Went to the Black British Style exhibition at the V&A last weekend. Thought it was pretty bloody good overall. There are some great original exhibits in there as well as some great archive photos and footage. The accompanying text is fairly good, though as is often the case, seemed a little cautious. I also thought it the exhibition was rather small given the £6 entrance fee, but I generally feel that after every exhibition I attend these days. (Am I just getting bigger or something?)
Moreover, despite a few great photos, I'd have liked to have seen more of the clothes in situ and particularly more archive footage. We were given the well-worn yet still fabulous Pathé shots of West Indians arriving at cold windswept British docks in the '50s, and a fantastic late '70s 'home movie' by Don Letts. There was an engaging film playing in the exhibition's 'cinema', but I'd liked to have seen actual footage scattered in and around the clothes more. There must be so much great footage - you'd think TOTP alone could contribute a few hours. I know full well how (ludicrously) much it costs to incorporate video in exhbitions, but the clothes lose a little of their vibrancy left hanging.
I sneaked a couple of shots. This display is near the start, taking style from the 60s to the 70s. Check the Shaft-style leather coat!
And though this is possibly the 'least British' thing in there - whatever that means - I couldn't resist a covert snap of this awesome Public Enemy outfit (bonus point: spot Dizzee Rascal's Evisu jeans in the background):
Black British Style exhibition. At the V&A museum, London, until 16 January 2005.