Anne de Courcy

A love story — with clothes as heroes

Claire Wilcox recalls her years in the textile department of the V&A and the many radical couture exhibitions she curated

Finishing touches are put to Savage Beauty at the V&A, 2015 — the largest retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe, curated by Claire Wilcox. Credit: Alamy

On the weekly ‘opinions’ afternoons, the public would arrive with carefully wrapped parcels holding items to be identified, writes Claire Wilcox. Sometimes this was a length of Brussels lace, sometimes a gown that could be dated not just to the year but to the season, because the fashion then was known:

Once, someone brought a box of medieval leather shoes and everyone was sent home while a specialist in protective clothing and mask was called in, in case they had come from a plague pit.

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