Professor Amy de la Haye
Professor Amy de la Haye is a curator, academic and author. She is the Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History & Curatorship at London College of Fashion and teaches on the MA Fashion Curation course.
As a student studying design history at Brighton University, I was utterly inspired by Professor Lou Taylor’s dress history classes. At the Royal College of Art I obtained an MA in Cultural History by writing a 40,000 word thesis on the women’s ready-to-wear fashion industry in Britain in the 1920s and ‘30s. I subsequently taught, worked as a researcher for the BBC’s dress history series Through the Looking Glass (1989) and worked part-time as Assistant Curator at Hove Museum. From 1991 to 1999 I was employed as Curator of 20th Century Dress at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where I curated two major exhibitions - Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk (1994) and The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion (1997) and a number of smaller shows.
Since 2000 (when I joined LCF one day a week) my diverse curated exhibitions have included, The Messel Family Dress Collection: 5 generations of Dress (with Lou Taylor and Eleanor Thompson, Brighton Museum); Liberace’s Stage Costumes (Selfridges, Oxford Street); Catherine Walker: A British Couturière (V&A); Carnaby Street: 50 (with Judith Clark, Carnaby Street) and a uniform based exhibition called The Land Girls: Cinderellas of the Soil at Brighton Museum. My most recently curated exhibition is Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike (Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion and Palazzo Morando, Milan, 2013-14). My practice and teaching are united by my emphasis on telling stories with objects.
Amy has also written two children's books, Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day (2012) and Clara Button and the Wedding Day Surprise (2013), illustrated by Emily Sutton and published by the V&A.
What makes MA Fashion Curation unique?
MA Fashion Curation is unique: there is no comparable course. It is an academic course with a strong practice component and it attracts students from diverse subject disciplines and occupations. Our alumni now have jobs at the V&A, Somerset House, the Fan Museum, the British Council, the Simone Handbag Museum in Seoul (curated by Judith Clark) and work as successful freelance curators, archivists, writers, stylists and photographers.
What key advice would you give to someone applying for the course?
I would recommend that potential students visit as many museums and exhibitions as possible and develop a critical vocabulary to review them.