Spanning four centuries, the V&A’s Fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th-century gowns, 18th-century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear and post-war couture. Plus a growing number of pieces from 21st-century designers.
Closed Exhibition - Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016. This exhibition looked at the extremes of footwear from around the globe, presenting around 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.
The fashion of the 19th century is renowned for its corsets, bonnets, top hats, bustles and petticoats. Women’s fashion during the Victorian period was largely dominated by full skirts, which gradually moved to the back of the silhouette. However, towards the end of the period, the less restrictive Aesthetic style began to emerge.
Throughout the 20th century cross-cultural and historical influences had a profound impact upon fashion design. The styles, designs and materials of other times and cultures became more accessible to designers as improved travel and communications enabled continents to be crossed with ease.
The Golden Age of Couture
The launch of Christian Dior's New Look in 1947 marked the beginning of a momentous decade in fashion history, one that Dior himself called the 'golden age'. Celebrating the end of war and the birth of a new era, it set a standard for dressmaking and high fashion that has rarely been surpassed. The exhibition 'The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–1957', was on display at the V&A South Kensington from 22 September 2007–6 January 2008.
The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion
The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion is located at Blythe House, at Olympia in West London. The aim of the Clothworkers’ Centre is to provide the best possible access to the Museum’s outstanding collection of textiles and fashion in a relaxed and peaceful environment.
Among the Theatre and Performance collections there are over 3,500 stage costumes and accessories - ranging from complete outfits to individual headdresses. All are a tribute to the creativity and skills of designers and costume makers from the mid 18th century to today, in every kind of live performance - drama, opera, dance, musicals, pantomime, rock and pop, music hall, cabaret, circus.