This museum in Bath is well known in fashion circles and I took the chance to stroll around one day on my own so I could spend as much time as I wanted. John came with me to to see the great Valentino in Paris and Grace Kelly exhibition in London but he doesn’t need to linger as I do.
All the clothes were behind glass so the photos may have some reflection.
At the same time an exhibition of the ‘Diana Dresses’ was in another space and no photos allowed but most of the clothes in the exhibition have been in the press. However if you click on the link I have created you can see some pics of the clothes and more background to the exhibition. We learned that she wore black in private, not in the public eye until she was a free divorcee and no longer having to perform Royal duties. The reason for some of the clothes design for her travels were revealed – as they had a purpose – to fit in with the custom of the country or a theme of something she was attending. Seeing some of the clothes I noticed that in the colour photos in the press or on television many outfits in blue appeared green or vice versa. Same with some clothes that Grace Kelly wore so it is worth seeing them in the flesh if you are a fan of fashion!
In the cabinet here you will see a short wide black dress, that was worn by Queen Victoria. I couldn’t believe how short she was and of course as she become more fulsome the broader. We have all seen photos of her but looking at her dress so close it was such an encounter with the reality of her stature. The recent film with Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria was definitely not cast to physical type.
I definitely preferred the Edwardian, such simplicity of line. Here are the Jane Austen era dresses, with the exception of the sparkling dress in the middle some of these were in a fine muslin. Inspiration for the muslin evening gowns by designers Easton and Pearson no doubt.
To make it easier to dress or undress….many of the components of the gowns were clipped on, rather than sewn in.The fabrics are beautiful and if you were grand enough to wear a sculpture then you did not have it made in a lowly fabric. Whole rooms would have been set aside for these creatures to linger in whilst waiting for their owners to take occupancy.
These gloves have survived and are a lost art in an age where gloves are mainly worn for warmth not for artifice.
If you are interested in more information about the museum, here is the website.