ART-CHERIE projects over the past six months

Report on the second Technical Meeting in London on January 18-19, 2018 and state-of-the-art of the projects


The second technical meeting of the ART -CHERIE project aimed to discuss the first draft outline of the e-learning units that the University of the Arts London is currently developing, and as well as the digitalisation process of the Prato Textile Museum collections .   Additionally,   the set- up and the development of the platform was reviewed to see how the e- learning courses will be hosted

Firstly an overview of the ART -CHERIE 7 unit course structure and details of the e-learning Unit 1 – Womenswear, were presented and discussed. Three examples of women’s fashion garments representing difference fashion eras         were selected from the Prato Museum collections for this unit. In the coming months the focus for unit 5 – Embroidery will be developed to focus on embellishment techniques where research approaches will be applied to creativity and future innovations.

Concerning the status of the digitalisation of the Prato Museum collections, the partnership has around 60 photos of the selected garments at their disposal that will be the inspiration for the e – learning courses, historical and cultural details of those garments, as well as additional images from other collections.

Last but foremost, the host of the e -learning course platform, managed by the Greek partner GNOSI – NGO was presented, which gave an overview of the platform  including a broad range of functionalities for a user friendly format . The UAL partners also presented their current approach to manage online short courses and several online tools used which enriched the discussion on  how the ART-CHERIE platform will be used.

Historical inspiration for contemporary fashion at Prato Textile Museum

The Art  Cherie project aims to promote experimentation in some of the educational activities offered by UAL, intended for young fashion designers, that will be made available through an e -learning platform. Two of the project’s teaching   units revolve around a number of artefacts from the historical collections of the MdT in Prato. The artefacts, selected from among the museum’s various collections are used as a source of inspiration for stylistic research and designing new fashion products.

The UAL teaching staff carefully chose a number of garments and textiles that are particularly suited to educational purposes and creative reinterpretation within the context of the online courses. Three beautiful dresses were selected for the first U nit, each from a very different era, but linked by their formal and elegant styles, neutral colours, high -quality materials and precious details.

The first dress (photo 1) is a formal suit dated from the end of the nineteenth century. The dress, created by a renowned Florentine tailor, was probably part of the marriage trousseau belonging to noblewoman Beatrice Verity Manners, who married in Florence in 1898. The dress consists of a shaped jacket with a V–cut opening in the front that reveals a faux blouse made of chiffon. The skirt features a very tight waistline, as was customary at the time, and flares out into a bell- shape. The shape is sustained by four layers of different fabrics and the bottom of the skirt is decorated with geometric lace appliqués.

The second garment (photo 2) is an Italian -tailored silk satin cocktail dress from 1966 /68. It consists of two pieces: a short jacket and a linear knee -length dress with embroidery that completely covers the bodice. The geometric line evokes the styles conceived by the great fashion designers of the sixties, such as Courreges, Pierre Cardin and Irene Galitzine, who proposed informal,  comfortable and youthful lines for even the  most elegant dresses.

The third garment (photo 3) is an elegant Florentine wedding dress from 1947. Made of viscose satin, it is characterised by the splendid construction on the front featuring soft gathers sewn to a central panel, while the back of the skirt ends with a long train. Interestingly, the elegant line of the dress is typical of the nineteen -thirties: during the Second World War no new fashions were introduced and the old styles were worn well after the war ended. The same applies to the use of two slightly different fabrics, probably due to the scarce availability of textiles during this historical period.

UAL requested the museum to conduct in-depth research on these pieces in order to better structure the teaching units. For this reason, an extensive photographic campaign was carried out on every detail of the clothes (photo 4) and on the linings, resulting in a total of 60 photographs.

The designers will not be able to see the dresses in person, but they will have the opportunity to analyse their every detail, decoration and element.  In addition, a few detailed fact sheets were created with links to other iconographic resources which are useful for conducting stylistic research. All this information will become part of the educational material included on the online course platform.

Selection of pieces from the Prato Archive for unit one and five

In the initial design stages of the online course, the LCF project team discussed a range of research methods and identified the following as most relevant to the design disciplines on which the course will focus: Visual Research, Contextual Approaches and Object Analysis.

UNIT 1 | The Prato online archive was researched to identify three examples of women’s fashion which would offer a breadth of scope for exploring the selected research methods. The chosen examples are: Formal gown, needlepoint embroidery, plastic beads and pendants (1966/8); Wedding dress worn by Liliana Ciolini (1947); formal gown worn by Beatrice Verity Manners’ (late 19th century). The selected examples represent three eras of fashion. In addition, they each have a particular style of detail, through fabric manipulation and/or embellishment, which provides further research inspiration linked to subsequent units. The examples are all of neutral colour, to provide a ‘blank canvas’ on which to practice the research methods.

Ethnic collection of Prato Textile Museum traditional Yemeni costume – Thob, Yemen (Tihama region), XX century

UNIT 5 |  The Prato online archive was researched to identify several examples of textiles that would offer scope for exploring both research methods and the range of selected embroidery and embellishment techniques to provide inspiration for textile through research .

The ethnic examples have been selected for their particular style of detail, either- colour, pattern or surface texture – to provide further opportunities for research and inspiration linked to the unit subject area and/or subsequent          units. These initial examples also will also add diversity to the pilot units to draw on sources within the museum other than European. The textiles are also not embroidered and as such will demonstrate how diverse objects within the museum can be used to inspire embroidered and embellished textile design.

These ethnic textiles will be supported by the selection of further European textile samples from Prato again that may be selected for colour or pattern or relation to intended embroidery sample method and may include prints,   artists’ sketchbooks as well as embroidered samples and other textiles. These are currently being selected with The London Embroidery Studio and other external designers.

Embroidery is a vast subject area with many historical techniques. The techniques that have been identified as most appropriate to textiles and fashion design to include wi thin the allocated learning hours are stitch, beading, applique, découpe, cutwork and quilting. Other techniques that are being discussed to include are design for laser cut and engraving.

Project Partners

The consortium of the project consists off five partners from Belgium, Greece, Italy, and UK. The coordinator of this project is Euratex – the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Brussels, Belgium).


The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) – BE







The Hellenic Fashion Industry Association (HCIA) –GR




Prato Textile Museum – IT





University of the Arts London – UK



Erasmus+ Project: 16PP0001 (2016-1-BE01-KA202-016281)

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