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The Architectural History of London Fashion Week and its Role in the Production of London as a Global City

Pavlovic, D; (2017) The Architectural History of London Fashion Week and its Role in the Production of London as a Global City. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This research investigates the role of the creative industry in the symbolic production of global cities, focusing on the visual, spatial, and textual discourses produced by, and embedded in, the spectacles of London Fashion Week. It questions how architectural narratives have informed London Fashion Week discourses, and what do fashion discourses provide in terms of representation of London as a global city. In order to link concepts of production of fashion, architecture and global city, thesis draws on the David Harvey’s theory of social construction of time and space analysing the architectural history as retrospective of various spatio-temporal concepts represented through narratives of fashion events. The thesis investigates the cases of key London-based fashion designers in the period from 1983 to 2015: BodyMap (David Holah and Stevie Stewart), Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen. It also includes the series of fashion shows Fashion in Motion held at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1999 to 2015, as well as the fashion exhibition AngloMania curated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006. The architectural focus is on the settings and staging of London Fashion Week shows including Olympia, Natural History Museum and Somerset House, as well as 116 Pall Mall, and the Christ Church Spitalfields. The history of London Fashion Week is reconstructed through interviews, video records, photographs, speeches, letters, and media reports covering specific fashion events. Analysing this material in both the cultural and political context of globalisation, the thesis examines the relationship between fashion design, the architecture of show venues, and the image of global London constructed through spatio-temporal practices London fashion sub-cultures and fashion media discourses. It is argued that local architectural and urban heritage played a significant role in the symbolic production of London Fashion Week as a global fashion event. The search for differentiation in the homogenised culture of the global city required anchorage to local histories and places. However, the exploitation of these traditions for global commercial purposes gradually homogenised the foundations of this cultural differentiation reflecting the effects of neo-liberal globalisation and compression of space and time.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Architectural History of London Fashion Week and its Role in the Production of London as a Global City
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1553152
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