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Fashion Museum Bath Exhibition

August 2, 2016

The Fashion Museum Bath holds a variety of exhibitions and special collections throughout the year. Currently the exhibition named ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’ is on display until the end of 2016. After recently visiting the city and this beautiful exhibition, it really was a sight to behold. The setting of this museum creates an exciting allure to history. The grandeur of the building, the beautiful architectural design all creates a captivating atmosphere.

Bath – UNESCO City

The UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath is one of the most beautiful and historic locations in the UK. It is also exquisitely fashionable. There are several well-known locations to visit around the city but if you are a lover of fashion and history, the Fashion Museum Bath offers an exciting look into the evolution of design.


Previously known as The Museum of Costume, this dedicated spot for fashion history was founded by historian Doris Langley Moore and was housed in the Assembly Rooms in 1963. She gave her private collection to the city and the Fashion Museum Bath now holds a world-class selection of contemporary and historic dress.

A History of Fashion in 100 Objects exhibition

As an introduction to the current exhibition showcased at the Fashion Museum Bath, you’ll find an awe-inspiring variety of period dress dating back to the 1700s. The collection eloquently displays the importance of fashion throughout history and the inspirations of trends today.


The history and personal stories of this collection captures moments in time. It also features pieces worn by well-known celebrities and designs by the big names in fashion including Christian Dior. As well as clothing items, this collection displays iconic shoe designs throughout history. You can also catch a glimpse of clothing worn by children too.


Another charming part of the exhibition includes the chance to dress up in similar outfits worn in history. It’s a great way to see how clothing looked and felt. It especially gives you an idea of how many layers and how heavy clothing was to wear around all day.


This provides a great interactive element to a historic visit. It also gives people of all ages including children, the chance to understand the importance of clothing and the significance of design in modern trends.

Fashion museum bath – 1700s fashion

The fashion museum bath exhibition showcased stunning authentic items, all beautiful preserved. As shown in history the more intricate detailing and plush fabrics were a symbol of society. Some examples on display presented fine woven silk open robes with beautiful detailing. The gowns were named ‘robe a la française’ and dated from the 1760s displaying vibrant detailing yellow and gold woven silk construction.

The formal fashion in this era consisted of a stiff-bodiced Mantua and closed petticoats. Sleeves were bell or trumpeted and stopped at the elbow and were usually trimmed with lace or frills. For the men, formal fashion included a three-part suit. Fabrics consisted primarily of silks, velvets and brocades.

Fashion museum bath – 1800s fashion

As clothing design evolved during the 1800s, garments began to become a little lighter. In the collection you can see examples of plush velvet texture being used and embroidered work featured in design. During the early part of the century, silhouettes resembled the empire style with skirts falling loosely below the bust.


Another interesting and beautiful piece displayed included a black woven corset. It was an example of Madame Worth’s corsets showcasing the detailing and beauty of late 1800s undergarment design. In men’s clothing, breeches started to become longer in length with lace and embroidered embellishment faded out.

Fashion museum bath – 1900s fashion

This century has seen possibly one of the biggest and most changeable periods in fashion. Moving towards an innovative and more style conscious time, design saw many changes. The fashion museum bath exhibition showcased a remarkable timeline of beautiful garments from a stunning ivory evening gown by Donguy, Paris to the sugar pink applique dress made by Christopher Kane and worn by fashion blogger Susanna Lau. The collection displays iconic design throughout each era highlighting some of the most well-know styles loved in modern fashion.


Another amazing piece on display was the decoy wedding dress designed for Kate Middleton. Sarah Burton for the House of Alexander McQueen designed this dress and set tongues wagging in the finale of the show in the autumn/winter Paris collection 2011. The museum unveiled it as Dress of the Year 2011 celebrating its craftsmanship, expertise and exquisite design.

The importance of fashion history

On wandering around the spectacular fashion museum bath exhibition you are filled with several thoughts and feelings about each piece. There is a significant reflection of what it was like for people during these periods. Although there are obviously many garments that have been lovingly persevered due to a standing in society.


There were also examples of people who led everyday lives. Each piece tells its own story and many of the items had a memory or snippet of the previous owners life and style.


A great way to see the fashion museum bath exhibition to its full potential is touring with a guide. We had an insightful showcase due to the knowledge and passion of our tour guide. One of the most important things I took away from the exhibition was something our guide had mentioned. It’s people who say that they ‘don’t do fashion’ or don’t follow trends’. Each component in modern fashion design has elements of the past.


Whether you like to keep up with the latest fashion or you shop for a bargain, the fashion museum bath exhibition isn’t just about what was hot in previous decades. It symbolises the influence and use of textiles and design in society. It symbolised classes or affluence and has shown the diversity of fabrics and innovative design.


So whether you love fashion or not and would like to explore another of history’s inspiring collections. A History of Fashion in 100 Objects at the Fashion Museum Bath is an outstanding exhibition, not to be missed.


Straw bonnet, with woven silk ribbons, 1840s

Yellow and gold woven silk robe à la française, 1760s

Black woven silk boned corset, with tiny blue and pink flowers. Made in Brussels for Madame Worth’s Corset, 1890s

Sugar pink silk appliqué dress, with lace, crystals and black gaffer tape, Christopher Kane. Chosen as Dress of the Year 2013 by Susanna Lau