New Fashion Gallery Open

Salisbury Museum’s new fashion gallery was officially opened by British fashion icon Dame Zandra Rhodes on Saturday 7 August. The carefully curated exhibition includes a wide selection of fashion items ranging from a girl’s pretty red coat made from her father’s military tunic worn during the Boer War to a skirt and bodice from Christian Dior’s 1950 Ligne Long collection. It is the result of three years’ work by the museum team, young people, volunteers and experts, all sharing their skills and enthusiasm to produce this dynamic new show which explores our changing relationship with clothes.

The provenance of many of the items have been carefully researched and give a fascinating insight into the lives of their owners. A silk high-heeled shoe on display was originally found beneath the floorboards of a cottage in Upper Woodford, Salisbury. Dating from the 1730s the fashionable and expensive shoe had been carefully darned and repaired before it was deliberately placed under the floor. Representing a folk tradition that spans at least 600 years, shoes were hidden in homes in the hope that their ability to mould to the wearer’s foot would permeate them with their spirit and ward off evil.

The museum project, started in March 2018, was worked on by Arts Society heritage volunteers and groups of young people including students from Bournemouth Arts University, St Joseph’s Catholic School and young people attending an afterschool club at the museum. The project was made possible by a grant of £115,360 from the Museums Association Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund which funds projects that develop collections to achieve social impact. The Arts Society Sarum also supported the new gallery with funding for the young people’s wider interior design ideas which included a new colour scheme and updated flooring.

A website dedicated to the project can be seen here