13,010 book reviews and counting...

Patch Work Reviews

Patch Work by Claire Wilcox

Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes

Claire Wilcox

4.43 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 12 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9781526614391

'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

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
5 stars out of 5
Caroline Sanderson
14 Aug 2020

"She embues each item with such an extraordinarily evocative power; you can almost hear the rustling."

A linen sheet, smooth with age... A hundred-year-old pin, forgotten in a hem." Wilcox is senior curator of fashion at the V&A, where she has curated blockbuster exhibitions on the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. This is her gorgeously crafted memoir of a life lived through textiles, told in illustrated vignettes which take us from the childhood joys of night clothes and hiding in the airing cupboard, to a drawstring purse bought on the hippy trail. She embues each item with such an extraordinarily evocative power; you can almost hear the rustling.


4 stars out of 5
Jackie Annesley
15 Nov 2020

"Filled with dreamlike memories, this autobiography is both surprising and delightful"

Beyond fashion and the enviable depiction of the V&A as her office, Wilcox is at her most magical leading the reader through the museum of her family life. She peeks into a childhood memory of her mother stitching together a gingham bikini for her on a beach, then moves on to the drama of her infant daughter’s hospitalisation or the deathbed of her beloved “woollen-jumpered” father. The book brims with poetic quotes: her parents taught her that the “slow pull of death is part of life, and that love can last beyond the end”. 

4 stars out of 5
Anne de Courcy
7 Nov 2020

"Beautifully written, her book is a love story"

Beautifully written, her book is a love story, with clothes as much as people as its heroes, from the childhood frocks, wedding dress and a blue and white check bikini made by her mother to the dark blue suit her husband wore to get married in — she was in white linen — and, above all, to the Victoria & Albert Museum.