External News

7 November 2019

Aberdeen Art Gallery holds the largest collection of the work of internationally renowned fashion designer Bill Gibb (1943-88). To celebrate the legacy of Bill Gibb, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, in partnership with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums (AAGM) is delighted to announce their symposium dedicated to exploring Bill Gibb’s legacy. Gibb grew up in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. He attended Central St Martin’s School of Art in London followed by postgraduate study at the Royal College of Art alongside Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes. After working at London fashion house Baccarat he launched his own label in 1972 with a series of fantastical garments loved by celebrities including Twiggy, Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor. In his early collections, Gibb was highly influenced by the medieval period, his Scottish heritage, and inspired by his travels in Europe, America and elsewhere in the late 60s and early 70’s. He collaborated closely with tailors, textile designers, knitters and embroiderers with his most famous and enduring collaboration being with knitter and artist Kaffe Fassett. Many of his collections were inspired by research combined with references to nature. In 1977, a ten-year retrospective show of his work was attended by 7,000 people at the Royal Albert Hall, London one of Britain’s biggest ever fashion shows. However, his company ran into financial difficulties and collapsed shortly after. Lacking business acumen, Gibb struggled to re-capture the highs of his first ten years in business. He continued to work on overseas commissions but was unable to make a significant impact on trends emerging during 80’s Britain. Gibb attempted his 1985 comeback collection (Bronze Age), but attracted little interest. After suffering a period of serious ill health, Gibb died at the age of 44 in January 1988.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers and presentations from practitioners; business professionals; artists and early, established and independent researchers to join us in sharing a variety of perspectives and the consideration of new questions on Gibb’s legacy and future opportunities, including, but not limited to topics around:

• Heritage & Culture

• Collaboration

• Innovation

• Communication & Image

• Thematics – related to Gibb’s work eg. fantasy, folk, nature, history….

• Crafting through materials and techniques

• Business and creative entreprenuership

The organisers would be interested in receiving new perspectives and topics that are not included in the above list. The only requirement being that the proposal must relate to Bill Gibb’s work.

It is our intention to produce a new publication on the legacy of Bill Gibb, with the contributions to the symposium at its core.

Please direct any queries and submit abstracts together with a short biography - up to 200-300 words (max) including presenter name/s; presentation proposal title; professional title and/or role and corresponding presenter’s email address to:

Josie Steed j.steed@rgu.ac.uk


CALL FOR PAPERS: Deadline 16th December 2019

THURSDAY 19TH (registration 14.00 – 17.30 - followed by evening reception)

FRIDAY 20TH MARCH 2020 (9.30 – 16.00)


Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1JQ


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