Cristina Bree visits the V&A archives

Monday 27 March 2017

Cristina Bree visits the V&A archives


Recently, I attended an archive induction at the V&A Clothworkers’ Centre organized by the British Fashion Council. There, I was honoured to meet fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes and David Sassoon who designed clothing for the royal family in the 60’s.

To begin with, the Clothworkers’ Centre manager Suzanne Smith showed us all the new storage the Victoria and Albert Museum had installed. I was shown gowns that our current Queen had worn, the pearl dress or sometimes known as the ‘elvis dress’ that princess Diana had worn to the British Fashion Awards and Elsa Schiaparelli dress the infamous fabric ripping print designed by Salvador Dali.

In the second half of the day we had an objects discussion with Sonnet Stanfill who’s the senior fashion curator. I further learnt that the V&A holds over 100,000 pieces and on average, an exhibition takes up to 5 years to plan.

I now appreciate how much time and thought is spent on organising an exhibition. I’m fortunate to have been able to visit the V&A archive, they’ve kindly offered their archive to us as a means of future referencing and research.