Catching Inspiration- Dior V&A exhibit
The V & A has long been my favourite museum to visit. I can always find something to see and inspire me. I love the fashion exhibit. When I walk around the museum I always find something new and interesting to look at. A little treasure trove of amazing stuff to inspire and awe you. The tea rooms are also, like the best place of amazing beauty and loveliness. and the cake.... I love treating myself to a slice of cake and tea and looking at the amazing windows and tiles.
I went on Monday the 18th to the exhibition with my mum and her friend. Both are members so we were able to get in for free and only had about a 15 minute wait. While waiting to get in there were drawings on the walls to check out while you are waiting. Once you are in you can see the amazing iconic "New Look" outfit of a flared pleated cream skirt and the black fitted jacket. Instantly my mum mentioned she would like that one please.I'll add it to the list mum. It's such a iconic outfit you can't help but be a bit in awe of it.
Walking around the first room you can't help but be impressed at the sudden change in silhouette from the previous years and the detail that each piece has. I couldn't help but look at the amazing pattern cutting that had gone into each piece. So much amazing fabric manipulation. I loved how each piece is so iconicly the 1950's silhouette but each piece is also so much its own flavour. I can also see what some of my students have been designing for their prom dresses having elements of what I saw on these dresses from the late 1940s and early 1950s.
There was one dress which I fell in love with. It was a pink satin beauty which I loved the pattern cutting of. It had the most lovely cut. The dress had the typical hourglass silhouette, with a big skirt and fitted bodice. The skirt was a pleated skirt but not with just one layer in the pleat but with many layers gathered and pleated into the pleat. Each pleat contained a lot of fabric which caused the dresses skirt to flare out in a lovely way. The bodice of the dress was also interesting. It had a high neck line with button up detail down the front with only two buttons. There was a ragland seam cutting across from the under arm to the neck which gave the dress shaping but with an set in sleeve as well. I love the idea of using an extra seam to give the dress an extra detail. I spent way more time on this dress just working out how it had been made than with many other pieces in the exhibition. I really want to try and make something similar for myself.
Of my favourite rooms in the exhibition was the room called "Historicism". I have always loved the fashion from the past, especially the 19th century. Some of the dresses and outfits in this room were out of this world stunning and were really beatifuly made. They really drew you in and made you look closer. The influence and decadence is just amazing. I love looking at the pattern cutting and getting inspiration. I particularly love the pale blue tea set inspired dress and the white corset jacket. Just makes me happy to see. I just want to now redesign and re work my wardrobe. I dress pretty feminine with lots of skirts and dresses but now I just want to wear fabulous amazing gowns everyday... I mean, I I could totally make that work right?
The next few rooms were the the travel room and the garden room. The clothing in there is exciting but it didn't interest me as much as the early room and the historical influence room. The travel room did make me feel a little uncomfortable with the whole, cultural appropriation vibes that were coming from it. I do believe you can be inspired and influenced by other cultures and that it is important to fill your brain with understanding and the history of the world and not just your own country but I do believe you have to treat that information with respect. Not saying that Dior didn't but I did wonder at the sensitivity of some of the design. The Garden room was filled with lovely dresses but they didn't draw me in as others had. The complexity that went into the design was impressive and I loved the way colour and texture had been handled with these designs. The shapes were more interesting and not so much a standard figure hugging shape. I did enjoy the way that some colours were used to bleed onto white fabric (which is a favourite of mine). The room was amazing. The paper flowers which must of been laser cut were stunning, really bringing to life the real feel of the garden theme. It felt like a beautiful spectacle you got to enjoy and be a part of.
I'll speed ahead. There were hallways of amazing accessories and a room dedicated to the different designers for the brand and looking at what each one has brought to the brand but I'll take you to the room that had the most interesting pieces of the whole exhibition in my opinion. The "Ateliers" room. This room was fascinating. It showed the toiles of pieces and explained the process of receiving the design and then making the design into a toile, a white version of the design which is used to tweak and rework the pattern of the design. It is used to get the fit right before the real design in made i the fabric that has been chosen for it. Seeing the raw versions of the designs and the work that happens before the real dress is made. It was fascinating to me. I loved it!
The Last room. The ball gown room. I expected this to be my favourite room but I was surprised with my lack of enthusiasm for some of it. Maybe I was tired after over two hours of walking around in awe but I wasn't as blown away as I thought I would be. There were some amazing dresses which I really appreciated but the lighting kept changing in the room so that it was either a purple blue light or a bright orange light. While I can appreciate wanting to create a ambience, as a viewer wanting to actually see and inspect hat she was seeing, it was very frustrating. After having looked around I was able to sit quietly and people watch and enjoy the room with my mum. (spotting everyones designer bags was great fun!)
Maybe it a sign I've grown up a bit but it was the simple and with small details gowns that drew my attention. I feel like little Alice would have been all over the whole room wanting it all but it was the simpler designs that I found more refreshing. There were some amazing pattern cutting feats that i wanted to explore. It was the extravagance which was amazing in this room. The attention to detail was amazing in these dresses and I loved being around them..... I just wished I could see them better and get closer. I would totally get right into the dress and look at how they have been made. If I was allowed...
Our last send off. What did I feel when I left the exhibition... other than hungry.... Awe. Inspired. Wanting. I was in awe at the beauty that had been designed. The way everything had been made was just amazing. I felt inspired to re-look at my own wardrobe. At the way I wear my clothes, design my clothes and where influence has come from the different areas of my style. And I was left wanting.... wanting to see it again, to see more. I can imagine it was overwhelming the amount that could of been seen. I wanted to turn all the clothing inside out and see how they were made. I wanted to see more about how they made the patterns and the skillmanship that went into the garments. I wanted more and I can't wait to go again when I can.
I would highly recommend going to see it and seeing the work that does into each garment. It just is so worth it. I can understand now why it is a little bit more expensive than other exhibits the V & A have. It's worth every penny. I'd take a camera, a note book an open mind, a filled stomach and space for a visit to the tea rooms.Oh! and a friend to share it with. To talk with and really experience the exhibition as a spectacle to enjoy. oh and some money for the shop.... You'll want to get something, I promise.
Lots of xxx
(a blogger who just took photos on her phone and so apologises for the quality but the gorgeousness! )
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