V&A to exhibit Golden Age of fashion

The Victoria and Albert Museum in September will launch a glamorous exhibition showcasing Parisian and British couture between 1947-1957, a decade that Christian Dior described as the ‘Golden Age’ of fashion. Dior’s launch of the ‘New Look’ for his first collection in 1947 shocked and delighted the fashion world, creating a new style that symbolised femininity. The full skirts and hour-glass silhouettes were considered highly decadent, synonymous with luxury, opulence and prosperity, following the austerity of the war years.

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The Golden Age will display stunning gowns and exquisite tailoring from designers such as Balenciaga, Norman Hartnell, Balmain and Givenchy, as well as Dior. It will explore the creation of couture design from the post war era to the global success of the major fashion brands by the late 1950s, at which point fashion began to change, influenced by the ‘youth-quake’ of the early 60s. The skill and craftsmanship of haute couture will be revealed, showing a glimpse of the lost world of the exclusive design houses, and the inspiration behind some of the most famous styles of all time.

The event is set to become annual on the international calendar and the 2007 Gala committee is chaired by Alexandra Shulman, co-chaired by John Galliano and couture collector Daphne Guinness; guests, including fashion industry insiders, celebrities and other VIPs, are expected from across the globe. The event, which will be styled by creative director Michael Howells, includes an auction to raise funds for the development of fashion exhibits at the V&A.

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