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Fashion & Fairytale – The Community Shall Go to the Ball


Inspired by the Fashioned from Nature and Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert museum, ‘Fashion and Fairytale’ combined ethereal, nature inspired beauty with the rather pressing issue of environmental sustainability.

Organised by designer Cindy Beadman and green energy sponsor Pure Planet, the exhibition ran a competition open to primary, secondary and college students, to sketch a design that incorporates a strong sense of nature, fairytale and environmental awareness. The competition attracted over 300 entrants and the four selected winners saw their design sketches come to life and displayed in the Fashion & Fairytale exhibition.

Design idea by Ellie Gresham

Held in timed slots over 3-days at the beginning of August, the exhibition also featured the work of Bath based fashion designer, Cindy Beadman, whose clients have included royalty and celebrity. Framed by her own life as a game-keeper’s daughter and her subsequent fairytale rise to success as an international fashion designer in the 1970’s, Cindy’s designs fuse together her deep love of nature and sense of beauty with a whimsical imagination and couture artistry.

Design entry by Hannah Williams

In keeping with her ethos of working only with natural fibres, the competition aimed to encourage as many children as possible to think about fashion in terms of materials and its effect on the environment. Cindy also wanted the children to find inspiration and joy within nature, one of her core influences throughout her design career.

Cindy Beadman ballgown
Cindy Beadman design

The exhibition was complemented by Cindy’s designs and ballgowns, one of which was borrowed from Bath Fashion Museum’s collection, alongside images of her iconic ball gown that caused such a stir during the V&A exhibition.

The four winning designs

Well done to the four winners KS1: Bethany Trowmans, KS2: Edith Holladay, KS3: Catherine Cook and KS4: Mayu Ishimoto. The judges designer Cindy Beadman, Andy Jackson, Rachel P Blake and Emma Reichenbach had an incredibly tough job deciding.

Winning design by Catherine Cook made up

The 3-day exhibition was held in the Octagon Salon of the Assembly Rooms in Bath.

Tap here for video and teaching resources linked to this project.

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