Fashion Museum Barcelona

March 02, 2023



Hello lovelies, 

As a traveler, I'm always excited to explore new places and experience different cultures. So, when I set off on my 2-month interrail trip in the summer of 2022, Barcelona was high on my list of must-visit destinations. However, as I arrived in the city, I couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment. This was the city so many of my friends loved? Weird.

Barcelona is undoubtedly a popular destination, but unfortunately, it just didn't appeal to me as much as I thought it would. However, there was one thing that I did enjoy about Barcelona - the beach. I escaped the busy city streets, sat on the beach and relaxed in the shade of my parasol with the gentle sound of waves lapping at the shore.

During my time in Barcelona, I also visited the Fashion Museum of Barcelona. Unfortunately, like the city itself, the museum didn't meet my expectations. The museum was located in the Museu del Disseny (Museum of Design), the ugliest building I saw in a very long time and the museum only had one floor. Other exhibitions like the decorative arts, and I think, ceramics were located in other levels of the buildings. The whole exhibition was small, and the exhibits were limited, with only a small number of garments and accessories on display. While the pieces that were on show were beautiful, I couldn't help but feel that there could be so much more.

The exhibition started off with an overview of the foundational pieces of clothing. These included crinolines resembling skeletal structures, vibrantly hued corsets, stays, and brassieres spanning from the 1550s to the present day.
What I absolutely hated was the museum's continual reference, in its descriptive labels, to the purported agony caused by corsets or the supposed disfigurement of women who wore them. These assertions are not supported by medical evidence. It is worth noting that tightlacing was not universal among women who wore corsets, and certainly not the norm. These claims, in my opinion, were highly unprofessional and left me with a negative impression of the museum.

The museum starts its historical journey from the 16th century and gradually traverses the succeeding eras.

Reducing. The waist is emphasized. The Torso is compressed and flattened with cardbord over the chest and corset. Elongating. High chopines (shoes) raise wearer, the first platform shoes, and shoes with heels. Wigs and adornments give extra height. Profiling. Coat with waxed skirts, waistcoat, breeches and stockings give a slender silhuette.


I have no idea were the museum gets the impression that cardbord was used (in the 16-17th century).

Dress and Revolution. The body set free. The social transformation set in motion by the French Revolution is reflected in dress. Napoleon suppressed by decree the symbols of aristocracy: corsets, paniers, breeches and heeled shoes. Clothes were simplified. For both men and women the silhouette becomes rectilinear, following the model of Greek statues. Women wear chemise dresses. The waistline is raised to just below the dress.
I would love to see the source for that because I did not find a decree from Napoleon. And if it existed, it would just apply to France and the French territory but not the whole of Europe. He did simplify clothing, that's true but just for the military and not for everyone. These information provided are so flawed. 
Elongating. Dresses with trains and long sleeves stylize the woman's figure. Men wear long trousers, high collars and top hats. Profiling. The costumes of men and women become more flexible; the silhouette is deflated and follows the forms of the body. Revealing. Women show their arms. Lightweight transparent fabrics reveal the shape of the body.
Again, some weird information. Dresses with trains are not the norm, as was before. Some dresses had them, some didn't. Men's breeches gradually transformed into long trousers in the first half of the 19th century. Plus, are the sleeves long or do women show their (bare?) arms?

Ethereal Ladies. The dress inflates the body. Romanticism is inspired by the forms of Gothic and renaissance art. With their flat shoes, pale skin and puffed-out dresses, women in the second quarter of the 19th century seem to float. The male figure was straight, with dropped shoulders, dressed in a simple and comfortable three-piece suit, with a cape or overcoat.

Pale skin was the norm for centuries, not only in the Victorian era. 
Early Victorian shoes were also not completly flat but had a slight heel. 
Increasing. Very large puffed and padded sleeves, and full skirts inflated and rounded by being worn over petticoats. Men also adopt a figure with volume. Reducin. The corset, introduced around 1828, makes it difficult to breathe. The waistline returns to its natural place. Elongating. Spectacular top hats

I remember reading the words "The corset [...] makes it difficult to breath" in the museum and rolling my eyes back in my head so far, I could see my brain. What utter nonsense, what rubbish. And that in a museum, a professional setting!!

For the first time in history, Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) signs his dresses and employs models to show them off to his clients. 
The Industrial Revolution transforms the manufacture of fabrics and, in so doing, the way of life of Europe's citizens. The bourgeoisie dictates the forms and fashions, which succeed one another ever more swiftly. Burghers strive to look like aristrocrats with a return to the shapes of the eighteenth century. Women's dresses are lavishly ornamented, making visible the economic power of the family. With severely compressed torso and narrow waist, skirts become fuller, to the extent that the wearers of these dresses find it difficult to sit down or walk through a doorway. The man is almost invisible in his three-piece suit of trousers, waistcoat and frock coat and jacket.

 Well, sitting down was not difficult. Neither in hoops, nor in bustles. Walking through doorways that were narrow is also not something new when I think about the big 18th century pannier.
Increasing. Skirts reach their maximum colume. The crinoline (initially of horsehair and later of steel hoops) in a lighter supporting structure than a large number of petticoats. Reducing. Corsets constrict the waist and stomach and cause serious health problems.

They did not cause serious health problems. jfk.

Increasing. The colume of the skirt is gathered at the back, made fuller with an interior structure (the bustle) and extended with a train. By 1885 the bustles are folding or in a form of a cushion. Reducing. The torso remains flat and the bust is pushed up by the corset.

Industrialization leads to mass production, first in underwear and accessories and then in dresses, which begin to be sold in department stores. Seen in profile, the female body is angled, flat in front and wide behind. The heafy fabric of the so-called tapisserie dress imitates the curtains and hangings of the bourgeois homes. The long heavy trains of evening gowns extend the silhouette. Little changes in men's fashion: Three piece suit and overcoat. Tails or a morning coat are worn on formal occassions.

S-shaped belles. Clothes deform the body. Art Nouveau brought sinuous decorative elements that imiatate natural forms to architecture and the visual arts, and the costumes and fabrics were no exception. The ches is inflated and thrust forward, the waist very narrow, the stomach flat and the pelvis pushed backwards: in this sepentine form (the famous coup de fouet) the female body is severely deformed by the aciton of the corset and the S-Shaped posture. After 1900 the figure becomes slimmer and the skirt flares at the hem like the corolla of a flower. during the day men wear a three-piece suit of jacket, trousers, and waistocat, with a bowler hat, and for evening engagements and formal occations a frock caot, morning coat and tuxedo with top hat.
Seriously, who the ef wrote this crap?? I still want to scream every time I read this piece of bull. the female body is severely deformed???? No. No. And NOOOoooooOOOooo.
Increasing. Ruffles, bows and pleats sweel sleeves, skirt and chest in a single colume. Reduing. The corset compresses the waist and bust. By 1908 corsets are so long as to impede all movement. Women's corsets displace their internal organs and could cause serious disorders. 
I will just assume that whoever made this fashion exhibition hates corsets. This displacement of internal organs was scientifically disproven many, many times.I am really shocked that this is something a reputable and respectable museum still believes.

In conclusion, the clothing collection at the museum was impressive, although small in size. However, it is important to note that the information provided through the accompanying texts was not always accurate and, in some cases, misleading. As such, visitors are encouraged to take the information with a grain of salt and rely on their own research to gain a more accurate understanding of the history and significance behind the exhibits. 

With this in mind, would you go and visit the exhibition?

all the best and take care!

Auris Lothol

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