Italian Fashion at Victoria & Albert Museum

A trip to London would not be complete without a visit to Victoria and Albert Museum (last posted here). 
I have spent many hours doing usual museum stuff in the V&A. Ya know, roaming the gallery halls, visiting special exhibitions, sketching the beautiful architecture in the courtyard, eating and maybe a little drinking in the café (the first museum restaurant in the world, might I add!).  But really to me, the V&A was my research haven during my final year at St Andrews. When writing my St Andrews Art History dissertation I often travelled to London for research and spent most of my time in the V&A National Arts Library and Special Collections. 
My dissertation topic was a true reflection of my two loves: fashion and art. I wrote on a Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich, who designed all the costumes and sets for Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. They are magnificent. I was able to view the original costumes, drawings and accessories through V&A Special Collections in Kensington Olympia. The costumes had been in storage for quite some time so you can only imagine how exciting it was to finally see them in person.  The 100th year anniversary of the ballet when the costumes first debuted coincided with dissertation research which was very lucky for me as seminars on Nicholas Roerich and Stravinsky popped up throughout London. I was able to connect with scholars writing on similar topics and some scholars  who even knew my great grandfather who had commissioned much of the artist’s work. It was such an exciting time for me academically and I can’t help but feel nostalgic when visiting V&A again. 
Asos Dress (similar, similar, similar) // Hermès Balloon Silk Scarf // Gold Palm Beach Sandals 

Sylvia has probably logged more hours at V&A than me as she continued her AH studies this year in London. 
It is no surprise that V&A was able to help with much of my fashion/art research as the museum is known for being one of the best museums championing art and design. Which brings me to the main reason for this blog post — The V&A’s Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition. Sadly the exhibition just closed, but I was able to catch it on one of the last days. I thought I would share a few images for those of you who didn’t get to see the exhibit. The exhibition focused on Italian Fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day (1945-2014) featuring about 100 fashions and accessories by leading Italian fashion houses including Simonetta, Emilio Pucci, Sorelle Fontana, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Fendi, Prada and Versace, as well as newer generations of designers.  
This Emilio Pucci suit screams to be worn while riding a Vespa speeding to the Trevi Fountain! Pretty grooovy. 
I treasure my mom’s vintage Pucci bathing suit that is the exact same style in a different color wave. Sadly they have not brought the style back– Emilio are you listening?! Please resurrect!

Valentino Dress, 1977
This red gown was probably my favorite piece in the exhibit. 
Silk Evening Dress, designed by Roberto Capucci, 1987-1988

NET-A-PORTER partnered with V&A and launched a jewelry collection in celebration of The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 exhibition. I drooled over this Missoni Necklace in the gift shop and was so excited to find out that the collection is offered online! Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Marni, Missoni and Moschino have produced styles for the 22-strong jewelry lineup. Taking inspiration from their extensive archives – “Each designer has created a relevant piece for the jewelry capsule, which perfectly represents the craftsmanship and heritage of the brand,” says NET-A-PORTER.COM’s Buying Manager Sasha Sarokin.


While I can’t tell you to go visit this exhibition because it is now closed, I can spread some good news of upcoming exhibitions at V&A! For those of you who completely adored the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met a few years ago, you’re in luck. Savage Beauty is coming to the V&A 14 March – 19 July 2015. Purchase tickets here. I think I will need to plan a trip around McQueen’s exhibit as it was one of my all time favorites. Seeing it once was not enough. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

P.S. If this fashion post was a bit up your alley, check out my interview with shoe designer, Sarah Flint! Her exquisitely designed shoes are all Made in Italy! I have a sneaky suspicion that Miss Sarah Flint’s footwear will someday be featured at a museum exhibition showcasing the best of American designers. 


  1. says

    I’m so pleased you took photographs of this exhibition–it looks phenomenal. The Robert Capucci dress is a work of art, though of course it looks incredibly difficult to wear!

    I hope to be back in London to see the McQueen exhibition again–I loved seeing it at the Met a few years ago!

    And, of course, I love your outfit 🙂

    Sarah xxx
    Taste and Tact

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