Documenting Fashion

Category Archives for From the Collections

We analyse fashion and dress in relation to works from The Courtauld Collections


A walk through ‘Fashioning Winter’

November 18, 2014 by Fruzsi

Although we have been focusing on our own displays for Fashioning Winter in order to give you some behind the scenes access, now that the exhibition is up and running it is time to introduce you to the fascinating exhibits that make … Continue reading

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Installing ‘Winter Mode’ at Somerset House

November 7, 2014 by Fruzsi

I must admit, rather unprofessionally perhaps, that I was like a child on Christmas day during yesterday morning’s installation of Winter Mode, a display that I am curating with Dr Rebecca Arnold and Alexis Romano for Fashioning Winter at Somerset … Continue reading

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Exhibition update: Goodbye summer, hello winter! Planning ‘Winter Mode’

November 4, 2014 by Alexis

As they design fashion collections, with their clear link to upcoming seasons, designers must continually have the impression of being projected into the future. Fashion’s futurity affects shoppers too, who imagine their bodies in clothing that relates to seasonal elements. … Continue reading

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Motion, modernity and flux in Thayaht’s illustrations of Vionnet fashions

August 26, 2014 by Rebecca

Recently, I’ve been looking through the copies of Gazette du Bon Ton in our collection, trying to find some cold-weather fashions for our upcoming display for Somerset House’s Winter Festival. In the process, I have come across several plates drawn … Continue reading

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Textile Fragments at the Courtauld Institute of Art

July 22, 2014 by Alexis

Three woven fragments, each composed of similar red and gold threads in a design of kufic or pseudo-kufic characters, seemingly formed a complete textile at one time. Today, labelled and sewn side-by-side onto linen matting, with no documentation in reference … Continue reading

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Winter Modes

July 11, 2014 by Fruzsi

Although summer is well under way, a few of us are already thinking several seasons ahead. Our department has been asked to contribute to Somerset House’s Winter Festival exhibition, which will feature a series of small displays on the theme … Continue reading

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A closer look at Renoir’s La Loge through the lens of fashion

June 24, 2014 by Liz

Renoir placed fashion at the heart of La Loge, which he painted in 1874. His representation of a fashionably dressed young couple seated in a theatre box expressed the desire of the Impressionists to capture the beauty and excitement of … Continue reading

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Cristobal Balenciaga’s “Infanta” gown (1939): a story about origins?

June 10, 2014 by Elisa

A small arrow links the fashion sketch with the words “Spanish Influence”. This sketch was made for Madge Garland, editor of British Vogue, during the presentation of the 1939 Winter Collections in Paris. Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) christened the design the … Continue reading

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Pinpoints of Beauty & Violence

May 9, 2014 by Lucy

Tucked into The Courtauld’s History of Dress Archive is a rare and elusive fashion journal, Pinpoints. In its first issue, it declared its founding intention of seeking ‘a better understanding of Beauty.’ Certainly, the accompanying image depicts a beautiful woman, … Continue reading

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Edgar Degas, Woman Adjusting her Hair, c.1884

March 27, 2014 by Lucy

A woman arches her back, twisting elegantly to the side, as she daintily raises her hands to her head, forming neat, careful, mirrored triangles. Her form is made up of frantic, expressive strokes of black charcoal, singed onto the buff … Continue reading

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