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Moda Italiana two volumes on Glamour of Italian Fashion Research bookshelves, Research Department. Lucia Savi, 2014

La Moda Italiana and the Glamour of Italian Fashion

  Part of my job here at the V&A’s research department, besides working as a research assistant on the exhibitions “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014” and “Shoes: pleasure and pain”; is to promote and undertake new research as well as to engage with audiences and colleagues from across the world. One of the ways of […]

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Skull-and-crossbones toxicity warning sign on V&A hats which are thought to have unacceptable levels of mercury in them

How to Avoid Becoming As Mad as a Hatter, or The Pirate’s Curse!

Some visitors might find being presented with a hat kept inside a strong plastic bag, emblazoned with a skull-and-crossbones and the word ‘TOXIC‘ in big authoritative letters, a little alarming. Perhaps they would be led to think that we had turned buccaneer, or perhaps that Captain Kidd‘s most cherished secret, the one that he took to […]

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Artificial heather flower, from a spray used on a bonnet in Princess Beatrice's trousseau

My Own Dear Lace

129 years ago today, Princess Beatrice, the beloved daughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Henry of Battenberg. Princess Beatrice was the youngest of Victoria and Albert’s nine children. Her mother became increasingly dependent on her after the death of her father in 1861, when Beatrice was only four years old. While her siblings were strategically […]

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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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Pair of shoes, Roger Vivier for Balenciaga, ca. 1967, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Vivier Party Plastic

These shoes were acquired by the Museum in 1974 as part of an evening outfit, and had been displayed in 1972 with that ensemble in Cecil Beaton‘s groundbreaking V&A exhibition ‘Fashion: An Anthology‘.     What’s interesting about them is the innovative use of materials and the co-ordination, materially and stylistically, with the rest of […]

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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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V&A Fashion Pop-Up on Regent Street during Summer Streets Festival

Come join us on Sunday 20 July to celebrate the V&A’s year of fashion and the major exhibitions The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 and Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, with a one-off shopping opportunity and a specially curated day of fashion activities taking place in the V&A’s Fashion Pop-Up as part of Regent Street’s Summer Streets […]

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Hand-coloured engraving by Jules David featuring wedding and day dress designs by Popelin-Ducarre and Plé-Horain. Published in Le Moniteur de la Mode, 1851-2

Queen Victoria and the White Wedding Dress

This blog post focuses on your questions about the connections between Queen Victoria’s wedding and the popularity of the white wedding dress: Cassidy: I have two questions! For the first, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on early 19th century women’s dress, and it’s struck me that for the most part during the […]

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Double-breasted suit by Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent, 2011

Gentlemen Prefer Groomswear

This blog post focuses on your questions which concerned gender relations in the history of wedding dresses: Edwin Coomasaru: Hey, I’m really looking forward to the Q&A. I’d like to hear about the relationships between the exhibition’s wedding dresses and gender, particularly the origins and history of the use of white material. Susanna: Thanks Edwin, […]

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Purple silk bodice and skirt, trimmed with cream satin and lace. Made and worn by Harriet Joyce, 1899

The Classic and the Quirky

  This blog post focuses on your questions about breaks from tradition in the exhibition and my own personal response to them: Samuel Bernard: How do you feel the truly avant garde dress designs effect the homogenised view of what the wedding dress should be, and where do you think the future of the wedding […]

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