The lost art of having a ball!

The art of dressing for the occasion has been lost – yes it’s a sad fact that we only tend to dress up for specific times such as a black tie event, a job interview, a wedding or a funeral.

Dressing well for the sake of dressing such as for dinner or going to the theatre is a thing of the past – and what qualifies for a “dress” often makes one blink (my underwear has more cloth in it than some so called dresses!). So when I was given the opportunity to take a trip back in time to a more glamorous age I gleefully seized it and went off to the Victoria and Albert museum.

“Ballgowns, British Glamour Since the 1950s” is a stunning collection of clothing – and whilst that exhibition is £10, it also sits above a free exhibition of fashion through the ages – quite a nice way to spend an afternoon 🙂

The gowns range from the sumptuous – full skirted, tight bodiced and gently accessorised, to the ghastly – frills, flowers and whatnots that wouldn’t go amiss on a gaudy pantomime dame! Thankfully for the most part it’s about chic, couture pieces which flatter women.

I loved the pathe news reel which showed catwalk shows of new designs fashioned for ladies at private showings such as for the Queen Mum, or at country houses. There are also well known designs such as the pearl outfit Princess Diana wore which sit alongside designs by Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. There’s also a section about futuristic dresses – although latex wearing mermaid styles are not really my thing!

The free exhibition which looks at fashion through the ages does cover it all – easily recognisable 1920s flappers or the bright patterns and shapeless lines of the seventies. For me the designs around the Edwardians, Victorians, 1940s and 1950s are the centrepieces. From crinolines to full petticoats, from smart fitted jackets to circle skirts – each piece is to be admired and reminded of why it’s great to be a girl 🙂 and enjoying the retro scene.

The paid for exhibition is on until 6th January 2013 and I should imagine the free exhibition will continue alongside it for the same time if not longer. It’s well worth a trip in and when followed by a spot of lunch in one of the pleasant nearby cafes is a great way to spend a girly afternoon.


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