50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition for Bath's dedicated followers of fashion
For anyone who loves fashion – whether you shop in a high fashion outlet, a high street store or create your own look by bargain hunting in the local charity shop – it's for you.
The new 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath opens on Saturday to celebrate the attraction's golden anniversary.
The first exhibit, in suitably celebratory mode, is a fancy dress outfit from 1904 in the shape of a bottle of champagne. This is followed by a dress from around 1963 – the year the museum opened, and one which proved to be a turning point for fashion.
Then, as the exhibition shows, couture was mainly for the rich, and teenagers created their own look.
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From the '60s on, high street shops would be producing cheap versions of what the rich were wearing, while street style was feeding back to couturiers.
The exhibition is not all about famous names. Many are by unknown hands, including a startling but stylish spotted dress from the 1940s, which could be worn today and not look out of place.
There are the legendary names – Lanvin, Worth, McQueen.
There's a dress by someone once known as the Queen of Punk, Vivienne Westwood. Based on an 18th-century dress, it shows how she studied collections such as the Fashion Museum's. It also proves that, although fashion does seem to repeat itself, the next time around there is always a difference.
The aim is that there is something for everyone. It ends in a blaze of gold, the last dress being by an enormously influential designer of the early 20th century, Paul Poiret.
The woman whose collection launched the museum, Doris Langley Moore, once said: "My collection is on a minute slice of the great, rich layer cake of fashion, but as a cross-section it is representative and provides information of a peculiarly reliable kind."
The exhibition runs for the rest of the year. People with a Discovery Card get in free.