Professor Amy de la Haye

Profile image of Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship Joint Programme Leader with Professor Judith Clark, MA Fashion Curation pathway

Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship Joint Programme Leader with Professor Judith Clark, MA Fashion Curation pathway

London College of Fashion

Biography

Amy de la Haye is a dress historian and curator. She studied design history at Brighton University and has an MA in Cultural History (by thesis) from the Royal College of Art.  Her current role is Professor and Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History & Curatorship at London College of Fashion. This includes serving as Joint Director of the research Centre for Fashion Curation and Joint Programme Leader of the MA Fashion Curation course, with Professor Judith Clark. She formed part of the LCF working party for the RAE and the REF.

She has worked as a curator in regional (Brighton and Hove) museums; was Curator of 20th Century Dress at the V&A 1991-1999; has curated exhibitions in retail spaces (Selfridges and Carnaby Street) and in the context of the university gallery (LCF). Her major exhibitions include ‘Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk’ (V&A 1994), ‘The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion’ (V&A, 1997), ‘One Woman’s Wardrobe’ (V&A, 1998),  ‘Catherine Walker: A British Couturière’ ‘The Land Girls: Cinderellas of the Soil’ (Brighton Museum) and ‘Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike. Paris 1967-1971’ (LCF 2013 and Polazzo Morando, Milan, 2013-2104).

In 2005 she co-curated with Lou Taylor and Eleanor Thompson ‘Fashion & Fancy Dress: The Messel Family Dress Collection 1860-2005’ (Brighton Museum). And, in 2012, she wrote the object labels for The Simone Handbag Museum (Seoul) which was curated by Judith Clark and wrote texts for her book Handbags: The Making of a Museum (Yale University Press, 2021). Each exhibition was accompanied by a book/catalogue. Her curatorial and written outcomes are united by an emphasis on constructing narratives around objects, often as evidence of women’s lives lived. ‘Objects of a Passion’ is her favourite and most used lecture title!

Writing forms a core part of her research and she has published some fifty texts.

These include academic papers for Fashion Theory (and include jointly guest editing the special issue on Vogue); chapters for books published by Berg (including The Englishness of English Dress); joint author with Valerie D. Mendes of Fashion Since 1900 (Thames & Hudson, WOA series), Lucile: London, Paris, New York & Chicago’ (V&A) and Worth: A Portrait of an Archive (published Spring 2014). She is joint author (with Judith Clark) of Exhibiting Fashion: Before & After 1971 (Yale University Press 2014) and is the author of the V&A’s first series of children’s books (Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day and Clara Button and the Wedding Day Surprise) and has edited the Materiality section of Handbook of Fashion Studies (Bloomsbury/Berg). She is currently co-editing, with Edwina Erhman, a large volume on London couture for the V&A.

Teaching in university (at B.A., M.A. and PhD levels) and museum contexts has always been central to her work and is something she greatly enjoys. More recently she has also been reading her children’s books in schools and museum contexts. She has run workshops on fashion curatorship for the British Council (in Moscow and Tblisi) and has lectured at international universities and museums (including Oxford and Cambridge universities and in New York, Venice, Berlin, Helsinki, Stockholm). She also supervises PhD students.

Her work has also involved working within the fashion industry as Creative Consultant within the fashion industry.

Future projects involve a curatorial collaboration with Martin Pel at Brighton Museum, working on a film that will evoke a 1914 tea gown for Alison Moloney (LCF), a new Clara Button book about children and collecting.  She will also curate a small exhibition of a series of postcards dating c1911, depicting hobble-skirted women hurtling through the streets of Paris on roller skates illustrated by Xavier Sager. 

Research interests

Fashion in the context of the museum; museology; archives; material culture analysis and materiality; auto/biography and narrative; fashion and dress history from c1850 onwards; London fashion particularly during the  late 19th and early 20th centuries; court dressmakers; The First and Second World Wars and women’s lives; the Women's Land Army; etiquette and terminologies. I am fascinated by preserving objects and the words used to describe them.

