Once, not too long ago, I ran away from home and for an all-too brief period of time I lived the lonely, unfashionable existence of a solo, single-bag traveler.  The "alone part" of my trip began at Heathrow insufficiently armed with an incomplete map and rudimentary knowledge the Underground.  I somehow managed to get to the general vicinity of the hotel and upon exiting my station stop could only guess as to whether to take a right or a left.  I took a right and was, of course, wrong. 
Day Dress by Horrockses Fashion
Exhausted from a whirlwind roadtrip across Ireland and inflicted with the requisite airplane-caught cold, I also found myself lost in London.  If, judging from my rolled jeans and trainers, passers by had any questions as to what I  was exactly, my over-packed backpack (in a subtle shade of orange) proved beyond a doubt that I was, in fact, a tourist.  This was the state of my affairs as I wearily accepted defeat and claimed an obliging step outside the Victoria and Albert Museum

As silly as it may seem, the V&A allowed me a couple minutes to sit still, blow my nose, and find my bearings anonymously among the throngs of other map-studying types.  Amazingly wonderful exhibits aside, this particular museum will always be a special place for me.  Sitting outside the V&A I realized that being alone in foreign parts isn't all that terrifying. 

I could go on and on about the unforgettably lavish couture exhibit that just happened to be open or the unforgivably expensive History of Fashion measuring tape I purchased in the gift shop, but I won't.  Simply put, the V&A is an amazing museum with eclectic collections covering the full spectrum of the Fine Arts from printmaking to theater.  It goes without saying (and   yet . . .) that my favorite rooms housed fashion and jewelry stretching back to the 17th Century.  And, like most museums in London, you get to see it all for free.

In addition to an overwhelming barrage of exhibits at the museum itself, the V&A has an impressive and interactive on-line presence as well.  One of the more intriguing additions on the website which recently caught my eye, is an open invitation to create a couture inspired design with the help of a downloadable sewing pattern for a 1950s Day Dress by Horrockses Fashion.  I have, rather weakly, attempted to draw the dress (I do it all for you.) which just serves as a reminder that  I should stick to fabric.  In fact maybe I should get some fabric and try to make my own version of this springy vintage frock. 

Click on the drawing to learn more about this dress and to see what it really looks like. Cheers!

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