William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

For some time we wanted to photograph in Shakespeare’s Globe and we are very happy to have made it work this season. Around COP26, Vivienne performed her speech for Letters to the Earth there – a global campaign in response to planetary crisis.

The theatre is a very important, free space which needs to be protected because this is where ideas can and should be represented uncensored. There is something very playful about the pictures and it is shown through the characters photographed. It is always with Shakespeare and acting in mind. As today, there is a crossover of genders which was very common in Shakespeare’s time. Everybody is who they want to be.

The collection shows the impact of time in tapestry fabrics which are cut and frayed, knitwear and poplin that is daubed with pigment, classical prints and distressed leather. Pablo Picasso’s designs for the 1920 ballet Le Tricorne inspire cartoon spots and zig zag stripes. Denim, tailoring, knitwear and accessories are deliberately washed and worn.

Hollywood 1920s costume designs and the confidence of 1980s power dressing are combined with a modern approach to sportswear. Business shirts are blown-up, exaggerated, and twisted, worn with acid green madras tartan, which drips down bags.

A painterly mood is seen in sky blue jacquards, in the kiss of Hercules and Omphale, 1732 (Francois Boucher, 1703-70) and folkloric painted flowers.

Returning to the central tenet of Sonnet 18 – everlasting love, a memory that lives on and inspires the future.