Museum seeks Bowie dress for exhibit focusing on Jewish designers | Fashion industry

Wanted: David Bowie dresses, Greta Garbo hats and the shirts worn by Sean Connery in his first James Bond role.

They are famous clothes of the 20th century – but it is not known where they are. Now London’s Docklands Museum has launched a public appeal for these and other garments ahead of a major exhibition later this year.

The missing clothes are important because they have one thing in common: they were all created by Jewish designers working in the London fashion scene, which the museum believes has been neglected.

Dr Lucy Whitmore, curator of fashion at the museum, said: “Jews worked at all levels of the fashion industry in London throughout the 20th century, but the scale of their contribution is not widely acknowledged.”

While East End shoemakers and shoemakers are aware of it, she believes few realize the influence Jewish designers and makers had on all levels of the fashion business, dominating fashion meccas such as Carnaby Street in the 1960s. .

“New research has enabled us to uncover some of the richest personal stories of those people who contributed to London’s fashion industry.”

Among them, Mr. Fish was born Michael Fish in Wood Green, North London, in 1940. From cleaning counters in a London department store to working in the capital’s leading tailors before opening his own shop, he quickly became a destination. A fashionable collection.

He dressed Connery, Princess Margaret and Jimi Hendrix, designed the robes worn by Muhammad Ali at Rumble in the Jungle, invented the kipper tights and – famously – invented the “man dress”, examples of which were worn by Mick Jagger in Hyde Park. In the year in 1969 and by Bowie on a cover of “The Man Who Sold the World,” which Whitmore calls “an absolute dream piece to find.”

“He was a radical thinker in how he approached gender dynamics in his design, and we want to celebrate his contribution,” she says. “I think it deserves to be a household name.”

Hats also made by Otto Lucas, a German-born Jew whose eponymous Bond Street label achieved great international success in the post-war years and whose clients included Garbo and Wallis Simpson, such as Rahvis, an aristocratic couture label and film stars, and Madame Isobel, who was called “London’s leading dress designer” in the 1930s, but few surviving pieces.

Not all these diverse characters relate to their Jewishness in the same way, Whitmore says, but with the estimated 60-70% of Jewish immigrants who came to London in the early 20th century in the fashion or textile trades, “for a lot of people it’s a really personal story,” she says.

“We’re not talking about a shared experience, but using Jewishness as a lens through which to view London fashion. When you do, you realize that the contribution of the Jewish people is huge and very important, and we are celebrating that.

Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style It opens. October 13 At the London Docklands Museum. Anyone with information about the items in question is asked to contact the museum before March 1.

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