Night and Day: 1930s Fashion and Photographs

Fashion and Textile Museum

12 October 2018 – 20 January 2019

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Presenting the most influential day and evening fashions of the 1930s, this exhibition brings a period of great social change into sharper focus through the lens of fashion.

Michele Morgan photographed by Ernest Bachrach, c1939

Over 100 ensembles are featured across nine defining themes, exploring the decade that ushered in the utilitarianism of World War II. As the flapper of the 1920s grew up, so did her fashions.

Visitors are taken on a journey through sumptuous city tableaus, featuring over 50 examples of glamorous 1930s evening wear. Night club, cinema and bustling street scenes are filled with floor length gowns, created in satins and crepes, before the exhibition moves out to the suburbs and the new daytime fashions for garden parties, seaside visits and sporting events.

Changes in how people shopped and what they wore are explored, from the rise of the department store and the floral day dress, to the wider acceptance of trousers for women and the popularity of beach pajamas. The exhibition concludes with a street party scene in celebration of the coronation; afternoon dresses and men’s suits in red, white and blue are accompanied by original decorations from the 1937 occasion.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 11am – 6pm (until 8pm Thu) Sun, 11am – 5pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

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