Bath’s Fashion History


Last year, CNN published a story about fashion museums around the world, which was woefully incomplete. California’s many excellent fashion museums were left out, but the list included several museums I was not familiar with—including the Fashion Museum in Bath, England.

So on a recent trip to the United Kingdom, I, of course, dropped by Bath’s museum in Bath to check out its “Fifty Fabulous Frocks” exhibition, which celebrates the museum’s 50 years of collecting and exhibiting fashion.

The exhibition featured many covetable gowns by famous and unknown designers.


In addition to the “Fifty Fabulous Frocks” exhibition, there’s a “Behind the Scenes of the Historic Collection” area, which hints at the volume of historic fashion in the museum’s archive.


Another fun section uses historic pieces from the collection to break down current trends—a boon for fashion students and designers looking for inspiration.


There’s also a “Dress Like a Victorian” interactive display filled with crinolines, corsets, dresses, coats and hats that visitors can try on to get a glimpse into the Victorian era. On the day I visited, a group of French schoolchildren were also touring the museums—and the dress up display was clearly the highlight of their visit.


First published at on May 19, 2013.