graphite pencils in sketchbooks and reimagined these as shapes that would inform and become a dress panel, a collar, a sleeve, a pocket. Returning to art school they drew designs, cut patterns on cutting tables, forming, sewing a flat piece of calico into a vessel to contain the body, creatively making and remaking toiles in cream calico and then creating the final imagined, the Avant –Garde from cutting the cloth!