For all fashion lovers, I would recommend a visit to the V&A’s newly re-opened fashion galleries and the latest exhibition there – Ballgowns: British glamour since 1950.
The ballgown is the ultimate expression of a designer’s talent – and usually the most glamorous garment in any woman’s wardrobe. And the sense of grandeur of this show reflects the opulent interiors in which the mainly haute couture garments would have originally been worn.
The ground floor level of the exhibition features older designs ranging from classic Hartnell and Hardy Amies to Catherine Walker’s beaded ensemble for the Princess of Wales (which brought a tear to my eye) - and a divinely different debutante number by Vivienne Westwood.
Upstairs, the mezzanine is devoted to 28 pieces by contemporary designers including this Car Wash Dress by Giles Deacon, inspired by the car wash near his studio in London’s East End.
Some of the designers represented are honorary Brits, by dint of being based in the UK – like Atsuko Kudo, whose fetishistic latex dress looks deceptively as though it’s made of lace. There are also the ubiquitous ‘celebrity’ red carpet dresses, and a designers’ replica of the Swarovski crystal covered Ralph and Russo dress worn by Beyonce when she performed for the President at The White House.
In keeping with our royal theme, I found this fabulous photograph of the late Princess Margaret, dressed in a flamingo pink ballgown.
If you’re curious to see more of her stunning outfits, we’ve a selection of royal ephemera at ShopCurious, including some curiously collectable vintage books and magazines featuring fabulous photographs of couture gowns.
I’m really looking forward to the Diamond Jubilee – and two days holiday.