It is weeks, if not months since I last had a day out in London and then last week I went in twice.
On Monday I had a day at the V & A with my friend Jude to catch a couple of their latest exhibitions. First of all we saw "Pearls" which not only had a stunning display of over 200 exquisite jewels but also gave an insight into the history of pearls and pearl fishing. I'm sure that I'm not alone in always believing that a pearl forms around a grain of sand in the oyster shell... but that never actually happens. It is a small worm or parasite entering the shell that causes a pearl to form. It was a lovely exhibition but a little disappointing in that whilst I can accept that there is no photography there is also no drawing allowed either. This meant that I have no image of some of my favourite pieces and I wasn't prepared to buy the book!
After lunch we had a whizz around the "Club to Catwalk" (which runs until February). My own memory of fashion in the 1980's is pretty much limited to maternity clothes and track suits as three of my boys were born from 1982 to 1989 so fashion was not really a priority but it was great fun to see some of the outlandish club fashions that were around at the time... and to realise that customising or altering clothes is not a new fad.
Then on Wednesday Gill and I were back in London to the Fashion and Textile museum to see the latest exhibition on show "The Glamour of Belville Sassoon"
Although it is only a small museum I have never yet seen a disappointing exhibition here. The staging is always excellent, reminiscent of theatre sets. To be truthful most of the dresses were not to my taste, but that didn't matter. We joined a guided tour which I can thoroughly recommend, and even though we may not have liked all the dresses, it was fascinating to hear their history and who they were made for.
There were one or two I really loved, such as this pastel rose covered gown.
And others that I thought were revolting, like this light brown taffeta number.
But the workmanship and detail were wonderful...
especially the gorgeous embroidery... which we could photograph or draw to our heart's content!
The red dress is one that is made up from one of the Belville Sassoon Vogue patterns (not a Very Easy pattern!) and I remembered that I bought a Belville Sassoon pattern many years ago but it never ever got made into a dress.
Perhaps the highlight of the exhibition was an entire room full of the most amazing fashion drawings dating from the 1960s and 1970s...
right through every decade...
to the current one.
And my conclusion after two fabulous days out is that it is still fashion and costume that excites me the most about textiles and given the choice I would be working in those fields not teaching machine embroidery techniques! Ah well... I can dream! Good job I still quite enjoy machine embroidery too I suppose.