Research statement

With Judith Clark, I am Joint Director of the recently established research Centre for Fashion Curation and Joint Programme Leader for MA Fashion Curation. We are working on collaborative and fundraising ventures within this discipline with colleagues working internally and externally, including within regional museums. A project with curator Martin Pel at Brighton Museum might involve an exhibition on exhibiting the un-exhibitable.

I am currently working on a jointly edited, with Edwina Erhman, large book on London Couture for V&A Publishing. My contributions include writing the introductory chapter on London fashion 1880-1920; chapters on Victor Stiebel and Jacqmar, Bianca Mosca, Worth; the Conclusion and a Terminoogy. I have commissioned colleagues and PhD students to contribute.

My series of  material culture narratives for children, based around the character Clara Button (V&A Publishing) has become very successful and I am writing another story about collecting.

Students

Current students & thesis titles

Matteo Augello, "How Italian fashion is collected, preserved and analysed: unfolding the relationship between scholarship and production in the establishment of fashion collections in Italy, 1995-2015."

Sara Chong Kwan, Making sense of Everyday Dress: Integrating multi-sensory experience within our understanding of contemporary dress in the West.

Antonios Daikos, Re/Load: Fashion and the Gender-neutral Dream.

Nichola-Jane Hodgkinson (Stevenson), "Nostalgia and the Now: A critical and practice-based investigation into curating the juxtaposition of period film costume and contemporaneous fashion in an exhibition context."

June Rowe, Sculpting Beauty; A Cultural Analysis of Mannequin Design and the Shaping of Fashionable Feminine Silhouettes.

Benjamin David Whyman, How can a detailed material culture analysis of fashionable menswear wardrobes augment biographical and museological interpretations? A comparative analysis of three 20th century menswear collections from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Completed students & thesis titles

Jeffrey Horsley, Embedding the Personal: the construction of a 'fashion autobiography' as a museum exhibition, informed by innovative practice and ModeMuseum, Antwerp.

Djurdja Bartlett, Ideology and Clothes: The Rise and Decline of Socialist Official Fashion.

Joyce Fenton Douglas, From 19th Century Sweated Industries to 21st Century Collaborative Practice: a critical examination and creative exploration of the ancillary trades of the London élite fashion industry.

Selected research outputs

  • Bianca Mosca

    de la Haye, Amy (2015) Bianca Mosca. In: London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury. V&A Publishing, London, pp. 150-153. ISBN 9781851778508

  • Court Dressmaking in Mayfair from the 1890s to the 1920s

    de la Haye, Amy (2015) Court Dressmaking in Mayfair from the 1890s to the 1920s. In: London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury. V&A Publishing, London, pp. 10-27. ISBN 9781851778508

  • Introduction and Conclusion to 'London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury'

    Ehrman, Edwina and de la Haye, Amy (2015) Introduction and Conclusion to 'London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury'. In: London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury. V&A Publishing, London. ISBN 9781851778508

  • Victor Stiebel, Jacqmar

    de la Haye, Amy (2015) Victor Stiebel, Jacqmar. In: London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury. V&A Publishing, London, pp. 86-97. ISBN 9781851778508

  • Worth (London) Ltd.

    de la Haye, Amy (2015) Worth (London) Ltd. In: London Couture 1923-1975: British Luxury. V&A Publishing, London, pp. 110-114. ISBN 9781851778508

  • Exhibiting Fashion: Before and After 1971

    Clark, Judith and de la Haye, Amy (2014) Exhibiting Fashion: Before and After 1971. Yale University Press, New Haven. ISBN 9780300125795

  • The Handbook of Fashion Studies

    de la Haye, Amy and Mendes, Valerie (2014) The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive. V&A Publishing, London. ISBN 9781851777747

  • Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike

    de la Haye, Amy (2013) Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike. [Show/Exhibition]Brock, Philippa (2014) The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Object analysis

    de la Haye, Amy (2012) Object analysis. In: Handbags: the making of a museum. Yale University Press in association with Simone Handbag Museum, New Haven, CT, pp. 34-207. ISBN 9780300186185

  • A terminology pertaining to handbags

    de la Haye, Amy (2012) A terminology pertaining to handbags. In: Handbags: the making of a museum. Yale University Press in association with Simone Handbag Museum, New Haven, CT, pp. 257-265. ISBN 9780300186185