Two centuries of British fashion. From the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection

Court caftan and waistcoat. Great Britain. 1795–1804. Velvet, satin, silk embroidery; handicraft. A gift of Lady Caroline Tyrell. The Victoria and Albert Museum

On September 5 – November 16, the One-Pillar Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin holds the exhibition Two Centuries of British Fashion. From the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Collection. The exhibition resulted from collaboration between the two world-famous museums in Russia and Britain. It is the first part of a project of cultural exchange, organized by the Moscow Kremlin Museums and Victoria and Albert Museums. The V&A Museum at South Kensington possesses the world’s greatest collections of art and design, unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It represents 300 years of the world’s history of culture, including development and evolution of British applied arts and design during 400 years.

For the first time for Russians the exhibition represents the most remarkable articles of the European collection of historical costumes, dresses, fabrics and accessories which reflect the history of the European fashion of the 18th–19th centuries. Visitors have a unique opportunity to make their bright idea about the most stunning samples. The grace of forms, fascinating magic and beauty of rare fabrics, embroideries and laces are connected in them with skill of the outstanding artists and tailors.

The exhibition features the most significant in their historical and artistic way suits, fabrics and accessories. The majority of monuments has no analogues in the world museum collections. The exhibition exhibits works by the best fashion designers, tailor’s cutters, tailors, embroideresses not only from England but also from other countries made for the needs of the United Kingdom. For the first time all these exhibits collected in the one exhibition space give the chance to trace the evolution of suit and art textiles in Great Britain for two centuries and also to show the influence of the European and national traditions, to make a full and thorough notion about the variety of suits which reached up to now in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection.

The exhibition displays the exquisite ladies’ dresses of Rococo period, the rare samples of typically English court and house ladies’ dress of the 18th century, dresses for walks and riding, transparent, streaming tunics of the so-called “nude” epoch and fantasy pelerines and coat of the end of 19th century. The periods of passion for the French fashion in Great Britain were both in the 18th, and in 19th centuries. Extravagant French Lyons silks are exhibited in line with the English fabrics exquisite in their tracery by the silk-weaving manufacture in Spitalfields and exhibits of the English printing textiles of the end of 18th – the early 19th centuries in excellent safety. The exhibition reflects the evolution of man’s fashion throughout two centuries – from the luxurious man’s suits decorated with sophisticated embroidery and numerous decorative buttons, to a suit in dandy style characterizing in minimalism and noble restraint.

The collection of accessories is a real highlight of the exhibition. Magnificent fans with nacreous and bone plates and pictorial screen, tiny folding umbrellas, scarves decorated with the most exquisite embroidery, ladies’ and man’s shoes of extravagant forms, hats and lace which are rarest in their quality and refinement. Once they symbolized the prosperity in some ways.

The bright exposition of the exhibition reveals the aroma of the epoch and gives the Russian public the opportunity to touch the history and culture of the United Kingdom.

The exhibition will be opened till November, 16.

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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