As I walk into the exhibition the first thing to catch my eye is the ornate tiled floor, which is reminiscent of a grand ballroom entrance, very Cinderella esq. The music that plays transports your mind to years gone by, and the image of the gowns twirling about the room comes to life in your imagination. The dresses no longer encased in the glass prison in which we view them now; but free and splendid, alive and brilliant. A soft light evokes the sense of an early evening sunset and the sparkles and sequins on the dresses cast starry shadows. Romantic is the only word for this room.

Dresses by Belville Sassoon, in luxe silks and chiffon lame wouldn’t be out of place at a lavish party today. There are gowns by Marchesa, and McQueen’s famous taupe feathered gown from his S/S 2011 collection, which was worn by Daphne Guinness to the Met Ball.

Upstairs at the top of the statuesque staircase, I reach the pinnacle of the exhibition. Giant ball balls are strewn on the floor to create the illusion of a string of pearls, completing the glamorous feel of the impressive domed room. Cast your gaze up and projected images of the gowns dance across the ceiling in a delicate ethereal manner. It makes me feel as if the dresses in the sky are the sprits of the static materials in front of me now. Each dress has a sprit that exceeds its wearability and one thing crosses my mind; if only they could talk – the stories they would tell.

Sophie Maguire



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