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Every Donkey has his Carte de Visite.

Satirical card showing a dog delivering a carte-de-visite

In 1854, a Frenchman, André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri, patented a new form of photograph called the carte de visite. These were small images, typically about 54 mm × 89 mm, mounted on thicker cards that measured 64 by 100 mm; about the same size as visiting-cards (literally, carte de visite). Disidéri’s invention meant that multiple copies […]

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New acquisition: Storm umbrella


Umbrellas have been used to keep dry since distant antiquity, their basic shape has not changed a great deal throughout history. During the course of my research I found that each year, on average, around 1000 new patents are registered worldwide for ‘improved’ umbrella designs. New designs can include improved, stronger rib technology or alterations […]

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Blue and White: Fashion

Dr Martens 2015

Blue and white has become one of the most popular colour combinations in history. This classic colour palette originated in Asian ceramics in the 9th century. These ceramics spread across Europe and influenced 16th century Delftware and the Willow pattern created by British manufacturers in the late 18th century. It was also during the 18th […]

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Interview with Iris van Herpen

Dress detail, Voltage Haute Couture, Iris van Herpen, 2013, (c) Leanne Wierzba

This interview took place between fashion designer Iris van Herpen and Leanne Wierzba, co-curator of What is Luxury?, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in late-July 2015. Leanne Wierzba: Thank you for agreeing to meet with me to discuss your work, in particular the dress that you have loaned to us for What is Luxury? – […]

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Guest Post: Perfect partners: Muslin and cashmere


Jenny Lister is curator of 19th century fashion and textiles at the V&A. Last year, during initial object selections for The Fabric of India, she helped the team choose a muslin dress from the  V&A’s Textiles and Fashion collection. Today, she very kindly relives that selection process for our blog.  As the curator responsible for the nineteenth […]

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The Fabric(ation) of India

FOI build 4 - Copy

I must begin with an apology for our collective silence last week.  It really is ‘all hands to the pump’ at this stage of exhibition delivery.  This is not to say we’d forgotten you.  Quite the contrary – in between running around and solving all the little hiccups – Exhibition Manager, Olivia Oldroyd (whose safety […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 179


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 179 One of my favourite shops and a place close to my heart I had my 1st small solo exhibition here in 2004. Opened in 1979 this iconic fashion designer (and cyclist) Paul Smith was the first designer to open in a then very different Floral […]

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Who’s in a Name? Paquin and the Named Design, 1898-1950

'Au Son du Cor.' Suit designed by Lou Claverie for Paquin, Winter 1950-51

In the world of fashion since the 20th century, many dresses have names that were given to them during the design process. Among the most famous examples are ‘Bar,’ the cream and black skirt suit that became the most widely recognised ensemble from Christian Dior’s 1947 ‘New Look’ collection; and ‘Sorbet,’ Paul Poiret’s 1913 kimono-styled, […]

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New acquisition: Hunter ensemble, A/W 2014

T.3-2015 Ensemble (coat, trousers, pair of boots, bag); Hunter, A/W 2014 Great Britain; China © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This waterproof ensemble was donated to V&A this earlier year by welly company Hunter, it takes pride of place in our rainwear display in the fashion gallery. It formed part of Hunter’s spectacular first appearance at London Fashion Week in February 2014, a show which presented a bold new direction for a brand often associated […]

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Slippery Sari Sagas and Delightful Draping


Here in Textile Conservation we are just over half way through mounting the garments for display in The Fabric of India. A few weeks ago, our studio was all a-flurry with the unwrapping of mannequins and the speedy draping of a collection of stunning and vibrant contemporary saris for publication photography. That was by no […]

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