Thursday, 1 November 2012

We've had a Ball and been to Hollywood!

......Hollywood at the V & A, that is!
Last Sunday my daughter Tess, and I
spent the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

We drove up to the London Underground carpark at the O2 in Greenwich -
a bargain £3 for the day's parking - and caught the tube to South Kensington.

We planned our itinery before the visit, so knew just what we wanted to see.
Our first port of call was the Fashion gallery. 
Tess is doing AS textiles and needed some inspiration for her 
current assignment. She found plenty here amongst the exhibits from the 
early 18th century to the present.

As a seamstress myself I wondered at the intricacy of the sewing, 
all done by hand, until the invention of the sewing machine around 1850.

Within the Fashion gallery is the Ballgown exhibition -
we were lucky to visit this quite early in the day -
 it was quiet and we could view the beautiful gowns easily.

The gowns, by Couture designers from the 50's to the present,
were exquisite.
We saw this

and this
Hardie Amies

and these
Ossie Clarke

Alexander Mcqueen

 Catherine Walker for Princess Diana

and many more.
The gowns were loaned by the designers or by the owners/original wearers.
Tess couldn't get over the fact that 'Beyonce actually wore that' or
'I can remember seeing that'
The dresses were so close you could almost touch them, and I really wanted to - 
to feel the beautiful fabrics or to have a look to see how they were made.
There were too many eagle eyed guides around though!
(and rightly so, I suppose. Too many fingers touching the garments 
would certainly spoil them)
I think this was one of my favourites.
Designed by Cindy Beadman in the late seventies, 
it was exquisitely painted, appliqued and free machine embroidered silk,
the embroidery telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.
This was my ultimate favourite - designed by Elizabeth Emmanuel
and worn by Elizabeth Hurley in the Estee Lauder advertisement.
The silk was just so prettily printed with my favourite full blown roses.

After a lovely lunch and a chance to rest our feet we strolled on 
to the newest exhibition at the Museum -
Hollywood Costume

Three galleries full of over 100 costumes worn in film from
1920's to the present.

 Vivien Leigh's stunner from Gone With the Wind

The ultimate little black dress - 
Holly Golightly's (Audrey hepburn) 
Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's

Scarlett O'Hara's velvet 'curtains' dress from 
Gone with the Wind

John Travolta's iconic white suit from Saturday Night Fever
(I couldn't believe how long his legs are!)

and of course - this dress - made famous by 
Marilyn Munroe in The Seven Year Itch.
(the waist of this dress was TINY!!)

Oh!...... there were so many more costumes, together with information on the designers,
how the costumes were designed and the films they were from.
Digital images of the actors and actresses talking about the costumes 
seemed uncannily realistic when viewed across the room and brilliant digital
displays took you through the design processes.

The costumes gave one the idea of  how tiny, slim, 
short or tall the actors and actresses were; 
there were a few surprises and notibly no fatties!!

Tess and I were fascinated and would have gone around again, 
were it not so busy and hot. 
Still,we soaked up what we could and thoroughly enjoyed our day.
A cup of coffee and piece of cake, then a stroll around the lovely V&A shop
before winding our way back to the car and home!