Cool Britannia: British Design Exhibition At The V&A

By KIRA AGASS WHEN the weather in blighty makes you feel your only chance of some vitamin D is from a visit to health food shop Holland & Barratt, fight the urge to become a hermit and instead pay the V&A a visit. From now until 12 August the museum’s exhibition, British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, promises to show that while the weather might not be great, Britain has other attributes to boast. V&A The exhibition celebrates post-war art and design with over 300 design objects pinpointing major moments in British design, starting with the 1948 ‘Austerity Games.’ On our visit we were particularly taken with the Kenneth Grange pieces – seriously, the guy designed everything from road signs and black cabs to cameras and pencil sharpeners – and the posters proclaiming Milton Keynes to be ‘The kind of city you’ll want your family to grow up in.’ Word to the wise – taking pictures is a no-no which we found out very quickly. The exhibition reaches its crescendo in the middle section where the 1960’s and 70’s work sparkles as fashion, music and film take on new identities. Gorgeous gowns from Alexander McQueen and customised Vivienne Westwood t-shirts take centre stage, and The Rolling Stones and Beatles art work hangs proudly. There’s something for everyone – so while I was marvelling at the pretty dresses, unsurprisingly the boys in the group were enthralled with Tomb Raider – did you know her bum wasn’t actually meant to be that big? There were also a few revelations along the way – whether it shows my ineptitude or not I don’t mind confessing I had no idea the iPad and Grand Theft Auto were designed by Brits. But, even if you’re already well versed in the A-Z of design the exhibition is still has plenty to offer. It’s a dazzling display of the iconic work that and a fine way to spend a rainy day. Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, 0207 942 2000 British Design 1948-2012, 31 March – 12 August, £12

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