Updated: Saturday, 4th July 2020 @ 11:37am

We ooze sex but won't talk about it: Fashion pro calls for little more conversation little less action please

We ooze sex but won't talk about it: Fashion pro calls for little more conversation little less action please

| By Tommy Wilson

We may not be more open to talking about sex but we’re certainly more willing to flaunt our bodies, says a London College of Fashion (LCF) professor ahead of Manchester’s next episode of Sexology Season.

A sold-out evening of conversation exploring sexuality in fine art and fashion will be hosted at Manchester Art Gallery tonight as part of a 35-event programme by Wellcome Collection.

The night will involve two talks entitled Private Erotica in Public Places and Frocks and Sex – which includes a display of four dresses from award-winning designer and LCF professor Helen Storey MBE.

Helen, who will talk along with gallery curator Miles Lambert and social commentator Caryn Franklin, spoke to MM about how the event has captured the imagination of the city.

She said: “Sex is always a popular subject matter. Everybody is at some level fascinated by it - although there are multiple ways of being able to talk about it.

“We’re exploring the idea of sensuality from materiality to intelligence.”

She explained that the Frocks and Sex show aimed to explore changing sexual trends, particularly women displaying different areas of their body with their clothing choices throughout history.

Helen explained that nowadays, it’s almost reached the point where it’s accepted that nothing gets covered up at all.

“I think our skin is the thing we’ve used throughout history to say more about ourselves than we do with words,” she told MM.

“Historically, what’s interesting is that there are particular zones of the female form that have in different periods of time been considered risqué to show.

“In the 17th and 18th century it was the bosom, in the 19th it was the ankle and in 20’s it was the bare back.

“I think we’ve gone right to the other end now where it doesn’t even get hidden at all.”

The talk will offer insight into the changing fashion scenes throughout recent decades, such as the punk movement, and the relationship between sexuality, music and clothing.

A range of topics will also be up for discussion such as how women define themselves through their clothing, the cycle of femininity and different values passed down from older generations.

Helen, who is expecting a mixed audience of people young and old, refused to accept that people are more open-minded about discussing sex nowadays than in times gone by.

“Some are and some aren’t [open-minded] – I think that will always be the case,” she said.

“I don’t necessarily think inventions like the internet and other ways of people sharing what they think mean that everyone is more open in general.

“Most people make a distinction between what they consider to be private and public.”

“While the system often encourages us to be as lewd as possible, I don’t think it’s in our nature to do that.”

Helen’s Frocks and Sex exhibit will be on display at Manchester Art Gallery from February19 – March 1 (10am–5pm Monday–Sunday, Thursdays until 9pm).

You can learn more about Wellcome Collection’s Sexology Season, which will be ongoing until the end of March, by clicking here.

Image courtesy of John Ross, via Wikimedia Commons, with thanks.