On To Bath…

After four exciting days in London, it was now time to head west to the town of Bath, or more properly, Bath Spa, located in the west of England. After a somewhat challenging 1 1/2 hour train trip and a cab ride, we finally arrived at our accommodations at the Aquae Sulis Guest House, a lovely B&B located about five miles west of the town proper (unfortunately, it turned out that it was a little too far out of town for our purposes and in the future, we’ll be seeking something a bit closer in).

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The view from our room.

After hauling our baggage to the third floor, we decided to rest up and wait until the next day to take in some of the local sites in town.

After a wonderful English breakfast, we were off to the Fashion Museum Bath.  Located in the center of Bath, the museum is also the site of the Assembly Rooms, the site for the Prior Attire Ball that we would be attending later. The collection at the Fashion Museum is small but it has some amazing examples. Here, in no particular order, are a few that we found to be especially striking (we also have supplemented our pictures with some of the museum’s for greater clarity):

First up are some 18th Century dresses- here’s a Robe à la française, c. 1760s:

Fashion Museum Bath

Fashion Museum Bath robe à la française, 1760s

Robe à la française, c. 1760s; Fashion Museum Bath

And for a Robe à l’anglaise, c. 1740′s:

Fashion Museum Bath Robe à l’anglaise, 1740′s

Fashion Museum Bath Robe à l’anglaise, 1740′s

Robe à l’anglaise, c. 1740′s; Fashion Museum Bath

And then moving up a little further in time to the 1860s is this cotton muslin day dress:

Fashion Museum Bath

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And from 1874, a light cotton day dress:

Fashion Museum Bath

Fashion Museum Bath

This is day dress is a made from a striped cotton print (most likely). Here’s a better picture:

Day Dress 1874 Bath Fashion Museum

Day Dress, 1874; Fashion Museum Bath

And then there’s this interesting dress from circa 1890:

Fashion Museum Bath Day Dress c. 1890

 

Day Dress c. 1890 Fashion Museum Bath

Day Dress, c. 1890; Fashion Museum Bath

And here’s a portrait of a one Mary Endicott posing for a portrait wearing the dress:

Bath Fashion Museum Day Dress c. 1890

Mary Endicott (nee Chamberlain) by John Everett Millais, 1890 – 1891; Birmingham Museums (1989P60)

Moving forward in time, here are a few more contemporary designs that caught our eye:

 

The above minidress was designed by Yves Saint Laurent in 1965 as part of the Mondrian Collection, which was inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian whose abstract art works emphasized lines and the use of primary colors. Compared to other dresses in the collection, the one above is relatively non-descript yet still represents a time when fashion was moving towards more simple, pared-down looks that emphasized basic design elements. Here’s the more iconic dress from the collection that always appears in design books:

Yves Saint Laurent (French 1936). Dress, fall/winter 1965-66. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Mrs. William Rand, 1969 (C.I. 69.23)

Finally, here’s an example from Dior’s “New Look” collection from 1947:

New Look Dior 1947 Fashion Museum Bath

New Look Suit – originally designed by Dior in 1947

These were made both in a cream white as well as in black and were both one-piece and two-piece. Although it might not be so obvious in the picture, they emphasized an hourglass design with an extremely narrow waist that required a cincher. The jacket was made with both a shawl collar and a more conventional collar with lapels.

Overall, the Fashion Museum Bath is worth a visit and although their collection seems a bit small, it’s got some excellent examples. My only criticism would be that it really needs a larger display area to do justice to their collection. We look forward to returning to the museum in the future. 🙂

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