Day 3: Victoria and Albert Museum

This is an English Cabinet from about 1688 that was made in England but meant to be "japanned" in imitation to fit the Japanese style.

This is an English Cabinet from about 1688 that was made in England but meant to be “japanned” in imitation to fit the Japanese style.

The Background Information:

The Victoria and Albert Museum was established in 1862 with the goal of making art open to the public for all to see.  It spans over 2,000 years full of all forms of art, including Fashion!  In the 18th century, clothes were much more elaborate in design and style than they are now.  One is able to see a variety of fabrics, exquisite detail and a higher quality in clothing.  Even the poor took part in dressing to impress.

The Experience:

As we talked about in class, trade hade a great influence in British style and culture.  Getting to go through the Victoria and Albert Museum was like going back in time to a whole different area of life.  Everything back then was made with such detail and it’s truly amazing.  Everything was hand crafted and full of different styles and cultures depending on the era and taste of each of the people.  Asian trade was going strong in England in the 18th century and I was able to see this through walking through each exhibit. Different articles of ones house, such as clocks, beds, mirrors, cabinets, and plates, were made to represent the Asian style the merchants would see in trade.  People of England would then try and replicate the designs and ideas of this type of style.

Early 18th Century dress

Early 18th Century dress

Fashion also transformed a lot in the 18th century.  Women’s fashion probably changed the most.  They went from wearing oversized, unnatural looking dresses to dresses that looked more natural and did a better job of representing and woman’s’ body shape.  I loved being able to see this change in the V&A’s fashion section in the museum.

If you would like to check more about the Fashion in the 18th century, just click on the word “fashion” and it will like you to the V&A’s website for more information.

 

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