411rrTAc5tL._SS160_I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I think people like what they like and should celebrate that, but if I did have a guilty pleasure it would be fashion. So having missed the exhibition of ballgowns at the Victoria & Albert Museum I was really keen to get a hold of the catalogue from the London Library so I could feast my eyes on the wonderful dresses.

The book is of course visually stunning but the articles and background information were just as fascinating. My favourite quote is about the peculiarities of the British couture client as experienced by John Cavanagh in the 50s and 60s:

One titled client chose a dress from his collection and requested that her own fabric be used: some eighteenth century golden-yellow Chinese embroidered wall hangings then arrived a the atelier. Another client would choose several designs and then have fabric samples sent to her home to ensure she didn’t clash with her furnishings.

Designing around heirloom jewellery was also often required, and once a designer had to match a particular shade of satin to “a set of aquamarines the size of gobstoppers”.

How the other half lived! Green with envy.

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