The top end of the British footwear industry, based in Northamptonshire, has retained its manufacturing and skills base and continues to make the best crafted footwear in the world.
This exhibition channels the perennial popularity and heritage of the elite universities of the North Eastern United States, how that style transferred to Britain via Hollywood and modern jazz whilst demonstrating that much of the output crafted by the Northamptonshire industry is inspired by the Ivy League look.
Celebrating also, 50 years of the seminal Japanese book Take Ivy, the direct appeal of this understated confidence of this elite look is showcased through a collection of reportage photography taken on the campuses of all the Ivy colleges by Teruyoshi Hayashida.
Images from Graham Marsh’s book, Hollywood and the Ivy Look, including those of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Anthony Perkins display how the look became embraced by leading actors and studios and demonstrates the projection of this dress code throughout one of America’s most defining periods of global cultural dominance.
The adaptation of this elitist style by the exponents of the modern Jazz during a time when the US was still undertaking its violent internal struggles for de-segregation is expressed via the stylised imagery and graphics from vintage album covers of the era.
Images and stories from Rebecca C Tuite’s 2014 publication, Seven Sisters Style present the influence of the elite ladies colleges on women’s fashion within the pre-coeducational era.
The exhibition also brings the manufacturing process to life. Photo-shoots and film from local production detail the meticulous craft skills and continued investment required to create the highest standards of footwear in