c: Molly Molloy/V&A Museum
To mark the 150th anniversary of the first publication of one of the most-loved children’s books of all times, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, London’s V&A Museum is prepping up to host a retrospective exhibit showcasing the protagonist as both a follower of fashion and a trendsetter.
Dubbed as The Alice Look, the event will aim to show how author Lewis Carroll’s heroine has always embraced contemporary styles and how her sartorial tastes have influenced the way people dress and inspired designers and stylists the world over.
Due to take place from May 2 to November 1, 2015 at the museum’s Childhood section, the display will include an array of garments, photographs, rare editions and illustrations from the book along with a collection of book cover designs by Vivienne Westwood.
Divided into four parts, the exhibit’s first segment will showcase early editions of the Alice books with children’s garments from the Victorian period. Illustrations by Sir John Tenniel’s will be brought to life alongside the distinctive trademark elements of the original Alice look which includes striped stockings, apron, full-skirted dress and T-bar shoes from V&A’s collections.
The Follower of Fashion section will show how illustrators have kept Alice relevant and up-to-date for contemporary audiences through a selection of 20th-century editions of Wonderland. Inspiration will use magazines, photographs, posters and fabrics, as well as a compilation of films and still shots, to show how a vast array of people dress like Alice or wear clothes adorned with her image.
The display will also exhibit a selection of fabrics and supporting artwork from the Liberty Spring/Summer 2015 Alice-themed fabric collection.
The Global Alice segment will combine costume and text to show how Alice’s appearance alters according to her location, such as Provençal Alice is featured in tropézienne sandals and a sundress, Swahili Alice in a local kanga and 1980s Japanese Alice sports a Lolita-style outfit.
Additionally, a series of photographs that Annie Liebovitz shot for US Vogue featuring Natalia Vodianova as Alice and a film showing clips of pop videos and catwalk shows inspired by the book’s protagonist, showing Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne and Aerosmith, will also form a part of the retrospective.
In addition to the vast display of Alice-inspired exhibits, a one-day conference (scheduled to take place on May 9, 2015) discussing Alice’s diverse practices of dressing in different parts of the world and her influence on the international fashion scene, will also be hosted on the sidelines of the exhibition.
Originally published in 1985, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a story of a girl falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures.