Brightly coloured fashion house, Mother Of Pearl (who regularly collaborate with artists for their collections), have invoked the macabre in a collaboration with taxidermy artist, Polly Morgan. Creating a limited line of T-shirts adorned with telephones, birds and wings, the collaboration will be on sale exclusively in Harrods from Sunday. We speak to Morgan about her involvement in this project, her art creations and find out if she fears PETA.

What is your earliest memory of art?

My first proper experience, outside of school-taught art was when I got the bus up to London at 16 to see the Sensation show at the Royal Academy. That was when I really started paying attention to art. I couldn’t believe this kind of thing was being celebrated, it made me feel so relieved!

What is your earliest memory of fashion?

When my sister bought me a t-shirt from Red or Dead with a picture of a hoover on it with ‘Hoover Groover’ written beneath. I was 13 and very uncool. I think the t-shirt was meant for an early twenties club-kid and although it made no sense to me, I loved it for it’s London-label and never took it off. It’s the very last thing I would wear now but I’m fond of it as it was the first item of clothing I possessed where I was aware that it’s value extended beyond the cotton it was printed on. The feeling it gave me made me realise that some clothes are just worth paying more for than others.

How did you wind up collaborating with Mother Of Pearl?

I’ve been a big fan of theirs since they started doing their artist collaborations. They make the kind of clothes I love printed with the work of artists I admire so I rarely go out without something of theirs on these days. They are one of the few labels I would trust implicitly with my work as I know they’ll make something I’d wear. I’m not into high-glamour but love to wear flatteringly cut, slightly masculine style clothes that are original, well made and using good fabric. I think they think the same way.

What was the inspiration behind your design?

I find telephones alarming. I never like to pick up except to a small handful of people. I find there’s something eery about the receiver lying in wait in the cradle, bursting into frenzied life when you least expect it with who knows what to tell you. I put the magpie on there as the saying goes ‘One For Sorrow’ as telephones have often been the conduits of bad, life-changing, news in my life.
There was also a more obvious reference to Dali’s Lobster-phone, which was much more humorous than mine.

Is there a morbid fascination when it comes to taxidermy?

I think it’s a celebration of life and nature. I’m not remotely interested in death, it’s something I’d rather not dwell on.

When and why did you decide stuffing birds would be your main focus for creating art?

It happened organically. It wasn’t a decision. It was when I started learning taxidermy to satisfy an interest that everything started to fall into place. Learning a skill is a very exhilarating thing, you start to realise how much in life is possible and it gives you energy.

Who do you envisage wearing your Polly Morgan for Mother Of Pearl creations?

People with taste!

Should you be scared of PETA?

I’m not scared of them. Whether or not I should be depends on how sensible they are. I don’t kill or have animals killed for my work so they’d be wasting their time coming after me.

Words: Seamus Duff

Polly Morgan’s designs for Mother Of Pearl are on sale exclusively in Harrods from December 18th.