Second Nature

PM Gallery and House, London, England - 17 May – 7 July, 2013 -



Curator: Gemma A. Williams

Laura Ashley, Piers Atkinson, Wali Barrech, Nigel Cabourn, Tara Dougans, Fyodor Golan, Giles, Roksanda Ilincic, Yasemen Hussein, Michael Kampe, Donna Karan, Lara Jensen,
Dandi Maestre, Roland Mouret, Alex Mullins, Peter Pilotto, Zandra Rhodes, SWASH, Temperley, Cong Tri, Yiqing Yin


Bringing the outside in, this exhibition explores the unique and sustained relationship between fashion design and the natural world.
The natural world acts as an enduring source of inspiration for designers across the globe. Its presence can be seen in materiality, patterns and prints, while the fashion system itself is based on the cyclical seasons of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, illustrating paradigms of repeating renewal and decay.

Second Nature brings together over 40 designers and artists ranging from heritage brands such as Jaeger and Laura Ashley, whose use of tweeds and patterned fabrics depicting flowers and foliage have become synonymous with notions of British style, to work from Peter Pilotto, whose scientific appreciation of nature pushes the boundaries of how natural phenomena can inform contemporary processes.

Conceived as a site-specific response at PM Gallery, adjacent to Pitzhanger Manor House, the ‘dream home’ and country retreat of the revered British architect Sir John Soane, Second Nature draws on Soane’s collecting and architectural practices. With a fascination for nature, Soane spent much of his leisure time walking and fishing in the rural grounds surrounding the Manor House. The exhibition draws from these rich heritage associations, clearly woven into his professional and personal life, and evidenced in features like the original glass conservatory which was filled with ‘antique cinerary urns, sepulchral vases, statues, vines and odoriferous plants’.

Despite the technological advancing of the material work, this exhibition explores the magnetic draw of nature on the design world. Zandra Rhodes’s iconic textiles often depict landscapes, such as her Ayers Rock print, while Lara Jensen highlights the decadence of the physical world in her use of gold-plated insects and plumage. Soane himself acts as a continuing source of inspiration for contemporary designers, including Fyodor Golan and Swash, who have both cited him as a reference point.

From the earthy tones of Donna Karan’s SS12 Haiti collection, to the story of human endeavor against the forces of nature, integral to the work of Nigel Cabourn, Second Nature brings together a collection of fashion artefacts as well as looks from the catwalks of London, Paris and New York to explore this unique application.