New arrival of 2016-17 fall in winter
Claire Barrow was also on a similar path except there was more of a mocking tone in her own version of a museum. She called her collection the “Retro-Spective” in reference to the way we regurgitate and recycle the past, be it through Tumblr blogs or fashion collections. And so Barrow directly took on the task of cycling through decades – from Medieval robes to Edwardian blouses to 1980s anarchy.
Barrow also presented both models and mannequins like that of a theoretical museum which she called a “form of blatant narcissism” so that she pushes her own work to become “historical” in some way. The set-up even came with a merch shop selling canvas totes, postcards and tees. But nestled in amongst the dramatic painted canvas dresses given names like “The Woman I am Not”, there was also a knitwear collaboration with John Smedley as well as Victoriana shirts scrawled with Barrow’s emotive figure.
These were the pieces that give credence to what could have been some painted frocks not meant for sale. There’s a brilliance to the way Barrow has been confronting the things that niggle at her about the industry and beyond that, the world at large – be it our digitally consumer lives or the way that nothing is truly original. Here, her museum served made us a) look at the past differently and b) think about the conversation between fashion and history and whether the comfort of nostalgia will ever truly be rejected.