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Ancient Egyptian Costume Collars

Egyptian Akhnaton Coat
Wearable Art
Modern Interpretation by John Jones

By Pauline Weston Thomas for

Egyptian Akhnaton Coat 1976
Wearable Art - Ancient Egyptian Costume by John Jones


Egyptian Art as a Source of Inspiration

The decorative pattern elements within Egyptian art, and other archaeological finds, have fascinated me since childhood.  Therefore, it was a wonderful surprise to receive these terrific images of wearable art coats from John Jones.  John is a gifted textile and digital artist, who works from London, UK.  John's wearable art picture coats are varied and include a bird and butterfly coat.  The Butterfly Coat also uses Egyptian colouration.Egyption Akhnaton Coat 1976 by John Jones. Wearable Art from Stitched and Pieced Leather.

Many of the motifs featured in my collar pages, are also repeated in John's Egyptian Akhnaton coat in leather and shown right.

John was probably as inspired as I was by the Egyptian Tutankhamun Exhibition that was held at the British Museum London back in the early 1970s.

Every generation that sees Egyptian art in all its glory, becomes inspired to design using the elements of Egyptian ornament.  When Howard Carter discovered some fine treasure pieces in 1922, direct copies or stylised elements crept into fashion and pattern.

Egyptian ornament almost always has a wonderfully modern look to it.  The flat way in which it is drawn also gives it a stencil quality and clean lines, which brings instant understanding to the onlooker.

Because of my interest in Egyptian costume, last year I added some relevant material to fashion-era, fashion history pages on ancient Egyptian Costume and Egyptian Ornament.  If you have already seen these pages you will know they highlight the decorative elements in Egyptian design. They are a superb source of inspiration.


Wearable Art from Stitched and Pieced Leather

Egyptian Akhnaton Coat

This coat above right, by John Jones is called Egyptian Akhnaton Coat 1976 and is most certainly a great piece of art.  To my mind it is almost too precious to be worn. 

John wrote to say that this coat "is more a picture coat inspired by Egyptian imagery/art rather than a modern interpretation of their costume."

Obviously the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) were just as impressed and the John Jones Egyptian Akhenaton Coat 1976. John also told me that although once displayed at the V&A, the coat is no longer on display, but lives in the permanent collection at the V&A.. The coat is now part of their C20th Textile Collection.  To view it, an appointment should be made with the curator - V&A Ref:T738 T114-1989.

I prefer to look at this beautiful Akhnaton Coat on a dress-form stand, just as it is shown in the photograph John sent me!  The Akhnaton Coat 1976 is made from stitched pieces of leather.  It really does function as a coat, and you can see the coat being worn on the YouTube video (links below).  Actually, this coat is just one of a collection of patchwork leather art that can be seen animated in the virtual art gallery that John has created.

John Jones was one of the people who developed a strong interest in digital art in the 1990s.  This was the decade when many of us were intrigued by the way the personal computer offered a whole new way of working in relation to fashion textile arts.  John has combined his flash animation expertise to recreate digital galleries of his textile works.  In addition, he is a master of scenic adventures that transport the viewer to the interiors of anything that can be deconstructed and rebuilt, other examples range from juggernauts to hotel foyers.  You are reading an original fashion history article by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©

Butterfly Coat by John Jones

Butterfly Coat by John JonesSecond Life fans will love his animated virtual galleries.  Click the link below and see these wonderful coats come to life. The butterfly coat spectacularly flutters and then morphs into a bird coat.

Currently John Jones is working on a new wearable art picture coat called Nefertiti (to be completed in 2008).  As Nefertiti was Akhnaton's wife, it will be fitting for the two coats to be displayed together.

All the wearable art picture coats are magnificent masterpieces.  Even more so since John has now combined his love of textiles with his passion for digital art.  Meaningless shapes transform into a large quilts; coats move from a blank canvas to become covered in decorative pattern.

John creates just as inspired wall hangings & patchwork  quilts.  A series of seven stitched patchwork leather art wall panels were fashioned for the new Hilton Barcelona Diagonal for March 2005.  Work by John Jones has also been exhibited at the Semain de Cuir Paris and The Coach Gallery New York.

See the galleries on YouTube and view more flash animations at John's personal site jjgallery.

You might also be interested in buying a limited edition print of work by John Jones. At the art republic online gallery you can buy one of his exclusive prints based on one of his coat picture designs - it is Bird Tattoo (Giclee Signed Limited Edition of 40) by John Jones


See Virtual Art and Wall hangings

Clearly John Jones is a master of his art.

Is Fashion Art?

There is no doubt in my mind that a great deal of fashion is certainly art.  Have you ever bought a beautiful garment and just hung it on the outside of your wardrobe door, and then looked at it as you lay in bed?  You admired it, mesmerized, since you found it so worthy of your personal artistic approval.  I've done this all my life. 

Dull clothing is not art.  But when an item seems perfect, either by its cut, fabric choice, decoration, or even simplicity of design, then it can become art. Textiles are meant to be worn, but sometimes the work is so beautiful that utilitarian function is superseded by artistic merit and a desire to preserve the piece in its beautiful perfection.

Basic sewing techniques have always merged with higher forms of artistic skill. Think about how stump-work pieces create visual scenes. Think also of how an artistic eye created Elizabethan metal thread embroidered gloves, Chinese embroidered and appliquéd Mandarin robes. 

Art fashion perfection can be found in a spectacularly simple looking Saville Row tailored suit, with such understated detail that it is pure fashion art.  An architectural hat by Phillip Treacy is art; a boob tube, or a bobble hat, are just unable to compete artistically. There are two types of clothing, firstly the fashionable type that is worthy of comment for generations, and secondly the functional type that has no frills, merely covers limbs, and next week is torn up at a textile reprocessing plant.

Some will think fashion is art, some will not.  Look to the work of designers like John Jones and Gaultier and you will see where fashion meets theatre, and where fashion meets art.

You have been reading an original fashion history article by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©

Page Added 11 April 2008. Ref:-P684

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About looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era.  Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear.  These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.Fashion History can take no responsibility for any information on the site which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly.  This site is owned, designed, written and developed by author: Pauline Thomas and Guy Thomas. This site is designed to be viewed in 1024 X 768 or higher.

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