I’ve been looking forward to this exhibition for at least a year. Did it live up to the hype?
YES is the short answer. It’s a blockbuster, alright. Stupidly I went during half-term and it was the busiest I’ve ever seen the V&A. We had to queue for 30 minutes even with my members card.
But it was worth waiting for, although equally packed inside (I skipped most of the first room as it was just too rammed).
The first impression you get is of the digital set-dressing. Most of the mannequins have the wearer’s face projected above, moving and looking alive (think Harry Potter style). In the second room, you get to meet costume designers and actors, virtually – they’re projected onto chairs and seem to be talking to each other. As well as this there’s a virtual sketchbook that flip pages as you watch, and digital 3D ‘props’. It’s very impressive.
The costumes are spectacular, and there’s something for every film lover (Bruce Willis’s sweaty vest from Die Hard, anyone?). My highlight was seeing one of the suits the character Rachel wears in Bladerunner. It’s got bands of graduating fabric running up the jacket, massive 80s-meets-40s shoulder pads, and a tiny bow at the neck. I wish it were mine.
Another highlight was this bias-cut, beaded crimson gown, Joan Crawford’s va-va-voom signature dress from The Bride Wore Red. This was a black and white movie, and cleverly they’ve set up a spotlight that fades in and out, so you can see it in full-colour, and then in monochrome as it appeared on film. (Apparently this dress had 2 million bugle beads hand-attached!)
There were a few things that I didn’t love:
- It’s incredibly dark. I know this is probably for conservation reasons but it makes it frustratingly difficult to see any detail.
- The digital faces are a decent solution to a tricky problem (identifying the actor/character without going all Madam Tussauds) but the overall impression was a bit cartoonish.
- You’re very far away from some of the costumes, especially in the third room.
- The constant swelling music was atmospheric, like sitting in a darkened cinema before a film, but after half an hour it began to grate heavily on my nerves.
Despite this, it’s an amazing exhibition and I’m definitely going back for another look. Does anyone else want to come? Maybe we could do a little meet-up in December or January? Let me know if you’re interested dudes!
I also have a V&A related GIVEAWAY to offer! Well, less of a giveaway, and more of a ‘please take me’.
It’s two tickets to a members talk on Jazz Age fashion at the V&A on the 9th Nov. Virginia Bates (who owns a famous vintage boutique) will be showing some 20s clothes and talking about her new book – Dressed to Kill: Jazz Age Fashion.
I bought these tickets as a birthday present for a friend and was really looking forward to it, but my friend has had to go to Rio unexpectedly (oh for such a glamorous life) and I have rather predictably double-booked myself on the same night.
Rather than try and off-load them on Gumtree, I thought someone who reads my blog might appreciate this talk. You need to be free on the 9th (this Friday!) and able to get to the V&A by 7pm. Here’s all the info about the event.
If anyone can make it and is interested, just leave a comment below saying that you’d like the tickets, by Wednesday at 10am. If more than one person wants them I’ll pick someone at random.
If no-one wants them then I will have to look into cloning myself by Friday so I can attend both events.