12 September–3 November 2012
Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion explored the cultural significance of contemporary eyewear and celebrated the rise and rise of fashion’s ultimate luxury accessory. The exhibition charted eyewear’s historical development from the mid-twentieth century until the present day; its role in fashion and popular culture was explored via the use of iconic archival objects and imagery.
Framed! featured over 200 frames on loan from public and private collections, eyewear companies, fashion houses and bespoke makers, which were contextualised by a newly commissioned timeline by Emily Alston. Featured dedicated eyewear designers and companies included British companies, such as Cutler and Gross, C.W. Dixey & Son and Linda Farrow, alongside international companies like Carrera, Mykita, Polaroid and Police. Designer ranges, collaborations and decorative eyewear on show were drawn from collections such as Alexander McQueen, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Tatty Devine and Bernard Wilhelm. Eyewear prototypes on display ranged from Edward Gucewicz’s eyewear handcrafted from bone and Emma Montague’s designs combining bone, horn and acetate, to Chloe McCormick and NODH’s Tapestry Spectacles produced by 3D-printing techniques.
Studio Swine’s Hair Glasses, part of its collection of sustainable and biodegradable eyewear utilising human hair, was also on show, alongside a prototype from SPIT Design, a collective of industrial designers and engineers from the RCA. Their experimental design process has created a new form of pulse manufacturing called ZEUS.
Pushing the boundaries of what eyewear can be, the exhibition included work by Nairobi-based artist Cyrus Kabiru. Known as C-STUNNERS, Kabiru’s conceptual works lie somewhere between fashion, sculpture, wearable art, performance and custom-made commodities.
Fashion Space Gallery wishes to extend a special thanks to the following people:
Wally Berwick, Tamer Fernandes, Lunetier Vintage, Neil Handley (Curator, British Optical Association Museum), Lawrence Jenkin, Fraser Laing (General Eyewear), Dick Whitney and Diane Matuck (Optical Heritage Museum), and Lee Yule (Loveiwear).
Framed! was curated by Leanne Wierzba and Gemma Williams.