Sunday, September 24, 2006

Victoria and Albert--Go, go, go!

On a whim, I decided to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum today, because it's pretty close to my flat. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that I love art and design. I was planning on looking at the Indian Scupture section, but I only spent about 20 minutes there before I got sucked into the fashion wing. Um, wow. I looked at the permanent collection first, which was spectacular--there are a few garments from the 17th century!--I would recommend a visit for the permanent collection alone. Still, the happy surprise was the exhibit on London's fashion scene in the swinging 60's. There's couture galore to be seen in the permanent collection, but the current exhibit really focuses on the way that mainstrem fashion was created in that era as an entity that's complete in itself. Before the 60's, fashion was couture, and what was accessible to those who couldn't afford custom clothing were watered-down, bland versions of whatever was on the Paris runways. In the 60's, fashion started to be generated at the retail level. The exhibit has lots of fabulous Biba and Mary Quant designs, among other quite notable London designers (in the permanent collection, keep you eye out for some stunning Vivienne Westwood). There was one lace minidress that made me want to break the glass of the display case, step into the window, take it off the mannequin, and keep it.

Don't worry, I didn't do it. The exhibit will still be fully intact when you go to see it.


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