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I recently had the pleasure of spending a short time in London. One of the side trips was a trip by way of the Orient-Express to Bath. And it just so happens to be the home of the Museum of Costume.
The exact title is Museum of Costume, Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath. It is the home of one of the worlds finest collections of costumes and includes four hundred years of fashion and brings this to life. The display includes some 200 dressed figures, many in attractive period settings. There are special sections that include jewelry, royal clothes, underwear, gloves and other accessories. The annual "Dress of the Year" adds a contemporary work by one of the worlds leading designers, bringing the displays up to date.
The Assembly Rooms were built between 1720-1740 at the cost of 20,000 pounds. This was considered the ballroom of high society. The windows were set high so people could not look in. An Octagon Room was added for the gentlemen to play cards. (Things havent changed, have they?)
In 1760 the corset was worn made of whalebone sandwiched between layers of cotton. The layers were like this: corset to shift to hoop to robe to skirt. Scarves were known as kerchiefs and were used to cover bare fronts and shoulders. Typical dress for daywear was a light brown silk with a hooded shoulder cape. Men wore a waistcoat of silk with metallic thread. Knitted mittens were common place during this time.
From 1850 to 1860 an evening dress took on a new look. A separate bodice and skirt usually made of taffeta. In 1930 you saw fringe. Remember 1963? The jumper with a chiffon blouse was popular. (I actually was wearing this during that time) 1966 was a year for Michele Rosier with clear PVC. 1967 David Bond introduced the striped suit. 1970 the flowing skirt with cotton blouse and 1971 hot pants. When one can remember history it is a bit depressing.
In 1973 the matching coat and hat was worn and Kenzo in 1976 made popular the multi-prints. 1979 was the leather jacket and 1982 linen skirts. (I am not a fan of linen. It sure doesnt travel well). 1986 Giorgio Armani and 1991 Karl Lagerfeld. Ralph Lauren in 1992 and Donna Karan in 1993.
Walking through this museum was a wonderful walk through history. When it comes to Bath I think Jane Austen said it best: "I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath . . . I do like it so very much. Oh! who can ever be tired of Bath."
I totally agree with this 19th century author!
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