Every year I try to organise a trip out to an exhibition or show which has a relevance to dressmaking. In the past we’ve visited the V&A to see The couture exhibition, and then Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950. We’re also not shy of shopping and have enjoyed outings to The Stitch and Knit Show at Alexandra Palace, and earlier this year The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace.
Well, last week we had our ‘Educational’ trip to London and went to see the Wedding Dress exhibition at the V&A Museum. It’s always inspiring to see beautiful couture dresses from fashion designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang.
As I studied historical fashion at university the antique dresses has particular appeal for me, with their tiny waists and exquisite hand-worked detail. But it’s really exciting to see such famous and highly publicised wedding dresses such as those belonging to Dita Von Teese and Kate Moss, in such close detail. I possibly could have spent the entire day there, and probably would have done has sketch books been allowed.
This was one of my surprise favourites, the cut is so beautiful. The bow is integral to the skirt and acts as a bustle, emphasising the curves of the waist and hips. A really beautifully simple and elegant style. Just gorgeous.
After a morning of ivory satin, oohing and aahing we tucked into a hearty lunch in the V&A cafe and caught up on the goss.
The exhibition was wonderful and well worth the trip, but it seems rude to visit London without squeezing in a spot of shopping.
For some while now my to-do list has been to visit Shaukat fabrics on Old Brompton road. So we bundled into taxis and headed off in search of the holy grail of Liberty Print fabrics.
The shop did not disappoint. Thousands of beautiful Liberty print cottons, silks and wools spread over two floors in this warren of rooms. Squeals of excitement, bags and coats abandoned in a pile and the shopping began!
Fabric, fabric everywhere…
It must be love…
For others the sheer choice was a little overwhelming…
After parting with more cash than I dare mention we headed to the pub for a glass of Mulled Cider, and to look at each others haul.
A few us were all shopped-out so headed off to find trains home, bur for the die-hard the afternoon was still young and Liberty called!
Christmas bauble heaven!
I really do love Liberty, it’s one of those shops that feels so familiar and yet such a treat to visit. A bit like visiting a wealthy and exotic Aunty, she’s flamboyant and beautiful, makes you feel very welcome, but yet every visit is full of unusual surprises, and you always leave wanting more!
It may have been the drink, but I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to wear a silk turban!
With double points for Liberty card holders I knew I couldn’t come away empty handed. But I was super-restrained and came away with a bag of buttons and a new pair of cheekbones (in the form of pressed contour powder from Nars), ok, and some eyeshadow, not to mention hundreds of ideas for Christmas decoration that I could make with the girls in my after school class.
Phew! What a great day, and I got to watch the Liberty of London show on Channel 4 when I got home.
These are the goodies I bought in Shaukat…
They’ve all been washed and pressed ready to be used, lots of ideas, never enough time.
Although he doesn’t know it yet, Rowan will be mostly wearing peacock print this Christmas…
Happy sewing, see you next week!