A look back at Killerton's 2015 fashion exhibition: 'The F-word'

Killerton's 2015 exhibition diiscovered how revolutionary innovations have changed the shape of fashion forever

Killerton's 2015 exhibition, 'The F-word - the changing language of fashion' is all packed away now, with an exciting new exhibition filled with a spectrum of colour on the way. Keen to glimpse back in time to the 2015 exhibition? See below to find out how revolutionary innovations changed the language of fashion for ever.

From a 150-year-old crinoline to a 60s mini, garments have shaped not only their owners but also the face of fashion. Zips, buttons, elastic – items now taken for granted were revolutionary in their day. They changed what could be worn and also helped people dress faster and with ease. The language of fashion is often bound to the technology and materials used to produce it. Whalebone and then steel hoops, elastic, rubber and plastics transformed the way clothing works, and created fortunes for inventors and manufacturers.
In the 2015 exhibition, we told the story using select pieces from KIllerton's extensive collection. Some of our favourites included:
  • Man’s coat, made of silk woven with metallic thread in about 1690 
  • Jacquard woven silk afternoon dress, about 1860, highlighting advances in silk weaving (the Jacquard looms, with punched cards controlling the pattern weaving, inspired Charles Babbage who came up with the idea for the first computer)
  • Woollen wedding dress, knitted on a domestic knitting machine in1971, when the trend for home knitting machines was at its peak
  • Mini dress made of Crimplene (one of the new synthetic fabrics) in a bright psychedelic print. Minis were at their shortest by about 1969
  • Elegant mini and jacket by Emanuel Ungaro, about 1966
  • Gold nylon and lurex ballgown by Maryon, late 1940s. Nylon and lurex were new man-made fibres developed in the 1930s
Technologies that were revolutionary in their time shaped the fashion industry. The first water-powered mills, rotary printers and synthetic dyes and materials eased what was a cottage industry into the world of mass production and fashion for all.
“Throughout history, fashion has not only reflected social and technological changes, but also led the way." - Shelley Tobin, Costume Curator, Killerton

If you missed 'The F-Word', you can discover Killerton's new 2016 exhibition 'Fashion to Dye for', open from 13 February.

See special items from Killerton's fashion exhibition, Devon

Killerton's 2016 exhibition: fashion to dye for

A rainbow of colour has burst into Killerton House for the 2016 fashion exhibition, and you can see it until 30 October. The fashion exhibition takes a break in 2017, returning in 2018.

Killerton hosts an annually changing exhibition of selected pieces from the extensive collection.
Killerton hosts an annually changing exhibition of selected pieces from the extensive collection.