Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

I’d been itching to take in this particular display since seeing it first advertised, so happily met my 2.15pm Slot (just), armed with supreme company, last Saturday, post a little Albarino, some spicy squid and a lunch that was stuffed with laughs. Thus, it is fitting to say, our entry couldn’t have been more optimal.

Dear Readers, Fashion – Room 40 is where it’s at and where you’ll find not only a beautifully fitted out exhibition space…look for the cool iron gate off the mezzanine and marvel at the roof…though also approximately 60 evening-wear treasures, dating from the modern day back to the 1950s.

For me the exhibition’s Top Treats pretty much sit in the 1980s…though I could obviously rave about the exquisite 1950s & 60s satin, velvet, beading, diamante, sleeveless (and strapless) beauties; and Roland Mouret’s (2010) fitted, one-strap, detailing in the just the right place, peach number…however I do honestly feel the pizazz factor was owned by the eighties.

Please appreciate this last point with a little background as clouding of judgement may be occurring:

  1. My number one desire during this period – to somehow master the lock of my sister’s wardrobe and get my hands on and into her Adam Ant inspired jewels
  2. Believing that one day, if I tried really hard, I could be Demi Moore in St. Elmo’s Fire
  3. I’m quite simply an obliging slave to cloth that shares its thread with purple, royal blue, bright reds and gold lame. And did I happen to mention I’ve just become the happy mother of a longed for glomesh coin purse

So back to the frocks and I promise I’ll try and compile a list which isn’t completely focused on New Romantic expression and may provide you with a couple of ‘ahhhh’ moments.

  • Atsuko Kudo’s (2011) extraordinary lace-look Latex gown
  • Gareth Pugh’s (2011) silver/metal, long sleeved, probably a little heavy to wear all evening, something Grace Jones would look ‘wicked’ in, floor length, conversation stopper
  • Wonderful video footage of several very pleased models elegantly displaying gorgeous floor length fantasies as they glide past the admiring throngs
  • A strapless, beaded, black, exquisite creation once wore by Beyonce
  • And Mr Bruce Oldfield comes through with a red hot night time decision with black bow detail

And further findings – Hollywood Costume – opens 20 October at the V&A, featuring outfits from sweet little Dorothy from Kansas; the not so sweet or little, Darth Vader; Mr Jones of the Indiana variety; and the always perfectly attired Holly Golightly.  Five days and counting….

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