Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vintage Fashion

My middle daughter came home at the weekend and announced that as some of the fashion students at the University had gone to New York this week, she had been given a half-term holiday and was to create a new costume project during this time. So to help her with this, we decided to visit the Bath Costume Museum (now re-named The Fashion Museum) this morning.

As residents of Bath we are entitled to free entry, which is an added bonus. It is only a small exhibition, despite the size of the building, as much of it is used for functions and events in the Assembly Rooms.

One of the oldest exhibits is a child's dress which dates from 1660, but the displays span the decades right up to the present day and include two mannequins dressed in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies, complete with skate boards and trainers!

Two glamorous dresses from the 1950's.

Yes, I would quite like to try this one on!

There are various designer dresses too, including this paneled 1970's dress made from leather.
A slinky oriental little number....

....and a fragile lacy evening dress from 1906.

One of Bath's famous residence was Jane Austin - this delicious lace bridal gown is from her era - its size is minute, surely women weren't really that tiny? (Please enlarge photo to see the delicate lace details.)

There are also some underwear exhibits, including corsets, which totally fascinate my daughter -she inevitably designs her costumes around them. As well as an exquisite, but looser fitting, flapper girls undergarment c1920.

A bustle dress from Victorian times - how ever did they breath, let alone sit down?!

I found the hats fascinating, as I have a small collection myself, but none as beautiful as this flower encrusted cloche.
As we left, we spotted a small sign requesting that visitors don't take photographs! Whoops! You won't tell anyone, will you? I just wanted to share these treasures with you this afternoon.
Niki x


  1. Anonymous5:39 pm

    Glad you disobeyed the rules, it was a lovely visit to the museum.

  2. I didn't realise photos weren't allowed. What a good job you didn't notice until the end!

    I'm sure you both came away inspired. I know I found it amazing the last time I visited.

    Sue x

  3. It will be our secret. I am drooling over that evening gown with the fur-trimmed stole - or whatever it is. Seriously gorgeous.

  4. jaw dropping!

  5. Anonymous10:37 pm

    sounds and looks like you and your daughter had a great time =) glad you snapped a few illegal photos - lol! and i LOVE your hat collection. i too am always drawn to vintage hats when i'm out treasure hunting and would love to start a collection to hang in our bedroom. debbie

  6. Well, I cant wait to see what your daughter comes up with from such inspiring and absolutely gorgeous gowns! Thankyou for taking us through, via illegal photography!!!

  7. What a fab project! Glad that you got the photos;-) Sal

  8. Oh Niki, This is a wonderful posting! I've always wanted to go to this costume museum but never had the chance to..this is great to see..even if your photos were sneaky! We have a dress in our family that was a third-great grandmothers wedding dress from around 1830, but had been remodeled from a 18thC 'sack' dress..the waist is tiny and the leg of mutton sleeves huge, the gold silk is stunning with little bouquets of flowers on it ..it's great to be able to touch it and see how its all made. It even has the lace bonnet,stole and reticule!I must take some photos of it to show you but it's up in Northumberland at the moment.It must be great having a daughter studying fashion,my niece is in her final year at Kingston for fashion and funnily enough my final project at college was based on a corset! I'm going to come back and hog the computer later to have a really good look at your gorgeous pics!
    Sairer x

  9. Hello Nikki
    Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my post yesterday, it was very kind of you! I'm glad you noticed the little hydrangea wreath, I made it after reading one of your posts last year (see how inspiring you are!). M is basking the glory of being favoured by all us bloggers at the moment!
    I've always wanted to go this museum having read a lot about it over the years, one day... Those costumes are stunning. Glad you were able to steal some photos! I recently went to the little black dress exhibition at Brighton which was wonderful, I could gladly have taken any of them home with me. Take care

  10. i love the C1920 flapper girl under garment, very pretty.
    And how did women sit down with all that bustle going on behind them?!

  11. Wow!! How great Niki!
    I'm so glad I got to visit the museum with you.

  12. Hi Niki...I've enjoyed your blog for sometime now...Thanks for the great photos of vintage clothing...It helps one to imagine those times, and be thankful for more casual dress! I've just started my own blog, in case you'd like to "visit"...You can find me at www.hazelsvintagepretties.typepad.com

    Thanks again, and take care, Katie

  13. Thank you so much for sharing those pictures. I love the lace dresses and corsets. Amazing detail!

  14. Anonymous7:10 am

    Classic stuff!

  15. Anonymous7:52 am

    Beautiful dresses! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Well thank goodness you didn't see the sign till you were leaving! My favorites have to be the Victorian gowns... just LOVE all that lace! The flowered cloche is fabulous! What an exciting exhibit!

  17. Hi Niki, those look just stunning, must have been even more amazing to see them for real. Oh to be able to wear one of those dresses, even just for a day (don't think they'd have my size though!)
    Lucy x

  18. I'm so excited to have gotten to see some of these gorgeous, gorgeous pieces. Being in the US, it's not likely that I'll get to visit. Thanks so much! Blessings... POlly

  19. Anonymous11:42 pm

    Well I'd have to try the wedding dress on... Ha! After a couple of years of dieting! How wonderful all the costumes look. I might try and fit this one in on my trip to Bath in the Spring. I think it looks like a 'must'.

  20. Beautiful costumes, really glad you had your camera on hand. I must visit there again. There is just so much inspiration for your daughter to work with too. I love the corsets ~ if only they would fit :0(

  21. Anonymous11:01 am

    As I was looking at your gorgeous photos I was thinking to myself that I was surprised you were allowed to take them, lol! Obviously you weren't, but I'm glad you did! Some of those fabrics are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing and I promise, I won't tell a soul!

  22. Anonymous8:29 pm

    Wow, what great pictures. They're all so wonderful but I especially love the one with the fur wrap.

    Great vintage looks.

  23. Love your site! It takes me back home to my favourite part of England, in fact I wrote a piece on my blog naming Bath as my #1 place I'd send an American visitor.

    I will be popping in regularly and may even put my head around your shop door, next time I make it home.


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx