Primrose Archer Dressed In Flowers From My Garden, Hackney, 2020 © Tim Walker Studio
‘Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.’ - (Attributed to Richard Brinsley Sheridan [1751-1816] playwright and poet)
Throughout history artists, designers and writers have explored this fragrant flower and its deterrent thorns (technically they are prickles) – a conjunction of opposites – to draw out illusions to love, beauty, sexuality, sin, rites of passage, degradation, and death.
A creative collaboration between guest curator Amy de la Haye and set designer Simon Costin, this exhibition will also draw inspiration from the Garden Museum collection and gardens to explore the tensions between wild and cultivated, natural and artificial roses within fashion apparel, image making and contemporary craft practices.
Fashions designed by Alexander McQueen (fashion’s rosarian) and Comme des Garçons will be shown alongside ‘rosy’ undergarments dating from the 18th century and the latest gender-neutral designs by Ashish. Accessories will include including millinery by Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy; a rose bucket bag by Lulu Guinness and a selection of gorgeously decorated fans. Simon Costin’s dramatic ‘Rose and the Nightingale’ neckpiece – which ruptures the wearer’s skin when worn – and a jet mourning brooch will communicate the rose as a metaphor for the savage pain of love unfulfilled and forever lost.
Studio photographic portrait of a seated woman wearing evening dress and a profusion of roses in her lap, American, 1920s
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and a programme of public events including talks, workshops and a Friday Late.