The V&A has unveiled its first new staff uniform in 10 years – and not everyone is impressed.
The blue and orange collection of “bespoke pieces”, including t-shirts, tote bag and parkas, is the work of British fashion designer Christopher Raeburn.
The print is formed from the silhouettes of 20 objects in the V&A’s collection, including a 19th Century Japanese sculptural piece in the shape of a rabbit, a 1970s Spacehopper, and a rocking horse.
According to the world-famous museum of art and design, the palette takes inspiration from Raphael’s painting The Miraculous Draught Of Fishes.
The London museum posted the new uniform, which will be worn by gallery assistants, retail staff and volunteers and uses recycled and organic materials, on Twitter.
The image provoked a strong response.
@PottsPointChap wrote of the collection: “Do you hate your staff that much?”
And @RosalieRadburn1 commented that the items looked as though they came from a “bargain rail” of outdoor clothes, adding: “Peculiar.”
@redunderwing said: “Lost. For. Words.”
@JosPearce wrote: “Some of your staff look less than thrilled….” and @StephenFeberLtd stated: “Hmmm the guys look a little unsure.”
@casketfiction wrote: “For a museum of design these are appalling” and @Sewit added: “I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.”
But some were more positive about the designs, for around 700 staff, with @BisCaterina stating: “Amazing, V&A always ahead of the curve! …. You all look like stars!”
Cathy_dickson wrote on Instagram “Stunning, bravo !” and gemsk added: “When a uniform is more stylish than the clothes in your wardrobe…”
Raeburn, whose designs have been worn by Emma Watson and Tinie Tempah and shown at London Fashion Week, told the Press Association he was not perturbed by negative comments.
“I’m very proud to be asked to do this,” he said.
“The range of items that the staff need is pretty broad… There is a need for visibility… They felt their uniform was too formal.
“Their previous uniform was black and white, very standard. There were a lot of off-the-peg pieces. There are some fantastic characters and this allows them to express their creativity.”
He added: “It’s really important that there’s conversation around these things. We wanted to disrupt things, in a good way. The V&A wanted something new, something fresh to challenge the status quo. This is what happens.. it’s healthy.”
Tristram Hunt, director of the museum which has enjoyed success with exhibitions on everything from Pink Floyd to plywood, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Christopher Raeburn on these brilliant, colourful, adaptable new uniforms.
“They are an exciting development for our team and a reflection of the V&A’s contemporary style, as we look forward to another ambitious year of activity in South Kensington and around the country.”