Victorian Dress at the V&A

Aesthetic dress in the 19th century

In the mid nineteenth century, the group of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood used medieval and Renaissance-style dress in their paintings. They designed theatrical costumes which were intended to be both historically accurate and graceful. Several of them, actresses and others with artistic leanings, took to wearing such clothes all the time. Gradually the style took a definite form of its own which marked the wearer as being 'artistic'. This style was also known as 'aesthetic' dress.

Members of societies such as the Dress Reform Movement and the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union were critical of heavy restrictive clothing and tight corsets, which they thought unhealthy and lacking in grace. They favoured making garments from washable fabrics and making dress healthier in other ways. Some enthusiastic dress reformers advocated woollen underwear in the belief that it allowed the skin to breathe better than other fabrics.

International Training Course

The Victoria and Albert Museum welcomes applications for ‘Creating Innovative Learning Programmes’, its new one week intensive course. This is a unique training opportunity for museum professionals from overseas who are interested in attracting and programming for a range of museum audiences.

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The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions (Hardback, 2nd Edition)

The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions (Hardback, 2nd Edition)

This sumptuous book draws on wedding garments in the V&A's collection, photographs, letters, memoirs, newspaper accounts and genealogical research…

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Event - Lunchtime Lectures: Victorian Gothic Glory

Wed 18 March 2015 13:00–14:00

LUNCHTIME LECTURE: Join Alicia Robinson, Senior Curator of Sculpture, Ceramics, Metalwork and Gladd to find out more about Victorian Gothic glory, destruction and resurrection: Scott & Skidmore’s ironwork at the V&A.

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