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One size does not fit all

Every ensemble in a V&A fashion exhibition is carefully mounted by our team of in house Textile Conservators and expert Costume Mounters. The V&A mainly uses stockman/dress figures or fibre glass mannequins to display its fashion collections. Stockman figures are what you might picture when thinking of a dressmaker, a torso form covered with material […]

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Join Wedding Dresses Curator On the Sofa

Are you a bride-to-be? Need some ideas and inspiration for your big day? Take some time out from the pressure of planning your dream wedding to join Edwina Ehrman in conversation with bridal designer Ian Stuart at Brides The Show this weekend. Edwina is a fashion historian, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A […]

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Bridal Photography

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 […]

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High Street Mannequins for Contemporary Brides

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 […]

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Taking the Train: Mounting, Packing and Touring the Wedding Dress of Margaret Whigham

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 […]

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Bridesmaid – Eileen Amy Brock

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 […]

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Bespoke Bodies for Bespoke Brides

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 […]

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Conservation Friendly Updos: The Art of Making Wigs

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 […]

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From Grey to ‘White’ – Wet Cleaning Henrietta Woodcock’s Wedding Dress

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 […]

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Liberty

Liberty’s department store provides me with a haven in busy central London. I could spend hours in their haberdashery department admiring their distinctive printed fabrics or looking at the interiors of their ‘Tudor’ building . I was, therefore, delighted when I found out that The Cult of Beauty exhibition, which is sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, will have further support from Liberty. A couple of weeks ago, as part of a press tour, I visited the store and met Liberty’s archivist who showed us some sample books containing Aesthetic fabrics . Liberty played a vital role in popularising …

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