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Catch up National Museum of Scotland

Costume Conversations

3 Nov - 24 Nov 2021

Instagram Live

White muslin dress against black.

Catch up with our Instagram Live series exploring how one object can tell multiple stories.

Costume Conversations was a series of four weekly live chats with dress experts. We showed how just one object from our fashion collection can be the catalyst for multiple different stories.

Over each 30-minute chat, our expert panel explored how clothes tell stories on stage and screen. We asked the big questions about costume interpretation to find out just what's involved in fashioning the past in the present.

The starting point for our selected experts was the cotton muslin dress below, familiar to many from Jane Austen adaptations.

White muslin dress against black.

One object can tell multiple stories. This dress of fine white cotton muslin tambour is embroidered in white with small flower sprays and insets of lace. British, c. 1810.


Wed 3 Nov, 19:00

Our panel explored how clothes tell stories on stage and screen. From how accurate costumes allow actors to connect with their characters to when it might be necessary to take liberties for entertainment.

Catch up here.


Mark Wallis is the founder of Past Pleasures, the UK’s oldest professional costumed historical interpretation company.

Stefan Romero is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher of costume design, with experience in the film and television industry.

Dr Emily Taylor is Assistant Curator at National Museums Scotland and a specialist in historic dress.

Wed 10 Nov, 17:00

Created by American costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, the costumes of Netflix hit series Bridgerton (of which there were some 7,500 pieces) unapologetically play with notions of historical accuracy.

Utilising brash colours, almost absurdly high waistlines, zip fastenings, modern fabrics and machine embroidery, they also deviate from social norms and etiquette of the time.

The series has attracted fierce criticism among some viewers surrounding the legitimacy of its wardrobe. This week’s panel discussed the good, the bad, and the ridiculous when it comes to representing historic underwear in popular culture.

Catch up here.


Elisabeth Gernerd is an Independent Scholar and specialist in historic underpinnings.

Cat Miranda is a dress and textile history student, specialising in undergarments and corsets, which she showcases on her YouTube channel, Cat's Costumery.

Miriam McLeod is Textile Conservator at National Museums Scotland with a background in costume making.

Mon 15 Nov, 17:00

Our panel looked at rethinking fashion histories to show how allowing in different voices enriches our understanding of fashion, beauty, and the body.

Catch up here.


Sharon D. Lloyd is Course Leader in Make-Up, Hair Design and Prosthetics at Solent University, Chair of the British Beauty Council‘s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and co-founder of FACE, a community centred around creating equality within the fashion industry.

Bubu Ogisi is a Creative Director, Fibre artist and Fashion designer behind the label IAMISIGO, committed to celebrating the decolonization of the body and space through African philosophies, fabrics, and techniques.

Jonathan Square is Assistant Professor of Black Visual Culture at Parsons School of Design, Research Fellow at The Costume Institute and Founder of Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom.

Mon 22 Nov, 17:00

Regency dress was shaped as much by the Neoclassical art movement and Greco-Roman dress as it was by Enlightenment theories and ambitions of Empire. In turn, fashion was depicted in classical art, sculpture and pottery.

This final episode in the series explored the relationship between art and fashion as our panel discussed what defined taste in a global context during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Catch up here.


Marie Miller is a researcher of the history of art and dress, and devised this Costume Conversations series for her postgraduate student placement with National Museums Scotland.

Amelia Rauser is a historian of art, fashionable dress, and visual culture, a Professor at Franklin & Marshall College, and author of The Age of Undress: Art, Fashion and the Classical Idea in the 1790s (2020).

Claire Blakey is Curator of Modern Decorative Arts at National Museums Scotland, specialising in European ceramics, c.1600-1900.

Join us on Instagram

Join the conversation on our Instagram at the times above. Look out for our Story to see the countdown and set a reminder.

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