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Debenhan & Freebody wedding dress, 1926 © V&A Collection

Hitting the Sales

As January now seems forever associated with the sales, this month’s post will explore the history of purchasing wedding dresses from the late eighteenth century to the present day. An 18th century bride would be expected to marry prepared with a trousseau appropriate for her new life as a wife. Depending on her familial circumstances […]

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Flexura Boots  ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Figure Training

 “From the earliest periods of the world’s history down to the present day it has been found necessary to employ systems of restraint and correction calculated to adapt the unformed and unfashioned figure”. Figure training or art the handmaid of nature by EDM was published in 1870, partly as a vindication of altering the human […]

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Clogs perfect for Christmas

The traditional simple wooden clog, called geta, comprise of a raised wooden base and fabric thong to keep the foot well elevated above the ground. They look a little bit like wooden flip flops on stilts. The geta, worn in Japan by both women and men with clothing such as the kimono, originally had a practical function; elevating […]

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Metal minaudière decorated in faux pearls, 1956

A Boxing Day Wedding

We all need a little glitter come the festive season, and brides are no exception to this rule. As previously explored, winter weddings – preferably made white with snow – offer the opportunity for velvet dresses and fur stoles. The dark days also mean such ceremonies are lit by further candles and lights than their […]

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Moroccan Fashion Designers in the 1960s

By M. Angela Jansen Visiting Scholar in the Research Department at the V&A Very little research has been conducted on the first generation of Moroccan fashion designers who emerged in Casablanca in the 1960s. This is remarkable when you think that at the time they had not only caught the attention of the renowned editor-in-chief […]

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Matthäus Schwarz in his outfit for the Imperial Diet of 1530

The fashionable accountant – Reconstructing his best outfit

by Katy O’Neill and Francesca Butcher ‘Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste.’ Alexander McQueen   A first impression of the garish red and yellow outfit depicted [above] would seem to contradict McQueen’s call for subtlety. Yet, as Professor Ulinka Rublack explained in a recent seminar in the V&A/RCA History of Design […]

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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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Auto-Rickshaw samples, 2012.© Aneeth Arora

The Difference is in the Detail

Aneeth Arora with her label Péro, has emerged as one of India’s most respected young fashion designers. Her debut collection was in 2009, and I first visited her Delhi based studio in December 2010 where I spent a lovely morning admiring the use of hand-woven fabrics and hand crafted details in her outfits. Alongside her […]

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Suit worn by Christopher Breward for his Civil Partnership ceremony, 2006 © V&A Collection

Friends of the Couple

While we are honoured to have the wedding dresses of celebrities on display, we were equally touched to be loaned and trusted with pieces worn by those who are, perhaps, less well known but no less significant. While curating the exhibition, an emphasis was placed on representing lots of different kinds of brides and weddings […]

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Shoe collector Lionel

Lionel Bussey collected women’s shoes from about 1914 until his death in 1969, when he had acquired about 600 pairs. All the shoes were bought new from fairly good class shoe shops, like Dolcis and Lilley & Skinner, many were not even uwrapped, still boxed up with their bills. He took his collection seriously and he […]

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