Chertsey Museum - Day & Night - from the bedroom to the ballroom: 1929-1939

Chertsey Museum - Day & Night - from the bedroom to the ballroom: 1929-1939

Tuesday 18 June 2013

After Grace Evans, curator at Chertsey Museum, came to speak to WECS at ‘Glamour Day’ last year she invited the society to visit the museum to see its new exhibition, which focuses on the glamour of the 1930s, and also view some of the Olive Matthews collection.

Grace will give us a ‘behind the scenes visit to look at some iconic pieces from this amazing nationally significant costume collection which was started by Olive Matthews. Born in 1887 Olive Mary Matthews started collecting in her early childhood and in the 1960s with the help of Sidney Oliver set up a trust to protect the collection. In 1969 the Trust purchased ‘The Cedars’ and in conjunction with Chertsey Urban District Council the new Chertsey Museum was opened. Olive Matthews died, aged 92 in 1979 but was able to take an active part in how her collection was displayed in the early years of the museum.

The exhibition focuses on fashion between 1929 -1939, capturing the essence of a decade of innovation, modernism, and, above all, glamour.

Many of the pieces on display have been acquired by the Olive Matthews Trust during the last two years and have never before featured in an exhibition. The star piece is a stunning black and gold velvet evening jacket, created by the designer Mariano Fortuny in the 1930s and purchased by the Olive Matthews Trust in 2011.

The exhibition encompasses both the extremes and essentials of 1930s female dress, featuring garments, which range from daring printed beach pyjamas and startling striped trousers, to elegant evening dresses and scandalously scanty cami-knickers.

The report on this event is included in the Autumn 2013 issue of WECS Wardrobe.

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