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Patch Work


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An expert and intimate exploration of a life in clothes: their memories and stories, enchantments and spells

About the Author

Claire Wilcox has been Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A since 2004, where she has curated exhibitions including Radical Fashion, The Art and Craft of Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, and, as co-curator, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, and instigated Fashion in Motion (live catwalk events in the museum) in 1999. She is Professor in Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion and is on the editorial board of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. She lives in South London.


An uncommon delight -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
Evokes the sensual and spiritual meaning in the fabrics we weave, wear and leave behind ... Wilcox writes piercingly * New Yorker *
Effervescent, poetic, puzzle-like ... Wilcox picks at the heartstrings * Financial Times *
Into this tapestry of memories Wilcox weaves a melancholy thread ... The clothes are Proust's madeleines, cocooned in hatboxes and airing cupboards ... Gripping * Mail on Sunday *
In this remarkable self-portrait, fashion curator Claire Wilcox has set out mementoes of her life like objects in an exhibition. Short chapters, some only half a page, are displayed like treasures in a cabinet of curiosities ... The result is magical ... Her spellbinding memoir is like a cherished book of poetry, one to be dipped into over and again * Wall Street Journal *
Filled with dreamlike memories, this autobiography is both surprising and delightful ... A strange and mesmerising piece of work, one that tears apart the usual fabric of an autobiography * Sunday Times *
In her beautifully written memoir Wilcox takes readers behind the scenes of life at the museum - while recounting the many ways that clothes have shaped her personal development in a series of lyrical vignettes * Vogue, 12 Of The Best Autumn Reads To Curl Up With Now *
An extraordinary mixture of museum work interleaved with memoir ... beautifully written, her book is a love story, with clothes as much as people as its heroes * Spectator *
I am overwhelmed by this book. It is an absolute masterpiece. A book of such beauty and profundity, of such poetry in its emotion and observation ... The way it puts words to objects and events is so original. I have been moved to such tears by the lives told here, but also by the infinite care with which she has considered them over and over again, stitched them together, pieced out of memories and love -- LAURA CUMMING, author of On Chapel Sands
Patch Work is a unique memoir told in rich, tantalising fragments that made me look at what we all wear with new interest and respect -- TRACY CHEVALIER
I couldn't put it down ... What a wonderfully woven tangle of stories, from dreamlike rememberings of her past to the intimate glimpses of a world behind the polished facade of the museum, bound together by her devotion to clothes. Claire looks at clothes with an obsessive's eye, analysing every stitch and imagining the history of every crease, stretch and wrinkle ... Pure delight -- LARA MAIKLEM, author of Mudlarking
An exquisite book that works like a well-curated and eccentric exhibition. The chronology of time and the logic of life's sequences become irrelevant as you are led from one brightly-lit cabinet of memories and thoughts to another, while also learning about cloth, clothes and curating -- JULIA BLACKBURN, author of Time Song
I loved its close detail, its sense of the warp and weft of life, of clothes and favoured objects. Everything seen is seen intensely. It's a book to linger over and return to -- LYNN KNIGHT, author of The Button Box
Intelligent and tactile - part memoir, part beautifully curated collection of treasures. I loved it -- JOHN CRACE, author of Decline and Fail
A series of exquisite meditations * Harper's Bazaar *
Patch Work will never leave me. Wilcox's memoir of life as fashion curator at the V&A is as delicate and finely wrought as seventeenth-century lace -- MEG ROSOFF
In elegant, evocative prose, Victoria & Albert Museum fashion curator Claire tells her life story, from formative family life to love and loss, through the prism of a life-long obsession with clothes and the beautiful garments that inspired her intriguing career * Sunday Express *
A fascinating collection of writings about a fascinating artist ... a fitting celebration of his talent at this point in his life. * Americana UK *

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