Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ballgowns: British Glamour at the V&A, London

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950
19 May 2012 to 6 January 2013

While times and fashions change, London's reputation for staging exclusive events does not. From the formalised social season of the 50s to today's hectic calendar of balls, parties and opening nights, there has always been sufficient reason for those in the capital to don their formalwear.

Sponsored by Coutts, a new exhibition at the V&A highlights the timelessly glamorous garment that makes these events truly sparkle: the ballgown.

The exhibition features a dazzling range of ballgowns and evening dresses from a variety ofleading British designers, including Zandra Rhodes, Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham.

From demure white creations for debutantes at Queen Charlotte's Ball to racier pieces designed for the red carpet, more than 60 dresses from across the six decades will be on show. In particular, visitors may recognise Princess Diana's memorable Elvis Dress, as well as one-off pieces worn by famous names such as Elizabeth Hurley and Daphne Guinness.

Held in the newly renovated Fashion Galleries, the exhibition will replicate the atmosphere of preparing for a ball in a grand country house and include a stylised "ballroom" on the mezzanine level. Gowns will be dramatically presented, and film, contextual images and accessories will also be on display.

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