Folded & Molded exhibition catalogue
Online Captions for the Current Exhibition
Divided skirt, c.1910 - 1920
This sturdy and versatile garment is shown with a replica shirt and original silk neck tie. It is made from brown cotton twill and designed to be worn when walking, cycling or playing golf. It is essentially a wide pair of culottes; the volume contained using inverted pleating at the back. An extra panel has been added to the front so that it can be transformed into a skirt. This is buttoned across the legs to conceal the trouser element. To return the skirt to its divided form, it is necessary to unbutton the panel on one side, fold it back and re-button it on the other side. Although it had been acceptable for women to wear bloomers or divided skirts for cycling since the late 19th century, trousers were not seen as appropriate for normal situations. This garment offered a relatively simple and convenient way of adhering to expected social norms.
Riding habit, Wolmerhausen, c.1880 - 1885
This elegant two piece lady’s riding habit is made from black wool edged with black soutache braid and partially lined with silk. The boned bodice or jacket features domed silk-covered buttons and a short pair of pleated tails to the rear. The skirt is designed to be worn for riding side-saddle. It has a larger volume of fabric on the left which draped over the legs when the wearer was on horseback. The label reads: ‘Wolmerhausen, Military Tailor and Habit Maker to Her Majesty, the Prince Consort and the Royal Family, 49 Curzon Street, Mayfair, W.’ Wolmerhausen, or Jenkins and Wolmerhausen as it was formerly known, had premises in West London from at least as early as the 1850s. The quality of the tailoring is high, and the claim to be habit maker to the royal family is entirely plausible, though it has not been possible to find a Royal Warrant.
Japanese sunshade, c.1920 - 1930
This parasol has a bamboo stick and a thin yellow paper cover printed with a design of red flowers. The handle is made from a thicker piece of bamboo which has been lacquered. A leather loop to hold the cover closed is tied to the stick with green braid. This more exotic style of parasol was very popular during the 1920s; a period when designers were plundering cultures from all over the world for inspiration.
Headscarf, Christian Dior, c.1965 - 1970
Silk printed with an abstract design. Headscarves were a popular fashion accessory for women from the mid-20th century until the 1970s. Offering an informal and practical alternative to a hat, they could be tied in a variety of ways. Scarves are still popular, but are now more commonly tied around the neck rather than the head.
Fan, Duvelleroy, c.1905
The horn sticks and guards are incised and pierced with gold and bronze, tinted floral decoration and silver piqué point. The cream silk leaf is painted with exotic birds and urns of roses and embellished with gold foil and sequins. The reverse is painted with roses. The House of Duvelleroy, founded in Paris in 1827, had clients which included royal households. The firm still continues to trade today.
Shoes, Mondaine, made in Italy, 1964
These sling-back ‘winkle-picker’ style shoes were purchased in Bond Street, West London. The soft gold leather has been tightly gathered around the top of the upper. They were originally part of a bridal ensemble, but could equally be worn as evening shoes. This shape is typical of shoe fashions of the early 1960s.
Wool shawl, c.1850 - 1870
Likely to have been woven in Scotland, the design and colours of this large woollen shawl are typical of the mid-19th century. The style mimics shawls woven in India and by the 1850s British firms had begun to mass-produce shawls of this type. Paisley in Scotland was a centre for shawl weaving. During the late 18th and early 19th century artfully draped shawls offered warmth and interest to the simple, white columnar fashions of the Regency era. However, as dress fashions changed from the 1820s to incorporate wider skirts and natural waistlines, the shawl remained a fashionable accessory. Large shawls such as this one were particularly popular during the crinoline era. The wide skirts of the 1850s and ‘60s offered a broad canvas for displaying the colourful and intricately woven designs.
Hat, Jeanne Lanvin c.1932 - 1938
This small, brimless, conical-shaped hat consists of wool felt pleated to an off-centre point at the front. At the heart of the pleats a piece of black glazed cotton has been added. Inside it is lined with brown net. A label reads 'Jeanne Lanvin, 22 Faubourg St Honore, Paris'. Lanvin began her career as a milliner before branching out into dress design. This simple, stylish hat would have been a perfect complement to the timelessly elegant garments she was producing during the 1930s.
Ball gown, Pierre Balmain, c.1953
This glamorous couture gown is made from black silk velvet and trimmed with graduated silk swags and large bows. Such bold, draped decoration adds drama to what would otherwise be a relatively simple design. The cut of the skirt mimics the flat-fronted crinolines of the 1860s; a fashion that was revived during the 1950s when designers once more indulged in lavish evening creations. Pierre Balmain opened his fashion house in 1945 and quickly developed a reputation for beautifully feminine and glamorous clothing. His clientele included royalty and stars of stage and screen including the Queen of Thailand, Vivien Leigh and Marlene Deitrich. He was one of an elite group of couturiers, which included names such as Dior and Balenciaga, who together produced some of the most opulent and indulgent fashions of the twentieth century.
