When Lady Gaga wore a crystal-encrusted lobster hat last year, crustacean chic was seen as the height of fashion frivolity. Now, thanks to a new exhibition, ocean-inspired designs have been unexpectedly invested with serious meaning.
The Washed Up exhibition uses marine-inspired vintage and haute couture designs to highlight the potentially disastrous impact of overfishing in the world’s oceans. The installation forms part of Project Ocean, a five-week programme of events at Selfridges in London. The department store is working with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to raise awareness of the plight of marine life.
Judith Clark, curator of Washed Up, is more used to working in traditional museum settings such as the V&A and believes the exhibition’s focus is unique.
Alongside the surrealist Lady Gaga lobster hat – designed by the milliner Philip Treacy – sit 26 sea-themed exhibits. The earliest dates from the 1870s and the newest has been commissioned for the show.
Among the exhibits is a 1930s-style wig commissioned by the curator. Entitled Pearl Waves, the faux-jazz-age skull cap recalls froth-edged waves.