Not sure what to wear to that approaching oligarch's state banquet, royal appointment or debutants ball? Get thee to the V&A pronto for some serious frockage inspiration at their new exhibition dedicated to the most showstopping of garments, Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950. Hold up, before you recoil at the imagery of tumbling taffeta, meringue-sculpted chiffon and frou-frou Maribou feather flashing through your brain right now, the exhibition features the stitchings of hot young Brit whippersnappers Holly Fulton, Erdem and Christopher Kane as well as Brit heavyweights Zandra Rhodes, John Galliano and Bellville Sassoon.
Celebrating the opening of the V&A's newly renovated Fashion Galleries, Ballgowns… stars over 60 designs spanning 60 decades forming a sartorial timeline of unadulterated fashion fantasy, curated by Oriole Cullen and Sonnet Stanfill.
"This really is a celebration of the incredible ballgowns we have here," effused BFC chairman Harold Tillman. "It is so fabulous to see these creations up close - we all recognise the people who have worn them."
Jubilee tourists will no doubt wank over the selection of royal ballgowns, including a Norman Hartnell number designed for the Queen Mother and Princess Diana’s Catherine Walker ‘Elvis Dress’, while fashionophiles will salivate at Gareth Pugh's mesmerising silver leather dress and Craig Lawrence's tiered foil creation.
It would be criminal for the exhibition to exclude the decade that taste forgot (80's obvs) and thankfully some gowns teeter precariously on the boundaries of style. Elizabeth Emmanuel's 1983 number for Joan Collins is as camp as Graham Norton erecting at Glastonbury.
"Many of the gowns have been worn by well-known figures and celebrities" claims curator, Stanfill. "But there are also some wonderful garments from the archives by lesser known designers, that are very impressive and cleverly designed."
Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 runs until 6th January 2013, V&A, Cromwell Road, SW11
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 2:53:21 by The Real Runway