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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sonnet Stanfill, Curator at the V&A

Yesterday I posted about the V&A's upcoming exhibition celebrating ballgowns designed by British designers since the 1950s. Stylist magazine have published a 'Work Life' interview with V&A curator Sonnet Stanfill to coincide with the event. Stanfill was part responsible for this much-awaited exhibition, and this article outlines her work day.

V&A Curator

With an interest in period costume and the history of dress, I have often thought of becoming a curator in a museum, rather than working with historical costume for performance. The V&A would be a fantastic place to work in this field - they have collections from the middle ages to the present day, sharing clothing items from all over the world in beautiful displays. As a museum curator, you get to experience historical costume in detail, to research it in order to understand it's social context and textile history, rather than recreating styles in order to make new costumes, perhaps disregarding complete historical accuracy in order to allow for an actor's needs as a performer.


Sonnet Stanfill is in charge of the fashion galleries at the V&A, and co-curated the Ballgowns exhibition opening this Saturday. She says, in the Stylist article, that she worked closely with textile conservators to choose and display the ballgowns in appropriate ways, for example, each mannequin was individually chosen to suit a certain dress, to accentuate its defining features.

As well as ensuring that fashion from the 20th Century and contemporary collections is well-displayed and represented at the V&A, Stanfill responds to public enquiries and gives talks and lectures to visitors of the museum. She is currently working on a book, From Club to Catwalk, investigating fashion in 80s London, to coincide with an exhibition at the V&A of the same name, opening later this year.

You can read the whole article on the Stylist website. Visit the V&A website for information on the Ballgowns exhibition, or read my post about it here. In March, I posted about another of Stylist's career articles: Hannah Lobelson, wardrobe manager at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

(First photo from Stylist website, second and third photos show the ballgowns in the V&A exhibition)

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