Fashioning the Victorians

Thursday 26 April | 6–8pm

From corsets to crinolines, dandies to decadent ‘New Women’, fashions during the Victorian age were changing as fast as a steam locomotive. Silhouettes and styles transformed radically every decade, influenced by the social, cultural and political forces of this era. Published by Bloomsbury Fashion, Fashioning the Victorians unpicks the seams of these major trends and re-evaluates our preconceptions of the period.

Join us for an evening with the author, Rebecca N. Mitchell in an engaging and accessible talk about Victorian fashions and the key forces which influenced their making. Extending analysis into gender studies and literature, Mitchell will explore the development of dress for both women and men using wide-ranging sources from primary texts and illustrations. This comprehensive overview of Victorian fashion features the era’s most famous aesthete Oscar Wilde alongside commentaries by Thomas Carlyle and Thorstein Veblen.

Whether you are a historical dress aficionado, or simply want to identify how accurate the costuming in ITV’s Victoria is, this talk will help you distinguish your bishop sleeve from your bustle!

Rebecca N. Mitchell is Senior Lecturer of Victorian Literature at the University of Birmingham and has written extensively about the Victorian literature and culture, particularly fashion. She is the author of Victorian Lessons in Empathy and Difference and co-author of Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton: Literacy History, Romanticism and the Art of Forgery, among other works. In addition to numerous articles on nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, she has also published extensively on Victorian fashion, including articles on Aesthetic Dress (in Fashion Theory), the crinoline (in BRANCH), and mourning attire (in Victorian Literature and Culture).

The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the current exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a book signing in the foyer. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.

Price £15 / £12 students includes a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.

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Numbers are limited for this event, please book early to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions about this event please complete our enquiry form.

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