Titled Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950, the show is based around the ballgown and its role and evolution in British social life over the past 60 years. The display will survey the shift in eveningwear from royal-function gowns to red-carpet fare.
We have a wonderful collection of ballgowns in the archive, but this period isnt traditionally associated with the ballgown, V&A fashion curator Oriole Cullen told us. The garment has changed from 1950 to today, yet is still very current.
Starting with a Norman Hartnell piece worn by the Queen Mother, the show will carry viewers through Catherine Walkers designs for Princess Diana and into gowns worn by prominent actresses and entertainers.
The silver satin Ralph and Russo gown that Beyonce wore to serenade President Barack Obama at his 2008 inauguration appears, as does Alexander McQueens rainbow kimono for Daphne Guinness. Current London designers such as Erdem, Mark Fast and Roksanda Ilincic also contributed designs. Gareth Pugh created a silver metallic leather gown especially for the show.