The exhibition, which is accompanied by this beautiful book, charts graphic design, record sleeves, fashion and homeware, as well as art and advertising – anything as long as its pop.
‘Pop was probably the most significant cultural phenomenon in the second half of the 20th century’, say exhibition guest curators Geoffrey Rayner and Richard Chamberlain. ‘Pop was a broad-based grass-roots culture whose young exponents constantly blurred the boundaries of its primary vehicles of expression and communication, music, fashion and design, in a fluidity of artistic interests in the widest sense.’
And the show is certainly broad – tracing the first seeds of the ‘pop’ aesthetic planted in the late 1940s and early 1950s, with a growing trend for appropriating Victorian and Edwardian advertising styles (such as in the posters for the Black Eyes & Lemonade show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1951); to Vivienne Westwood’s celebrated 1970s bondage-inspired punk fashion designs.
Among the many highlights of the show is the Underground Posters and Graphic Design 1966- 1973 section. Reflecting the burgeoning 1960s taste for protest, posters became the medium through which to state your views and persuade others to adopt them – as well, of course, to promote clubs, bands and exhibitions.
Rose Design created the graphics for the exhibition, which use the ‘o’ of Pop as a lock-up window for a series of different images relating the contents of the show.
Rupert Gowar-Cliffe, designer at Rose Design, says, ‘We felt it was important to communicate the range and diversity of the materials in the show. We created the lock-up so it would house any number of circular motifs, so we put together eight of these lock-ups.’
The exhibition guide takes the form of a newspaper-like publication, referencing the ‘underground counterculture magazines that were prevalent at the time’, according to Gowar-Cliffe.
He adds, ‘The materials in the show you’re working with are so exciting – it as nice to have the opportunity to delve a bit deeper. The screen-printed posters were fascinating for us to look through with the incredible colours and designs.’
POP! Design Culture Fashion runs from 6 July – 27 October at the Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1