When I think of Bath, the following springs to mind: Roman Spas, Georgian buildings, quaint streets, rugby loving Daily Mail readers even.… but not fashion? A recent visit to look at the new Banana Republic store location, allowed me to explore the town to understand where fashion sits on the radar… and to my surprise, it is bang in the middle.
‘Bath in Fashion’ is an annual week of fashion related events in the city centre, from catwalk shows to exhibitions. Brands and retailers take part and celebrate style in all its guises. It’s a hit with the yummy mummies and ladies who lunch!
The stunning Bath Assembly rooms hold the cities Fashion Museum. This is real must for anyone with an interest in costume in general. The exhibition has a thorough collection of historical dress, as well as paying homage to contemporary designers.
The ‘Dress of the Year’ is a roll call of the most famous names in fashion over the last 40 years. Selected by an industry expert, the exhibit celebrates a designer, whose key outfit sums up the annual zeitgeist and has been running since 1963.
There were some incredible historic pieces which included ‘the paper dress,’ the oldest and most precious piece in the museum which was worn around 1660 to a court ball. An exquisite wedding dress from 1900, worn by an American socialite with a 20” waist, was also on display.
The exhibition also housed some mock corsets and crinolines to try on for fun, recommended before lunch.
Where many town centres are seeing vacant store lets and struggling retailers, Bath is quite the opposite with an influx of credible brands and a refreshing attitude of nurturing independent boutiques. The inhabitants have admirably even managed to keep Tesco out, which is certainly worthy of recognition.