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Friday, January 11, 2008

In The BlackFollowing the success of Brighton Museum's denim handling event, which is still remembered with great fondness in this house, the council have moved on from jeans to party frocks with an exhibition dedicated to the little black dress. Forget the Battle of Hastings and World War II, what museums really need to be documenting is the history of Victoria Beckham's clothes.

I'm deeply suspicious though. The museum claims to have "Julien MacDonald’s flowing creation worn by Victoria Beckham in That Extra Half Inch". In case you're wondering, 'That Extra Half an Inch' is one of Posh's fine literary efforts. Yes, that's right, she wore it in a book. The museum missed out the word 'an', presumably as a tribute to her bad grammar.

Anyhoo, the exhibition does include a few dresses worn by international style icons such as Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley and... um... local drag queen Dave Lynn, but whereas they are all clearly marked as having touched the flesh of celebrity, the Julien Macdonald creation merely states that it's Posh's favourite. It's a bit like putting a lasagne in a glass case and labelling it 'Phil's Favourite Dish'. It doesn't mean it's touched my lips.

But that aside, it wasn't a bad exhibition. Although when you arrive at a room full of little black dreses, you do feel like you're walking into a funeral for mannequins. Admittedly I wouldn't spend half an hour wandering through the dress department of Next (no matter how much Lisa begs me), but this is historical art, so it's ok.

I particularly liked the dress donated by Zoe Ball, which she'd worn at her birthday party last year. Well it wasn't so much the dress I liked, it was the information that went with it. Apparently she bought it at a vintage shop in New York, had it shortened by the costume lady from 'Strictly Come Dancing', and got her P.A. named Em to sew a new fringe on the bottom. It must be so nice to be a celebrity. You don't have to lift a finger for yourself.

But the final word goes to a middle-aged lady who was walking around the room, looking at the displays with a concerned expression on her face. I happened to be standing behind her examining a Bruce Oldfield dress, when the woman turned to her friend, shook her head, and said "Do you know what's missing from this exhibition?". Her friend didn't. The lady expounded:

"There isn't one over a size 10."