Dressing the Body: Silhouettes & Fashion

Museu del Disseny

It’s easy to visit Barcelona and miss the treasure that is the Design Museum.

With the numerous incredible Gaudi houses, amazing beaches, churches, food Hello, tapas and wine! and a little ol’ church called La Sagrada Familia, this museum may not be that high on the list of priorities.

HOWEVER.

Go to the Design Museum, I urge you!

Museo del Disseny, Barcelona

Where the Magic Begins

So what’s so special about this place, you ask? 

Well, there are various floors and exhibits – both permanent and temporary – that are incredibly interesting to learn about. 

But being that this is the Fashion Series portion of the site, let me gush about perhaps one of my all-time favorite fashion exhibits I have ever seen. 

 

Barcelona Design Museum, Fashion Exhibit

Located on the third floor of the museum, the Silhouettes and Fashion exhibit is a magnificent visual history on how fashion has changed over the past almost 500 years. It starts your journey in the year 1550 and slowly takes you through to today.

The exhibit itself isn’t huge, but the museum uses every single inch of space so resourcefully that it feels as though you are walking through a time machine.

design museum, barcelona spain
Design Museum, Barcelona Spain
Design Museum, Barcelona Spain
Design Museum, Barcelona Spain

The Evolution of Fashion

Each era not only focuses on looks from the past, but brings to light the reality of wearing some of these crazy trends. 

It highlights their evolution over time with specific attention brought to both men and women’s fashions and how these evolve from decade to decade as the world changes around them.

 

Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona

The First Show

Among the things that were discussed in the exhibit, one of the facts that completely blew my mind was learning about the first model and the origin of the fashion show as we know it today. 

As someone who has worked in fashion for for almost 2 decades and produces fashion shows, this was incredibly interesting to learn about!

According to the museum’s history, an English designer named Charles Frederick Worth revolutionized the fashion world. He was the first designer who used live models to promote his collection to high society. 

He was also the first designer to sew his own branded labels into his garments. This, along with word-of-mouth from his high society clientele gave him immense notoriety in circles worldwide. 

Charles Frederick Worth ultimately raised the bar so that designers could become arbiters of what people should be wearing.  

Charles Frederick Worth history board
Design Museum, Barcelona

Decades Leading to Today

The beauty of this exhibit is that every single display has a purpose, each is more breathtaking and interesting than the last. 

You are given a true look into the history of fashion and its evolution over time. The information is concise and the stunning visuals just add the extra touch of perfection, especially for people who need more visuals than words. 

My head was spinning in the best way possible. It’s a fashion museum in Barcelona like no other!

Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona black dress
Design Museum, barcelona black dress
Design Museum, Barcelona long black dress
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona

The Price of Beauty

As you move from decade to decade, it is apparent that the price women paid for fashion was very high. 

Wired corsets, inflated skirts and uncomfortable undergarments drastically affected not only their posture but their health.

For example, in the early 1900s, women wore S-shaped corsets, which came to be known as Edwardian Corsets. These corsets pushed the abdomen back, threw the breasts forward and arched the back, giving women an S-shape figure and severely deforming the body in the process. 

“By the constriction of the waist, the liver and all the abdominal contents are pushed downward below their normal position and their functions are greatly interfered with. The effects of this pressure upon the stomach are most disastrous, and cause a host of digestive and nervous troubles. There is very frequently a prolapsus of the kidneys; the right one is more frequently prolapsed than the left, owing to the relation of the right kidney to the liver.

– Source: Foundations Revealed

Did you really think the saying, “Beauty is Pain” was only just a saying? 

Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona

Highlights & Favorites

BALENCIAGA
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
THE ROARING 20s
Design Meseum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design museum, Barcelona
HISTORICAL REFERENCES

Actual advertisements, images and reports taken from each decade in time! 

Design Museum, Barcelona advertisement
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona
Design Museum, Barcelona

Conclusion: You Can't Miss This Exhibit!

I left the Design Museum’s Silhouettes and Fashion exhibit in complete awe. 

In all my years of visiting museums and exhibits, there has never been one that taught me so much and captured the essence of the history of fashion in such an incredible way. 

So, if you are in the area, please stop by and witness these amazing moments in time captured so perfectly by the Design Museum in Barcelona. 
You won’t regret it!  

For more information on tickets, opening hours and pricing – click here. 

Dressing the Body: Silhouettes & Fashion
(1550-2015)
Museu del Disseny de Barcelona