And For A Little More From The Met- Conservation

We are always amazed at the collections at the Met and other museums but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the reason these outfits still look so fabulous is that they’re maintained by an army of conservators. Here’s a video that give us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in the Met’s Fashion Lab:

Some More On The Frock Coat…

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted in regard to men’s wear so here’s something that should remedy this. During the late 19th Century, the frock coat was one of the basics of men’s wardrobe, serving as both a garment formal as well as an everyday business coat. Just to set the stage, here’s an example of the frock coat in everyday use, albeit by way of a painting by Renoir:

Edgar Renoir At The Stock Exchange, 1878 – 1879

And for an extant example:

Frock Coat & Trousers, c. 1876; Kansas State University Museum (KSUM 1986.41.2 ab)

Compared to the 1850s/1860s version, this frock coat is tailored, following the lines of the human body in smooth, somewhat relaxed fashion.

More On The V&A Museum

As a follow-up to our prior post about the fashion collection at the V&A Museum in London, we got to thinking that the V&A can be a bit intimidating for people visiting for the first time. From our experience, here are a few tips for the first-timer:

  • Arrive Early- The museum opens at 10 am and the line starts forming up long before. We suggest arriving at 9 to 9:30 am.
  • Plan Your Visit- It’s probably best to start with sections farthest away from the front entrance. Plan out the sections you want to see and work your way from the inside. The first time we visited, we started on the Sixth Floor and worked our way down (FYI- the costume gallery is on the first floor). Maps of the museum are available on the V&A Website.
  • Special Exhibitions- In addition to the permanent collection, there are often special exhibitions going on which they charge a separate admission fee. We strongly advise that you reserve tickets far in advance- like as soon as it’s announced. With the recent Dior exhibition, we bought the tickets in January even though we weren’t in London until late April. Don’t count on being able to just buy tickets on the date of your visit.
  • Internal Climate- This is never brought up anywhere but museums in the UK and the rest of Europe often have minimal ventilation and air conditioning (unless the collection requires it) and things can be quite stifling at times, especially in the warmer months. This can be a bit of a trial so plan accordingly. Fortunately, there’s a nice large outdoor central courtyard where one can catch their breath.

While the above is by no means a comprehensive list, it should make your first-time experience more enjoyable. Finally, below is an introductory video from the V& A that you might find helpful: