Fashion Photography Exhibition: Tim Walker’s ‘Wonderful Things’ at the V&A

Tim Walker scoured the V&A and it’s gazillion departments for it’s greatest treasures and let those inspire him to embark on no less than 10 new projects, providing 150 new photographs, taking the total of photographs exhibited to over 300 items from photographs, the V&A’s artefacts, short films and props to scrap books and sketches – wow, that’s more than just impressive! He has worked with actors, models, celebrities and luminaries such as Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss, Karen Elson, Lily Cole, Edie Campbell, Stella Tennant, Björk, Sir David Attenborough, Grayson Perry, Daniel Day-Lewis, Timothée Chalamet, Beth Ditto, Solange Knowles and many more. Designers incorporated in those shoots range from Alexander Mac Queen, Balenciaga, Comme des Garcons and Rick Owens, enlisting the help of stylists such as Amanda Harlech, Katy England and Jeryy Stafford. He’s worked for the best fashion publications in the world and it is not difficult to see why: he is not a fan of compromise and works his hardest to make his vision, dreams and fantasies a reality with the indispensable creative support of set-designer Shona Heath. Watch the vid now to catch the flavour of the visual delights that are awaiting you at the V&A.

Wonderful Things – The Exhibition

The exhibition about Tim Walker and his enchanted world of ‘Wonderful Things’ is another one of the V&A’s ambitious shows, having been in the planning for several years. When Walker embarked on his ‘journey’ of research of the world-leading museum’s 145 public galleries and explores a labyrinth of passages situated underneath the museum’s site, he came across countless objects and ’treasures’ that not only inspired him, but sent him on an emotional journey too. He says of the V&A:

“To me, the V&A has always been a palace of dreams – it’s the most inspiring place in the world. The museum’s collection is so wide and eclectic, and I think that’s why it resonates with me so much. Many of the objects that I saw during my research at the museum made my heart swell and I wanted to try to create a photograph that would relate not only to the physical presence and beauty of that object, but also to my emotional reaction to it. Each new shoot is a love letter to an object from the V&A collection, and an attempt to capture my encounter with the sublime. For me, beauty is everything. I’m interested in breaking down the boundaries that society has created, to enable more varied types of beauty and the wonderful diversity of humanity to be celebrated. Preparing for this exhibition over the past three years has pushed me into new territories, which is very exciting, and I’m at a stage in my life where I feel brave enough to do that.”

In fact, Susanna Brown, the curator, started talking to Tim about this idea many years back in 2015 and describes it a marvellous journey herself. Slowly things began to take shape, with many V&A colleagues, like technicians, conservators and curators being directly involved, unlocking collection stores and sharing their incredible stories behind the artefacts & objects with Tim. The book, accompanying the exhibition, is full of inspirational stories, comments, conversations and interviews to give real insight into he creational process and thought trains by many of those involved. Shona Heath deserves full credit for sending visitors on their own ‘journey’ throughout the exhibition, which has yet another sensational series of a photoshoot/portrait/sketchbook section waiting for the visitor to marvel at. She is the incredible visionary, helping making Tim’s fantasies become a reality. After 25 years of collaboration, she seems to know Tim’s thought processes inside out and somehow manages to give them life with real-world, existing props and accessories. It is fascinating to see to what lengths these 2 highly charged creatives go to make a shot a thing of perfection. Watch the video and get swept away by their creative energy, raw talent and sheer tenacity to create a visual thing of perfection.

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) London & Dundee

The V&A is the largest museum in the world for applied and decorative arts, design and sculptures! It houses a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects, covering an exhibition space of 12,5 acres in London’s South Kensington. It was found in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Its collection spans over 5,000 years of art from ancient times to present day, incorporating cultures from Europe, Asia (including South East Asia, China, Japan Korea and the Islamic World), North America and North Africa. It holds ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, print and print-making, drawing and photographs.

The museum owns the largest collection of post-classical sculptures in the world, holding the largest collection of ItalianRenaissance items outside Italy.
In 2018, the V&A opened a new branch in Dundee, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Dundee Council, costing just over £80 million – the most ambitious gallery project ever undertaken by the Scottish Government. Situated on Dundee’s waterfront. The award-winning Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates designed the impressive museum with its ship-like shape and curved, concrete walls. Following an international competition, it became Kuma’s first ever building in the UK. Kuma’s vision, which very much reflects what the V&A means to the very many visitors and fans in London, was to create a ‘living room for the city’. This ultra modern 8000m2 building, offering over 1650m2 of gallery space, was also created to connect the city to its historic River Tay front and today presents a massive landmark for the city of Dundee.

London Fashion Week – A Fashion Metropole

LFW sees a world of fashionistas, fashion lovers and industry professionals descend on to London during February and September for womenswear, whilst London Fashion Week Men’s takes place in January and June. This trade event gives designers a chance to show their new collections a season ahead of merchandise being displayed in the shops: the Jan/February event shows Autumn/Winter and the June/September event shows Spring/Summer collections. These shows are directed at buyers, fashion editors, industry leaders and, with social media exploding onto the scene, influencers too, hence it is not accessible to the public. The BFC’s show space is at The Strand, whilst many designers stage their own shows, presentations or catwalks in secret locations. Tickets to these catwalk shows are worth gold dust, however with social media ever pressing for new looks earlier and earlier, many designers also choose to stream their catwalk shows, meaning that those precious looks, that are supposed to be kept a ’secret’ until the merchandise hits the shops, are indeed available to be seen there and then, 6 months ahead of their actual real time availability in retail.

LFW is organised by the British Fashion Council (BFC), which also stages the British Fashion Awards, when it celebrates and presents awards for Designer of the Year, newcomers on the fashion scene, models, make-up artists, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award, amongst others. This event is a hugely glamorous affair, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The international press descends onto London for this annual awards ceremony, held usually in December, providing a spectacle and glittering affair for the fashion world on a global level.

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