For anyone fascinated by the world of textiles and clothing, there are many museums and exhibits all over the UK that cover a wealth of eras and designs. Perhaps one of the most famous in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The museum has a display some of the finest examples and fashion throughout the ages.
The V&A holds the Archive of Art & Design, which is held at Blythe House near West London’s Olympia. This repository holds a wealth of records, materials, publications and more covering all corners of the world of art and design. It is here that the the ephemera of theatre to the blueprints and designs of some of Britain’s most celebrated buildings. The V&A also holds the Beatrix Potter Collection, containing the writings and studies from the remarkable author.
However, it is the world of fashion that draws many visitors to the V&A’s breathtaking museum. It has access to a collection of clothing and accessories that have been archived from the 19th Century. The displays themselves chronicle the changes in clothing, from the Victorian era through to the subtle, and not so subtle, changes of recent decades.
The archives of the V&A
The V&A archives also contain what is perhaps the most famous times in British fashion; the Swinging Sixties. The incredible collection features everything from marketing records, high fashion photography, fabric samples and many references and documents. These all chart the careers of the most famous of the UK designers including the ‘King of Carnaby Street’, John Stephen and Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba; a name that was integral to 60’s London as The Rolling Stones and Twiggy.
The different fashion movements lead up to present day, charting the different textiles that are the back bone of the fashion industry. Fascinating leather pieces that are art in their own right, elegant silks and bold knitwear all grace the collections in the V&A’s fashion displays.
The collection at the V&A isn’t just for design students, as the display is eye opening for all visitors. The only problem is that between the fashion displays, the collections of jewellery and timepieces, the incredible statues and truly awe-inspiring cast gallery (where famous statues and stone edifices have been cast in plaster from other countries), you really can spend hours in there!
For a more cultured day out in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum is perfect. It has a wide variety of displays in the most stunning of buildings.
Pack Lane Wool has a great collection of Sirdar and Noro knitting yarns, along with a collection of knitting accessories.