Claire Wilcox has been a curator of fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum for most of her working life.
In Patch Work, she steps into the archive of memory, deftly stitching together her dedicated study of fashion with the story of her own life lived in and through clothes. From her mother's black wedding suit to the swirling patterns of her own silk kimono, her memoir unfolds in spare, luminous prose the spellbinding power of the things we wear.
In a series of intimate and compelling close-ups, Wilcox tugs on the threads that make up the fabric of our lives: a cardigan worn by a child, a mother's button box, the draping of a curtain, a pair of cycling shorts, a roll of lace, a pin hidden in a seam. Through the eye of a curator, we see how the stories and the secrets of clothes measure out the passage of time, our gains and losses, and the way we use them to unravel and write our histories.
- "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 ... I found my sense of life transformed by her writing as I often find it transformed after the exhibition of a great artist"- Laura Cumming
- "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
Day 2 @SOTLitFestival We met some brilliant authors yesterday! Some I didn’t mention yesterday because it was so busy 😓 @VivGroskop @RachelReevesMP @TomBaldwin66 @V_and_A’s Oriole Cullen, AN Wilson, Claire Wilcox @maryportas @UKLaureate
Day 2 @SOTLitFestival We met some brilliant authors yesterday! Some I didn’t mention yesterday because it was so busy 😓 @VivGroskop @RachelReevesMP @TomBaldwin66 @V_and_A’s Oriole Cullen, AN Wilson, Claire Wilcox @maryportas @UKLaureate— Waterstones Hanley (@HanleyWstones) June 7, 2019