Exhibition Review: Shaping Fashion, V&A

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

On Tuesday 24th October 2017, I went on a marvellous trip with my art teacher Kate, to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We went to see the Balenciaga exhibition: Shaping Fashion. It was amazing!

By the time we got to the Victoria and Albert Museum, we were 1 hour early, so we looked around and saw there was a free Plywood Exhibition and both went in. What wowed me the most was that people can make chairs and things from plywood. When I came out, Kate asked me what things I enjoyed the most. I said the chair mould and the video about making veneers. We also saw some of the V&A's fashion collection, including some very beautiful outfits with incredible embroidery.

Christobal Balenciaga Exhibition

After the hour had passed it was time for us to see the Cristobal Balenciaga fashion exhibition. I was so exited, I was about to fall to the floor! The first thing I said when I got in was a green evening dress and cape (1961), and I said “Look at that dress, it looks like a vegetable!” I was very inspired by the 'Envelope Dress’ (1960), which made me think of my designs and how I could improve them. After I had seen some of the designs, I thought how impractical most of them were and how it would be if I was to wear such things! The few other dresses I ran into were all astonishing, as in pretty perfect. We saw crazy hats to beautiful dresses.

Then we went upstairs to see some fashion designs that have been inspired by Christobal Balenciaga. It was amazing to see these - especially some of the colours, like the beautiful dusty pink one (designed by Res Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons), similar to the colour of my rucksack.

When we were halfway round the second floor I found a pretty dress with a long dazzling cape at the back but through the glass I then spotted a semi-transparent white dress with beautiful coloured flowers scattered on top of it (designed by Oscar de la Renta in 2015).

We then stumbled upon a striking collection of some other dresses and there was one black one, which I thought might look better with buttons on it. Once we had seen all the pieces, I went round the show again and sketched some of my favourite pieces and made some notes.

Sadly after an hour in the gallery we had to leave. As we were leaving we saw a ginormous sketchbook that reminded me of how big Shakespeare’s book of poems were.

Our Afternoon

We had a lovely lunch sitting outside in the Garden Cafe and I told Kate all about how I ran in the water once and got soaking wet. After lunch, we still had a few hours before the train home was going to leave, so we found a bench in the V&A, sat and did some art. But then, we came upon an unexpected opera performance, which was very endearing because it was also of a singing lesson.... we got stuck in and had a go ourselves.... "Su.... saaaaaan... aaaa!"

After that surprise we went to we looked around the Theatre and Performance Collection where we saw a lot of original costumes for theatre, opera and pantomimes, and things like that. We also saw an amazing set design for the opera, Carmen (designed by Es Devlin).


My day was incredible. Absolutely amazing from beginning to end. I loved the ‘envelope dress’ and especially the pink peachy colour. The hats were crazy, the vegetable dress was funny, and of course the transparent dress was incredible. I have never seen so many beautiful things in one room.

When I got home I created a fashion mood board in my room with pink pins, sketches of my favourite designs and a picture of Balenciaga's Envelope Dress.

By Ida.

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