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the building used to be a mail office


Sue Prichard shows the Quenn Dress, beads & embroidery in gold

During my last trip to London I had the great chance to visit a place entirely devoted to the strictest preservation and care of fashion. A place that loves Fashion, couture, accesories, underwear and other treasures, from contemporary designers. They are all impeccably kept at Clothworkers Centre, a branch of Victoria&ALbert Museum, located close to Olympia station, in Chelsea neighbourhood. The building, a masterpiece of victorian arquitecture.

The tour was guided by Sue Prichard, curator, and vintage lover. She shared with me that the main goal and big challenge for the institution is to keep clothing away from dust, damp atmosphere or severe light. She showed me a couple of amazing pieces, such as the satin duchess dress worn by the Majesty the Queen, completely embroidered in little bees and flowers, designed by Norman Hartnell. Amongst other wonderful textiles, from the collections, ready to be re-used as merchandising items at the V&A museum store.

Mc Queen Dress

An Alexander Mc Queen design ready to be stored.

Sue highlighted the importance of recycling and mending qualitative fashion pieces. She also commented on the high speed of fashion today, in contrast of what she had been taught by her grandma regarding manual work and good care & handling of the wardrobe. (And I felt touched with her story because I had found another vintageisnow fan.)

The experience concluded with the appreciation of costume wrapping. Each garment is wrapped in silk paper and while some sleep in metal drawers, other hang in sealed cupboards with a detailed description, but always with extreme care.

The experience of visiting the CCentre is open to everyone. Whoever loves fashion can ask for an appointment.

Thank you V&A press office and Sue Prichard.

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