Summer Blog Pt. 7 - Spotlight: The Bath Fashion Museum

As you saw in my previous post, Bath was fantastic. It was such a lovely day both in terms of the weather and the sights we saw. One of the places we visited was the Bath Fashion Museum and I took so many pictures I felt they warranted their own post. Especially as fashion history and costume design are two of the areas that I study as a PhD student. The big exhibition we saw was Georgians, which was fantastic, including pieces from throughout the Georgian era in the 18th century as well as some modern adaptations and variations on Georgian design elements. I was also excited to see an exhibition on David Sassoon/Bellville Sassoon Lorcan Mullany, including three dresses worn by Princess Diana (hello dissertation research!). 

The museum is small but very well done. You can find it in the lower level of the Assembly Rooms, which are also well worth touring. A free audio guide is included in admission, which will give you even more information about many of the pieces in the museum's collection. I had been wanting to visit the museum for more than a year after noticing that I kept running into pictures of items in their collection in various places online (Pinterest, I'm looking at you), so it was definitely stop #2 after going up to the Royal Crescent and it was well worth the wait. The staff were super friendly and overall I was very impressed with the whole museum. Oh, and their gift shop is fantastic! And we all know I'm a sucker for a good gift shop. I definitely recommend a visit if you're in Bath. I am even thinking of taking a second day trip out there after 19 July to see an upcoming exhibition on WWI, The Great War in Costume: Family and Fashion on the Home Front.

Fortunately, non-flash photography is allowed, so below are some of the pictures I took throughout the visit.


Photos of historic clothing on the staircase going down to the museum.

As a scholar of digital spaces and social media I also appreciated that not only was photography allowed but that sharing them on Facebook and Twitter was encouraged. 

I did not take notes on all of the dresses, so most of this pictures will be without commentary. If you have any specific questions about one of them ask below in the comments and I will try to answer.

Plate for the garment above.

Seriously, the detail of some of the patterns in these dresses is just too much!
I would not want to try to walk through the door in one of these.

Really cool miniature version.

The "modern" section. 

I die just a little bit for this Vivienne Westwood gown. So extravagant and so incredible.

Really fun area where you can try on period style clothing and then take your picture in front of a backdrop. Some of the other visitors were having a ton of fun with that.

I think this was one of my favorite parts about the museum. I love that they give visitors a glimpse into the behind the scenes rather than keeping everything tucked away in a vault. Fashion collections are not something you can find in every museum or every city. I know that I'm hugely lucky that my hometown, Phoenix, has such a great collection at the Phoenix Art Museum. By giving visitors a backstage view of what goes on at a museum like this and how the collection is organized and stored is very crucial in helping to understand the importance for museums and collections like the Bath Fashion Museum. 

Ok, these are going to be a little blurry because it's actually really dark in this room (to help with preservation) so my camera did it's best with no flash but yeah, that's hard. 

Princess Diana's dresses. I was thrilled to see them and all the corresponding information!

The rest of the collections of dresses for David Sassoon exhibition. 

The 2013 Dress of the Year by Christopher Kane.

The 2000 Dress of the Year, which many of us remember being worn quite famously by Jennifer Lopez.

Leaving the museum. It was a fabulous day and I really hope I can make it back before heading back to the States at the end of the summer.


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