Our wardrobe is still open

[Cream silk court dress with silver and gold metal thread zardozi embroidery by the House of Worth, worn by Lady Curzon, Vicereine of India, ca. 1903-1905]

Here’s a subject l dealt with in my column within this month’s The Bath Magazine.

Extract from my column in The Bath Magazine

The fact that the city’s Fashion Museum is successfully keeping its name and some of its collection in the public realm – while waiting for its new and permanent home.

This year a rare and glittering ‘Silver Tissue’ dress worn at the court of King Charles II, beautifully embroidered gowns made by the House of Worth for Lady Curzon in her role as Vicereine of India in the early 1900s, and a white PVC raincoat designed by Mary Quant in the Swinging Sixties are just some of the many treasures from Bath’s world-class Fashion Museum collection to star in exhibitions around the world.

Since the Fashion Museum closed its doors at Bath’s Assembly Rooms in the autumn the curatorial team have been hard at work making sure that some of the museum’s most stunning pieces can still be seen and enjoyed. Items from the collection will take centre stage in exhibitions across the UK as well as in Paris, Zurich and Mumbai.

Fashion Museum Manager Rosemary Harden said: “We’re thrilled to be working with so many wonderful museums to showcase items from the Fashion Museum collection. From highly embroidered gowns worn at Royal courts, to minidresses designed by Mary Quant – each piece from our collection has a unique story to tell. It’s going to be a real delight to see so many of our items take their place in this year’s most stylish exhibitions.”

Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Bath’s Fashion Museum Collection is world-class and we’re pleased that it continues to inspire through this exciting programme of loans out to other museums. Working with such high-profile cultural organisations puts Bath firmly on the fashion map and is a great way to ensure more people enjoy and engage with our collection before the museum reopens in the Old Post Office.”

Each year over half a million people see objects from the Fashion Museum collection on loan to other museums, and throughout 2023 objects will feature in some of the most highly anticipated exhibitions of the year.

Bath’s incredibly rare Silver Tissue Dress, worn to the court of Charles II, will feature alongside contemporary gowns worn by Lizzo and Lady Gaga in Crown to Couture, a new must-see exhibition at Kensington Palace; a beautiful 1760s court mantua and other eighteenth century treasures will go on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace in Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians; exquisitely embroidered early twentieth century gowns worn by the Vicereine of India will star in India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination opening at Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, Mumbai; and a range of stylish evening wear will be heading to a new exhibition celebrating fashion’s enduring fascination with the ‘little black dress’ at the National Museum of Scotland.  

Twelve major exhibitions are already confirmed:

Alongside the extensive loans programme, the collection can be enjoyed online via the Fashion Museum website and social media channels.

The Fashion Museum Bath will open at its new home in the Old Post Office in four to five years’ time – ahead of this, new window signage will be going up in the building showcasing items from the collection and adding a vibrant new addition to the Milson Quarter. The new Fashion Museum will form part of the council’s Milsom Quarter Masterplan, an ambitious 20-year vision to transform the Milsom Quarter area of Bath into a fashion destination for the South-West.

The Museum is also partnering with Bath Spa University to create a Fashion Collection Archive in Locksbrook, to the west of the city centre. Opening in the next three to five years, this will provide a home for the Fashion Museum’s extensive collection and will be accessible to the public through special events and study sessions.

For more about the Fashion Museum’s future, visit www.fashionmuseum.co.uk/our-future