London Fashion Umbrella: Room 40 at the V&A

Display of 18th century dress at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery


After a major refurbishment an re-installation, the V&A’s Fashion Gallery reopened earlier this year. Prior to the recent renovation, Room 40, originally purpose built to display fashion, had been virtually unchanged since 2004.

Display of 20th century sporting wear at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery

Display of early 19th century dress at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery

The new permanent exhibition of the museum’s fashion and textile collections presents a chronological display that surveys European fashion from the 18th through 21st centuries, highlighted significant developments and trends in fashion’s development over the past three centuries.

Display of Regency dress at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery

Notable elements of the V&A’s exhibition presentation include the exhibiting of secondary resources along with garments, such as fashion plates, photographs, swatchbooks, and dolls and doll clothes of the corresponding periods.

Display of Mid-19th century dress at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery

The exhibition design consists of abbreviated period environments, and cleverly include photographic enlargements of details of the garments on screens and panels that form the backdrop for the displays.

A 19th century scrapbook of textile swatches and clippings.

Display of early 20th century dress at the V&A’s Fashion Gallery

The long-awaited new Fashion Gallery illustrates the strength and splendour of the V&A’s collections, and serves as an informative and delightful overview of European fashion history for the dress history expert or novice alike.

An 1870s bodice is displayed flat to give visitors a view of the garment’s construction.

The displays are arranged to heighten the drama and invoice the sense of each fashion era.

A mid-19th century bodice displayed alongside an uncut length of the woven silk fabric it was made from.

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  • Geraldine Herbert October 10, 2012 01.39 pm

    We are in the planning phase of a textile gallery and found this site extremely helpful.
    Thank you

  • Cecilie October 11, 2012 02.41 pm

    It was good seeing you at the V&A, Jenna! And always a pleasure to read yur blog posts! Best wishes from Copenhagen


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