I love Christmas and one of my favourite things about it is how magical everywhere looks with their pretty lights after dark. One of my favourite places at Christmas is Carnaby Street. It always looks and feels a bit special and has a fun theme going on.
This year Carnaby is collaborating with the V&A, the world’s leading museum of art and design, to create this year’s Carnaby Christmas installations. The inspiration for this exciting project is the V&A’s exhibition, ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, which opened on 10th September and features ‘Swinging’ Carnaby Street in 1966. Now, I haven’t yet made it down to the V&A (ever!), although it’s been on my to do list for a while, but I really fancy a look around this exhibition so I definitely need to pull my finger out.
The installation will be a powerful statement that celebrates the heritage of Carnaby and evokes the peace and love zeitgeist that embodied the fashion and cultural revolutions of the late 1960s.
To celebrate the collaboration, Carnaby will host a Christmas launch party on Thursday 10th November 5 – 9pm, with an experiential shopping event and lights switch on. The installation will be displayed above the 13 streets of Carnaby making it the largest Christmas display to date.
The V&A are holding a residency in Carnaby Street themed around the exhibition. The retail space launched on 9th September and will run until January, selling tickets to the exhibition and merchandise ranging from psychedelic posters to prints featuring iconic images from the sixties, fashion including a colourful silk scarf designed by Beatles illustrator Alan Aldridge and limited edition Levi’s® jeans specially made to commemorate the exhibition. Merchandise will also reflect the importance of music, with the soundtrack to the exhibition available on CD or vinyl alongside Sennheiser headphones, as well as exclusive Carnaby products. The space will also showcase a series of free workshops and special in-store events.
‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, explores the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today. From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism and computing to neoliberalist politics, the world we live in has been vitally influenced by the revolutionary years 1966-1970.
The V&A exhibition opens with a Carnaby Street 1966 streetscape when Time Magazine famously named the street on the front cover as epitomising ‘Swinging London’. The area was the epicentre of fashion and music, with the thriving style scene focused around the clothing boutiques on Carnaby Street. Over 350 objects will be on show in the exhibition encompassing fashion, photography, literature, music, design, film and fashion that defined the counterculture. Show highlights include Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, an Ossie Clark costume for Mick Jagger, the suits worn by Lennon and Harrison on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and handwritten lyrics for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles. The collection of the cult radio presenter John Peel will provide a musical odyssey through some of the greatest music of the 20th century.
The exhibition runs from 10th September – 26th February.
Simon Quayle, Director of Shaftesbury comments: “We are delighted to announce this prestigious partnership with the V&A. The major exhibition is a perfect synergy for us as it celebrates Carnaby’s rich heritage and stamp as a London icon. The Christmas installations are original, fun and a great signature for London.”
I can’t wait to see Carnaby all lit up again.