Textiles and Fashion


The V&A holds the national collection of Textiles and Fashion, which spans a period of more than 5000 years, from Predynastic Egypt to the present day. The collection is one of the world’s largest and the most wide-ranging. More than 75,000 individual objects or sets of objects are cared for jointly by the Asian Department and the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department, from a broad geographic area covering Europe, South, South East, East and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Back to the blog front page

New acquisition: Hunter ensemble, A/W 2014

T.3-2015 Ensemble (coat, trousers, pair of boots, bag); Hunter, A/W 2014 Great Britain; China © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This waterproof ensemble was donated to V&A this earlier year by welly company Hunter, it takes pride of place in our rainwear display in the fashion gallery. It formed part of Hunter’s spectacular first appearance at London Fashion Week in February 2014, a show which presented a bold new direction for a brand often associated […]

Keep reading

From Animal Products to Christian Dior: Opening the Drawer on a V&A/BGC Student Placement

Untitled

A guest post from Rebecca Sadtler, this year’s Bard Graduate Center MA Student Placement.   There are few things more exciting to a young fashion historian than opening an unassuming drawer and uncovering Christian Dior’s famous New Look ‘Bar’ suit tucked inside, or a Balenciaga evening dress of brilliant cerise silk taffeta, or even a […]

Keep reading

From Feathers to Fascinators: Part Three

[INSERT PICTURE 3]

 Hat of marabou feathers with metal and L.E.D light system, made by David Shilling, 1996. Museum number: T.456-1996

Jenna Banat is a volunteer in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department here at the V&A. In the third in a series of three blog posts, Jenna is going to take a look at some examples of feather hats in our collection. Some Ascot hats are a celebration of traditional styles; others are designed to […]

Keep reading

From Feathers to Fascinators: Part Two

Kiss of Death Bonnet: Black satin bonnet with pheasant feathers, designed by Jo Gordon, Britain, 1994. Museum number: T.139-1996.

Jenna Banat is a volunteer in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department here at the V&A. In the second in a series of three blog posts, Jenna is going to take a look at some examples of feather hats in our collection. During the twentieth century, the ideal image for women was to look delicate […]

Keep reading

From feathers to fascinators: Hat inspiration for the Ascot Races by Jenna Banat

Coniston Hat, made by Frederick Fox, 2000. Museum number: T.33-2003  © V&A Collection

Jenna Banat is a volunteer in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department here at the V&A. In a series of three blog posts, Jenna is going to take a look at some examples of feather hats in our collection. Using inspiration from the objects within the Clothworkers’ Centre that I have had the fortune of […]

Keep reading

The art and craft of shoes

Max triumph1

I thought it was important to give shoe designers and shoe makers a voice, to let them talk about their visions and craft in the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, and not only have their end products on show. How do you make shoes? How do you come up with new ideas for shape and […]

Keep reading

Installing shoes

Beckham boots

The installation of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain started last week – and it is so exciting! To finally see the finished build and new design of the space in Gallery 40, is just amazing after months of planning and discussing. The space looks very different from previous exhibitions, intimate and quite dark on the ground […]

Keep reading

Trench coats: from real mud to Nostalgia of Mud

Raincoat 'Witches' 1983 Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren Given by David Barber, in memory of Rupert Michael Dolan T.268:1, 2-1991 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘Rustic’ linen smock-shirts were worn by farmhands well into the 19th century. These garments were woven in such a way that they would shrink and tighten when damp, giving them a degree of water resistance: this is also the principle on which gabardine works. Gabardine was invented by Thomas Burberry, who patented it in 1879. With […]

Keep reading

Unrivalled Shoe Archive

Rope sandals

The V&A has an amazing collection of shoes, well over 2,000 pairs spanning over 3,000 years from across the world. Majority of the shoes once belonged to the upper echelons of the society, the best and most extreme in shoe designs, but there are also some footwear that originally clad the feet of farmers and workers. Although […]

Keep reading

A very brief history of staying dry

E.1240-1931 Poster No Wet - No Cold; 'No Wet - No Cold'. Colour lithograph poster with a stylised graphic design of umbrellas, advertising the London Underground Railways. Designed by Manner and issued by the Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd., 1929. Manner Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd. London 1929 Colour lithograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As I said in the first post, to stay dry is a very human wish (unless of course you subscribe to the ‘aquatic ape’ theory put forward by some natural historians); so how did people keep the rain off in the olden days?     There is evidence that aboriginal Americans were the first true […]

Keep reading