V&A Exhibitions

Ellen Von Unwerth



The Victoria and Albert have really done it for me recently. Two huge and inspiring exhibitions that are right up my alley and I am lucky enough to have been to both. Now, I get to share it with you guys.

So I'll start with the first one I went to, which was the Hollywood Costume Exhibition.

Think of a famous film, then think of the main character's costume because this exhibition has more than likely got it.

Characters like Catwoman to Marie Antoinette, Captain Jack Sparrow to Indiana Jones or Roxy Hart to Audrey Hepburn. It was fascinating to discover how the costumes made the actors feel the part. So much detail went into every single one of the costumes even though you perhaps wouldn't even see it in the movie. I was also shocked to see how skinny some of the outfits were like that of Keira Knightley's Duchess Dress.
Superheroes in their crime fighting spandex adorned the dark spaces whilst a silver screen star's dress hung demurely near them. Marilyn Monroe's Some like it hot dress was a big deal for me as it is one of my all time favorite movies! The list could go on.

There were opinions from people who are/were part of the film industry sprinkled around the costumes like sweet cherries on a bun. The little movie clips that supported the outfits made the atmosphere feel as epic
as the movies they came from. Great Directors like Quentin Tarentino and Tim Burton even expressed the importance of costume.

'What’s great about costume is it’s the visual representation of the internal side of people. That’s what I love.'  Tim Burton. 

At the very end of the exhibition were Dorothy's shoes from the Wizard of Oz. A tiny bit of sparkle to end all the razzle dazzle.
If you want to go see it, it finishes on the 27th of January so get in fast!
A month later, I came back to the V&A to visit the Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 exhibition. It's a shame to hear that the old tradition of buying big frocks for fancy parties has died out. I feel I have missed out like I have wearing a toga for casual attire. Those days are long gone.

Taken on my iPhone 4S

But none the less, this was as close as I am going to get to seeing the classic ballgowns that were worn in the 20th century. They were so beautiful and to think they actually belong to someone as opposed to today's system of celebrities being lent a dress for advertising purposes. I noticed that they weren't all old dresses as Alexander McQueen's famous white feather dress shone from the corner of a platform. It made me wonder how his dress would have been received 50 years ago.

What made this great was that it held 60 years of evening wear together in one place and that is the only time you would see that. Unless it was some kind of 20th Century fancy dress but even then it would fail to be tasteful.  

This exhibition is now closed but I'm sure it won't be the last you hear of it.
As you are not allowed to take pictures I don't have any apart from the one below of the fashion section in the V&A. Next time I will promise to deliver you sketches of what I have seen.