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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

108 items found.
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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...

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...

'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...

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...

Suit

Suit

colour : black. condition : good....

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

Evening Dress

colour : black. design : black jersey evening dress....

suit

suit

Grey and olive green suit, the fabric of heavily treated manmade fabric, worked with large or small square pattern. The jacket is mostly large square...

Dress

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...

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...

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, ...

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...

Day dress

Day dress

Red wool day dress with V - neck, rounded turn over collar, draped bust line, hip line pockets with flaps, fitted bodice and shedth skirt. Short peta...

Outfit

Outfit

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...

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...

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...

Dress

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...

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 ...

Skirt, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

Skirt, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

design : Brown herringbone Donegal tweed skirt, mid calf length, slim fitting, with button-through fly fastening at c/f. Slanted set in pocket on each...

Mantua

Mantua

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

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, w...

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...

'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, 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...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

Boucher corset

Boucher corset

colour : gold. design : bodice in the form of an C18th corset, with c/f panel having a coloured print of a Boucher painting of lovers, the rest of cor...

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...

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...

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 ...

dress

dress

Long sheath sleeveless evening dress of white net embroidered in floral design and heavily embellished with clear bugle beads, silver beads of various...

Blouse

Blouse

Double breasted shirt blouse of transparent silk guaze, stand collar 5.5 cms deep. Short nipped in waist. Blouse buttons from first below left shoul...

Dress and short cape

Dress and short cape

design : dress and short cape of cotton/wool mixture, printed with garlands, lace etc. condition : good. treatment : some tearing at waist after "Shif...

Day dress, black voile and net

Day dress, black voile and net

colour : black. design : black voile afternoon dress short sleeves cut in one with bodice, band of silver embroidered net across yoke between voile an...

Hat

Hat

Black velvet top hat, with rosette of mulit-coloured feathers from central leather-bound CD at centre front set against sprays of larger multi-coloure...

Trouser suit

Trouser suit

design :black and brown striped wool jersey trouser suit. 2 piece trouser suit of black and tan striped wool jersey, the stripes 2.3 cm wide with one ...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

design : evening dress of grey silk with overlay of black net trimmed with black and silver sequins....

Dress

Dress

Silk crepe afternoon dress, blue/red/white/green floral print, puff sleeves, tucked back yoke c. 1937 home-made...

Jacket

Jacket

Jacket, Day and evening, Cream, cotton and satin; Tightly cut biker jacket of cream sateen. Long set in sleeves with brass zip at cuffs, zipped faste...

Ethnic evening dress

Ethnic evening dress

design : dark red cotton Ethnic evening dress. condition : fair....

Evening dress, Yves St Laurent

Evening dress, Yves St Laurent

pink and gold; "Toreador" evening suit of pink and gold metallic brocade, cut as suit of lights - waist length jacket with full length set in sleeves,...

Leggings

Leggings

colour : gold, black. design : stretch black velvet leggings, gilt printing scrolls, cupids, arabesques. size : 1. condition : good. Boule leggings wi...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

colour : purple & pink & black. design : evening dress of purple, pink and black artificial silk brocade with strapless bodice and full length straigh...

Mini Dress

Mini Dress

colour : cream. design : mini dress of cream acrylic the fabric being made up of 2 knitted surfaces worked together giving a dense, solid texture, the...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

design : Apricot silk dress, embroidered overskirt and bodice, with pintucked sleeves, cuffs and neck of gilt lace. condition : Good....

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

design : Embroidered black crepe over mide blue satin. condition : good....

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

design : pink silk taffeta and satin evening dress. condition : good....

Day dress

Day dress

design : day dress of salmon pink crepe with c/f opening at neck, this fastens with one hook and two press studs at neckedge and is decorated with a s...

Cape

Cape

design : a 1930's cape collar of black net with black and gilt sequin decoration with scarf end. condition : good....

Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress

design : Wedding dress, purple suede. condition : Complete perfect....

Shawl, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

Shawl, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

design : Wool shawl, grey cream, brown and dark brown large checks on brown beige background, loose open weave. condition : perfect....

Coat, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

Coat, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

design : Brown herringbone Donegal tweed coat, mid calf length beltless, patch pockets. condition : perfect....

Black leather shoulder bag, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

Black leather shoulder bag, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

design : Black leather shoulder bag, flap fastening. Black leather shoulder bag lined with fine brown herringbone tweed. Large compartment with two ...

Blouse, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

Blouse, Paul Costelloe (Designer Outfit)

design : White cotton shirt blouse, figured diamond design, V neck, long body, long set-in sleeves. size : 10. condition : perfect....

day dress

day dress

Day dress of crepe, prob art. silk. Fabric is light pink with design of Halloween motifs - cat, fireworks, pumpkin, witches, witches hats - in yellow...

Evening Dress

Evening Dress

colour : pink. design : evening dress high waisted long and unlined sleeves trimmed with sequins. condition : good....

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