LES loves Virtual Costume Exhibitions

costume, wedding dress, bridal, embroidery, pearls, beads, vintage, the crown, royal, fashion, couture
Picture of Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

(Spoilers Included)

As our name suggests, we are based in the UK in London and for those of you in the UK, you will know that we have just gone into ‘tier 4’ so movement has been restricted once again just in time for Christmas. For many of you, like us that will mean your plans for the Christmas break will change and might leave you a little… directionless.

Amongst the ever changing news, we will endeavour to keep bringing you things to keep you entertained, motivated and inspired. Our online classes are always there if you fancy one, whether it be one of our free classes, kitless classes or something practical. If however today what you need is inspiration then let us show you this engaging virtual exhibition we came across from the Brooklyn Museum.

Those embroiderers of you that also cross over into costume fans cant help but to have noticed the excitement with which the two big costume dramas recently released on Netflix have received. ‘The Crown’, now on season 4 and ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ both take you into a snapshot of vintage fashion from the 20th century. ‘The Crown’ season 4 takes us through the 1980’s and the costume department play a huge role in this, painstakingly recreating legendary looks from events of the British Royal family during this period. Princess Diana’s wedding dress has to be one of the most monumental pieces in the collection- originally design by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, recreated by costume designer Amy Roberts, tailored by Sue Crawshaw.

Detail of ”The Crown’s” Princess Diana Wedding Dress Bodice

”The dress took three people four weeks and 600 hours to create. 95 metres of fabric and 100 metres of lace were used. The train is approx. 30 feet. Tailoring the dress required 5 fittings with actress Emma Corrin.”

With such efforts put into this piece to make it as accurate as possible, we would have liked to have seen more of it in the screen time!


The exhibition allows you to turn the ensembles, zoom in on special details, view the clip of the costume in action and read write ups on the pieces and view the working designs and designers notes.


For the embroiderers, the Trooping of the Colour uniform might well be a highlight as you can zoom in on the details of the medals, aiguillettes and epaulettes. Aside the costumes, the museum has selected pieces from their collections which compliment the exhibits such as the silhouette portrait of Queen Elizabeth called ‘Koh-I-Noor’ by Hew Locke made of hundreds of plastic trinkets.


From ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ set in the 1960’s USA designed by Gabiele Binder, we particularly liked the first dress we see the protagonist ‘Beth’ dressed in. The naïve embroidery on the chest tugs at ones heartstrings in a way only embroidery can (though we are terribly bias!)


This is shown alongside this ‘Gaming Board’ which is an undeniably beautiful piece in its own right, particularly when it is considered to date circa 1390–1353 B.C.E.


We also really liked the ‘I’m Chess’ dress and being able to appreciate the thought and symbolism invested into the creation of these costumes as a vehicle of storytelling.

The Brooklyn Museum’s physical exhibition has now ended but the virtual exhibition is currently still available if you fancy furthering you watching interest with a deep dive into the costumes.

Check this exhibition out whilst you can!

Images Credits : All images courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum and Netflix (The Queen and The Crown is created by Netflix in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, and curated by Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator, Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum.)

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