Costume Collection

A surprising and unexpected costume collection comprising locally made and worn fashion.

The Costume Collection tells the fashion history of Melbourne and Victoria. The strengths of the collection are in the locally made and worn costumes, dating from 1850–1970 and in the work of contemporary Victorian designers inspired by the collection for their own designs.

The collection chronicles the social history of fashion and dressmaking, showing the luxurious alongside the humble. The many items range from ephemeral items such as trims and fripperies, parlour aprons and cosmetics to elaborate and exuberant 19th century ball gowns, dancing slippers and millinery.

Items from the Costume Collection regularly compliment displays at Trust properties as well as feature in Trust exhibitions like Love Desire & Riches: The Fashion of Wedding Dresses and Victoriana: Pleasure Garden Photography and Costume Exhibition.

The Costume Collection at Labassa is available to researchers by appointment only. To make an appointment please call 03 9656 9832 during business hours.

The costume collection provides insight into patterns of consumption, emigration, trade and social change.

Bridal Corset ‘The Celebrated C.B. Bridal Corset’

Maker: l’toile C.B. (France?) Date: 1890
Silk, coutil, whalebone ?, lace, metal

Corset in silk satin with floss embroidery. Delicate flowers are embroidered over breast gussets. The corset has metal slot and stud fastening down the front of busk and is back lacing with metal eyelets. Silk floss embroidery features at top and bottom of boning channels on front of corset to prevent boning from penetrating the exterior silk. Interior is linked with coutil.

Wedding Hair Wreath. Melbourne, c 1885

Artificial flowers, wax, leather, paper, wire, paper, cambric.

Mourning Locket. Melbourne, c 1880

Jet, photograph, silk, human hair, metal.

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