Fashion & Freedom

Manchester Art Gallery



Cotton, silk 2015

William R. Howell-Jackson

BA Hons Fashion Design

“The cut of the tight bodice explodes upwards into two bird-like bustle sleeves that congregate in the centre back as an offering – a symbol of remembrance.”

William Howell-Jackson drew on his deep interest in fashion history and knowledge of couture construction in response to the themes of Restriction / Release. For Christabel, he was inspired by Edwardian images of female spectators at Ascot before the start of the First World War. He also researched and employed a technique developed by 20th century fashion designer Charles James to create volume in dresses, using quilted layers of horsehair, cotton organza and silk.

Christabel incorporates a pair of vintage culottes sourced at London’s second-hand clothing market in Portobello Road. Howell-Jackson reworked them so that the waist became the bodice whilst retaining the volume of the legs, which become two explosive sleeves. The design and silhouette are the result of the designer’s research into both historic dressmaking techniques and his reflection upon the Suffragette movement.

William R. Howell-Jackson Christabel 2015
Photography: Layla Sailor

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