Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

Opening times

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays

Keira Miller

Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
At long last the final preparations for Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 have begun. The early part of last week saw us moving objects out of Textile Conservation and into the newly decorated gallery spaces, ready for installation.As well as moving the recently conserved and mounted objects, we have also been taking delivery of all the garments which have been held in storage since their international...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
There are some days when I end up taken aback by how enjoyable a day I have had at work. The day we received the sari destined for display in Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 was one such day. The fashion collections at the V&A vast, and hold hundreds of garments from around the word. Until now however, I have only really worked with western attire, and one aspect of costume mounting I’ve...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
I am somewhat reluctant to post this latest instalment, because the standard of photography is about to sky rocket and swiftly put my all the previous images to shame.Oh well, here goes...Photography forms an essential part of preparing for an exhibition, and we try to ensure that the objects included in every exhibition have been well photographed. The images taken are then available for use in...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
While many of our historical garments are displayed on dress stands, as demonstrated in an earlier post, we will often display more contemporary costume on retail mannequins made from fibreglass, much like those used on the high street. The glitch tends to be their idealised shape, since few ordinary humans match their ultra-sleek lines. This means they often have to be ‘customised’...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
Among the star objects in Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 is this stunning dress was worn by the acclaimed society beauty and gossip columnists' favourite Margaret Whigham, for her 1933 wedding to Charles Sweeny. Their wedding took place on February 21st 1933 at Brompton Oratory, London, and crowds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the dazzling bride and groom.So large was this crowd, that...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
If you thought we were only preparing bridal gowns for the upcoming Wedding Dresses 1775- 2014 exhibition - think again! The exhibition also features several grooms’ outfits, and even a few outfits worn by bridesmaids and page boys.The first of these to undergo treatment was a dress and hat ensemble worn by Eileen Amy Brock, aged 9, who was one of the bridesmaids at the marriage of her...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
Without a doubt, every garment that appears in the Conservation Studio is unique in some form or another, and as a result, every mannequin has to be custom built to a certain degree, be it through padding, as shown in an earlier blog, or through close collaboration with our mannequin makers.There are going to be a number of bespoke figures made for Wedding Dresses 1775 - 2014, which I will...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
One of the real success stories from the Wedding Dresses exhibition has been the development of a series of conservation and travel friendly wigs. While the sheer volume of the dresses provided our greatest challenge, a secondary problem was that of how to mount and travel the accompanying veils, hats and head pieces which were integral to the bridal ensembles.We felt it was vital that we should...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
Assistant Conservator Rachael Lee has just finished washing one of the dresses mentioned in the first Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 blog post and it’s looking really good! Here she outlines the process of wet cleaning, which many of the garments in the exhibition will undergo before May.First worn 165 years ago, this wedding dress, which was worn by Henrietta Woodcock on the occasion of her...
Author: Keira Miller (Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department)
Part of the process of choosing mannequins for an exhibition is deciding what sort of heads to use, and this is never a straightforward task.For Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, a team of V&A staff, including the Costume Mounting Specialist, the Curator, and the Designer have been out an about looking at the heads they might want to use for the display.Just like the mannequins, the heads need to...

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