Sunday, 15 April 2012

A Girl Needs a Gown

Perhaps it is all the talk of the Diamond Jubilee, or maybe it's because I've always longed for a proper gown. Not just a grown-up dress you understand but a gown worthy of Cinderella, Scarlet O'Hara etc.  I seem to be noticing 'proper' dresses all over the place at the moment.  In this month's Vogue there is a whole feature on the gown, including a telling quote from Julia Restoin Roitfield,

"When I attended the Bal des Debutante at the Hotel de Crillon last year, I had the opportunity to wear a ballgown but instead I went for the controversial option, a leopard-print Versace dress with a huge slit up the side.  I regret that now.  It was very glamorous and sexy, but I passed up the chance to wear a stunning ballgown in the real, old-fashioned sense.  For my generation, that opportunity doesn't come around very often."

Clearly my longing is in tune with the zeitgeist as shortly the V&A celebrates the opening of the newly renovated Fashion Galleries (which I have been PINING for) with an exhibition of beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening dresses and catwalk showstoppers.  Displayed over two floors, Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 will feature more than sixty designs for social events such as private parties, royal balls, state occasions and opening nights.

State evening ensemble 'Elvis Dress' for Princess Diana by Catherine Walker, 1989

The exhibition will cover over sixty years of a strong British design tradition that continues to flourish. Evening wear from the V&A’s vast collection, by designers including Zandra Rhodes, Jonathan Saunders and Hussein Chalayan, will be on show alongside dresses fresh from the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, Giles Deacon, Erdem and Jenny Packham.
Beaded silk satin gown by Norman Hartnell, 1953

A selection of royal ballgowns will be on display, including a Norman Hartnell gown designed for Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis Dress’ designed by Catherine Walker and gowns worn by today’s young royals. Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 will also include dresses worn by actresses and celebrities including Elizabeth Hurley, Bianca Jagger and Sandra Bullock, and a stunning metallic leather dress created especially for the exhibition by innovative designer Gareth Pugh.
Gown by Victor Edelstein, 1986. Worn and given by Lady Heseltine

Come on, if that isn't enough to entice you to get all dressed up, I don't know what is....I'm off to parade around my flat in an imaginary gown and leave you with a suitable gown/ princess clip from one of my all time favourite Disney films...


  1. The V&A exhibit looks wonderful. I know exactly what you mean about gowns. There's just something very special about wearing one. I know some people think it's antiquated, but I consider myself lucky that I get to wear gowns a few times a year for charity balls and work events.

    Very cool about the Bal des Debutante- you look so pretty in the Versace.

  2. Such a lovely comment..thank you! The photo is of Julia Restoin Roitfield though...much as I'd love to claim it was me!x


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