Vivienne Westwood's corset (Image: V&A)

What Olympics? If you are in London this summer, don’t miss Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 at the Victoria and Albert Museum (the V&A). More than 60 ballgowns from 1950 to the present day highlight the designs of Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Displayed over two floors, Ballgowns will show specially made designs for social events such as private parties, royal state occasions, debutante balls, opening nights and red carpet events. This perfectly pink classic from Elsa Schiaparelli (pink is the navy blue of India, indeed) was kindly donated by the Duchess of Devonshire.

Other designers such as Norman Hartnell, Victor Stiebel, Zandra Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Jonathan Saunders and Hussein Chalayan are on show, as well as dresses fresh from the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, Giles, Erdem, Roksanda Illincic, Mark Fast and Jenny Packham. Innovative designer Gareth Pugh has created a stunning metallic leather dress especially for the exhibition.

A selection of royal ballgowns is in the museum exhibition, including a Norman Hartnell gown designed for Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis Dress’ designed by Catherine Walker and gowns worn by today’s young royals. Dresses worn by actresses and celebrities including Sandra Bullock, Daphne Guinness, Elizabeth Hurley and Bianca Jagger are also on show. (The Elvis dress is instantly recognisable by its turned-up white collar).

The V&A is always free, but entry to the exhibition is £10. Still, it’s one way to escape the Olympics.

Nearest London Underground station – South Kensington.

About Holiday Goddess Editors

Holiday Goddess. Travel for Less.