Following her BA(Hons) in Design History at the University of Brighton, completed in 1984, Amy de la Haye studied for an MA in Cultural History at the Royal College of Art (RCA). In 1991 she was appointed as Curator of Twentieth Century Dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
An inspiring tutor can transform your life and that is exactly what happened to me at Brighton University.
In 1981 design history was an emerging discipline and the degree course had only run for a year or two. What most attracted me was the dress history component, which formed an elective strand.
The first unit spanned the period 1850 to 1900 and each student was asked to select one of the specified areas of study for a seminar presentation and essay. Glistening silk, beribboned and corseted couture dresses, hand-crafted in the salons of Paris, was my unequivocal choice. But I wasn’t fast enough, and instead was allocated the working conditions of tailors in London’s East End. At the end of the session, barely able to conceal my dismay, I saw Professor Lou Taylor for a tutorial. It was late on a Friday afternoon. Twenty minutes later, completely enthused, I dashed to the library. Following her BA (Hons) in Design History at the University of Brighton, completed in 1984, Amy de la Haye studied for an MA in Cultural History at the Royal College of Art (RCA). In 1991 she was appointed as Curator of Twentieth Century Dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V & A), moving to the London College of Fashion (LCF) in 2000 to become Reader in Material Culture and Fashion Curation. Since 2007 she has been Joint Course Director (with Judith Clark) for the MA Fashion Curation at LCF.
Among the exhibitions she has curated have been Streetstyle at the V & A (1994) and The Cutting Edge; 50 years of British fashion at the V & A (1997). She was the Joint Curator (with Lou Taylor and Eleanor Thompson) for Fashion and Fancy Dress: the Messel family dress collection 1865-2005 at Brighton Museum (2005) and Sheffield (2006).
Amy de la Haye’s publications include: Concise History of Twentieth Century Fashion, co-authored with Valerie Mendes (1999) Thames & Hudson and Defining Dress: Fashion as Image, Object and Identity, co-edited with Elizabeth Wilson (1999), Manchester University Press. She has also written on Chanel, Japanese fashion, London couture and fashion museology.
She has just completed a book on the V&A’s Lucile archive (with Valerie Mendes); is currently preparing another on fashion curation (with Judith Clark) for Yale University Press and is curating an exhibition about the Women’s Land Army (Brighton Museum, 2009).