Picture preview: The Body Adorned - Dressing London


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The Independent Culture

Why do we wear what we wear? Does the way we dress have deeper meaning or is dress superficial? What influences our choice of dress?

The Body Adorned: Dressing London, an exhibition which opens at the Horniman Museum on Saturday, will look across time and cultures at the relationships between dress, the body and the emergence of London as city encapsulating a world of people. It will consider how migration, objects and ideas have influenced London dress in the past and explore body adornment in today’s capital.

It will feature 300 objects from the museum's extensive anthropological collections, which reflect body adornment practices across the world, including an Ancestor figure from Papua New Guinea, early tattooing instruments, a Native American headdress and intricate European folk costumes. The objects give an insight into the messages dress conveys in these societies, and visitors will see the role dress plays in magic, religion, warfare, social status, gender, marriage and death.

The objects will be offset by a display of  urban portraits taken by young people working in partnership with the Horniman Museum and Goldsmiths College, exploring the many ways in which Londoners dress today.

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The Body Adorned: Dressing London, Horniman Museum Temporary Exhibition Gallery, 24 March 2012 to 6 January 2013, www.horniman.ac.uk