Black and red wool crepe appliqué jacket, Lucien Lelong, about 1947, worn by Vivien Leigh / Red and black spotted silk ballgown with bows and puffed sleeves, about 1982, David and Elizabeth Emanuel
© Fashion Museum/Bath & North East Somerset Council
- A History of Fashion in 100 Objects celebrates fashion throughout history, from the 1500s to the present day, showcasing 100 star objects from the Fashion Museum’s world-class collection. From a late 1500s ‘blackwork’ embroidered man’s shirt dating from the time of the Spanish Armada, to a ‘body-con’ Galaxy dress of the early 2000s, the exhibition presents iconic garments and accessories spanning five centuries of innovative fashion design. Fashion is defined as the latest style of dress, decoration or behaviour, and the exhibition showcases artefacts that tell personal stories or are symptomatic of moments in world history. One of the earliest fashion garments to go on display is an intricately embroidered woman’s jacket – known at the time as a waistcoat – worked in coloured silks and glittering metal thread and dating from the time of Shakespeare. Fast forward over 300 years, and visitors can see another embroidered jacket, this time from 1948, by Paris couturier Lucien Lelong and worn by major film star and ‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Vivien Leigh. Graceful silk robes and embroidered and tailored coats for men, the styles fashionable during Bath’s Georgian heyday, will also be on display, along with Regency fashions from the time of Jane Austen. Big names of fashion history feature in the exhibition. Visitors will see gowns by the first fashion designers, including the Houses of Worth and Lucile, through to names that are more familiar today, such as Christian Dior and McQueen. The finale of the show is a selection of the most recent choices in the Fashion Museum’s noted Dress of the Year collection, commencing with the Dress of the Year 2011, a magnificent dress in ivory silk tulle by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The display ends with the Dress of the Year 2015, two outfits by visionary British menswear designer Craig Green, giving an up-to-the-minute, contemporary take on historical fashion. Alongside the main exhibition, look out for 10 ‘shoe moments’ throughout history – from Georgian silk shoes to Air Jordan trainers – plus a children’s trail featuring 10 fashion looks for kids, from the 1700s to the 2000s.