Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Visit Bath and See Queen Charlotte’s Last Surviving Dress

Coco Chanel once said that, “fashion fades, only style remains the same”. Well, it may not be the modern fashion she was used to (or that we’re used to!), but we think she’d have approved of this particular dress…

Queen Charlotte, the oft-wronged wife of English king George III, is one person that we think Coco
Chanel would have honoured with the epithet ‘stylish’, and now for the first time Bath Fashion Museum will be displaying the exquisite lace dress that is her only known surviving dress.

Charlotte wasn’t seen as a leader of fashion, but instead held onto the styles which had always flattered her (hooped skirts being one favourite), but the slender cream empire-line dress which is on display was the epitome of fashion when it was made in the early 1800s when Charlotte was in her 60s.

It has never been on display before as it is so delicate – it is made of hundreds of strips of the highest quality imported bobbin lace carefully pieced together, but now it forms a key part of the Fashion Museum’s latest exhibition; “Lace in Fashion”, which runs until 1st January 2018. The dress was gifted to the museum in the 1960s by a family whose ancestor had been given it by the queen herself.

Other items on display in the exhibition include a Norman Hartnell dress worn by the Queen Mother, a Karl Lagerfield dress, and a lace-trimmed smock surviving from 1580!

If you haven’t visited the Fashion Museum before, or even if you have, it’s well-worth a visit. The museum is located below the famous Assembly Rooms next to the Circus and two minutes from the Royal Crescent – so it’s nice and easy to combine a visit to the museum with a trip to see some of Bath’s most well-known landmarks.

(Top tip: the tea room in the Assembly Rooms is also a must-try when you need some light refreshment!)

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