Now in our Window Galleries, a chance to see one of a kind dresses custom made by fashion students of Central Saint Martins for Sir Grayson Perry’s infamous alter ego, Claire and collected by Grayson over nearly two decades – as they go up for bidding on Friday 3 February.
The pieces span 17 years of collecting by Grayson as part of the Grayson Perry Print Project: an annual student design competition that has formed a rich creative relationship between Central Saint Martins fashion students and staff and the UAL Chancellor and Turner Prize winner.
Students are encouraged to create flamboyant, playful pieces that resonate with Grayson's aesthetic. Bright and pastel colours, exaggerated silhouettes and bold textiles and features appear across the collection, with signature flourishes such as ruffles, rich linings and puff sleeves, and references to Grayson’s childhood teddybear Alan Measles along with plenty experimental design features.
The Grayson Perry Dress Auction is produced by BA Fashion Communication first year students and led by Isabella Coraça, Fashion History and Theory Stage One Leader and Fashion Communication Lecturer. Curated by Isabella Coraça, Philip Clarke and Anna Burns, the Window Galleries exhibition is a chance to see close up the construction, textures and design details chosen by Grayson for Claire, featuring pieces from alumni designers such as Maia Bergman and Mimi Wade.
All proceeds from the sale of the collection will go back into the Fashion Programme, to improve resources in support of a new generation of fashion students.
"This student-led auction is a celebration of the creative talent we nurture, and the thought-provoking collaborations we engage with here at Central Saint Martins. We are celebrating the work of second year BA Fashion Design: Print students, who over the last 17 years have created unique dresses for Sir Grayson Perry’s alter ego, Claire. But we are also celebrating the hard work and talent of our current first year Fashion Communication students, who in 3 weeks put this auction together with their usual panache.
It is no small feat what the Fashion History and Theory, Fashion Journalism and a selection of Fashion Communication and Promotion students managed to do in the timeframe we had. We didn’t know what we were receiving, as Perry carefully selected the dresses over the holidays. But the second we got our hands in these dresses, it was like an explosion of pure creativity. They managed and cared for the objects following museum standards; researched them like there was no tomorrow; interviewed tutors, current students and alumni; wrote 39 captions without once succumbing to boredom or repetition; produced the most amazing photographs without waste; created graphics and a catalogue that both encompasses the playfulness and creativity of the artist and fashion students; and curated this wonderful exhibition on display until the 3 February when we launch the online auction.
Students wrote in their press release that the auction would enable collectors and fans alike the opportunity to own a piece of fashion history. For me, this student-led project was an example of fashion history in the making."
Isabella Coraça, Fashion History and Theory Stage One Leader and Fashion Communication Lecturer.
Bidding is now open until 20 February 2023.
Grayson’s Robes 2023 student competition
Grayson's annual challenge to students to design a personalised alternative to the formal black Chancellor’s robes to wear to the Graduation ceremonies is open until 24 February. Find out more and see previous winning designs.