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Object Lives scholars in the Clothworkers' Centre study room © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Objects Alive

This morning the Clothworkers’ Centre enjoyed a visit from a group of Canadian academics, part of a research group called Object Lives, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Their aim, through the close study of objects, is to ‘assess the flow of goods into and from Northern North America’. Today’s session drew […]

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Gaby Schreiber Industrial/Interior Designer (1916-1991).

Photographer: Bee & Watson, 1948.

Design Council Archive, University of Brighton Design Archives.

Fashioning Professionals: Reflections on a Symposium

  .   Photo: Gaby Schreiber Industrial/Interior Designer (1916-1991), Photographer: Bee & Watson, 1948, Design Council Archive, University of Brighton Design Archives.  What does it mean to be seen and represented as a ‘creative professional’? This was the question we set out to address on Friday 27th March at a symposium hosted by the V&A Research Department […]

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Illustration 7. Siamese noblemen in typical Siamese court attire of Indian silk brocade, pha yearababh, long sleeved shirt and lower garment, phanung chongkraben, which could be Indian silk brocade, Indian chintz or Cambodian ikat. This dress is to be worn with seu-krui or full-length coat of gold thread embroidery. Inventory number M28/00024. Photograph courtesy of National Archives of Thailand.

Power Dressing: Siam, Burma, China and the Tai

by Lupt Utama, MA candidate, V&A/RCA History of Design I grew up in the mountainous city of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand where Myanmar and Laos meet. As a young boy, I vividly remember my grandmother’s elaborate cotton pha-­sin – a tubular skirt which she secured with a chainmail silver belt, to be traditionally worn […]

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Design Culture Salon 12, V&A Museum

Fashion cycles and design culture

Anyone standing outside the disciplines of fashion and design research might be surprised to discover that conversations between the two are not as fluid or productive as they might be. Within the art school, for instance, the two are taught as quite distinct disciplines with their own traditions, cultures and identities. Recognising these boundaries and […]

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English leather buff coat, 1640-1650, t.34-1948. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

In The Buff

The Military Buff coat: A haptic experience During my time as an MA student on the V&A/RCA History of Design course I came across a word, haptic, that has fascinated me ever since. Both its sound when spoken and its meaning have resonated with me since I first heard the word and has often shaped my […]

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Dress, designed by Madeline Vionnet, 1937. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Conservation of a Vionnet Dress

This beautiful dress was designed by Madeline Vionnet in 1937 and was given to the V&A in 1968 by Cecil Beaton. It will be on display in the Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition, due to open in September 2014. The dress will be one of 9 other examples of French couture from the 1930s, reflecting […]

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Apron worn to de-install The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. Photograph © Sadie Hough, 2014

Pockets of Glamour

As the last vestiges of Italian glamour are obscured by tissue and Tyvek, and packed away ready for the first venue of an American tour, I am reminded of the role that clothing plays in getting a job done. At the V&A, the periods in which exhibitions are installed and then eventually taken down are characterised by increased […]

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Silk-satin wedding dress and Honiton veil worn by Eliza Clay, 1865

A Dress with a View

Wedding dresses are designed with a particular ceremony and site in mind. Beyond the symbolic and ceremonial associations incorporated in its design, such a dress is also created to dazzle and to move in a very particular setting. Therefore, whether it is decorated to catch the candle light of a church, or cut to swirl […]

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Entrance to the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition, Barbican.

The Uncanny World of John Paul Gaultier

On a recent research trip to the Barbican I had what was both a fascinating and rather uncomfortable experience visiting the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The opening text for the exhibition does much to hint at the unique world you are about to walk into. Gaultier is […]

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Wedding dress designed by John Galliano, worn by Gwen Stefani, 2002

In a State of Undress

While Victorian values have left white wedding dresses with associations of purity, some modern brides choose designs which celebrate their physicality instead. When Gwen Stefani married Gavin Rossdale on 14 September 2002, she wore a John Galliano couture dress which gave just such an impression. At the time, Gwen stated that ‘when I got engaged, […]

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