'Riviera Style: Resort & Swimwear' is the perfect exhibition to soak up during the last days of summer.
The retrospective takes visitors on a journey through 100 years of fashion history; starting with Edwardian dress for restorative beach days encouraged by doctors prescribing a dose of 'sea air', right up to modern day cutaways and barely-there Lyrca.
A diverse spectrum of swimwear is on show along the way: Oleg Cassini’s psychedelic sixties designs and sculptural corsetry are showcased alongside leisurely beach pyjamas and classic boat neck Bretons. Highlights include turn of the century knitted swimsuits, the one-piece worn by Miss Great Britain in 1965 and Nigella Lawson’s famous 'burkini' that drew national attention.
The exhibition explores the different motivations behind swimwear design. The importance of functionality is examined, with pieces specifically designed for sun-worshippers and those for Olympic swimmers. Cultural changes and technical developments are also charted, as shifts in attitudes towards modesty and practicality see vast variations in fabric size and shape over the decades.
The garments are interspersed with a gallery of vintage holiday posters. Whether surfing USA on the California coast, holidaying in the Côte d'Azur, or staying closer to home in Scarborough and Great Yarmouth, you’ll feel nostalgia for the golden age of travel.
The exhibition exposes the cyclical nature of fashion, as the retro silhouettes, sea foam shades and coral hues are still relevant today and evident in the Riviera-inspired aesthetic of spring/summer 2016 collections.
Closes 13th September.
Featured imagery: Fashion and Textile Museum