We caught up with Amelia Calver, Licensing Research & Development Manager at the V&A, to talk design, fashion and our debut collection.
Why collaborate with People Tree?
In our different fields of expertise, People Tree and the V&A share a passion for quality, craftsmanship and innovation. Our mission is to make the Museum’s works of art more accessible and it’s been a joy to work with People Tree on a capsule collection of clothing inspired by floral dress fabrics from the 1930s, held in the Museum’s national collection of textiles and dress. Floral printed fabrics held a prominent place in every smart woman’s wardrobe in the 1930s.
“People Tree’s choice of pattern recalls the elegant outfits worn to tea parties held on the lawn in the summer months or on-board ocean liners set for the Atlantic.”
What are the key trends and ideas that have inspired the collection?
People Tree was inspired by the romance of our upcoming exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style, which will open in February 2018. The golden age of ocean liners in the 1920s and 30s is inextricably linked with the Art Deco style which swept through all spheres of design, from fashion and entertainment to interior design and architecture. The designers loved the idea of fashion and lifestyle on board. Fashion was central to the experience of travelling by liner with each activity requiring specific clothes, from daywear for lounging or playing tennis on the decks, to evening gowns worn to dinner. Liners were ideal settings for showcasing the latest fashions: the theatrical grande descente, a grand staircase leading to the dining room on board, was a stage for fashionable passengers to see and be seen, while the streamlined architecture of the liner often served as a backdrop for fashion shows or shoots. Like fashion, ocean liner travel could operate as a medium between one’s dreams and reality.
How did you become interested in pursuing a role at the V&A?
For my degree, I studied History of Art at Anglia Polytechnic University. After graduating, I wrote to an auction house for an internship and was offered a role in their picture library, which was something I thought I’d be good at from looking at History of Art, and also thought sounded fantastic, but it turned out that I had an eidetic memory. It’s proved invaluable at the Museum with over 2.3 million objects! I’ve loved the V&A ever since I visited as a 10 year old girl. I remember worrying that I wouldn’t be able to explore it all on my first visit – I needn’t have worried! I’ve worked at the V&A since 2000. During my time here I’ve worked in the Licensing department providing design resources and brand endorsement to partners across the world.
Your favourite piece of the collection?
My favourite piece from the range is the V&A Tulip Print Frill Top. I love its comfortable feel and elegant frills. I always try and make myself presentable at work. However I might be climbing a ladder at Clothworkers’ with a camera in the morning and then at a very glamorous evening function at the Museum, so one always has to be prepared!
“The People Tree range with the V&A has some very versatile items that I could easily dress up or down.”
Any new developments coming up for the V&A that we should be looking forward to?
In February 2018, the V&A will re-imagine the golden age of ocean travel with the major new exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed & Style , sponsored by Viking Cruises. Co-organised by the V&A in London and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, it is the first ever exhibition to explore the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale. It will explore all aspects of the design of liners from architecture, engineering and interiors to the fashion and lifestyle promoted on board.
To celebrate the launch of the V&A’s upcoming exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style opening on the 3rd February 2018, win two tickets plus a £250 voucher to spend at People Tree. Enter here.
Photography by Audrey Reglioni
Thanks to the Victoria and Albert Museum