Back in Issue 8 in 1982, i-D described Juliana Sissons as the girl who “licks walls at parties and wears detachable stilettos”.
30 years on she is a highly respected fashion and textiles designer, lecturer, and author of technical inspirational themed fashion books. Since 2010, Juliana has held the prestigious position of Designer in Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she has devised and delivered a range of fashion and textile workshops for the museum audience, reaching school groups and private individuals from 11-70+ years, inspiring all the time.
Juliana is much more than a fashion designer. She is an artisan, a craftsperson, technically brilliant with a well-grounded knowledge and an amazing skill set carefully acquired through a lifetime of experience, from Savile Row tailoring, costume making and bespoke commissions, as well as mainstream fashion. “The interaction between the body and the materials is the focus of my work; I am interested in garments that react to the movement of the body and textiles that enhance shape; my garments have been hand crafted and are created based on a trial-and-error-approach; as a designer and an educator these garments become the final outcomes and are supplementary to the ongoing teaching materials/resources that record the many processes from inspiration and design development through to pattern structure and knit constructed textiles”.
An inspired and inspirational woman, I caught up with Juliana down by the seaside in Sussex, at Open House 9A Hove Place, Hove, the lovely home of Tamar Karpas and Mike Daniels, during the Brighton & Hove Artists Open Houses Festival (film top), and again in London, where we were lucky enough to film her work at the V&A Museum (film bottom). We are very grateful to all involved for allowing us the access to make these films.
As part of The London Design Festival Juliana will be giving a lunch time talk on Tuesday 18 September, with V&A Museum curator Angus Patterson, followed by a drop in design workshop. Her work can be seen in the Iron Work Gallery from 14 – 26 September. Go to The London Design Festival page on the V&A website for more information.
Black and white portrait by Daniel Faoro features Juliana (left) and Scarlett (right) from 1982.
Portrait of Juliana (right of page) first appeared in i-D’s The Head To Toe Issue, 1982.