Stevie Stewart - one half of influential 1980s fashion label BodyMap, talks to Off Black Magazine alongside her design partner David Holah about what it meant to be at the forefront the London Fashion Scene.
"A central part of the Blitz Kids with their community of contemporaries like Leigh Bowery, Boy George, Princess Julia and Michael Clark modeling in their unconventional shows, BodyMap’s infectious energy was responsible for the renaissance of Swinging London in the 80s, what Mary Quant was to the 60s. Exactly opposite on the zodiac, David and Stevie complement each other and still remain friends and collaborators today."
Opening 10th of July, Club to Catwalk at the V&A is a major exhibition looking at the influence that 1980s London Club Culture has had on the catwalk.
Like many movements before and since, the 80s club scene in London hung upon a few notable branches. Select venues and energetic individuals that provided a canopy under which people of all shapes and persuasions could congregate and experiment. As individuals, they might’ve been motivated by the prospect of upstaging each other’s outfits at the Blitz. However as a group, they pushed the boundaries, visually and politically shifting ideas of ‘taste’ towards todays more liberal norms. Club culture and its keystone figures squared up to the establishment with spirit and style. Escorting it towards the expressive street wear fashions and youth-centric ways of dressing that we know so well today.
BodyMap comprised of the supremely talented Stevie Stewart and David Holah, was a very notable branch of the tree. Aesthetically Bodymap was new. Technically BodyMap was new. Their version of the catwalk was new, often using models from the clubs that they inspired and were inspired by.
With expert pattern cutting and subtle draping in unusual fabrics. BodyMap created, sexy, confident garments, which required attitude and sass to fit into.
It is this irresistible combination of talent, foresight, technical ingenuity and style that renders BodyMap at once, ahead of, perfect for and beyond their time.
Kate Bethune assistant curator at the V&A describes why BodyMap have been brought into this exhibition.
“BodyMap are an important inclusion in Club to Catwalk as they perfectly encapsulate the cross-section between Club and Catwalk as well as the design spirit of the 80s. Their designs were young, new, bold and vital, and they were shown on the Catwalk and worn in the clubs by personalities such as the dancer Michael Clark. BodyMap worked with the new stretch materials and they played with shapes and forms especially oversized details and introducing cutaways in unexpected and daring places. “
Following on the from the hugely successful David Bowie exhibition, Club to Catwalk is an opportunity to see up close garments and outfits that inspired, expanded, distorted and ruptured the taste spectrum.
In particular, Club to Catwalk is a unique chance to see BodyMap and we can't wait!
Not only this but BodyMap have re-designed their iconic Throwback - Tee for the exhibition, read about it here
As part of the Club to Catwalk Exhibition at the V&A, BodyMap have reinvented their iconic Throwback Tee! The original version that features in the exhibition was debuted on the catwalk in 1984. These reworks are the first new BodyMap designs since production ceased in the early 1990's. Here we show you behind-the-scenes exclusive pictures from Stevie Stewart & and David Holah's BodyMap Studio.
Stevie Stewart explains how they reworked the Tee for 2013
“We took the original throwback tee and then recut it - bringing the back side seam more to the front and in line with the rib armhole panel and made the cowl back more exaggerated “
Click through the image gallery to see the design process develop.
Bodymap Thowback T-shirts in White - Sizes small and medium
Bodymap Throwback T-Shiirt in Black - Sizes large and oversize
For the full press relese click here