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Walker Art Gallery puts fashion centre stage

Fashion is coming to the Walker Art Gallery this autumn with a new exhibition that looks at shopping and style in the city between the wars.

More than 70 fascinating frocks and other outfits will be on show in An English Lady's Wardrobe which opens at the William Brown Street gallery in October.

The heart of the paid-for exhibition will be clothes and accessories owned by the late Emily Margaret Tinne, drawn from the special collection held by National Museums Liverpool which, at some 700 items, is the largest existing collection of one person’s clothing in the archives of any UK gallery.

Mrs Tinne, who was born in Calcutta in 1886, was part of a wealthy Liverpool family and an inveterate shopper and fashionista.

Her collection, which features everything from a wool bathing suit worn on her honeymoon in 1910 to fashion patterns used by her dressmaker, was donated to the museum by the Tinne family in 1967.

Pauline Rushton, Senior Curator at National Museums Liverpool, said: “The Tinne Collection provides a wonderful snapshot of life in a middle-class Liverpool family between the First and Second World Wars. The inclusion of photographs of the family home, along with personal letters, means that visitors will really get to know the Tinnes through the exhibition.

The Tinne family before the First World War

“Emily Tinne’s love of shopping was extraordinary, and her vast wardrobe transports us back to a very different Liverpool.

“From the prestigious, Parisian-inspired department stores providing made-to-measure services, to the highly skilled tailors, milliners and shoemakers, Liverpool was well equipped to cater to the needs of the wealthy elite living in Britain’s greatest port city.”

The exhibition will feature daywear, evening dresses, outdoor wear, underwear and accessories, including jewellery, shoes and handbags dating from the period 1910 to 1939.

Sumptuous velvet and fashionable machine-made lace feature in a number of outfits, while others demonstrate an Art Deco influence. The outfits were worn on outings to the theatre, to concerts and to charitable events.

It will also feature costumes belonging to Mrs Tinne’s children as well as outfits worn by the family servants.

An English Lady’s Wardrobe runs from October 25 to March 1 2020. Tickets are £9 with £8 concessions and are available now from the gallery or online HERE

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