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.

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Evening Dress by Balenciaga, 1962

Start as you mean to go on

While I was studying for my MA, I used to use research trips to London as an excuse to head to the V&A. In particular, since I obviously always ended up in the Fashion Gallery, I used to ‘visit’ a dress by Balenciaga. The Fashion Gallery case displays are rotated and changed every few years, […]

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T.61-1972 - Tapestry designed by Jean Lurcat, 1963-64

Hunting for Treasure

Acting as a link between our stores and galleries, the North Court Store has served as a temporary home to many objects as they enter our Textiles and Fashion collection or are at the ready to go on display. As the space is soon to be converted as part of the V&A’s FuturePlan project, we […]

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T.13-1937, embroidered picture of St. Barbara, probably a 20th century forgery © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Barbara

Today, almost three weeks late, I present St. Barbara, another spurious Roman saint. She is said to have been born in the mid-3rd century, her father was wealthy, overbearing and pagan. He kept her locked in a tower to protect her from the world, but could not prevent her from secretly becoming a Christian and […]

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geta fur1

Clogs perfect for Christmas

The traditional simple wooden clog, called geta, comprise of a raised wooden base and fabric thong to keep the foot well elevated above the ground. They look a little bit like wooden flip flops on stilts. The geta, worn in Japan by both women and men with clothing such as the kimono, originally had a practical function; elevating […]

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Detail of propaganda kimono

A year at the Clothworkers’ Centre

It’s now been a year since Clothworkers’ opened. To celebrate, we held a conference on the 23rd and 24th of October which looked at the breadth of new research emerging from the Centre. Across cultures and periods, from carpets to collaborations with twenty-first century fashion designers, the conference highlighted the huge range of research which […]

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Invitation to our interview with DvF © V&A Collection

Bohemian Wrapsody

A very special guest will be on her way to the V&A next week. On Thursday 6th November, Diane von Furstenberg is paying us a visit to talk about her ongoing career of over forty years as a leading fashion designer and icon. Diane started her career in fashion design in 1970. Two years later, […]

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Courtesy of Ralph & Russo ©

Ralph & Russo: Let the Glamour Begin

Weddings and fashion shows have something key in common. When attending either, guests wait in excited anticipation for a grand entrance, and a first sighting of The Dress. On Friday, these elements will combine, as the couturiers Ralph & Russo join us at the museum to put on a very special event for our Fashion […]

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doublet

Doublet-dealing

This morning we welcomed to Blythe House a visitor from the Emerald Isle, looking at a selection of 16th and 17th century objects; two caps, a doublet, embroidered sleeve and the famous Margaret Layton jacket, hoping to learn something about their construction.     Let’s take a closer look at that doublet, which is laying […]

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T.10:1-2006, Stole
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Society Swans

Last week I came across a box in the collection and, on opening it, discovered that nestled inside were swan’s wings. On further investigation I found that it was in fact a swan wing stole, comprising of two wings, presumably a left wing and a right wing, lined with quilted blue satin on the underside. […]

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T.361:17-1998; T.361:18-1998; T.361:19-1998; T.361:20-1998 Four accessories for paper dolls; from The History of Miss Wildfire; British; 1832. Card & watercolour.

The History of Miss Wildfire

I have spent part of the morning looking at a very interesting object in the Textiles and Fashion collection. It is a manuscript, written in rhyme, by a girl named Anne Sanders Wilson. She wrote it for her sister, Mary Wilson, in October 1832. It is ten pages long and is inscribed in a precise, […]

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