Ballgown: British Glamour since 1950 at V&A


From beautiful ballgowns to red carpet evening dresses and catwalk show-stoppers, the V&A celebrates 60 years of stylish British evening wear with more than sixty designs on display.

The exhibition also highlights how the occasions for wearing formal attire have evolved over the years. Traditionally, the British social season included a variety of balls and other events requiring the most formal of dress codes. Debutante balls, where young women were formally introduced to society, were often the young ladies’ first occasion to wear a grand gown. As society became more egalitarian, the strict social parameters that the season defined were eroded. By the 1980s, private balls were overtaken by the more inclusive charity balls, which allowed entry to all who could purchase a ticket.

Spread over two floors, many of the dresses present a high degree of craftsmanship befitting the grand occasion they were created for. One such gown not to miss is one by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen which has constructed entirely from ostrich and cock feathers!

Victory & Albert Museum, London. Until January 6, 2013