Hampshire Cultural Trust

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Geometric Gems

Although spots, stripes, squares and checks are all geometric shapes, there are many other motifs that come into this category.They are all shapes that do not represent anything in the natural world.

In this exhibition, a number of different shapes are shown from diamonds and hexagons to zig-zags. Diamonds can be arranged in a lattice to form a diagonal version of a checkerboard. This pattern is often associated with Harlequin because of the multicoloured diamond costume worn by this Italian pantomime character. The man’s bathing costume on show in this exhibition highlights the fashion for Masquerades and the popularity of Harlequin in the 1920s.

Shapes can be varied to create different patterns.They can be placed on top of each other in a structured way or scattered randomly to create a kaleidoscope of abstract patterns.

The effect of the geometric designs can be very eye catching and can make a strong statement for the wearer. As such, they are more prone to the changing fads of fashion.

Day dress c1837-40
Printed wool dress with abstract geometric design in red, pink, cream, yellow, brown and grey.
Accession number C1996.62

Day dress c1935
Ivory silk dress printed with blue zigzag design. 
Accession number C1988.44.95

Evening dress c1970
Manmade fibre, possibly acrylic with woven pattern incorporating synthetic metal thread. Design of lozenges in black, purple and pink. 
Accession number KD1991.1007