Fiction in Fashion at the Fashion and Textile Museum London

Fiction in Fashion as our The Scene of the week  at the Fashion and Textile Museum London. I am an avid reader and lover of the classics.  We are pleased to share our love for Fiction and Fashion with a new display of fashionable fiction at the Fashion and Textile Museum at 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1.  If you are looking for something cultural to do and you love fashion and fiction like we do then go explore what glamorous women have been reading since 1953. You will able to view the archives of Penguin Books, paperback novels that have been chosen to feature include popular editions of Bonjour TristesseLady Chatterley’s LoverCouplesLace and The Secret History. Curated by writer and journalist Sarah Vine, the display complements an exhibition of dresses by leading British couturier Bellville Sassoon, and hints at the changing taste of women across 50 years.

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The exhibit opened this week and continues until 11 January 2014.  

Do you know what glamorous and fashionable women been reading since the 1950s? This new exhibition Fiction in Fashion, at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London showcases the paperback novels that proved most popular with women readers in post-war Britain.  On the heels of the Great Gatsby trend this exhibition gives you a peak in the era when  everything was like floating on the bubbles of champagne.

Curated by Sarah Vine, the selection of titles is drawn from the archives of Penguin Books and is displayed alongside glamorous designs by British couture house Bellville Sassoon. Together, the dresses and novels reflect the changing taste of some of Britain’s most fashionable women across six decades.  With reference to the bookshelves of some of Britain’s most glamorous women, as well as to cultural barometers such as BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the Booker Prize and television adaptations the display presents an alternative social history, highlighting novels that have faded from view as well as those that have remained in fashion. I do not know about you, but I prefer a well written classic to some of the racy literature we see in the book stores of today.

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From controversial best sellers to literary classics, as well as new editions designed to coincide with films, the authors whose novels are highlighted range from Olivia Manning, L.P. Hartley and Truman Capote to Shirley Conran, Marian Keyes and Zadie Smith. A literature lovers dream. Head of the Fashion and Textile Museum, Celia Joicey says

‘The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon exhibition showcases British fashion design across 60 years, from 1950s debutantes to Diana, Princess of Wales. It is fascinating to see the novels that were popular in each era, and to consider the changing attitudes and aspirations of the women who wore these clothes.’

Joanna Prior, Managing Director of Penguin General, said

‘The design of Penguin paperbacks has always both captured and contributed to the visual culture of the day, connecting writers both old and new with the contemporary reader.  This selection of novels, alongside the glamorous Bellville Sassoon dresses on show, provides a glimpse of what the fashionable, style-conscious woman was reading during these decades.’

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The shop at the FTM will offer a range of vintage paperbacks during the display.

Museum opening times: Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–6pm; Last admission 5.15pm. Ticket prices: £8 adults, £5.50 students and concessions, free entry for under 12s.

The Fashion and Textile Museum is at 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF. For further information about FTM and its activities visit

About the author

Charlotte is an urban New Yorker who has lived in London, Paris & Morocco. She has an MBA in Management and Economics of Luxury Brands and Fashion and her BFA from the New School. She calls herself the dyslexic writer living between London & Paris. Digital Fashion & Lifestyle Architect ?:ChaChaNyc007