Ravished by winter weather, the outskirts of Lotherton Hall looked particularly bleak; the trees were bare and mud had replaced grass. All colour and any trace of sunshine was absent until I approached Leeds City Council’s Himalayan Fashion exhibition.
Even the canary yellow sign greeting you at the entrance of Lotherton’s manor house promised a fleeting splash of colour; the exhibition definitely delivered. For just £7 entry fee, you get a snapshot insight into the rich and diverse history of Tibetan culture as well as a fashion feast for the eyes.
Spread across three moderately sized rooms, the Himalayan exhibition features traditional country attire, official Gurka uniform and Western Himalayan-inspired high fashion. Accompanying these impressive robes, sashes and headdresses are textiles that you’re encouraged to touch, giving the experience a sensory value that makes you appreciate the garments on another level, as do the pocket book snippets of information at hand that outline processes and origins of the textiles on show.
The biggest draw to the exhibition is the accessories: amulet cases covered in coral, gold, pearl, fringing, tassels and mosaics are nestled in glass cabinets, side by side, making it difficult to know where to look first. Earrings predating the early 20th century, traditionally worn by men and women, and necklaces encrusted with jade, openwork spheres and turquoise stones, are particularly impressive.
Fingers crossed, West Yorkshire will experience nothing but glorious sunshine for the summer months ahead. But, should grey skies return and you find yourself hankering after a blast of exotic technicolour, make your way to Lotherton Hall and immerse yourself in the fabrics of Tibet.
The Himalayan exhibition at Lotherton Hall runs until October 26th2018, for more information click here.