Dress-tination: Victoria and Albert Museum – The story behind the dresses


Welcome to Dress-tination Oasis: Victoria and Albert Museum. Yes, that’s right. The collection you loved so much last year is back and better than ever. This season our designers have explored the depths of the V&A’s archives, transforming their favourite prints into a selection of 10 amazing dresses that we think you’re going to love – we know we do!

To find out about the inspiration and process behind the collab, we sat down with the V&A’s Amelia Calver.

Oasis: Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at the V&A
 My team works with the V&A’s licensing partners across a whole range of products including homeware, stationery, accessories, jewellery, fabric and gifts.  I research the Museum’s collections on behalf of our licensees, like Oasis, helping them navigate their way through the vast archives.  Our licensees take inspiration from our collections and transform them into appealing contemporary products that honestly reflect the ethos of the V&A.

Oasis: Where did you begin when suggesting pieces for the collaboration?
 Daisy and the designers at Oasis, using their knowledge of emerging seasonal trends, identified key themes for Spring/Summer 16 and from there we worked together to select relevant imagery from the V&A’s archives.  Inspired by the Chinoiserie trend and an Asian art aesthetic, we looked at a wealth of objects from beautiful kimonos to magnificent vases and richly decorated Imari style dishes in the V&A’s collection of Japanese art and design.

Oasis: Why do you think ceramics lend themselves so beautifully to clothing?
An increasing interest in ceramics has spread to fashion lately with 3-D surfaces being reconfigured into 2-D print in such clever ways that you’d never know you were looking at a piece of porcelain on an outfit.  By using elements from the past, Oasis have created beautiful fabrics that look perfect on contemporary clothes.  The combination of the V&A’s world-class collections with Oasis’ eye for detail, love of materials and an imagination for pattern that knows no bounds, has resulted in a whimsical and romantic look with long-flowing pleated Maxi dresses and gold thread embroidered on tops… The combination of the V&A’s world-class collections and Oasis’ eye for detail and imagination for pattern has resulted in a whimsical and romantic look for the new Spring/Summer 16 season.

Oasis: Which is your favourite piece from the collection and why?
I have my eye on the Chloe Shirt Dress that combines details from both a 19th century cloisonné enamel bowl and large stylised chrysanthemums taken from an 18th century plate.  I think the shape is smart and I like that the butterflies have come from underneath the bowl (the main motif on the front of the bowl features a samurai in full armour.)  It would be my pick from an amazing collection.

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