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Cover for London Society Fashion 1905–1925

London Society Fashion 1905–1925

The Wardrobe of Heather Firbank

Cassie Davies-Strodder, Jenny Lister, Lou Taylor


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Downton Abbey–era fashion is explored through the life and extensive wardrobe of real-life Edwardian London socialite Heather Firbank (1888–1954), whose treasures, bought from the world’s leading couturiers and the very best dressmakers and tailors in London, were gifted to the V&A after her death. The collection forms an invaluable record of a stylish and wealthy woman’s taste from about 1905 to 1920, and actually served as inspiration to Downton Abbey’s Emmy Award–winning costume designer, Susannah Buxton. Beautifully illustrated with new photography of Firbank’s evening gowns, tailored suits, and hats, the book also features contemporary photographs and pages from Firbank’s own fashion cuttings albums.

V & A Publishing, 9781851778317, 160pp.

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

About the Author

Jenny Lister and Cassie Davies-Strodder are curators at the V&A. Lou Taylor is professor of dress and textile history at the University of Brighton, England.