Design lines

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The Independent Culture
A TIARA made of paper string (above, by Angela O'Kelly), wooden dresses, and garments of silk, copper wire and fishing-line are among the more implausible objects that hover uncertainly between fashion and fantasy, the wardrobe and the wall, in a new exhibition, Wearable Art, at Contemporary Applied Arts in London.

Apart from Victoria Metcalf's timber frocks (recently paraded on the catwalk by Julien Macdonald), the show consists of four jewellers and four makers of textiles whose work is united by an invigorating level of experimentation.

In fact, much of what is on show is eminently wearable, including Asta Barrington's embroidered bags in frosted blue, lilac and silver (to say nothing of her exquisite silk and felted scarves), Anna Gordon's elegant geometric chain necklaces and Carole Waller's layered and painted dresses, shirts and skirts.

Many pieces are gloriously flamboyant: when Joan Bakewell wore one of Kate Wilkinson's feather and crystal ruffs at the Bafta awards a few years ago it was a much-photographed sensation; and Maria Hansen's metal bracelet, spreading out like an Andy Goldsworthy twig raft, would ensure that no one gets too close to you.

Even the more unexpected materials - such as the discs of the Financial Times (360 per inch) making up Angela O'Kelly's torque - have been used to produce things that look good on people. Which is quite different from most art.

Annabel Freyberg

Wearable Art is at the CAA,

2 Percy Street, London W1 (0171-436 2344) until 29 May, Mon to Sat 10.30am- 5.30pm