A new exhibition opened at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery just before Christmas that celebrated the art of dressing up. Dressed to the Nines is a small exhibition that is chocked full of beautiful things, from Norman Hartnell Evening dresses to 1960s white boots that would definitely fit the remit of swinging.
Dressed to the Nines is a collaborative exhibition, in that Birmingham people have been asked to contribute items and photographs that form part of the exhibition. It also includes items that belonged to important Birmingham people, from an evening dress worn by a Lady Mayoress to a civic reception in the 1930s, to an embroidered court uniform which belonged to Neville Chamberlain. The exhibition features 12 full outfits, including pieces from Bill Gibb, Christian Dior and the aforementioned Norman Hartnell, and also shows of the cultural diversity of the city.
The exhibits are supported by a range of artwork that also incorporate the art of dressing up, this includes a selection of drawings, paintings, prints and photographs, including works by Vanley Burke, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This shows that not only is dressing up not just a 21st century pursuit, but that, in actual fact, when we look to the past it seems that many of us have actually lost the art of really dressing up, that in the 21st century dressing down has replaced dressing up, even for really special occasions. In the days when jeans seem to fit all, this exhibition shows why this is a real shame.
The exhibition is running until 4th September 2020 and is free to attend, and is a lovely chance to enjoy some beautiful outfits in beautiful surroundings.
If dressing to the nines is your passion, check it out, and perhaps enjoy a visit to the glorious Edwardian tearooms when you go.