When we were in the UK we paid a visit to Bath. While we were there of course I had to see the world-class collection at the Fashion Museum. I must have spent a couple of hours wandering through the museum and ogling at everything from dresses, mens clothes, gloves, fans, belts, jewellery, shoes, buckles and bows!
Of course I was interested in how garments were embellished and embroidered and spent a good part of the day enjoying the intricate and skilful work and fine crafting that went into making many of the garments.
There are almost 100,000 objects in the the Fashion Museum’s collection, so when it comes to selecting 100 prime pieces that can tell the story of fashion they do it well. The History of Fashion in 100 Objects celebrates fashion from the 1600s to today and boy did I enjoy it!
This 1610 waistcoat is embroidered in silk but for a lady in Shakespeare’s England it was considered informal attire!
One aspect I really enjoyed is that descriptions are not just information about the garment shown, but social history was also included so you could contextualise the piece. For instance this display of fans and other items pointed out that in the 1800’s ivory was used for bags, fans, umbrellas and parasols. Today however many countries abide by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna. There is still an illegal trade in ivory but conventions such as this has helped to reduce the use.
There was quite a bit of information on techniques too. For instanace these babies booties from the 1800’s were quilted.
I also enjoyed the Royal fashion section and loved the Queen Alexandra’s gowns, she had excellent taste and obviously loved fashion. This embroidered and beaded mauve silk chiffon dress, from 1911 really captured my heart.
The collection is displayed in low light, to protect the fabrics. This meant photography is difficult particularly since I was using my phone to take these photos. Hopefully my images are not too dull. If you visit the Fashion Museum website you can see more photographed professionally
Also, in my research into the Fashion Museum in Bath I dug up a few videos which I think readers will enjoy. Both are only a few minutes long. Make a cuppa and enjoy them!
The first, A Day in the Life of the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms give you a sense of the place and is a behind the scenes view of life at the Fashion Museum.
Here is a tour of the Fashion Museum with Manager Rosemary Harden.
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