Sunday, 17 June 2018

What's new at the V&A

I'm in London again, to go to the latest Kerry Taylor auction. It will surprise no-one to learn that whenever I visit the V&A, for whatever reason, I always pop into the costume section for a quick look round. I've been there so often that most of the pieces on display are very familiar, but occasionally there's something new to look at. And so it was this time.

One case, of 1920s evening dresses, has been completely replaced. It's still 1920s, but a mixture of day and more formal wear.

Bright young things

The background image hasn't been changed though; it is based on this Callot Soeurs dress which formed part of the previous display.

1925 embroidery

Central to the new arrangement is this 1923 lamé and lace wedding dress, displayed with a photograph of the bride and groom.

Medieval style wedding dress

There isn't much information about the ensemble beside it.

Coat and evening dress

The case opposite contains 1930s clothing. Much of it is unchanged, but this Charles James dress is definitely a new addition.

Gold satin evening dress, about 1934

Sadly it was impossible to get a back view, but I was just about able to see the side construction.

Angled skirt darts and shaped side panels

Most museum pieces tend to be designer garments for wealthy people, so it was nice to see this suit, made in the 1950s in Guyana for the donor; a teacher who moved to Britain in 1951.

Cotton skirt suit

I don't remember seeing this suit before, either. I love the different fabrics in the skirt, and the single jacket pocket and side fasten.

Wool and silk moiré suit, Givenchy, 1955

I know that the V&A owns far more items than it can possibly display, so it's nice to see that they do swap things round from time to time.

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