PREVIEW: Catwalking fashion exhibition in focus at Cannon Hall Museum

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Fashion legends from designer Jean Paul Gaultier to supermodel Naomi Campbell and Yorkshire’s own Victoria Nixon are celebrated in a new free entry exhibition at Barnsley’s Cannon Hall Museum.

Iconic photographs of some of fashion’s greatest names, plus haute couture and unique garments will take the spotlight in a stylish look at the history of the catwalk.

Catwalking: Fashion Through the Lens of Chris Moore charts the changing face of the business over six decades, as snapped by the famed photographer, and runs at Cannon Hall Museum in Cawthorne from Saturday, May 20, to Sunday, November 5.

A Male Perspective: Redressing Fashion, as part of the exhibition, features looks collected over the past 40 years by Simon Nicholls, a Barnsley-based salon owner.

Fashion, art and history lovers will get to see a fabulous display of designer clothing and original catwalk outfits from the houses of Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des Garçons, and Vivienne Westwood.

Find out more about the full exhibition, check dates and Cannon Hall Museum opening hours, at

Catwalking also pays homage to Barnsley women who made their mark in the fashion industry including Victoria Nixon, whose career was launched in 1966 by top fashion photographer Helmut Newton.

She famously dazzled in a made in Sheffield metal dress for an advert promoting British Steel’s innovative uses for steel in the late 1960s and a replica of the gown, produced by Victoria and her engineering husband Michael, gets its first ever public showing at the exhibition.

Another key figure in fashion editorial, British journalist and Global Editorial Director of Vogue, Dame Anna Wintour DBE, shares a unique link to the venue.

Her grandfather’s first wife, Cicely Spencer Stanhope, was the second daughter of Walter Spencer Stanhope, of Cannon Hall.

Catwalking’s collection of Chris Moore photos are on loan from The Bowes Museum, an art gallery in the town of Barnard Castle, County Durham.

They capture era-defining fashion moments, from the 1960s salon of innovative designer André Courrèges to the meteoric rise of supermodels Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

The exhibition offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the fashion industry, with interview footage providing further insight into the craft of a man, now 89, who has seen and shot it all.

A Male Perspective: Redressing Fashion is a unique look on the history of one man’s collection in order to stimulate thinking about fashion as a communicative tool, gendering and about personal expression of clothing.

Simon Nicholls considers himself not so much a traditional collector of designer clothes, but rather a fan who has ended up as the ‘custodian of a collection’.

He said: “Fashion, both male and female, is a brilliant way to express yourself and channel your creativity. Male fashion has created some iconic looks over the decades and I am delighted that these garments will sit alongside the female costumes in the exhibition offering a unique male perspective on the collection.”

Catwalking: Fashion through the lens of Chris Moore at Cannon Hall MuseumCatwalking: Fashion through the lens of Chris Moore at Cannon Hall Museum
Catwalking: Fashion through the lens of Chris Moore at Cannon Hall Museum

The collection will also showcase a Vivienne Westwood Striped Bondage Tailored Suit from 1995 and ‘Sex’ T-Shirt rereleased from 1976, an Alexander McQueen embroidered suit and a fringed and embroidered shirt, both from 1999, worn with a feather neck piece, and a Jean Paul Gaultier one shoulder suit from 1985.

Simon added: “Gaultier showed a collection titled Et Dieu Créa l'Homme (And God Created Man) where male models wore wide-leg trousers, with a wrap over panel giving the appearance they were wearing skirts. He returned to the ‘man-skirt’ in various forms throughout his career – from printed sarongs, forever immortalised by 90s-era David Beckham to the kilt-like style the designer made his own personal uniform.”

Alison Cooper, Barnsley Museums’ Exhibitions Officer, said: “Chris Moore has captured iconic fashion moments throughout the decades and to see his images hanging on the walls at Cannon Hall will be a real treat for visitors.

“Visitors will be able to see up close images of original supermodels and wonder at the designs of the top fashion houses.

"Barnsley has always had a strong fashion presence dating back to Georgian times and local links will be celebrated and explored in the exhibition.”

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