Exhibition: Patterns of Magnificance

POM-P-1Patterns of Magnificence is a unique exhibition of local Greek dress at The Hellenic Centre, showing an inspiring and varied approach to fabric selection and origin of materials, woven and embroidery techniques and colour.

The way textiles are combined in the dresses is inspirational for fashion and textile designers. The dresses are shown freely and not behind glass giving a rare opportunity to be able to see the fabrics from close proximity and understand the making processes involved.

The embroidery is often embellished on hand woven ground and covering the sleeves and hem of the garment leaving the main body of the chemises plain. The woven textiles range from shawls woven using different thicknesses of hand spun silk to fine jacquards and wovens using supplementary weft techniques providing a geometric patterns.

The multiform traditions of Greek women’s dress are among the richest and most splendid in the world. This exhibition brings together over forty superb originals from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century, many of which will be on display in London for the first time. They include the monumental dress from the tiny island of Psara, of which very few examples survive and which is very rarely exhibited, the richly embroidered costume from Astypalaia in the Dodecanese, the astonishing assembly of fabrics, colours and jewellery from Stefanoviki in Thessaly and the sumptuously brocaded dress from Janina in Epirus.

POM-J-3All but two of the costumes come from the superb collection of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation in Nafplio. The other two are being lent by the Benaki Museum of Athens and the dolls by the Lyceum Club of Greek Women, Athens. The curator of the exhibition is the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation’s founder and renowned expert, Ioanna Papantoniou.

In response to the exhibition the British Museum is showing textiles from its permanent collection. These will be exhibited in the Parthenon Galleries where in the frieze Athena’s invention of weaving is famously celebrated.

The show is on at the Hellenic Center from 4th February until 2nd of March.
There is a range of talks and events to accompany the exhibition.
Dates: 4th February – 2nd March 2014
The Hellenic Centre
16-18 Paddington St
London W1U 5AS
Open daily:
Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday 12 noon – 6pm
Guided tours by the curator on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon
Admission Free

For more information see: http://patternsofmagnificence.org/#filter=.home

With many thanks to Ismini Samanidou  for writing and putting this post together  and to the Hellenic Centre for allowing use of text and images.

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