Fashion & Fairytale exhibition at the Assembly Rooms | The Fashion Museum

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Fashion & Fairytale exhibition at the Assembly Rooms

This stunning hand-crafted, quilted and embroidered dress by Cindy Beadman will be on show in the Fashion & Fairytale exhibition at the Assembly Rooms from 3 to 5 August.

31 July 2020

The free exhibition is the culmination of a 12-month project which aims to inspire a new generation of sustainable fashion designers.

School children were invited to submit their own fashion designs and four were chosen to be manufactured by volunteers and displayed in the show, alongside iconic pieces by Bath-based designer Cindy Beadman.

The inspiration for Fashion & Fairytale came from Cindy’s deep love of nature. A gamekeeper’s daughter, she grew up surrounded by woods and fields and experienced a profound connection to the wilderness around her.

“It was this heightened sensitivity and enhanced sense of beauty, with its all-embracing mystical connection to the ‘whole’, that has informed every creative impulse of my life,” she says.

Now part of the Fashion Museum collection, the hand-quilted Habotai silk gown, which dates from 1983, is worn over a hooped crinoline petticoat to give the dramatic bell-shaped skirt. It was created using as many sustainable techniques as possible to weave together Cindy’s love of nature with fairytale symbolism.

Cindy commented that this gossamer lightweight silk was her favourite fabric: “it is delicate, just like a butterfly wing or the petal of a flower”.

On the dying process, she says, “This was great fun and often involved syringing dye onto fabric laid out in water on the floor for days. Such was my determination to get the effect I wanted.”

The shape of the dress echoes the circle of the changing seasons. Hidden among the skirt are the words of a poem:

In the chilly days of fall, gather memories one and all

In the wintry days of snow, gather snowflakes as they blow

In the daisy days of spring, gather songs the robins bring

In the summer days of sun, gather rosebuds everyone

Come and find the quilted pocket dress on display at the Fashion & Fairytale event and see what else you can discover hidden amongst the folds of the silk skirt!

To find out more and book a free ticket visit