I visited the V&A a week or so ago. One of my favourite museums in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum is an eclectic mix of sculptures, religious art, design and fashion, but on this visit I wanted to spend some time in their Fashion section.
One thing which really surprised me was the size of the shoes on display. All the shoes, from the 1700s until the 1960s, were tiny – something like a size 0, if there were such a thing, but terribly narrow with it. They were about the right size for my 8 year old if he had incredibly skinny feet!
I know the outfits are very old and precious and probably need storing in particular conditions, but it was a shame that the exhibition was so gloomily lit. Not only because my photos didn’t turn out particularly well, but also because I found myself squinting to try and see details. Perhaps my eyesight is getting worse, but I yearned for some nice bright halogen type lighting like you’d get in a shop!
Here are some of my favourites from the 19th Century fashions, some of the information about them is really surprising! I’ll do a separate post later on the more recent fashions. Hope you like my choices!
Above and below: A very Jane Austen style silk satin and silk net ball dress embroidered with metal c. 1820.
Victorian French dress in magenta silk from 1869-1870. Early magenta dyes often had traces of arsenic which could leak out during wear and cause skin irritations.
A Victorian cage crinoline from 1960-1965. Steel spring frame covered with red wool and linen. Look at those teeny tiny shoes! They looked about a UK size 2, but about half the width of modern shoes!
Lovely Edwardian bag, I’d love a bag like this…