The collection of fashion accessories at National Museums NI includes more than 1,500 objects reflecting over 300 years of high style and simple utility in daily life.
The objects range from the colourful and fancy fans designed for Victorian evening dress, to basic umbrellas for everyday use. The collection showcases traditional craft skills used in the making of dress accessories. Skills such as glove making, shoe making, millinery, and the weaving of fine Paisley-patterned shawls.
Highlights of the collection include :
- Bag and purses from 1800 to present day, including a silk purse from the early 19th century embroidered with fish scales.
- A collection of shawls, some of which were worn for weddings in the second half of the19th
- A collection of hats including embroidered smoking caps, straw bonnets, top hats and sunbonnets.
- A collection of fans, of painted silk, ivory, ostrich feather, and printed paper.
- A collection of shoes dating from the mid-1700s to recent acquisitions by designers such as Christian Louboutin.
Visitors to The Ulster Folk Museum can see a shoemaker’s workshop, a draper’s shop and a hatter’s shop, all based on early 1900s originals. At the Ulster American Folk Park the draper’s shop is well stocked with examples of early 1900s costume and accessories.