Costume and Textiles

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Costume and Textiles

National Museums NI holds Ireland’s largest public collection of costume and textiles.

Over 50 years of fieldwork, research and donations has created a collection rich in both content and context. It represents the full spectrum of textile history in Ireland, from the thrifty recycling of everyday clothing into quilts and rag rugs, to the most fashionable of dress and world-famous linens. The collection covers four broad themes –


• Historic Costume
• Contemporary Fashion
• Fashion Accessories
• Textiles

The objects date from the early 18th century to present day and they tell stories of daily life in Ireland, from high fashion to hobby needlework, industry to artistry.

The costume collections includes dress from international designers and the high street, the result of a focussed collecting policy over the last 40 years to build a significant archive of contemporary fashion.

Historic fashion is well represented with costumes illustrating both social history and aspects of fashionable dress over three centuries.
A highlight of the eighteenth century collection is the suit of cut velvet and metal thread worn by the ‘Black Rod’ of the Irish Houses of Parliament in 1751.

Three specific collections of haberdashery and costume illustrate drapery retailing in Ulster from the 1880s to the late 1990s. The costume and accessories collections reflect not only life in Ireland but also the challenges and successes met by those who chose to emigrate in search of a better life.

The collections of textiles celebrate Ulster’s prominence as a manufacturer of linen fabric and highly ornamented and embroidered domestic furnishings. Collections of Irish lace, embroidery and patchwork explore aspects of needlework education in Ireland, domestic economy, and artistic achievement.

Searchable list of collections

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Skirt, Romeo Gigli (Designer Outfit)

Skirt, Romeo Gigli (Designer Outfit)

description : Finely pleated black silk harem skirt, lower calf length, the fabric doubled back to about knee level, where it joins unpleated black si...

Pair of lady's shoes

Pair of lady's shoes

colour : dark cream. design :pair of ladies shoes, dark cream satin uppers, leather soles, pointed toe, dark cream satin covered italian heels with sh...

Dress

Dress

colour : black evening dress. satin slipper...

Bustier Top

Bustier Top

Bustier, day and evening, cream, cotton and satin weave; Boned bustier top of cream sateen lined with white cotton. Fast at centre back with hooks an...

Black leather boots, with metal studs

Black leather boots, with metal studs

Pair of black leather ankle boots with metal studs....

Hobble dress, ice blue satin

Hobble dress, ice blue satin

colour : blue. design : hobble skirted dress of blue silk crepe, cuffs trimmed with chine silk. condition : fair. Red stain across back of bodice has ...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

colour : grey and pink. design : evening dress of crepe backed satin based wool/silk mixture. Elaborate cut with one cap sleeve cut in one with bodice...

Evening outfit - women's

Evening outfit - women's

colour : orange and gold. design : evening outfit of pale orange-gold slipper satin comprising :- a) low backed sleeveless bias cut full length dress,...

Jacket, Jean-Paul Gaultier (Designer Outfit)

Jacket, Jean-Paul Gaultier (Designer Outfit)

design : Red and black checked wool day jacket. condition : perfect. To go with T2921 (polo neck top) and T2922 (black skirt)...

Dress

Dress

design : peach silk open robe, petticoat and buttoning compere trimmed with self frills and furbelows. condition : good....

Evening Outfit, John Galliano

Evening Outfit, John Galliano

Evening dress of light brown satin silk worn together, net over satin, with evening dress of cream cotton net. Bias cut satin evening dress of complex...

Mini Dress

Mini Dress

design : mini dress of brick red crepe with low scooped neckline, dropped waistline and pleated skirt, centre back fastens with a metal zip, there is ...

Cocktail dress

Cocktail dress

Pink and black cocktail dress with large back bow 1950's. Short strapless cocktail dress, of black corded silk with straight skirt and false button fr...

dress

dress

Full length sleeveless evening dress of royal blue satin sweetheart neckline, metal zip on left side bodic seam. Princess line front and back with ce...

'Smoking' Dress, Yves Saint Laurent

'Smoking' Dress, Yves Saint Laurent

Black silk calf length dress, open as a coat c/f, fastening with hooks at waist and press studs lower bodice. Black satin collar with deep reveres to...

Short evening dress

Short evening dress

colour : blue and green. design : long sleeved short evening dress covered completely with sequins in black, yellow, blue and green stripes, v - neck....

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

colour : blue. design : heavy pale blue satin panelled bias-cut evening dress, sleeveless, low neck, self belt....

Evening coat

Evening coat

design : An apple green satin evening coat, with self coloured taffeta lining, high upstanding white fur collar and fan shaped folds of fabric radiati...

Day Dress

Day Dress

colour : white. design : c/b opening hook fastening plain stand up collar comprising machine embroidered inset, trefoil motifs between bands of white ...

Printed Silk Velvet Jacket

Printed Silk Velvet Jacket

design : Printed silk velvet jacket, silver lace design on pale burnt orange. condition : good....

Evening coat, black satin with striped collar

Evening coat, black satin with striped collar

colour : black. design : black satin evening coat with collar and cuffs of black and white striped satin, the lining of lilac satin. condition : good....

shawl

shawl

large shawl of treated muslin. The end sections 24cm deep and cream with violet and grey blue silk stripes, maximum 1cm wide. These are joined to mi...

Leggings

Leggings

Black leggings of 70% nylon, 20% cotton and 10% Spandex, very stretchy, with black velvet front section with two rows of four pressed silver metal but...

Jacket

Jacket

Dark red velvet jacket, with shawl collar, sloping reveres, set in long sleeves, four pressed silver metal buttons at c/f. At hip level at either sid...

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