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Reflections: Costume 1730-2013

Time/Date - 10:00 - 17:00, Fri 31 May 2013 - Sun 27 Apr 2014

The Ulster Museum has a brand new costume gallery, and we’re using it to showcase the very best of our costume collection, from the Georgian period to the present day.

Mantua dressIn the world of fashion, what goes around comes around, so that the radical trends of today often turn out to be subtle reflections of the pioneering styles of the past.

Fashions change constantly, and while modern dress may appear dramatically different from the way people dressed centuries ago, there are often continuities in design and similarities in style. These may be as simple as a particular colour or fabric coming back into fashion, but more often it is the structure and shape of a dress that is revived.

Designers such as Vivienne Westwood study historic dress in museum costume collections to inspire their creativity. The resulting fashions often echo a previous style, but also add contemporary elements such as a change of hemline or a new type of fabric. This exhibition illustrates these ‘reflections’ and shows how, in the words of Coco Chanel, ‘fashions fade, only style remains the same’.

Image caption, Mantua, c.1730s.

Discover more about the ideas behind the exhibition, and some of the stars of the show, in this short film narrated by Elise Taylor, Curator of Applied Art:



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