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Width 5cm each, with various lengths, ca. 1945/1950; V&A Archive of Art and Design GC10/1

A vintage fashion mystery

Dress trimmings for Rosalinde Gilbert Models Sometimes even with our combined efforts, the V&A’s curatorial team can only get marginally closer to solving the mysteries posed by even the most intriguing pieces. This is very much the case with four petite ornaments made of vibrant red resin, a light faux turquoise and faux pearls. The […]

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How to dress like a lady

‘How to dress on £15 a year as a lady by a lady’ was published by Frederick Warne in 1873. It was one of series of pocket sized “Useful Books” and cost a shilling. In the introduction, a Lady, actually Millicent Whiteside Cook, author of several books on economy, has no illusions about her work […]

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Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini wears an evening gown designed by Biki to the party which opened the V&A exhibition.

Collector in Profile: Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini

Throughout my 15 years as fashion curator at the V&A, I’ve met a number of collectors-a dedicated and passionate group, often deeply knowledgeable about their subject and determined to buy the best. While I was in the process of curating the V&A exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1946-2014 (5 April-23 July, 2014), I was […]

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'Ajrakh' Jacket designed by Rajesh Pratap Singh. Linen, 2010. Museum no. IS.27-2012. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fashionable Fabric

One of our aims in this exhibition is to reveal new aspects of Indian textiles and fashion. It may come as a surprise to many that India has a dynamic fashion industry which maintains a continuity to India’s textile traditions. An exciting feature of The Fabric of India will be a showcase of some of the most imaginative […]

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Q&A with the Legendary Biba Designer Barbara Hulanicki

1. What is your favourite Shop in London and Miami? In Miami I love C Madeline’s, it’s an extraordinary Vintage shop on Biscayne Boulevard. In London it would be Selfridges. 2. Tell us about the Biba outfits that stick out in your mind… The hooded leopard coat we made for Twiggy in the nineteen seventies. […]

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1.4.10. Benares Sari (IM 5-1943) detail

The Fabric of India

Welcome to our blog on the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition The Fabric of India. It’s now a year away, but preparations are well underway for what promises to be not only a beautiful and dramatic show but also a major landmark in the study and display of the subject. Focussing on hand-made textiles, the exhibition will […]

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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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