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London teens create striking fashion designs inspired by the Old Masters

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A new photography exhibition of fashion portraits will showcase a remarkable collection of garments designed from scratch by nine young people age 11-18 from East London. In a six month project led by Dulwich and creative youth space, Spotlight, the budding fashion designers found inspiration in the Old Master paintings at Dulwich Picture Gallery, creating bespoke garments that call to mind the likes of 16th century portrait sitter, Joan Alleyn, and the more contemporary style icon, Lady Gaga.

The initiative, Spotlight on Fashion, aimed to empower young people to express their ideas through creativity. 14-year-old Gary was immediately drawn to the striking figure of Joan Alleyn, wife of the English actor and founder of Dulwich College, Edward Alleyn. In her fierce black dress with big shoulders, ruff and unusual hat he saw elements of pop icon Lady Gaga and blended the styles of both women to create a highly individual, contemporary outfit.

Melissa, 11, based her garment on Phillip IV King of Spain from the workshop of Diego R. Velazquez and Portrait of a Lady by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger was interpreted by Betty, in a Tudor-style costume.

The designers modelled their garments at the Gallery in a photo shoot working with professional photographer, Sal Idriss. The portraits, along with a selection of the garments, will be exhibited in the Gallery’s Linbury Room from 2 April – 13 May. Free to the public, the exhibition is a great opportunity to see the Gallery’s permanent collection interpreted in a fresh, new way.
Spotlight on Fashion is the second collaboration between Dulwich Picture Gallery and Spotlight. It is part of Dulwich’s Youth Engagement Programme, which aims to inspire young people to develop as artists and art leaders through creative activities. The Programme runs throughout the year and engages with 11-18 year olds at Dulwich Picture Gallery and in the community. 

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Spotlight on Fashion is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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Further information:

Louisa Bee, Press and Communications Manager / 020 8299 8710