I begin this post with an apology. I've been to and seen a lot of brilliant things in the last couple of months and I have not shared them with the masses. I assure you all it was not intentional and just a couple of moments of being displaced/overbooked/wanting to just enjoy the moment without worrying about how I should write about it. Please keep loving me. My time in London was mostly spent running from person I adore to person I adore (with me still managing to not get the chance to see everyone I really wanted to) and I finally decided I needed to let myself take a couple of hours one afternoon to pay a visit to my favorite museum, the V&A, for an exhibition I had really been looking forward to seeing.
'Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950' is another stellar fashion exhibition on the part of the V&A that highlights not just the craft and beauty of these creations but also the brilliance of British design. From garments worn in films and on red carpets to the stars of runway through to royal balls and state events, the curation of this exhibit leaves no one left out.
Downstairs in very low lighting, all the older, more precious gowns are held. Special care is taken to not just highlight the gowns themselves but also their accoutrements (shoes, handbags, gloves). Films of the first haute couture shows are projected on the wall and it's impossible to not giggle a bit at the insanity of such kinds of presentations (of the garments and the events to which they are worn).
You then walk up a sweeping staircase which makes you feel like you're a guest at a grand ball. It's super modern though so maybe a space-age ball. It is when you reach the top of the stairs that you have entered something really spectacular. Up here, where all the modern gowns are presented, is a bit of a wonderland underneath a huge, silver sky. Something you really must see for yourself. Gowns on models spin around and are suspended in the air. From McQueen to maybe one too many Mary Katrantzou gowns, you begin to realize how much of the craft has been carried on in more recent years.
Yes, some are more impressive than others and one might argue that a bit too much attention was given to designers who have only very recently found their way onto the scene but these are some wonderful moments in British fashion history. Totally worth the visit. And it's open until January! More information here.