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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 costume
  • 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

108 items found.
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Dress

Dress

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

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 ...

Jacket, shorts and top

Jacket, shorts and top

Jacket, shorts and sleeveless top of brightly printed faille. Outfit comprising shorts, sleeveless top and jacket in bright red/blue/black/yellow pri...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

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

Suit

Suit

colour : black. condition : good....

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 ...

Coat

Coat

Brown wool coat with corded crepe weave, knee length, with long set in sleeves. Band of fur round hem, shallower band at cuffs and fur collar. Panel ...

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...

Printed Silk Velvet Jacket

Printed Silk Velvet Jacket

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

Black leather boots, with metal studs

Black leather boots, with metal studs

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

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...

Tee shirt

Tee shirt

Cotton jersey modified tee shirt. Front and back yoke and neckband and printed with tiny red pairs of spots on white. The neckband is of self fabric, ...

Mini Dress

Mini Dress

Mini dress of 'psychedelic' printed silk predominantly pink with green, orange and violet. C/B opening with zip from hip level to mid back and hook at...

Mantua

Mantua

Mantua and petticoat of pink silk brocaded in purple, blue, green and brown with sprays of flowering trees....

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...

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...

Trained Dress

Trained Dress

design : Trained dress of white muslin, high waisted, the short sleeves and borders embroidered with garlands of white flowers outlined in black. cond...

Dress

Dress

colour : black evening dress. satin slipper...

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 ...

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 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,...

'Tuck Pleat' dress

'Tuck Pleat' dress

colour : off white. Slightly off white pleated dress, pleats are thin and run vertically to make up the whole dress. 'V' neck at front and back, long ...

Trouser Suit, Christian Lacroix (Designer Outfit)

Trouser Suit, Christian Lacroix (Designer Outfit)

design : Brown linen trouser suit, cropped trousers, s/b single buttoning jacket; 1 buttton on each short set in sleeve. All buttons of multi-coloured...

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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