Wedding Ensemble, 1780
This rare survival was worn by Jane Bailey on the occasion of her marriage to James Wickham Esq. on the 9th November 1780. It incorporates a dress, matching petticoat, hat and shoes. The dress and petticoat are of cream silk brocaded with floral wreaths, sprigs and ribbons. The pointed, boned bodice has been tightly pleated to the back of the waist seam, creating volume and softness. The dress could also be worn ‘à la Polonaise’; a ruched style achieved by looping cords over the skirt and fixing them onto buttons at waist level. The plaited straw ‘bergère’ hat has been trimmed with cream silk and lace. It would have been worn tipped slightly forward over a wide hairstyle. The wedged shoes feature peaked tongues and bow decoration. The latchets or straps have been caught and stitched in the middle to negate the need for a buckle.
Gown, c.1794, shown with replica petticoat
This gown features a large volume of cotton fabric. This has been pleated to hug the body at bodice and waist level using knife and inverted pleats. The expanse of material broadens out into a wide train. The design shows off the pattern beautifully. This has been hand painted or ‘pencilled’ onto the fabric; a technique carried out in India for the export market. It was time-consuming and required skill and accuracy; justifying the high prices charged. A rare survival, this gown is transitional in style. The design of the bodice fronts and set back sleeves are still reminiscent of the look which prevailed for much of the 18th century. However, the loose, flowing cut of the cotton panels and slightly raised waistline herald future fashions. Cotton was soon to be the predominant textile for dresses and higher waists were the norm only a few years later.
Day dress, c.1845 - 1855
This all-in-one hand stitched dress is of dark red and brown striped silk satin. The gown is shown with a white muslin chemisette and sleeve ruffles of the same date. The sleeves are three-quarter length and slightly flared with ruching at the cuffs. The full skirt is cartridge-pleated to the boned bodice which allows the large volume of fabric to be incorporated neatly into the waistband. The bodice is tightly pleated at the waist and these stitched-down pleats are left unstitched from the middle of the bodice, to create fullness over the bust, and finish with wider pleats at the top of the shoulders. The bodice is lined with cream glazed cotton. The skirt is lined with brown glazed cotton and the hem is edged with brush braid. The wide skirt would have been supported by up to five petticoats, at least one of them made from horsehair.
Hat, Claude Saint-Cyr, c.1955 - 1960
It is made from sand-coloured silk velvet. Although designed in the style of a simple beret, interest is added by twisting the velvet to create a swirl. Claude Saint-Cyr (née Simone Naudet) was a leading Parisian milliner. She established her business in 1937. By the 1950s she was making headwear for royalty, including the wedding veil for Princess Margaret and hats for the Queen and Queen Mother.
Evening bag, c.1930 - 1935
This attractive evening bag has been made from ‘crystal’ or accordion-pleated rayon fabric. The pleats have been allowed to open out as the bag becomes wider at the bottom. The Art Deco style clasp is of white metal with diamanté stones. To create this type of pleating the fabric is placed between two cardboard moulds, rolled and then steamed to set the pleats.
Hat, Fenwick c.1952 - 1955
This small, elegant woman’s hat has been created by pleating and stitching leaf shapes from wide pieces of ribbed or grosgrain polyester ribbon. The pleats are interlaced to create further texture and interest, and wire has been used to hold the shape. A label reads: ‘Fenwick of Bond Street’. Fenwick department stores, founded in Newcastle in 1882, continue to trade today.
Evening ensemble, c.1934 - 1936
Dress, Ossie Clark, c.1973 - 1974
Known as a ‘Ziggy Stardust’ dress, it is made from bias cut silk chiffon. The print is by textile designer Celia Birtwell, wife of Ossie Clark. Ossie Clark was a defining creative force during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He dressed many celebrities and his fashion shows were outrageous, bohemian affairs. His beautifully cut clothes were inspired by the Hollywood glamour of the 1930s and ‘40s and his work heralded a return to a celebration of the female form; with some items designed to be worn without underwear.
Coat, Issey Miyake, c.1985 - 1990
The silk-wool mix fabric of this coat makes it soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. It features knife pleats which radiate from the broad, padded shoulders. These are caught at the front and back by a buttoned belt before falling to create a graduated hem. The result is a wearable yet quirky piece of outerwear. Issey Miyake is famous for his accordion-pleated garments, but more broadly he is known for exploring the interplay between the three-dimensional body and flat fabrics. His most fascinating creations marry the qualities of a cloth’s texture with imaginative and complex cutting techniques to create unusual silhouettes. Miyake is known for his ability to reference the dress of his own Japanese culture whilst harnessing new technology to create pieces which are truly modern and innovative.
