Ballgowns at the V&A

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Posted by Laurel on Sunday 20th of May 2012

In celebration of the newly renovated Fashion Galleries, the V&A Museum has opened a stunning exhibition of some of the finest ballgowns of the late 20th century. Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 does what it says on the tin; displayed over two floors, the exhibit feature more than sixty designs from some of Britain's most prolific designers and made for some of the world's most exclusive clientele.

From red carpet stunners to catwalk showstoppers, the diverse collection features over sixty years of iconic British design. From Hardy Amies creations of the 60s, to Zandra Rhodes' 80s drama, right up to present day pieces from the likes of Erdem (pictured), Mary Katrantzou and Marios Schwab.

Some familiar pieces are on display, including a Norman Hartnell gown designed for Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis Dress’ designed by Catherine Walker and pieces worn by a host of A Listers such as the Elizabeth Emmanuel dress created for Elizabeth Hurley to wear in a 1999 Estée Lauder campaign and a stunning beaded silk Jenny Packham piece worn by Sandra Bullock.

The great disappointment I encountered was with the exhibition's book, which unfortunately didn't feature anywhere near all of the dresses in the exhibit and also had a number of images in black and white, when the actual gowns are stunning technicolour creations I was looking forward to poring over at home. For £20 I did expect the book to be a lot more comprehensive; having bought the book from every V&A exhibition I've ever seen (including Radical Fashion and Versace which were amazing...) it was a bit of a let down.

Nevertheless, the exhibition is a dreamy way to spend a Sunday morning! On until January 2013. Adult tickets £10, student £7. For more information and to book visit

Love Laurel x


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Your one stop for all things fashion and beauty in London. The latest trends, the latest retail openings, celebrity fashion faux pas and more.

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