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The collection

The Museum's collection of dress and textiles by 1960s British designers is extensive, comprising items by Ossie Clark, Shirley Craven, Foale and Tuffin, Barbara Hulanicki (Biba), Mary Quant, Zandra Rhodes and Eddie Squires. There are also many examples by famous international designers, including Balenciaga, Cardin, Courrèges, Paco Rabanne, Ungaro, and Yves Saint Laurent.


There have been several V&A exhibitions relating to 1960s fashion and fabrics.

  • Fashion: An anthology by Cecil Beaton, 1971-72
  • The Fabric of Pop, 1974
  • The Way We Live Now: English interiors 1950 to the present day, 1978-79
  • Wendy Ramshaw, 1982-83
  • Tie Dye and Batik, David Bailey, 1983
  • John French Fashion Photographer , 1984-85
  • Tie Dye and Batik, 1985
  • David Bailey: Shots of style, 1985-86
  • Irving Penn, 1987
  • Ascher: Fabric, Art, Fashion, 1987
  • The Plastics Age: From modernity to postmodernity, 1990
  • Pierre Cardin: Past, Present, Future, 1990-91
  • Appearances: Fashion photography since 1945, 1991
  • Streetstyle: From sidewalk to catwalk, 1994-95
  • The Cutting Edge: Fifty years of British fashion, 1997
  • Triple Exposure: Three photographers from the 60s, 1999-00
  • Cosmic Visions: Psychedelic posters of the 1960s, 2000-01
  • To Boldly Go: Furnishing Fabrics by Eddie Squires for Warner Fabrics, 2001
  • Ossie Clark , 2003-04
  • Sixties Fashion Exhibition, 2006-07

The Cecil Beaton Collection

In 1971 the fashion photographer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) contacted designers and the well-dressed of Europe and America to lend haute couture clothing for the V&A exhibition 'Fashion: An anthology by Cecil Beaton'. Many of the lenders to the exhibition subsequently donated these items to the museum, greatly enriching the dress collection. The catalogue of the exhibition, edited by Madeleine Ginsburg, was published by HMSO in 1971. It is available for reference from the National Art Library on the first floor of the museum.

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British Textiles: 1700 to the Present

British Textiles: 1700 to the Present

This superb book draws on highlights from the V&A's fabulous collections of woven, printed and embroidered textiles and their designs. Based on the V&…

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Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016. An exhibition looking at the extremes of footwear from around the globe. From a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.

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Event - V&A Social

Fri 13 November 2015 19:00–20:00

SPECIAL EVENT: For the first time ever, fashionable dress and textiles will be included in the new displays in the Europe 1600-1800 galleries, which open in December 2015.

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