I was talking with my best friend last night. I don’t get to see her very often because she lives in Greenwich, and I live in Guildford, and however we do it, it takes a good two hours drive, or two trains. Also, we have ridiculous issues of timing- when I wasn’t working she was, and now that she’s not working, I am. She has a demanding 5-year-old child, and that kind of put the kybosh on the carefree spontaneous meetups we used to have, involving wine and dancing.
But we were talking about possibly meeting up some time somehow, and I suggested the V&A. She’s a member, and we went to see the Ballgowns exhibition together (was that early last year? or earlier? it seems a long time ago now). I remembered seeing that there was an exhibition on that we might like, but couldn’t remember what exactly, so I said I’d check it out. As it turns out there are three exhibitions going on from now until the next year that I thought would float our respective boats.
The one that I’d seen advertised and couldn’t remember was The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014
But that one doesn’t open until April. So I had a look at what else they had lined up.
The first thing I saw was the current exhibition From Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s. Swoon! I know it’s trendy to mock the fashion of the eighties, but it was an amazingly inventive and outrageous time.
And would you believe it? The V&A site includes a free downloadable pattern for the Scarlett Dress! The dress is described as: “a hobble dress with 3/4 length sleeves and a low back, was originally designed and made for the 21st Birthday present of Scarlett Cannon, club host of the Cha Cha’s night at Heaven night club. It has been widely photographed and featured in numerous magazines throughout the 1980’s. The dress was worn to celebrate Scarlett’s birthday at two parties: firstly at the Slum it in Style club night at the Camden Palace hosted by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan and secondly at a private party held for her at Bolts night club in North London.” There are photos of the dress, made in plain white, at that link up there.
That exhibition is on till February, but just in case my friend wasn’t all that impressed with the crazy wonderful eighties, I sent her the link to the Wedding Dresses 1775–2014 exhibition too, for which there is currently very little information, but those dates alone make it worthy of note. This one doesn’t get started till May, but it does go on till March next year.
My friend’s response? “All of them!!!!”
So it looks like we’ll be having a very jolly time, in the next few months, looking at beautiful clothes and quite possibly having cocktails and so on, if we can get our timing right.
And that would be a nice enough thing in itself, of course it would. But all you sewists out there *know* that the Victoria & Albert Museum is but a sweet hop skip and jump away from Goldhawk Road. Goldhawk Road which is wall to wall fabric shops. I *swear* that was not my primary motivation in suggesting outings to the V&A. You can see that those exhibitions are all perfect primary motivation by themselves. And of course I want to see my friend. But it’s not outside the bounds of possibility that the proximity of Goldhawk Road provided a passable tertiary motivation.