Worthing Museum launch phase 2 of prestigious costume trail across Worthing

Worthing Museum launch phase 2 of prestigious costume trail across Worthing

The second phase of Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’s prestigious costume trail is now underway, with 9 new historical dressed being added across Worthing, as well as an original 1930’s Chanel dress which is on display at the museum.

With over 30,000 different garments, Worthing Museum is home to one of the largest costume collections in the UK. The trail, which aims to bring the museum’s prestigious costume collection to the public, launched in October 2016 and will be on display until Summer 2018. A new location has also been added to the trail at Northbrook Metropolitan College in Goring-By-Sea, where a new cabinet has been installed, displaying a homemade Op Art Dress from 1965.

The 1932 Chanel Evening Dress, which is made of blue silk tulle and small matching sequins, is currently on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, where it was given by the Loelia Duchess of Westminster. Coco Chanel designed evening dresses characterised by an elongated feminine style in the early 1930s, creating a modern image that every woman wanted, even if her high price tags meant only wealthy women could afford her styles. Her design inspired mass produced copies, one of which is on display alongside the Chanel dress in the museum.

Each of the costumes on display throughout the trail reveals a piece of history, and one in particular dates back the 1840’s. The tarlatan Walking Dress, produced in 1845, features a seaweed and coral like pattern with shades of grey, aubergine and copper brown. This type of dress was worn for outdoor occasions when one wanted to see and be seen, and were often referred to as promenade dresses. Also on display is a 1915 homemade three-piece Day Dress, consisting of a thick cotton bodice, skirt and belt. This clothing reflected the transformation of women’s roles during the First World War, with many participating in the war effort as nurses or ambulance drivers behind the lines in France, whilst many other women replaced the men who had gone to fight in the heavy industries and factories.

Working in collaboration with local community interest group Men In Sheds, a Secret Gallery has also been installed within the museum as part of the update. The gallery features a series of doors which reveal artwork inspired by Worthing Museum’s costume collection, each set of doors influenced by wardrobe designs from the past 20 decades. The museum have worked alongside Creative Waves Community Arts, local school children, college students and community groups to create this artwork, decorating selected cases on the trail and within the museum galleries and garden.

Gerry Connolly, Worthing Museum & Art Gallery Curator, says “The public’s response to the costume trail has been amazing. The engagement of visitors, residents and our supporting venues staff with the costume trail has been very positive. One new resident used the trail map to familiarize herself with the local area. Following on from the success of the first trail map we are very excited to launch the costume trail phase 2. The new trail features fabulous costumes from the collection displayed in our partner venues. Pick up a new trail map and enjoy.”

Worthing Museum’s Costume Trail is supported by The Heritage Lottery and the South East Museum Development Fund. Trail maps are available to collect at Worthing Museum.