Tag Archives: Jean Shrimpton

An Eye For Fashion: Norman Parkinson exhibition @ M Shed

Norman Parkinson Life magazine 1963

Norman Parkinson, Life magazine, 1963

I must confess that I haven’t actually explored M Shed further than its bloomin’ tasty cafe - raspberry and white chocolate muffins, need I say more? – and 2nd floor gallery space, for a Martin Parr retrospective. I went to the later again this week, to see Mshed’s latest exhibition, An Eye For Fashion, featuring original vintage prints by the late, great Norman Parkinson.

Parkinson was a British fashion and portrait photographer who shot for Vogue, Queen and Life (among others) over a career spanning almost 60 years. He was truly a revolutionary in his field and is cited as an inspiration by many photographers, fashion editors and designers today, so it is wonderful to see his work, on loan from the Angela Williams Archive, here in Bristol. The exhibition features rare prints of Parkinson’s fashion stories, notably from the 1950s and 1960s, that feature the likes of Jean Shrimpton, Vicky Stevens and Enid Boulting.

To bring relevance to its local surroundings, An Eye For Fashion aslo features high street clothes from the 50s and 60s, as well as photos and descriptions of how Bristol’s shopping hub, Broadmead, was evolving during this period. It provides a stark contrast to the Broadmead that exists today, overshadowed by Cabot Circus and slowly wilting, drowning in shop closures and unsavory characters.

I was surprised to find the waist-cinching elasticated belts I wore in my late teens were actually copied from mid-century ‘waspie’ belts, and I found myself comparing more candid snaps, like the one above, an unused shot for Life magazine, to the kind of poses that crop up on my Facebook news feed. There were of course many glamourous photos, such the Vogue image of a model in an elegant evening gown from 1960, at the back of the exhibition. It was here that I overheard to older ladies recounting their own experiences of a ripped dress at a fashion function around the same time – it sounded like quite the scandal!

Norman Parkinson for Queen magazine

Norman Parkinson for Queen magazine, 1960

As well as the exhibition, which would delight photographers and fasionistas alike, I also took the time to wander around the harbourside and soak up the sunshine – a rare treat for Bristol at this time of year!

The harbourside comes alive in summer, and there was a hint of this on Wednesday, with an ice cream van parked outside M Shed, two school girls bunking off under the Balmoral to eat their lunch, and an accordionist playing by the bridge. It may only be March, but with the lighter evenings and (slightly) warmer weather, I feel like spring is just around the corner. I couldn’t resist taking a few photos on my phone, the results of which are below.

M Shed An Eye For FashionM Shed museum Bristoledit Mshed1Bristol harboursideBristol Harbourside

An Eye For Fashion runs at M Shed until 15th April, entry costs £5/4 bit is free on the last Wednesday of each month. For more info about visiting the exhibition click here. There is also the M Shed Vintage Weekend coming up, which looks awesome, and is happening 24th-25th March. 

Norman Parkinson images sourced here.

Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

We'll Take Manhattan

  • We’ll Take Manhattan on BBC 4 last Thursday – Did you see it? Did you want to be Jean Shrimpton? Or any model in 60s New York? Or working for Vogue? Or perhaps you had a guilty crush on Aneurin Barnard’s David Bailey? No? just me then… If you want to see the actual shots Bailey took of Ms Shirmpton on their jolly to New York, click here (thanks to @swonderfulBride for the original link).
  • Pintrest – possibly the most addictive and time consuming internet fun since Wikitrails. Although I’ve had the account for a while, I’m still getting used to it. Let me know if you’re on it too or have any great tips on who to follow for style inspiration.
  • IFB’s New Year blogging goals – not so much goals as tips for setting them, this article breathes life into my blogging bones, particularly when work/life/the world is so busy at the moment. A must read for anyone new to blogging or those dragging their heels after Christmas.

Clothes Swap

  • Clothes swapping – a Friday night with wine, nibbles, gossip, good company, AND the possibility of a whole new wardrobe? Like, like, like. I’m a big fan of clothes swaps and held a clothes swapping party at my place a while ago. This time all of us came away with some new treasures (and, crucially, less than we bought to begin with) and the unwanted threads are going to a charity shop so everyone wins. I’ll write a longer post next week about my finds but for now the picture of clothing carnage, above, will have to suffice!
  • New blogs – my good friend and Bristol-based stylist, Amy, has take the plunge into the world of blogging. She has ridiculously good taste and has been my shopping partner in crime on more than one occasion! Take a look and say hello here.

What has been rocking your world? Let me know by commenting below…