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2013GK1984

From School to Sailors: Childrenswear from the Museum of Childhood on Europeana Fashion tumblr

As the summer nights draw in and children return to school, my mind drifts off to childhood memories of days by the sea, and reluctantly getting dressed in an ill-fitting uniform at the start of another school year… oh to have that time back…. Photograph, tinted and mounted on card, of a girl in a […]

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Machine-made lace and silk wedding dress by Isobel, 1953

Isobel the Matchmaker

Sometimes, through a lack of lasting materials or personal accounts, a great designer can be lost to fashion history. Through drawing together the remaining pieces, memories, records or mentions in magazines, such a fate can sometimes be avoided. This, we hope, could be the case with Isobel, a leading British fashion house in the interwar […]

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© Naval History and Heritage Command

T-Shirts 101

The T-shirt is one of the world’s most ubiquitous garments, produced for both the high street and haute couture. It is 101 years since it was officially recognised as outerwear, and on the 2nd September the V&A opened a small display in its fashion galleries, drawing from the extensive collection of T-shirts in the Textiles […]

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Steel buttons: Coup de Bouton, etching by William Humphrey, c. 1777. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The Brown Suit: Coup de Bouton!

In my last post I mentioned how ‘Anglomania’ influenced the adoption of darker colours for men’s daytime clothing among the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century France. This move towards a more somber palette brought about a dependency on buttons to create the maximum sartorial impact. A basic rule often seeming to be ‘the […]

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The upper-body of the suit, shown as it would have been worn with a cravat around the neck.

The Brown Suit: Anglomania

As well as unintentionally illustrating David Bowie’s svelte Berlin-era figure (see previous post!), this wonderful brown suit also exemplifies staple day-wear fashions for the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century Europe. Its slim-fit, noticeably snug across the upper-body, and the height of the coat collar attest to the owner’s fashionable taste. The breeches reach over the […]

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Carmen_Dell_Orefice_s_speech_at_the_opening_of_Horst_Photographer_of_Style_on_Vimeo_-_2014-09-04_11.40.59

Carmen Dell’Orefice’s speech at the opening of Horst: Photographer of Style

Reputable image and style makers from across London displayed their admiration for master photographer Horst P.Horst last night by attending the definitive retrospective exhibition of his work – Horst: Photographer of Style. Carmen Dell’Orefice, the iconic model who worked with Horst from 1946, opened the exhibition with Condé Nast’s International President and V&A Trustee, Nicholas […]

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A work of art or so last season? Managing intellectual property of the V&A fashion collections

What do Chanel’s interlocking ‘C’s, Louboutin’s red sole and David Bowie’s stage costumes have in common? They are all protected by intellectual property (IP). 5 pairs of Christian Louboutin Fifi pumps with 100mm heel in shade Blush No. 5. Museum no. CD.28-2014- CD.32-2014  ©Victoria and Albert Museum,London  What is IP I hear you ask (or […]

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Heroes album cover shoot, 1977, photograph by Masayoshi Sukita. © Sukita, courtesy the David Bowie Archive

The Brown Suit: “Don’t you wonder sometimes, ’bout sound and vision?”

The other week I found myself in the Textile Conservation studios, a microphone in front of me, contemplating how much sweat may have soaked into a coat. I should quickly make it clear that it wasn’t a coat being worn by a perspiring colleague, but rather a very smart wool coat dating from the 1780s. […]

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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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Concept to Catwalk

  Fashion and technology have always had a mutually beneficial relationship, from the Spinning Jenny of the Georgian era and the textile mills of the Victorian era to the 3D printing and dye colouring techniques of today. Supported by the Mayor of London, Concept to Catwalk is a challenge open to London students at Key […]

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