This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the wonderful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street for the launch of the Gudrun Sjoden exhibition ‘Four Decades of Colour and Design’. I am quite ashamed to say that despite all my years of living in London (and many hours spent on Bermondsey Street) I had never actually been inside this beautiful, multi-coloured Zandra Rhodes owned tribute to fashion. But now I have and it does not disappoint. Accompanying the bold artwork, was a deliciously colourful breakfast of rainbow lattes, flower-filled granola pots and goat cheese and red pepper muffins. I mean… how can you resist when food looks this pretty?!
Breakfast is served:- Juice shots, muffins and granola from Ethos. Rainbow lattes from Black Box Coffee
Gudrun’s work will be displayed alongside the current long-standing Josef Frank exhibition. Both Swedish-based designers are renowned for their use of bold colour and print, with designs translated onto textiles and interiors, and both have a strong affection for watercolour as a medium. This pop-up exhibition celebrates Gudrun’s 40th anniversary, alongside a beautiful hard-back book detailing her years at the forefront of Swedish design. You can view her working process, her inspiration and examples of her playful, childlike prints. When I observed that her patterns are akin to childrenswear, a member of her team described Gudrun’s rhetoric as being – ‘Why stop dressing like a child once you become an adult? Everyone should enjoy colour and print no matter what their age.’
Some watercolour artwork and designs from the exhibition
Gudrun’s mantra remains ‘clothing for women who dare to stand out from the crowd’ and she is her own finest advocate. A cross between British fashion institutions Mary Quant and Zandra Rhodes, with a dash of Cath Kidston, she embraces colour like no other. On meeting the designer, I am drawn to her bold hues, warm smile and sunny disposition, all of which belies an incredibly strong woman who spends her weeks running the business and her weekends ‘painting til she goes to bed’.
The inspirational Gudrun poses in front of one of her prints and outside the colourful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street.
She has won several entrepreneurial awards, received a royal medal from the King of Sweden and has stores all over the world. Despite four decades in the industry she remains true to her concept of ‘comfortable, colourful clothes in natural materials with a Nordic design influence.’ The use of organic cotton and sustainable eco-friendly fabrics has always been of immense importance to Gudrun and her love of travel and exploration – such as her recent visit to India to explore traditional craft techniques – often influence her designs. Here are a few fabulous extracts from her recent book:
If you feel inspired and fancy a trip to the boldest museum in London to view a plethora of multi-hued textile designs you’ll need to be quick. Both shows end on 7th May, which gives your precisely 9.5 days to get yourself along to this fabulous tribute to colour and print. Just be sure to wear something yellow. Or fuchsia pink. Or cobalt blue. Who needs grey anyway? I would much rather view the world in Gudrun Sjoden and Josef Frank Technicolor!
Above: Prints from the current Josef Frank exhibition at Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF. http://www.ftmlondon.org. Ends 7th May 2017.
Open Tuesday – Saturday (11am – 6pm); late night on Thursday (until 8pm); Sunday (11am – 5pm). Closed Monday. Tickets for exhibition: £9.90 (adults), £7.70 (concessions), £6 (students). Children under 12 are free.
For more information about Gudrun and to view her collections go to http://www.gudrunsjoden.com/uk.
Main holding image: Seb Higgins