Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year's Day Well Spent

Ooooo I had a fun day yesterday!

I left the hotel and had a nice long walk to the V&A. Living in Vegas, I'm kind of enamored by pedestrian cities. No one walks in Vegas. It's too hot and everything's too far.

Unfortunately I can't share the exhibit with you, since there were no photos and no sketching even. Which I think is pretty silly, considering you can just pop in a movie, you know... Maybe they want to keep people moving. It was packed in there!

It was a great exhibit. Sooooo many costumes. Period costumes, modern, even digital costume design. All my favorites were represented: Gone with the Wind, Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Atonement, My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany's... It went on. And most of the costumes you could get pretty close to, to see, which was nice. 

One of the most interesting costumes had to be Vanessa Redgrave's gown from Camelot (1967). The long, long, train was covered in stitched on pumpkin seeds! Another interesting tidbit: this blue moire dress from Marie Antoinette (2006), was embellished with Christmas tinsel - that's an idea...

After the exhibit - and I was in there for a good two hours! - I went to go visit the fashion rooms. Walking down the sculpture gallery, on the way, I passed the "India" rooms and did a double take.

Yay! Chintz!

So of course I detoured and took a million pictures of each dress. I even got up the skirt of the middle one. It has a different print inside! And the one on the right has a ton of darning and piecing. I love piecing :) 

I'll share more of these pics another day soon. 

Oooh, and this pretty thing, too. A muslin gown from 1795. I don't think I've ever seen this one before. So light and gauzy!

Then there was this one from Holland (1780). It's the one with the little gold dots all over the chintz.

After I found these hiding in the India room, I asked a docent if there were any gowns ticked away elsewhere, away from the Fashion rooms. He was fantastic - he circled all these rooms on my map and sent me on my way to the "Britain" rooms.

Ooo, they were gorgeous! All kinds of beautiful furniture and even whole rooms reassembled within the museum. Lots of gorgeous, huge, mirrors and tapestries and on and on. 

P.s. I love mirrors. Think of all the fabulousness they have seen through the years! And then we stand before them in our jeans... oo disappointing.

Above is a chinoiserie bed set from the Chinese bedroom at Badminton House. Reproduction plain draperies, by the way. Look at that mirror in the background! Ooo.

Below is the Norfolk Music Room. Read about it here. Can I live here please?

Beyond that gorgeousness was the Spitalfields silk room. Complete with a 1744 gown, with fabric designed by Anna Maria Garthwaite, and a cute little computer where you can "design your own." How fun!

Further on was this beautiful thing from the 1740's. Then another reassembled room from 11 Henrietta Street in London (late 1720's). 

As I walked more, the pieces got older. They had James II's wedding suit - all goldwork! And lots of embroidery from the 1600's. The rooms were a little too dark for photos, unfortunately. I did get a couple good ones, though. 

This lovely women's jacket from 1630-40 is covered in silver thread, spangles and bobbin lace. Below is is knit silk jacket from 1600-25. The side insets might have been added in the 1630's to accommodate the high waisted styles. Very nice basketweave pattern.

This blackwork smock from 1575-85. The lower half is modern linen. The embroidery is done in black silk. 

 Soooo many pretty things to see! What a morning!


  1. So awesome to be in England during the holidays! How luck you are!

    Those wide hoop skirts always crack me up. What were they thinking? How do you.....? Never mind

    Happy New Year, Miss Caroline!


    1. How do you?... Nothings easy in those things haha

  2. What a morning, indeed! I'm jealous (I know I've been there before, but you can never get enough of a good thing!) Ha Ha
    Here I am at the desk at work, slaving over my paperwork, when I could be gathering inspiration at the V&A!
    Enjoy every minute!

  3. I am jealous too! I have long wanted to go to the UK and my husband and I would live there if we could! I see in your photos some gowns I have only seen in books---How exciting that must have been!

    1. It is SO exciting to see those dresses in person. It's like seeing a celebrity :)