Current Exhibition: Red! @ Walsall Museum

red dresses

From left: printed cotton day dress, c.1951 (Hodson Shop Collection), red grosgrain short evening dress with roses, c.1958.

Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that prove to be the most effective, as evidenced by Walsall Museums latest dress exhibition: Red!

As you might have figured from the title, the exhibition is a celebration the colour red, most specifically the iconic red dress.

All of the dresses have been drawn from Walsall Museum’s massive costume collection and include several items from the Hodson Shop Collection. The dresses are organised in chronological order, starting with this stunning striped muslin day dress from the 1850s (pictured below) and working their way up to this slinky satin wrap dress from the early 1990s (I love the fact that this dress is from Etam). And somewhere in the middle is this grosgrain Wishick and Webber stunner from 1958 (pictured top right).

Victorian day dress

White muslin day dress with red stripes and dots, c.1855.

Hodson Shop dresses include a 1920s cotton day dress with a pointed collar and daisy print, aCC41 (utility) rayon crepe dress with a belt and button details and a 1950s floral print day dress, scattered with stripes and roses (pictured top left). Even though the Hodson dressed are far from the glitziest items on display, they certainly manage to hold their own amongst the frills and flounces.

The visual impact of the colour is undeniable, whether the dress is a glitzy beaded flapper number or a simple utility dress. It is a great starting point for planning outfits for the upcoming party season!

Red! runs until 18th January 2014 at Walsall Museum, Changing Face of Walsall Gallery on the first floor of the Walsall Central Library building. Admission is free! See What’s On Walsall for more details.

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