V&A Experiecne in London: Gonig back ceturies of fashion

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V&A Experiecne in London: Gonig back centuries of fashion 

Photographer: Talia Zoref
Writer: Talia Zoref
Editor: Tracey Belchetz
A Charleston dancing dress from the 1920's 

The Victoria Albert Museum in London has a spectacular collection of fashion and accessories from the 1500s to the present.  The collection includes dresses, coats, shoes, hats as well as historical fashion illustrations.  Two weeks ago during my visit to London, I was pleased to have the opportunity to view the incredible collection from times past demonstrating the amazing, painstaking,  intricate hand sewing and embroidery that went into making clothes.  At that time, a sewing machine was not even imaginable.

Dresses from the 1700's
When I entered the museum, the first and most memorable dress I saw was a puffed up evening gown that had one of those old fashioned corsets.  The corset was tied extremely tight around the bust area and the dress became very voluminous around the hips.  In fact, the area around the hips was so wide that the woman wearing was prevented from walking through the door head on and she was therefore forced to go through the doorway sideways.  The dress contained various layers and was extremely heavy with all the layers.  In short, it was very impressive that these garments were handmade.  The women who wore these dresses were from high society and they had these dresses specially made for them in the 1700s.  These dresses were just breath taking to see in person since they had such intricate and this was highly visible from close up.
Original Christian Dior from the 1950's

Many questions came up in my head while I was looking at these beautiful garments.  First of all, how did such a beautiful handmade highly detail oriented dress like this stay so perfect for a period of 300 years?  Secondly, how did these dressmakers have so much strength and patience to sew these items by hand without using sewing machines?  The workmanship of the seamstresses was unfathomable, particularly in from what you see today. These garments look like they were extremely hard to construct, fit, and embroider.

 Breath taking display at the V&A
Moving forward in time to the 1800s and 1900s, the first thing I noticed was the change in footwear which changed from the 1700s from very narrow, small shoes which were the same for both the right and left feet and which could barely fit a child’s foot to shoes which were wider reflecting a normal foot size and shape.   Also as time progressed, the dresses did not have as much skirt volume and the construction of the garments was finally constructed using a sewing machine.  Another thing I truly appreciated was seeing the beginning of the process of artistic inspired fashion design and the change in the way that women dressed which leaned more towards more comfortable everyday wear.  I would say that the earlier fashion designs of the 1700-1800s caused great suffering and discomfort for the women who wore them because they went against the natural shape of the female body trying to alter nature by literally squeezing the women into tight corsets in order to give them tiny waists and huge hips with the wide skirts.   Also, all the layers of clothes most certainly were very uncomfortable to wear in the summer heat, thus the changes were welcome and now prevail in our modern world of design. 

 Original Fashion Illustrations from the 1800's
 I wonder how women sat down in these dresses..
 A beautiful ostrich feather dress from the early 1900's

Corsets in the good old days don't look so comfortable

A crown from 1500, Thailand

Men's wear from the 1800's

Hope you enjoyed going back in time for a few moments, I know I did,

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