Melanie McDonagh Melanie McDonagh

The Georgian fashion revolution

A fascinating new show at Buckingham Palace presents exquisite costumes that will make you feel like a heffalump

British court dress (mantua gown, petticoat and stomacher), c.1740-60. © Fashion Museum Bath

Normally, when you look at portraits you feel obliged to focus on the sitter. But quite often you’re thinking, ‘Ooh, what a lovely frock.’ Or, ‘Fabulous breeches!’ Here it’s the costumes that take centre stage. The point that this exhibition makes is that costume spoke volumes about society, particularly in the long 18th century, over the course of the reigns (and regency) of the four Georges.

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