A red coat worn by Princess Diana will go on display for the first time in over a decade, and will sit alongside Dot Cotton’s tweed coat. The link between the two is that they were both designed by Jewish Londoners, and the Museum of London Docklands will be hosting an exhibition showing Jewish Londoners designers and their works.
From East End tailors to the couture salons of the West End, the exhibition will be telling the story of Jewish designers, makers and retailers responsible for some of the most recognisable looks of the 20th century. Individuals who became leading figures in their industries, founded retail chains still present on the high street today, and whose businesses helped boost the British post-war economy.
Away from the top name fashion items, there will also be clothes from some of the UK’s most recognisable high street stores including M&S, Wallis and Moss Bros.
Setting the scene will be a space dedicated to London’s East End, where many Jewish migrants arrived between the late 19th and mid-20th century. Personal ephemera from ordinary Londoners will tell stories of some of the 200,000 Jewish people who arrived in Britain during that time, over half of whom were involved in the fashion, clothing, and textile trade.
The exhibition will also highlight the little known connections between different immigrant communities, telling the stories of Caribbean tailors and Bengali seamstresses who came to London and found employment and mentorship from Jewish employers.
Dr Lucie Whitmore, Curator at the Museum of London said: “Princess Diana played an active role in the design process of her Bellville Sassoon outfits, and wore them for some hugely significant life moments. Similarly, June Brown was involved in shaping Dot Cotton’s wardrobe, and the Alexon coat is instantly recognisable as a piece of EastEnders history. We are delighted to be able show both coats as part of the exhibition, as they represent the significant cultural impact made by London’s Jewish designers.
Tickets for Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style goes on sale today ahead of opening at the Museum of London Docklands on 13th October 2023.
- Adult: £12
- Concessions: £8
- Art Fund/Children (12-17): £6
- Children (<12): Free
- Museum Friends: Free
The museum is a short walk from the Canary Wharf stations for the Elizabeth and Jubilee lines and the DLR.