I went to the V&A today to try out my new membership (a Christmas present from my mum, great for legitimate queue jumping) at the Golden Age of Couture exhibition, just before it ends. I thought I'd be writing about fashion drama, as some of it's quite theatrical, but it turned into a rather scary human drama instead.
I wish I'd not left it to the last few days to go, as it was literally packed and we had to creep around really slowly, but I loved it. It's a fantasy world, amazing clothes, fabrics and workmanship. Some of the outfits you'd love to wear now and would look really contemporary. I liked the film clips of fashion shows, the showreels and the clips from 'Maytime in Mayfair' and 'Funny Face'. I like the photography from that period, quite a lot of old favourites there and I'd forgotten about Erwin Blumenfeld's saturated colours and slightly surreal work. It's good to see outfits in 'real life' that you've seen in photos loads of times, like seeing an original piece of artwork after loads of reproductions.
Snippets of conversation overheard from other older women were interesting, 'oh yes, roll on girdles, I remember them....', 'aaah, Anna Neagle...Audrey Hepburn...lovely...', 'ooh look at that tailoring, I wish we could see the underside...'. Some of the hems caused a stir amongst the ladies near us, as they were quite lumpy and looked as if they had been really badly altered...'tsk tsk, what were they thinking of when they pressed that?' Absolutely.
Then we went to the shop and my mum collapsed in a heap while I was queuing up at the till. It was really scary, as she was unconscious for what seemed ages, 20 minutes maybe... I thought she was dying, as she'd gone a strange colour and her breathing was really shallow. Everyone was staring, as it was the middle of the shop, though some people were quite helpful. Except one man who was just gawping at her unconscious body propped up in the chair, though I was obviously worried. Ill mannered prat. I asked him whether he had anything helpful to say, and if not, could he go away, which he did. The ambulance people were really nice and decided she didn't need to go straight to hospital, thank goodness. They decided it was probably a mixture of wandering round the hot gallery, not taking her blood pressure tablets for a few days and the aftermath of a bad chest infection, so hopefully it won't happen again.
A strange and dramatic start to the new year, lovely clothes followed by an unconscious mum on the V&A floor and the rest of the afternoon in an ambulance. It puts things into sharp perspective.