The new Fashion and Style Gallery expels an mood of grandeur and luxury, with the regal architecture of the National Museum of Scotland playing the perfect backdrop to a wide selection of coveted fashion industry archives and complementing the stunning garments on display, from vintage Schiaparelli to modern McQueen. The presence of this stylish exhibition in such a world-famous hub of knowledge places huge importance on fashion’s place in history, and rightly so.
An intriguing selection of colour and texture makes the spacious hall a myriad of fashion discoveries, from ancient tweeds and tartans to minimalist monochrome looks, and from Victorian lace, to Oriental silks. Of particular interest are the historical influence of British designers Jean Muir, influential couturier and Scottish cashmere artiste of the 20th century, and Charles Frederick Worth, England’s first haute couture atelier who created exquisitely hand-crafted lavish gowns in the 1800s.
In terms of more contemporary icons, visitors have access to a striking shoe gallery with modern masterpieces from legends like Christian Louboutin, designer of striking red-soled court shoes with a twist, as he called them objets d’art, and Alexander McQueen, eclectic Scottish fashion entrepreneur with a dark, savage approach to design. Special attention is also awarded to pioneer of Punk, Vivienne Westwood, with her confrontational red tartan suit standing proudly in a centre glass display.
Catwalk-style podiums grace the room, displaying elegant mannequins dressed in structural Issey Miyake garments and innovative Hussein Chalayan creations, creating a truly fashionable atmosphere. Overall the exhibition proves fashion as a diverse subject with a huge variety of topics covered, with both physical and digital ways to explore, in an inspiring space filled with looks from every era, focussing on silhouette and style.