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Belles of the Ball

Since its 19th century heyday, the ballgown has remained a fashion staple, although is often a piece to be desired rather than owned.

The essential design has changed little over the years, but for anyone who wants to know what a Jane Austen character might have worn in the late 20th century, they should brush up on their social etiquette and pay a visit to the V&A Museum’s Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 exhibition, which opens on May 19 and runs until January 6.   

An accompanying book, published by the V&A and priced at £20, includes specially commissioned photographs of ballgowns from the past 60 years, including designs by Alexander McQueen, Erdem, Ossie Clarke and Stella McCartney.

Steve Draper, Production Editor, Drapers steve.draper@emap.com

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