Museum wants Bowie dress for show featuring Jewish designers

Wanted: David Bowie’s dress, Greta Garbo’s hats, and the shirts Sean Connery wore in his first role as James Bond.

They are iconic pieces of 20th century clothing, but their whereabouts are unknown. Now the London Docklands Museum has appealed for assistance in locating this and other garments before a major exhibition scheduled for later this year.

Lost garments are important because of what they have in common: They were all created by Jewish designers working on the London fashion scene, a legacy the museum believes is being overlooked.

“Jews have worked at all levels of the fashion industry in London throughout the 20th century, but the extent of their contribution has not been widely acknowledged,” said Dr Lucie Whitmore, the museum’s fashion curator.

While the tailors and shoemakers of the East End may sound familiar, few believe the influence of Jewish designers and makers at all levels of the fashion trade, from founding the garment industry to dominating fashion venues like Carnaby Street in the 1960s, is known to many. .

“The new research has allowed us to pull out some really rich personal stories that showcase the contributions these people have made to the London fashion industry.”

Among them is Mr Fish, who was born Michael Fish in 1940 on Wood Green, north London. fashion set.

Connery dressed Princess Margaret and Jimi Hendrix, made the robe worn by Muhammad Ali at Rumble in the Jungle, invented the kilt tie, and – as everyone knows – the “men’s suit” worn by Mick Jagger in Hyde Park. designed it. In 1969 and by Bowie on the cover of The Man Who Sat the World, which Whitmore calls “an absolute dream piece to find.”

“She was a very radical thinker in her approach to gender dynamics in her design, and we want to celebrate her contribution,” she said. “I think it deserves to be a household name.”

Also sought after are hats made by more difficult names, such as Otto Lucas, a German-born Jew whose Bond Street label enjoyed great global success in the postwar years and whose clients included Garbo and Wallis Simpson, and Rahvis, a fashion brand worn by the aristocracy. . and movie stars and Madame Isobel, who was called “London’s leading clothing designer” in the 1930s, but whose surviving pieces are rare.

Whitmore concedes that not all of these disparate characters will relate to their Judaism in the same way, but “for a lot of people”, considering that the estimated 60-70% of Jewish immigrants to London in the early 20th century worked in the fashion or textile trade, it’s a truly personal story. “said.

“We won’t be talking about a single shared experience, but we use Judaism as a lens to look at London fashion. When you do, you understand that the contribution of the Jewish people is huge and really important, and we celebrate that.”

Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style opens October 13 At the London Docklands Museum. Those who have information about the works in question are kindly requested to contact the museum before 1 March.

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