Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Hmm, I haven't posted for a while now, time just got away from me, and I never really regained my sewing mojo after the bout of sinusitis in the summer. However, it's slowly returning (helped by sorting out and tidying my sewing room), so I'm catching up on posts from over the summer that have been sitting in my drafts folder. By the time I've done that, there will hopefully be a few new things to show you too!

I went to London for a long weekend in June. I'd planned to do some fabric and notions shopping, but I caught a cold and didn't feel in the mood (this was what turned into the sinusitis after my flight back). I'd also planned to do some shoe shopping, but everywhere had sales and pretty much no summer stock left. Seriously, why put all your winter stock out when it's only halfway through June?! (I'd hoped to buy some Chie Mihara shoes at Selfridge's, but have since discovered I can buy them online - hooray! But dangerous for my bank balance...)

Anyway, enough whinging, whilst I was there, I did go and see the ballgown exhibition at the V&A. Have any of you guys been to see this? What did you think?

I have to say, I was a little confused by the exhibition. Whilst it was lovely seeing so many beautiful dresses (and a couple not so beautiful) all in one place, that seemed like all it really was. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course, but for the amount of money for a ticket, I would expect a bit more than that (although, having said that, I'm a V&A member so I got in with a guest for "free").

The dresses were divided between two floors, with modern dresses upstairs (post late-1990s), and earlier ones downstairs behind glass (early-1950s to mid-1990s). Apart from that, there was not really any theme in how they were arranged. I loved being able to see the dresses upstairs so close up, but it also surprised me how "unprofessional" some of them looked close up. Hems were just cut, feathers looked shabbily applied etc. I found this rather interesting, and wondered if these were the actual runway pieces, which I guess would need to look good from a distance but the details weren't so important (and may have had to be quickly adjusted or mended backstage). It was a shame the older dresses were behind glass as it would have been fascinating to be able to inspect these some more.

The most striking contrast between the newer and older dresses was the structure apparent in the older dresses, which seemed to have disappeared in most of the newer dresses. Some of the newer dresses just simply wouldn't be able to be worn by anyone without a model perfect body.

There aren't many pictures on the website for the exhibition (and you aren't allowed to take pictures in the exhibition), but fortunately they include two of my favourites from the newer section: the gorgeous yellow and purple Erdem Rumina gown, and the amazing Atsuko Kudo latex gown with trompe l'oeil lace print (both pictured above).

The exhibition is on until 6 January 2013, and despite my quibbles, I would still recommend it to anyone who likes looking at beautiful dresses.

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