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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 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

109 items found.
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If no image shows this may be due to copyright restrictions. Please contact picture.library@nmni.com who will be happy to help.
Suit

Suit

colour : black. condition : good....

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...

'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 ...

jacket

jacket

Jacket of black twill weave wool mix with stand collar 4.7cm high and long set in sleeves with overlapping vent 5.4cm deep at seam wrist edge. S B wit...

Dinner Dress, Pierre Cardin

Dinner Dress, Pierre Cardin

Emerald green silk mini evening dress, sleeveless shift. Neckband at back detaches from bodice at shoulders and is attached to inverted V-shaped fron...

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, ...

Disciplinary Dress

Disciplinary Dress

Black cire tight fitting below calf length dress, with long fitting set-in sleeves. High round neck front and back. Dress laces from hip level to nec...

Suit

Suit

Black Thierry Mugler suit 1980's Black worsted wool two piece woman's suit, intricately tailored. Skirt is kneelength with curved panels at front and ...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

colour : black and pink. design : evening dress of black ribbed silk full skirt and bodice of lilac satin with batwing sleeves, three quater length. ...

Evening Dress (Short)

Evening Dress (Short)

design : striped black and gold short evening dress. In the 1960s Yves Saint Laurent managed to combine haute couture methods with contemporary youthf...

Letter case

Letter case

design :wallet shaped letter case of fawn slipper satin, lined with olive green silk and padded with cotton wool, wallet formed from a strip of fabric...

Black leather boots, with metal studs

Black leather boots, with metal studs

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

Crystal brooch

Crystal brooch

design : circular reversed intaglio crystal depicting tabby cat's head, set in gold. Pearl set at top, bottom and sides in deep square gold setting. T...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

Empire line evening dress of spotted cream net over cream satin. Where the satin is not covered with net: at the edges of the short set in sleeves, ...

Outfit; dress; shoulder piece

Outfit; dress; shoulder piece

Blue linen printed dress, Dai Rees. Wicker basket case - part of outfit. Strapless pale blue linen dress with a little black embroidery. Worn with a t...

Mantua

Mantua

Mantua and petticoat of pink silk brocaded in purple, blue, green and brown with sprays of flowering trees. From exhibition label, early 2000s: Court...

Souper dress

Souper dress

'Paper' dress, (80% celulose, 20% cotton) with all over 'Campbell's soup print. Sleeveless and collarless, the rounded low neck and armholes bound in...

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 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...

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

design : peach silk open robe, petticoat and buttoning compere trimmed with self frills and furbelows. condition : good. From exhibition label early 2...

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...

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 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...

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...

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