Miss Mannequin loves the outbreak of great exhibitions this year as Britain shows off her greatness in more ways than Olympiad feats and Royal Jubilations!
The current V&A exhibition Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 is a spectacular show showcasing more than 60 ballgowns from 1950 to the present day. Within the fabulously renovated V&A Fashion Galleries, beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening frocks and catwalk showstoppers vied for Miss Mannequin’s attention.
With a strong British design tradition for creating and wearing sumptuous ballgowns, this show covers bygone days right through to the modern designs of Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, proving that the tradition continues to flourish.
Over two floors the exhibits on show include some specially made designs for social events such as private parties, royal state occasions, debutante balls, opening nights and red carpet events. Tour de force eveningwear from the V&A’s vast collection by designers such as Norman Hartnell, Victor Stiebel, Zandra Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Jonathan Saunders and Hussein Chalayan will also be on show, as well as dresses fresh from the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, Giles, Erdem, Roksanda Illincic, Mark Fast and Jenny Packham. Innovative designer Gareth Pugh has created a stunning metallic leather dress especially for the exhibition. miss mannequin loves....
Royal gowns, with their luxurious fabrics and exquisite embellishments, always make headlines. A selection of royal ballgowns including a Norman Hartnell gown designed for Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis Dress’ designed by Catherine Walker and gowns worn by today’s young royals are on show beside dresses worn by actresses and celebrities including Sandra Bullock, Daphne Guinness, Elizabeth Hurley and Bianca Jagger. Rock and Royal together all in one room!
From private event to public parade.... Miss Mannequin sashayed around the V&A adoring the splendid glittering backdrops for these couture gowns, which have stimulated sartorial consumption and aspiration in Britain. The red carpet is perhaps the modern day pinnacle of ballgown aspiration, where celebrities and stars show off not only their starlit potential but the latest look in over the top gorgeousness. Craved by every girl big or small; whether attending an award ceremony, premiere or indeed end of school prom party! The aspiration to these dresses surely replaces the love of Barbie and Sindy dolls in little girls (although Miss Mannequin never quite got over Barbie).
Some of the gowns on show are loaned and some are from the Museum’s permanent collection: designs include gowns by Hardy Amies, Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb, Belleville Sassoon, Murray Arbeid, Bruce Oldfield and Julien MacDonald. Also included are a girl’s best friend; accessories. Elegant evening bags, gloves and shoes are shown against a background of film and contextual images evoking the sheer glamour of it all.
Swanning through the exit, Miss Mannequin felt compelled to spend her hard earned pennies on the accompanying book: Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 features specially commissioned images of the diverse selection of gowns from the exhibition, photographed by David Hughes. Some of his dynamic images are also projected into the alcoves of the gallery’s vast domed ceiling, creating an arresting backdrop to the show.
Kick your heels up and head for Knightsbridge, this fabulous exhibition is open until January 6th, from 10am until 5.45, there are no excuses for those late night birds that read my page, since the show is open until 10pm on Friday evenings. If your appitite is whetted for more, click on this little video Britsh Glamour video
Miss mannequin was so inspired by these wonderful dresses ... i'm ready for my close up now Mr. DeMille!