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DMU crinolines share centre stage with rock star Brian May


The striking crinoline-inspired creations of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Contour Fashion students and alumni shared centre stage with rock legend Brian May last night, during the exclusive launch of his new book.


Contour Fashion students and alumni posing with Anita Dobson, Brian May, DMU's Gillian Proctor and Denis Pellerin

The musician, astrophysicist and stereo photography expert picked eight designs by DMU students and alumni to exhibit at the official press launch of his 3-D exploration of the history of the crinoline, Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster.

A black leather, laser-cut crinoline with printed bodysuit and a blue lace, beaded crinoline and lingerie set by current third year Contour Fashion students Louisa Haywood and Katherine Blake, were showcased to an audience of prominent photography and fashion journalists.

Six other DMU designs were also on show, alongside the likes of Vivienne Westwood ‘mini crinis’, an 1860s crinoline dress and bodice, and costumes from Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, made by Oscar-winning Sands Films Studio where the launch took place.

These were contributed by DMU alumni Jade Little, owner and Creative Director of Reckless Wolf, Sian Whitefoot, London and Shanghai Fashion Week designer, Samantha Tretton, Designer for Abercrombie & Fitch, and award-winners Christina Hallett-Young, Elissa Poppy and Selina Bond.


Elissa Poppy's latex rope and lace creation

Historian and co-author of the book, Denis Pellerin, was ‘stunned’ by the quality of the DMU collection and the innovative use of different materials such as lace, metal and wood.

He said: “We want to show the press that crinoline is alive and well, and that exactly 160 years after the crinoline cage was patented it still inspires young and very talented designers who use it in so many clever and elegant ways.”

Brian May said: “We have written the story of crinoline up to the 2000s. It now belongs to these talented designers to continue the story.”

May and Pellerin worked with DMU's Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader for Contour Fashion, Gillian Proctor, to choose DMU’s crinoline-inspired collection.


Selina Bond's moulded carbon fibre crinoline

Gillian is an internationally-recognised expert in her field and Chair of the International Institute of Intimate Apparel. 

She said: “This has been an unforeseen and amazing opportunity for the students and alumni to showcase to a high profile audience the very best that Contour Fashion at DMU can consistently deliver, at the very highest level.

“To have the opportunity to work with a photographer of Denis Pellerin’s reputation and the intellect of rock giant Brian May is the icing on the cake. What a great way to celebrate the apogee of collective achievement.”

A crinoline is a stiffened or structured petticoat originally designed in the mid-19th century to hold out and add volume to women's skirt.

Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster recognises the intimate association of crinolines and stereoscopic photographs, both of which were twin sensations of the mid-19th century.

Published to coincide with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s highly anticipated exhibition, Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear Fashion, it features contributions from curator of the exhibit, Edwina Erhman, as well as fashion moguls Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes.


Q&A with Denis Pellerin and Brian May

Posted on Friday 15th April 2016

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