the secrets within...

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This seemed the perfect post to follow on from Queen Michelle's wonderful ballgown action yesterday!

Despite my collection of ballgowns and opera I'm a very lazy dresser.

I wear clothes that are loose. Black. Big. I like asymmetry and unfinished hems. I hate the feeling of being constricted or of clothes fitting tight. I often used to look at Queen Michelle in amazement who could wear things that fitted so closely I would wonder how she could sit down.

Which is strange because If you look at my Pinterest board gowns and mantles, there is a heavy preponderance of garments by Balenciaga.  Even if I don’t recognise them, I pin them because I love them, they speak to me and then afterwards I notice that,  whoops once again it’s a Balenciaga creation. Nothing could be more formal.

This Sunday 18th February, sees the end of the wonderful V&A exhibtion

The Balenciaga: Discover how Cristóbal Balenciaga's exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs shaped modern fashion

If you have not managed to get along, go now before it's too late...

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Even more astonishing is the work that the V&A did to reveal the hidden interior structures of several iconic garments by Cristóbal Balenciaga.

It's often said that 'The Master' didn't use corsetry to create his dramatic, sculptural garments. In order to find out more about how his incredible designs were constructed, they worked with X-ray artist Nick Veasey to look beneath the surface of several iconic dresses and hats. Both beautiful and forensic, the ghostly X-ray images reveal fascinating details not visible to the naked eye – including boning, hoops and dress weights which determine the exact fall of the fabric. Two of the X-rays also reveal dress pins which were accidentally left inside the hems by their original makers.

Silk taffeta evening dress, Balenciaga, 1954. Museum no. T.427-1967. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

Silk taffeta evening dress, Balenciaga, 1954. Museum no. T.427-1967. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

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Evening dress, Balenciaga, 1965. Museum no. T.435-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

Evening dress, Balenciaga, 1965. Museum no. T.435-1985. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

Ostrich feather hat, Balenciaga, 1955 – 60. Museum no. T.60-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

Ostrich feather hat, Balenciaga, 1955 – 60. Museum no. T.60-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey.

The X-ray project is one of a number of forensic techniques that the Museum has applied to Balenciaga's garments to shed new light on his exquisite craftsmanship and challenge some of the myths that have built up around the elusive designer. This film below shows how the X-rays images were produced in a custom-built mobile X-ray studio:

Since 2016, they been collaborating with artist Nick Veasey, a specialist in the field of X-ray photography, to make high-quality X-ray studies of our Fashion collections. The resulting images are both beautiful and forensic, as Nick puts it, "the combination of science and art".

I am drawn to X-ray as it is a study of the subject from the inside out. Normally we see the reflected light from the surface of an object, but X-ray reveals what, and often how, things are made. It is an honest scientific process. I like the results as they have integrity – they show things for what they truly are.

Nick Veasey

Wonderful just wonderful...

Queen Marie