Dress, Lanvin-Castillo, c.1953 - 1957
Made from the palest pink silk chiffon, this softly draped couture gown is a beautifully elegant, feminine garment. The pleated bodice is cut to produce a deep cross-over V-shape. It is lined with pink satin and boned. The wide satin waistband narrows to an asymmetrical bow at the centre front. The layered chiffon skirt is generously cut. The influential fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin died in 1946, aged 79. Her daughter Marie-Blanche continued to run the House of Lanvin. She hired Spanish-born designer Antonio del Castillo in 1950 and he remained there until 1962. Castillo had worked with the houses of Paquin, Piguet and Chanel. He was part of a new wave of designers who became established in Paris after the Second World War. His flattering eveningwear designs often used soft fabrics such as silk chiffon or tulle in a subtle colour palette.
Cream silk wedding dress, 1924
This striking wedding gown is strongly influenced by the clothing of Ancient Greece. It is made from cream watered silk and silk georgette with imitation pearl bead trimmings. The straight neckline, sleeves, side panels and rectangular train are all of silk georgette, and the watered silk is cut to form panels both front and back. This silk is also draped and stitched to create a wrap-around skirt and is gathered at the left hip where a large pearl bead motif with extending tendrils is located. The gown was purchased at the department store Bourne and Hollingsworth Ltd. This store, which had a reputation for selling high-quality goods, first opened its doors on the corner of Oxford Street and Berners Street, London, in 1902. It continued trading until 1983. The gown was worn by Mrs Harvey on her wedding day in London on the 26th January 1924.
Delphos gown, Mariano Fortuny, c.1920 - 1930
It is made from finely pleated copper-coloured silk with Murano glass beads across the shoulders and down the sides. Mariano Fortuny was a gifted designer who, in addition to clothing and textiles, explored painting, photography, sculpture and stage lighting. His garments were inspired by ancient Greek sculpture, Medieval dress and the Modernist and Aesthetic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The ‘Delphos’ gown is his most famous and timeless creation. It is named after an Ancient Greek bronze statue; the ‘Charioteer of Delphos’, whose chiton, or shift-like columnar garment, it resembles. The narrow, undulating pleating and cut of the ‘Delphos’ gown flatter the body and create a look that is untouched by the vagaries of fashion. A silk belt could be worn with Delphos gowns, but this is now missing from the ensemble.
Wedding dress, c.1883 - 1887
This ivory satin dress was made by a “Mrs Stephens of Almorah Road, Islington”. The trimmings consist of silk cord stitched along the stepped edges of the over-dress, embroidered buttons and ruched and pleated sections at the neck and cuffs (one cuff trimming is now missing). The train features an edging of box and inverted pleats and the skirt front also incorporates box pleats.
Dress, Issey Miyake, 2009
This effortlessly classic ‘Pleats Please’ dress is made from 100% polyester. It has been cut and stitched in a size three times larger than the finished piece before being passed through a heated press to produce permanent pleats. Issey Miyake launched his famous ‘Pleats Please’ range in 1993. The style sheathes the body in neatly structured, yet fluidly organic lines.
Dress, Madame Grès, c.1945
This silk jersey evening gown incorporates many intricate knife pleats. The pleating on the bodice has been caught together to form a diamond shape at the centre front. At the back of the bodice there is a V-shaped opening over which is draped a cape-like cowl. The long skirt has an undulating hem. Madame Grès studied sculpture, then moved into couture dress design in 1932. She began designing under the name of Madame Alix, later forming the company Alix Barton with Juliette Barton before opening her own fashion house, which was called Madame Grès, from 1942. She was famous for her pleated and draped ‘Goddess’ gowns, of which this is one. They were constructed using extra-wide silk jersey and each one could take up to 300 hours to produce. This gown has been dyed purple. It was originally white in colour.
Tea gown, Liberty and Co., c.1897
A tea gown was worn when entertaining at home during the afternoon before dressing for dinner. This gown is made from copper-coloured silk satin, crêpe georgette and ivory chemical lace. The satin over-robe has a box-pleated back with a train and is embroidered with trailing flower stems and paste stones. A label on the inner waistband reads ‘Liberty and Co Ltd Artistic and Historic Costume Studio’. The Liberty of London department store, which is still trading, was founded in 1875. It was a beacon for the Arts and Crafts movement and its products were known for their excellent workmanship. Liberty opened a costume department in 1884 under the guidance of designer E.W. Godwin. Godwin favoured ‘Artistic’ and ‘Aesthetic’ style clothing. Garments were inspired by historic dress from the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods.
Skirt suit, Gabrielle Chanel, 1971
This suit is from Gabrielle Chanel’s final collection. It is made from ivory-coloured silk shantung and decorated with navy blue and red silk grosgrain. A gilt chain has been added to the hem on the inside of the jacket to ensure that it hangs properly. The skirt has inverted pleats and the waistband is decorated with navy and red grosgrain. The jacket lining bears a black and white Chanel label. Famous for producing garments that were simple and effortlessly stylish, beautiful suits were always part of Chanel’s output. However, after her post-war comeback in 1954 the Chanel suit became a much-copied classic. These collarless skirt suits, often of wool with trimmed pockets, were called ‘cardigan suits’. She made subtle variations to the basic concept throughout the rest of her collections and occasionally pleated skirts featured.